Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hilly, Humid, Rainy 10K

After the short workout Thursday and after driving 1.5 hours each way to my daughter's choir contest on Friday, I decided Friday would be my "off" day. I just didn't feel like working out and I needed an off day before today's race. But Saturday I knew I had to get in a long bike ride of some sort. The team was doing a pay ride, but I had to take my daughter to a meeting while my husband and son were at a soccer game, so I couldn't join the group. After her meeting, we went to pick up my packet for today's race and by the time we got home it was after noon. I ate the sample bar I had picked up at the expo and got into my cycling gear. I decided I was going to put the bike on the trainer and see how long I could go. Most of the group were doing the 62 mile ride option of the ride they did, so I knew I needed to go long. But that's hard to do for me on a trainer.

So I set the bike up, found a special about cruising on the travel channel and pedaled away. During the ride my daughter brought me some m&ms and some pretzels. And I learned that there is a cruise ship called "The World" by ResidenSea that people actually LIVE on. Full time. Like that's their home. And the rooms have kitchens and walk in closets and they are really nice. There are less than 300 people that live on the ship. And to get an "apartment" on the ship, you have to have a MINIMUM net worth of a bunch of money. I can't remember exactly what it was. What comes to mind is half a million, but in reality, for that ship, that sounds low. It was interesting to watch and dream. The balconies all have private hot tubs. And the residents decide where the ship goes. And it literally goes all over the world. How cool is that? Cool enough that it kept me occupied for an hour. After that was a special about Do's and Don'ts of Cruising. We've been on a couple of cruises but I watched anyway because I've got the itch to go on another one. But even with the cruise specials, when I hit 40 miles and 2 hours 42 minutes and 55 seconds, I had had enough. It was almost 5:00 and I knew I needed to rest my legs a little for my race this morning. So I took a shower, ate dinner, and relaxed the rest of the evening.

The race this morning didn't start until 8:45, so I felt like I was able to sleep in and take my time getting ready. I got downtown about 8:00, parked, walked to the start line and immediately got in line for the port-a-potties. By the time I got through the line and got to the coral, it was just about time for the race to start. Perfect timing. The only bad thing was that when I got up this morning it was already 70 degrees. And muggy. And overcast. And right before the race started, it started to rain. Not a heavy rain, but a steady rain. It was a little chilly at first, but I knew once we started it would feel good.

And when we started, the rain started harder. It ended up raining through the whole race. Light at moments and harder at moments (but never a really hard rain). The good part of that is that the temperature never got into the predicted 80s during the race, but the bad news was the humidity. I almost had to stop during the first couple of miles because it made my cough act up, but finally got through that and felt pretty good. Thank goodness because miles 2-3 are the hilly parts of the course. When I hit mile 5 I thought I might be able to break my record, but when I look at the splits on my Garmin it appears that the last mile was my slowest mile. It didn't feel like it at the time. I'm not sure if it was mismeasured or if I really did slow down that much, but I ended up at 1:00:41. About a minute slower than last years race. But with the rain, the humidity and legs still recovering from 40 miles on the trainer, I'll take it.

After the race, I headed home to shower and get some dry clothes on, eat some lunch and then head to my son's soccer game. It stopped raining after I got home, so it was kind of nice at his game. And even better because they won 5-0. My daughter and I are back home so that I can get her to confirmation tonight, but my husband and son went back to the fields for game #2 today. I hope they play as well tonight as they did this afternoon.

Race Splits
Mile 1: 9:18
Mile 2: 10:02
Mile 3: 10:16
Mile 4: 9:45
Mile 5: 8:38
Mile 6: 11:04
.2: 1:36

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It Was Just One of Those Days

As an athlete, there are days when you don't feel like working out. Most of those days, if you go ahead and start exercising, that feeling will go away and oftentimes you'll have one of the best workouts of the week. Not today.

