Monday, July 30, 2007

My botched plan

So I had been planning to ride to Lawrence and back on Sunday, and that didn’t quite happen. Last weekend my cassette came apart and I was all proud of myself for fixing it. Well, turns out it wasn’t fixed as well as I thought. I got out to the New Century Air Center Sunday morning and set out towards Lawrence. A couple of miles in, my cassette started rattling again, I looked down, and sure enough, all the cogs were loose again. Dammit! So I hopped off my bike, took the wheel off, got the cassette put back together, put my wheel back on, and started riding again. Not 5 miles later, it happened again. Sonofabitch! Repeated the same process and kept going. It happened AGAIN at about mile 12. At this point I said F it, I’m turning around. So I fixed the cassette yet again and headed back to the airport. Of course it came loose before I got done, but I refused to stop and fix it again. By the time I got back to my car, it was so loose that I only had about 2 gears that my chain would grab. Fantastic. I was ready to throw my bike in a ditch, I was so pissed. I drove up to the Trek store and got there just as they were opening and had one of the shop guys fix it for me. Who knew you needed some special tool to tighten down your cassette? At any rate, it’s fixed, and I’m planning to do the route to Lawrence this weekend. The portion of the course that I managed to ride was awesome, rolling hills and very little traffic, and I came across a group of about 12 riders on my way back (must be nice to have that many people to ride with!) who were stopped while one of them fixed a flat. So I pulled over and asked where they were riding, showed them the map of my route and asked if it was a good way to go. They all agreed it was a good route. So I’m looking forward to actually making it to Lawrence next time.

This morning I drug myself out of bed around 5:15 for a 4 mile run. Ah, I remember the days when 4 miles seemed like a long way to go, now it’s nothing. Anyway, I managed to keep up consistent 11 minute miles, which I felt really good about. And there’s this hill on 71st Street just east of Metcalf that I always end up walking part of because it’s relatively steep and long, but today I ran the whole thing. Yeah! When I was watching the morning news while I stretched after I got home, the weather guy said that it was currently 100% humidity. I don’t even know how that is possible, I would think that it’d automatically rain if there was that much humidity in the air. But regardless, it was effin HU-MID!

More QuarterMax pics

The UltraMax event staff finally posted the pictures they took at the race last month. I had said earlier that I dont know if I'll do this race next year in the interest of saving money, but looking at these reminds me how much I LOVE it! This is hands down my favorite race.

I love this one, and it's too good not to post. I think Court was digging for gold.....

Waiting for the start (I'm in the light blue top with the swirlies on it and dark shorts)

They didnt quite get the full effect of my sprint finish, but they caught me and the bitch, I mean, girl, who beat me by 3/10 of a second after we crossed the finish line. I dont think I look too pissed about losing :)

I dont know if I'm just tired here, or thinking about how much I hate it when people bring their kids across the finish line with them....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

100 days!!!

Only 100 days until IMFL!! Yikes! Didn’t I just register?? And now suddenly 264 days has gone by since I signed up. I am ready to just go and do it. I feel like everything is revolving around that day right now, and I am anxious to get it done. Don’t know if I can go to California in October for Dan’s cousins wedding because of IM. Can’s spend a bunch of money working on the house right now because of IM. Can’t plan our vacation for next year yet because of IM. I am definitely looking forward to racing and am enjoying the process of getting there, but I am going to enjoy having that feather in my cap, too. At first, I was worried that I’d be depressed after IM. All that build up, and then it’s just over. But now I don’t think I will. I didn’t get that way after the wedding, and I don’t think I’ll get that way after IM either. I’m looking forward to sleeping in, not HAVING to work out, and just being able to do what I want without having to worry about my training.