I thought today was going to be great. It was suppose to get into the 80s and I figured I could get in a nice long ride. When I got home I had that feeling of "I really don't feel like working out today" but I knew I needed to and so I got ready and headed out. And that's when I realized how windy it was. I don't know what's up with the wind this year, but every day it seems to be extra windy. Maybe I'm just use to running and don't feel it so much when I run, but it really affects the bike. There were times when I thought I would be blown off my bike sideways. I like tailwinds, can handle headwinds, but sidewinds - no thank you. It doesn't help that my tri bike only weighs 17.5 pounds and that was the bike I was on today.

Thinking that if I got more into the neighborhood I would be somewhat sheltered from the wind, I headed around the hood. And that's when it seemed like I had to start dodging traffic. Normally by the time I ride traffic isn't so bad, but today it was bad. It seemed like everyone was backing out of their driveway, talking on their phone and not paying any attention. And there were cars everywhere. When I stopped at one of the 4-way stops I noticed a guy on a mountain bike messing with his chain. I asked if he needed help. He said he had to hurry up to avoid the traffic and he ended up crashing. From what it looked like, he jammed his rear brake and was going to have to call someone to come get him. So he noticed the traffic, too. Sadly, even with all the traffic, he said no one stopped to offer help. I stopped, but unfortunately couldn't help.

I kept going. There is a part of my ride where I get on the sidewalk for a bit and then when I turn the corner I get back out on the road. Well, today there were so many cars I couldn't get back on the road. And then at the next intersection cars were turning and it forced me to go into another little neighborhood. Like I said, it just wasn't my day.

Plus, my legs felt heavy and I think they were still feeling the effects from last night's hill repeats. So I decided to cut it short and head home. I ended up with only 11.14 miles. Such is life. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. If not, I'll take tomorrow as a rest day. I've got a 10K race on Sunday so I need to have a rest day between now and then, right?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Hill

After an overcast and cool Easter, the weather this week has gotten better each day. Monday afternoon I went for a bike ride. The weather was great, but still windy. Tuesday I had a board meeting which meant I would miss yoga, so when I got home I decided to run - outside. It was about 78 degrees and I knew it would be perfect. And it almost was. But that darn wind just won't die down. And the cough is still hanging around. I wanted to do 5 or 6 miles, but about 2.5 miles in I knew the cough wouldn't go away and I was doing good on pace. I didn't want to blow that nice pace by going longer, so I stopped at 3 miles. Aren't I pathetic? I'll shorten a run to have a good pace. Oh well.

Today turned out beautiful as well. I think it got into the 80s today. So when I headed off for hill repeats tonight, I wore a sleeveless tri top. I knew I'd be sweating at the top of the hill. At least this week two other women showed up, so I wasn't the only one. We did three hill repeats tonight. I know it doesn't sound like much, but believe me, it's a workout. And all three times we did the loop and came down the big hill on the other side. At least this time I didn't see any dogs about to run into the road.

I took some pictures, but they don't do the hill justice. The first one is from the bottom where we start. There is no warm up. And you better have your bike in the easiest gear before starting because you hit the incline quick. The other pictures are as you go up the hill. I took them as I was driving home (you might be able to see the dashboard in some of them). I should sleep well tonight.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter and Meet My Peep

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Easter for tomorrow.
I actually had off from work Friday and the kids and I slept in, did a little shopping and enjoyed our day. Today has been an absolutely beautiful day. (more on the days activities later) But if you want to really enjoy some Easter cheer and take a look at some creativity with peeps, you need to check out She even made me my very own peep. I'm posting mine here, but to see some really cute other ones, visit her website and say "hi". Grandma J is a very special person. She even came out to meet me when I did my first marathon with TNT and she didn't even really know me before then. So here's my special peep.

I love it and it's very appropriate for me right now, especially today. Our TNT group was doing a buddy ride today which is basically an "unofficial" practice. They were meeting way down south (I live way north) and not meeting until 9:00. With a long ride on tap, I was worried about getting done, getting back home and showered in time for my son's soccer game. So, I met another of my teammates at the lake near our house and the two of us headed out to the glorious countryside from there. And what a glorious day for a long bike ride it was! We got in 52 miles and had a great time.
And I was able to make it home, take a shower, even eat something for lunch and then head out to my son's soccer game. He played awesome and they won 2-1. What more could one ask for? Well, maybe that tomorrow be as beautiful as today. Why does it always seem that Easter is cold and everyone freezes in their pretty Easter outfits?
What ever you do Sunday, have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'm a Glutton for Punishment

After being on the couch all day Sunday I was feeling better Monday. I hate not doing some kind of workout, so I figured I would get on the treadmill and see if I could run. If I found it was not working, at least I'd be at home already. So, I hopped on and started out. I seemed to start sweating a lot faster than usual. Not good. At about the first mile mark I went into a major cough fit and had to slow the treadmill to a 4mph walk. I did this for a while and then tried (slowly) to increase the speed back up to at least a jog. I'd get to about 4.7mph and then go into a coughing fit again. I had to keep it around 4.6 to be able to jog. After 3 miles of that, I called it quits.

Tuesday I hit the gym at lunch time. Last year I was doing this regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I would go at lunch and lift weights. Right before my half ironman last October I stopped going to give my legs a break. And I never went back. It was time to get back and I had been meaning to since the first of February. I finally made it. I lifted light weights and low reps just to judge where I am at. Some weights I need to increase and some are just fine where they were at.

Tuesday night was yoga. I had some problems breathing during yoga since you are suppose to breath in and out of your nose. That's kind of hard when you are all stopped up and congested. But I think all the inverted poses kind of helped. Not to be gross or anything, but later Tuesday night I was actually able to cough up some of that congestion that's been hanging out in my chest.

This morning I felt much better. Today was also the first day of cycling hill repeats with TNT. Since my son's Boy Scout meeting got cancelled, I decided I would go to hill repeats instead of doing a 15-20 mile ride around the neighborhood. And I knew I was in trouble as I approached our meeting spot and come upon this:Yikes!!! I get to the bottom of the hill (where we would be starting from) and look up and think "it would have been so much easier to ride in the neighborhood". But, I know it will help in the long run. I've seen the elevation profile for Tahoe, and there are some nice hills out there.

A few more people show up, but it turned out I was the only female. Great. I just knew they would all plow up that hill and leave me in the dust. I figured I'd just let them go first and start in the back. So off we go. I'm in my easiest gear and I hit the hill. There is no "spinning" to it. It's pure mashing. And I'm doing a whopping 5mph. Wahoo! I just keep going. There is no way I want to stop in the middle of the hill and walk my bike up. I push and push and push. I thought we had a really long way to go. The next thing I know, the assistant coach says "we are almost there". What? We were about 15 feet from the cul-de-sac where we would stop. Thank goodness. The hill itself was about 8/10ths of a mile. And it was steep. It was about 400 feet of climbing in that short distance.

We spun around the cul-de-sac for a few minutes to loosen up our legs and then did a loop around the neighborhood coming down and EXTREMELY steep hill to get back to the start. I was in the drops and riding the brakes almost the whole way down and still hit 20mph. I was a little worried because we were in a neighborhood and at one point I did have a dog almost run out in front of me. Luckily, the owner was right there and called it back. Otherwise, that could have been nasty. That's my biggest fear - crashing while going really fast. I love going fast down hill, but only if no one and no traffic is around. That's not going to happen in Tahoe.

So now we are back at the bottom of the hill. And up we go again. This time, however, I actually pass someone. Go me. But I'm still going very slow. I think at one point my computer showed 3mph. I'm not setting any records here. But I made it again without getting off the bike. A couple of the men had to stop. We cheated this time and came right back down the hill we went up. I ended up with a grand total of 4.83 miles. Not quite the 15-20 miles I would normally do, but I'd say it was just as good of a workout.