I had a 7 mile run planned for last night, but I got about a mile out and my calves were so knotted up that they hurt REALLY bad and they just weren’t loosening up. I tried to rub them out a little bit, and they were just hard as rocks. What is that saying? “Pain is weakness leaving the body”. Well, I had lost enough weakness for the day. I turned around and headed back home, only getting in about 2 miles. Damn! I stretched out well and slathered my legs in Bio Freeze and made dinner. After I ate, I decided that I had better get the tube changed on my rear tire so that I could ride on Wednesday. I also was hoping that I’d find the problem with my cassette when I got my wheel off and be able to fix it myself instead of having to take it to the shop. Well, I found the problem. I got my wheel off and the entire cassette fell apart. Shit! There was my cassette laying on the garage floor in about 100 pieces. For those that aren’t bike savvy, the cassette is that set of rings with teeth on the back wheel; your gears. So here I am, with no idea how to fix it, trying to put the damn thing back together. I stacked the rings up in size order, with a little washer between each of them, and then put them back on my wheel one by one. There was an end cap type dealie that was threaded, so I figured that must screw into something. What do you know! I got it put back together and it works! I got my tube changed out pretty quickly, which was nice since I hadn’t had to do it in over a year so I wasn’t sure how quick I’d be. Now if I could just get better at putting the damn wheel back on….

Monday, July 23, 2007

A good weekend

This weekend was a pretty productive training weekend. Saturday I got up early and met my two RE running partners at 5:30 so that we could get in 2 miles before starting with the rest of the group. I don’t know what it is, but that is such a help mentally. We were scheduled for 14, so since we got 2 in early, we were able to turn around at the 6 mile point with the group. That made it feel so much shorter than having to go out to 7 miles! We lucked out with the weather, it wasn’t hot, but it was pretty darn humid again. I don’t think we’ll ever get out of the humidity.

After that I went home and showered up and waited for my parents to arrive. They came down for the afternoon since it was my birthday, and we went to dinner at Ponaks. Yum! I don’t think I will ever get tired of that place.

Sunday I met Court out at Heritage Park at 7 for a 45 mile ride. Most of the roads in southern Johnson County/Miami County are gravel, so I had messed around on Google Earth to find some that were paved and mapped out a course for us. As soon as we started riding, I remembered that I needed to take my bike into the shop. The rear cog is loose, and it was rattling the whole time and messing up my shifting. The rattling drove me crazy!

The ride turned out to be pretty nice, gentle rollers and not much traffic. Our route took us east on 179th street to Old Metcalf, then south to 223rd street, and west to Gardner Road. We got a few miles down Gardner Road and came to a “road closed” sign. There didn’t appear to be any construction past the sign, and if we backtracked, we’d have to go back quite a ways to find another paved road to take us north, so we kept going. After another mile, we came across yet another road closed sign, and kept going again. We figured that unless there was a bridge out, we’d be able to make it up to Gardner. Well, there was a bridge out. It had been a bridge that went over a dry creek bed, so there wasn’t any water in it, and we decided that we could carry our bikes down the bank, and then back up the other side. It wasn’t too steep or too far across, so it wouldn’t have been a problem…..except that I made the mistake of not taking my shoes off before I walked down the bank. So my cleats got COMPLETELY packed with mud. Great. I spent a few minutes trying to clean them out with a stick once we got across and was able to get them to a point where I could at least clip in, but there was still enough mud in them to make it difficult for me to unclip.

Once we got into Gardner, we turned east on 175th Street to head back to the park, and that portion was pretty packed with cars. It was only for a mile or two though, so not too bad. Then once we got across the interstate, along came some sort of motorcycle ride with police escorts, and they made us pull off on the shoulder while they all rode through. Which was a bit ridiculous, because it wasn’t like they were taking up both lanes. But whatever. So we lost another 5 minutes or so there. We got back to the park and entered through the south entrance so that we could take advantage of the downhill park road that took us back to the marina parking lot. When we got back to the cars and I got off my bike, I discovered that my rear tire was completely flat. It must have happened at the very end, because I hadn’t noticed it at ALL. I didn’t see any visible signs of damage, so I’m hoping that the tire is ok and I just need to change out the tube. I need the practice anyway. I was too beat by the time I got home to mess with it, so it’s still sitting out in the garage flat as a pancake.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

99 tips for an IronMan trip

2 posts in 1 day, I RULE! Found this on fellow IM-blogger, Kona Shelley's site. It was too good not to pass along....