I'm very glad I went tonight and hope I can make the hill repeats at least a couple of times a month between now and June 1. It will definitely help my confidence in Tahoe. While I'm fairly certain I will finish Tahoe, I'd like to do so without having to walk up any hills. The only bad thing about going tonight is that when you are climbing hills like that, you are also working your lungs really hard. And that has started my cough back up. Uggghhh! I've just taken my medicine so hopefully it will kick in before I get in bed. We'll see if my legs feel like lifting weights tomorrow during lunch. :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nothing But Hills, Baby!

Well, I had good intentions this last week of getting to the pool, but it just didn't happen. For some reason I am just not motivated to swim at the moment. I know I need to, but it's such a hassel to get everything ready, then drive to the gym, swim, change, and come back home. So what did I do this past week?

Monday - 6 mile run
Tuesday - Yoga
Wednesday - 20.20 mile bike ride
Thursday - 13.38 mile bike ride
Friday - nothing - my allergies were bothering me big time and I just didn't feel well

Saturday - This is where the hills come into play. Our group ride with TNT this week was in a hilly part of town and that was the intended focus of the ride. It wasn't really about the distance this week. The coach wanted us to focus on proper technique when going up and down hills. He told us that going up some of these hills we needed to go slow (like 5 mph slow) and just focus on the pedal stroke. He wanted it to be hard, but didn't want us to attack the hill and get our breathing all out of whack. Which was a good thing for me.

The congestion I have right now is driving me bananas. I was afraid if I pushed myself too hard on the hills I would have a coughing fit and not make it up the rest of the hill. Turns out I was fine. I'm thinking a combination of allergies and exercised induced asthma is hitting me right now. Before the ride, I had several people ask me if I was really going to ride. I guess I sounded that bad. During the ride - nothing. I was perfectly fine. Didn't cough once. As soon as we were done - coughing fit. It's driving me batty.

The ride itself was great. We did some decent hills. We even went into a neighborhood that had some really big hills. None were harder that I've been on before, but let's just say that going 5mph was about as fast as I could go on some of those hills. I know there will be big hills in Tahoe, so hill practice is good. When I was done with the ride, my computer showed 23.6 miles. That's almost half of what we did two weeks ago, but I'm guessing it's kind of like in marathon training. Every now and then you have a back down week for recovery.

The rest of the day was spent shopping for the kids some new clothes for the summer (especially shorts). Friday's temperature here was in the 90s. I think we may be skipping spring this year. Then I drugged myself up on allergy medicine and spent the evening in the recliner. I'm thinking that I may take today as another rest day to hopefully get rid of the cough and congestion, even though I really want to get out on the bike. It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day. I hate when this happens.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Weather Needs to Make up it's Mind

This week was a busy one. And a weird one as far as weather was concerned. Monday I got in a 5 mile run on the treadmill. Tuesday was my yoga day. Wednesday was an absolutely beautiful day. Almost a perfect spring day. When I got home from work I took off on my tri bike in shorts and my short sleeved jersey. It was perfect. Probably about 78 degrees. I got in 18.2 miles before I needed to be home.

And then Thursday hit. Sometime during the night Wednesday night, a cold front blew in. The high Thursday was 59 degrees, and that was at midnight. The temperatures continued to drop all during the day and there was a chance of rain. The temperatures stayed in the high 30s most of the day. I was hoping for rain. My husband was out of town, which meant I would have to take my son to soccer. If it didn't rain, practice would be outsided from 6:30-8:00 and I knew it would be VERY cold. If it rained, practice would be moved indoor. I got my wish and we went indoor. But we didn't get home until 8:45 and by the time I got the kids in bed, there was no way I was doing any kind of workout.

Friday I got on the treadmill since my husband was still out of town. I just did 4 miles knowing that I would get in a long bike ride on Saturday.