99 steps to a typical Ironman trip:

1. Arrive in town.
2. Find over-priced accommodations you are staying a minimum of four nights at
3. Unpack bicycle, spread gear around room randomly.
4. Attempt to reassemble bicycle, realize you forgot to mark your seat and handlebar position before disassembly. Guess position and tell yourself it won’t make a big difference.
5. Drive bike course at slow speeds while making wrong turns. Annoy locals.
6. Find swim venue. Put wetsuit on, stand around for 15 minutes. Swim 10 minutes, take wetsuit off. Look around to see if you impressed anyone.
7. Walk around expo looking for free stuff.
8. Go to registration tent, stand in line, get bag, check bag for goodies.
9. Go back to hotel, arrange energy products into different piles. Stare at piles.
10. Spend 2 hours preparing for bike ride with race wheels and drink systems. Go for 30 minute ride. Go back to hotel.
11. Decide that this would be a great opportunity to learn how to rebuild your rear hub to fix the play in it. Disassemble hub.
12. Drive to house where your club mate, the bicycle mechanic, is staying. Show him the pieces of your rear wheel. Beg for help.
13. Go to swim start Friday morning. Look for tell-tale wrist-bands on other competitors; look condescendingly at all those swimming who aren’t participating in the race.
14. Go back to hotel, spend 4 hours attaching numbers to your bicycle, helmet, and race outfit. Panic that you don’t have 8 pieces of reflective tape for your run outfit, even though IMNA has never been known to enforce the rule.
15. Drive down to expo at the last minute, stand in line, pay $10 for a strip of reflective tape.
16. Drive back to hotel, place energy products into various bags.
17. Pack transition bags.
18. Unpack transition bags.
19. Repack transition bags.
20. Drive to Carbo-dinner. Stand in line, proceed through buffet with poor food selection, sit at crowded table, remember you paid an extra $20 each so your family could enjoy this food. Listen to IMNA personnel tell same jokes as last year. Realize that Dave Scott has apparently discovered the fountain of youth. Stand in line to leave.
21. Prep bike to drop off on Saturday, discover your tire has a slow leak. Drive to expo, stand in line, pay $80 for tubular tire. Get back to hotel, realize you don’t know how to glue on a tubular, drive back to expo and have them do it for you.
22. Drop bike off, spend time covering bike with various plastic bags because everyone else is doing it.
23. Drop off your transition bags, realize you forgot your salt tablets, drive back to hotel to get them.
24. Drive back to hotel again, arrange race gear for tomorrow morning.
25. Pack special needs bags.
26. Unpack special needs bags.
27. Repack special needs bags.
28. Realize there is nothing more you can do to get ready. Sit down and relax.
29. Panic.
30. Eat early dinner
31. Go to bed, lie there in a cold sweat.
32. Wake up at 2:00 am for 1000 calorie bottle of nasty-tasting concoction, “because Gordo does it”.
33. Lie awake listening to horrible weather move into town.
34. Wake up at 4:00 am, listen to spouse complain.
35. Get in car, drive to start. Stand in line to enter the transition area.
36. Check transition bags.
37. Stand in line to get body marked.
38. Check bike, stand in line to get tires pumped up.
39. Stand in line for porta-john.
40. Realize you left your water bottles with special nutrition needs in the fridge at the hotel. Drive back madly to get them.
41. Get back to start, wait in line for parking spot.
42. Stand in line for porta-john.
43. Get wetsuit on, stand in line to enter swim area.
44. Realize it’s too late for a warm up. Stand in line to enter water.
45. Stand in water with 2000 other people while sun comes up and national anthem is sung by local high school girl. Realize that few moments of your life have been this beautiful.
46. Gun goes off, 2000 people attempt to swim on top of you, realize that you are in mortal danger or drowning and few moments of your life have been this dangerous.
47. Get kicked in face, goggles come off, panic and tread water trying to get them back on while people hit you. Remember you paid good money to do this.
48. Exit swim, stand in line to get into transition.
49. Stand in line to get out of change tent. Get bike, stand in line to get out of transition.
50. Start bike, realize that there is no way 1000 people can pack onto a course within 20 minutes without massive drafting problems. Hope that poor bike handlers don’t crash in front of you.
51. Ride bike.
52. Panic that you’ve already fallen off your nutrition plan that your coach gave you.
53. Make up for lost calories and fluids in the next 15 minutes. Feel ill.
54. Ride bike.
55. Get saddle-sore.
56. Ride bike
57. Decide to piss while riding to save time.
58. Spend the next 30 minutes soft-pedaling, coasting, and practicing mental imagery trying to relax enough to let it go.
59. Give up, get off at aid station and spend 30 seconds in porta-john, get back on bike.
60. Ride bike, feel queasy and bloated, take 3 salt tablets at once to make sure you’re not low on electrolytes. Throw up.
61. Get off bike, sit in change tent wondering why you are doing this. Listen in disbelief to volunteer telling you you’re almost done. Proceed to marathon course.
62. Realize that you should have practiced the 1000 calorie drink at 2:00 am before race day.
63. Throw up, walk, jog, repeat for 26 miles.
64. Start gagging at the thought of another energy gel.
65. Sample the variety of food at aid stations. Discover Oreos, the food of the Gods.
66. Invent the form of locomotion called the ‘ironman shuffle’. Feel proud that your 12 minute mile is technically not walking.
67. Pass your spouse. Make them swear to never let you do another one of these.
68. See finishing chute. Sprint madly down the road high-fiving people and cheering while announcer screams your name. Realize it was all worth it.
69. Get to finishing chute, wait in line while a man takes his extended family over it with him.
70. Cross line, collapse into arms of patient volunteers.
71. Spend next two hours in med tent realizing that you should have drunk more fluids when it got hot.
72. Go to massage tent, eat cold pizza and wander around in a daze while wearing an aluminum foil blanket.
73. Stick around finish line until midnight to share in “the ironman spirit”. Beat off 12-year-old to grab free socks thrown into crowd.
74. Look in disbelief at fresh and bouncy professional athletes dancing at the finish line.
75. Cheer last few athletes into the finish before midnight. Ask your spouse if you looked that bad. Be amazed that they spent 17 hours out there moving the whole time.
76. Go back to hotel, collapse in bed.
77. Wake up, go to bathroom, collapse back into bed. Repeat all night until the 6 IV’s the med tent gave you are through your system.
78. Wake up at 4:00 because your legs hurt so much.
79. Eat first breakfast.
80. Sit around until spouse wakes up, eat second breakfast.
81. Shuffle around town Monday morning wearing finishers T-shirt and medal. Smile knowingly at other fellow shufflers. Graciously accept congratulations from locals thankful you came to their town to spend money.
82. Eat third breakfast at all you can eat buffet.
83. Go to Official Finishers merchandise tent. Stand in line. Pick out $200 worth of clothing with prominent logos on it. Stand in line, pay $600 for clothes. Contemplate getting a tattoo to immortalize your achievement.
84. Fall prey to peer-pressure and marketing techniques. Cough up $450 to sign up for the race next year - since it will sell out today, and this is your only chance to sign up!
85. Proceed to IM Hawaii role-down. Hold out hope that, even though you finished 80th in your age-group, this will be the year everyone leaves early and you get the last spot.
86. Eat first lunch.
87. Go back to hotel, stare at the disgusting, sticky, smelly mess that is your bicycle and race clothes. Start packing things up to fly home
88. Eat second lunch.
89. Go to awards dinner, stand in line. Get poor food from buffet, remember you spent $20 a head so your family could enjoy this magical moment with you.
90. Watch hastily-produced race video. Closely examine each frame hoping they caught a glimpse of you on the course. Be disappointed.
91. Watch age-group athletes get their awards. Wonder how many of them actually work for a living, and where you can get some of the performance enhancing drugs they appear to be on.
92. Realize that you have to go all the way up to women’s 70+ age group before you find an age-group your time would have won.
93. Listen to long, excruciatingly boring thank-you speeches from various professional athletes.
94. Stand in line to get out of awards dinner.
95. Go to Airport, stand in line. Deliver $5000 bike to Neanderthal-like baggage handler. Pray. Reluctantly take finishers medal off to pass through metal detector. Proudly tell TSA personnel what you did on your weekend.
96. Get home, contemplate unpacking disgusting bicycle, decide to leave it until tomorrow.
97. Eat Bon-Bons and watch TV. Contemplate unpacking your bicycle and training again, decide to leave it until tomorrow.
98. Repeat above step for 2-10 weeks. Step on scale. Look at your fat, disgusting self in a mirror and remember you signed up for next year’s race. Unpack bike, chip mold off of seat tube. Show up at swim practice again.
99. Get ready to do it all again next year…