Saturday turned out to be a really busy day again. My husband was still out of town, but I decided to have a garage sale and get ride of stuff that's been in our garage for a while and donate the proceeds to my fundraising cause for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. So I got up early, put the signs out and put everything on the driveway. It was in the 30s and I wasn't sure how many people would come. But they did. Around 10:30 I started packing it back up so that I could get ready to ride. My parents had said they would watch the kids so I could get the ride in. It had warmed up by then to the high 50s/low 60s so I headed out the the lake and took off for the countryside from there. Since I had to get back and shower and be somewhere that evening, I only got in 35.53 miles before I needed to leave to pick up the kids and head home. We also had to pick up my brother's dogs as we are dog sitting again while his family is on vacation.

Today, well, I'm just exhausted. We went to church this morning and then came home so my daughter could pack. She left at 1:00 to go on a mystery ramble with the youth group until Wednesday. None of the kids have a clue where they are going or what they will be doing. They had 19 kids from our church go and then some kids from 2 other churches will be joining them. As soon as we dropped her off, I came home, got on the couch and promptly fell asleep. It felt good to take a nap. And again, it's cold, windy and looks like its about to rain. Since my husband won't be home until later this evening when it will be too late to ride, I'm taking today as another rest day.

Next week is spring break for the kids. I'm working the whole week, but with my daughter gone until Wednesday, I may have some more time in the evenings to workout. My plan is to hit the pool for the first time this spring and start getting use to swimming again. And if the weather will cooperate, I'm hoping to be on the bike a lot this week.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Beautiful Day, Great Bike Ride!

Saturday morning I woke up to a humid, overcast day. On my way to the group ride I noticed heavy mist on my windshield and had to use the windshield wipers a couple of times. I wasn't real excited as I was afraid the expected rain would come early.

But when I got to the parking lot where we were meeting, the mist was gone. It seemed like it would just be an overcast day. We took off for our ride.

We started at a very busy intersection in the north part of town. We would head north on one of the main roads until it hit some country roads and then ride on those out to small country town. We would stop at the country store and then turn around and head back.

Several weeks ago, we did a time trial of sorts. This yielded three basic pace groups - the 12-14 mph, 15-17 mph and 18+mph groups. The week we did the time trial was the first of my flats, so it wasn't a true test for me. From the triathlons I've done, I know that for me to be comfortable during long rides, I need to stick with the middle group. Well, it turns out for this ride, there were really only two groups. The fast group, and the rest of us. We did fairly well on the way out, holding about a 16mph pace. We had to stop once for someone to fix a flat and then we continued on to the store. I felt really good at this point and I think everyone else did too.

On the return trip, things slowed down a lot. It was actually kind of hard for me to go as slow as I needed to stay with the group. Going out it did not seem like a very hilly ride, but coming back we felt it. The wind was also directly into our face coming back. At one point we had a steady uphill battle for about a mile and a half or two miles. I had been at the front of the pace line for a while and wanted to reap the benefits, so I dropped back to the back of the pack. We had one person who could only go about 6mph up the hill. There were times when I had to "coast" going uphill. Like I said, it was hard for me to hang back there, but as mentor I didn't want anyone to get dropped, so I stayed back there for a while.

Ultimately, the Tahoe century is not about time for me, but I do want to ride it at a comfortable pace for me. I also want to keep my speeds at a somewhat fast pace so that I don't suffer on my bike times during triathlons this summer. I have to find that balance.

We ended up with about 41.5 miles. And the sun ended up coming out in full force. The temperatures got into the 80s in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day. It was also a reminder to throw that bottle of sunscreen in my cycling backpack. I'm beginning to get some funky tan lines.

February Totals

Bike: 136.41 miles - 6 hours 34 minutes 54 seconds
Run: 76.2 miles - - 14 hours 17 minutes 58 seconds
Strength Training - 1 hour 55 minutes
Bike Trainer - 3 hours 45 minutes
Yoga - 4 hours