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the jungle, indeed! I started my run at about 5:15 this morning and it was already 80 degrees and 85% humidity. Eladio has said that you will feel 15 degrees warmer within the first 10 minutes of running, and direct sunlight will add another 10 degrees. So yeah, not comfortable at all. I am not typically a heavy sweater, and I was dripping after the first half mile. Fantastic. The great thing about where I live is that the major streets are laid out on a 1 mile grid, with intermediate streets every half mile. We happen to live pretty much right at the intersection of one of the main arterials and one of the ½ mile collector streets, so it’s really easy for me to know how far I’ve gone. I got to the one mile point and checked my watch; 10 minutes! Wow! I’m typically pretty slow, and just don’t run 10 minute miles. I took my requisite one minute walk break and started running again. I got to the 2 mile point and checked my watch; another 10 minute mile! Damn! I was doing pretty good! By that point the sun was coming up and it was starting to get hot(ter), so I had to slow down a bit. But I still ended up finishing my 7 miles quicker than my 12 min/mile average pace, so I was really happy about that.

My right IT band has been bothering me quite a bit lately, so I made sure to take some extra time to stretch that out on my foam roller when I got done. It’s funny, leading up to the marathon it was bothering me in the knee, now my knee is fine and it’s bothering me in my hip. I’ve also got a nagging blister on my right foot that won’t seem to go away completely, and it got fired up again today. Of course, it probably doesn’t help that the lady popped it BEFORE doing the salt scrub when I got a pedi on Saturday. Owie. But that blistering problem I’d been having on the bottoms of my pinky toes when I was training for the marathon hasn’t been bothering me too much. They still get sore, and I tape them for my long runs, but no blisters so far.

This Saturday is my birthday (ack! My last 20-something b-day!) and I get to treat myself with a 14 mile run. There are two other gals in my Runners Edge pace group that are on the same schedule as me, so we are always doing the same distance for our Saturday morning runs. We decided that this week, we’re going to start half an hour earlier and go out a mile and then come back so that we can get 2 miles in before starting with the rest of the group. It’s getting so hot now, that anything we can do to avoid some of the heat is a good thing. Even if it means getting up at 4:30 on my Saturday birthday :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tickets booked!

Registration: Check!
Condo: Check!
Plane tickets: CHECK!

I don’t know why, but for some reason booking our plane tickets to Florida really excites me! We had been debating about where to fly into, because flying direct to Panama City was a lot more than flying to another nearby airport and then driving in. But Court found a cheap flight to PCB, so we went ahead and booked. AND, we’re even staying a day longer than we had planned! We were going to come back on Monday, but go figure, tickets are about $80 cheaper if we come back Tuesday. So we’re going to get a cheap hotel for Monday night and spend another day laying on the beach. I can’t wait! Oh yeah, it’s not exactly a “vacation” :) But it will still be fun!

Monday, July 9, 2007

So much for restful weekends!

Well, I have officially kissed sleeping in on the weekends goodbye. Saturday morning I got up at 4:30 to get ready for my 12 mile run. We were starting at Grandview High School, and took the trail up to Longview Lake. It was a little after 6 when we started, and the temperature was OK for the first mile or so, but once the sun came up, it got hot. Fast. Luckilly, the trail had a lot of tree cover, but it was still so humid that it was pretty miserable. By the time we turned around at 6 miles, I was starting to hurt. We slowed our pace down a bit, and took extra time at the aid stations, so we were all able to finish in pretty good shape. Well, as good a shape as you can be in after running 12 miles in 90 degree heat with 95% humidity.

Oh, and side note, Brett Anthony and Merideth Hoenes (from Channel 41) have joined Runners Edge now. But they were anti-social, they took off running together about 15 minutes before the group did without talking to anybody. And when we passed them on the trail going opposite directions after they had turned around, they didn’t say anything to us, even after WE said good morning. That’s just what you do! When you pass other people in the group, you always say good morning, or whatever. So I am not impressed with them. We’re guessing that they are training to run the KC marathon in October so they can do a piece on it for their morning show.

I was pretty wiped out after that, but I knew I wouldn’t want to clean the house on Sunday, so I spent the afternoon doing that. Then we headed to Lawrence for one of the RB’s weddings. It was a good time, but we left around 10 since I had to race the next morning. I knew I didn’t need to be up drinking all night, and the 4 beers that I did have were probably too much as it was! Oh well.

I was NOT looking forward to doing the race when my alarm went off Sunday morning at 5. I wanted to just stay in bed and sleep till noon. I hadn’t even packed my transition bag, and I was just hoping that my kit was actually clean. I hit snooze till about 5:30, then drug my sleepy ass out of bed to get ready. We headed out to Shawnee Mission Park a little after 6, and had to park up by Theatre in the Park and hike a mile down to the marina parking lot. I ran into Cheryl S from DFT on the way down, and chatted with her for a few minutes. By the time I got body marked and got my TA set up, the first wave was about to go off. So Michele, Dan and I headed down to the dock to watch the long course people swim since our heat didn’t start for over an hour.

TriKC had brought Sarah Reinersten in to compete in the race, and we got to see her come out of the water, which was pretty cool. For those that don’t know who she is, she is the only female above the knee amputee to ever complete an Ironman. She completed Kona in 2005, after having to DNF the previous year for missing the bike cut off by 15 minutes. I remember watching both broadcasts and being moved to tears both times. She’s so inspiring, if she can do it on one leg, then I can sure as heck do it on two! Check out her website to read some more about her.

It was finally time to swim over to the beach for the start of the swim, and again, I wasn’t nervous at all. Such a nice change of pace from last year! The swim went ok, I felt pretty good, I just wish I were a little faster. I hate that I’m such a slow swimmer. I had a really slow transition time, but I finally got on my bike and was off. I felt really good on the bike leg. There is a steep, curving downhill just past the dog park that I always ride my breaks on when I’m out there training because I’m afraid I’ll get hit by a car at the bottom of the hill, but I just let it all hang out. It’s so fun going fast! My max speed was 38.6 mph! The last mile or so of the bike loop is pretty much flat, with a gradual downhill, so I hammered it out on that portion and caught up to a guy in a KC Multisport jersey as we were coming around to the end of the first lap. I realized that it was probably going to look like I was drafting, and I didn’t want that as we came through the crowd by the TA, so I pushed it and managed to pass him. He passed me right back, but I made it a point to try to stay with him for the second loop. The bike seemed to go by really fast, and I ended up averaging 17mph, which is really good for me on that course.

As soon as I got off my bike and started running, I felt that 12 miles from the day before! I hadn’t been sore or stiff on the bike, but it was there to bite me in the ass on the run. My legs were just stiff, and they felt totally drained. My right IT band was still kind of sore too, which didn’t help matters any. I tried to keep up my pace as much as possible, and ended up averaging 11:55/mile, even with walking up the dam hill. So not too shabby. About half way through, I heard someone coming up behind me, not running much faster than I was, and when they got next to me, I realized that it was this totally cut guy who looked like he should be blowing by me. I am a slow runner, and this dude looked like he should be running at LEAST 2 min/mile faster than me. But then again, I probably look like I should be faster than I am, so I shouldn’t judge. It was pretty hot by the time I was on the run course, so I developed a pounding headache pretty quickly, and I just wanted to hurry up and get done. It was only a 2.4 mile run, so I just wanted to hurry up and finish it.

I ended up with an overall time of 1:18:11, a 4 minute improvement over my time from last year. Not too bad! Still a lot of room for improvement, but I’m getting there. Today is a much needed rest day, I’ll be back at it tomorrow.