Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
The top ten hottest male triathletes
I was so distracted by the collection of hotness that I almost forgot I was reading this in the pajamas I've been rockin' all day, with a kleenex box under one arm and my greasy hair going every which way from being in ever-changing horizontal positions for the past 16 hours. Ugh. Two colds in six weeks. How does that happen? I'm ready for flu season to be over!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I had a hard time holding my arms up long enough to blow-dry my hair after class. The likely culprit -- well, there are a few offenders, but I think walking push ups are the most guilty. Ya, who thought those up? Like regular push-ups weren't enough to make my wimpy little arms feel noodle-icious, lets add a core component and sideways motion. These were definitely directly out of the devil's playbook.
And can we talk for a minute about my bottom? Cuz that hurts too. There seemed to be a lunge theme throughout the workout. Pick a format for workin' the booty and I think we did it.
If that's really what hell is like, and I end up there, I'll probably have a very nice ass.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Throw in a little shopping and window viewing at Macy's, some puddle jumping in the rain (so wish it had been snow), and some great Indian food and it adds up to one great winter weekend in the windy city.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I cannot even tell you excited I am to have two whole weeks to play in the mountains. That's many, many chairlifts to ponder life. And many, many hours of driving across Nebraska....uhh, lets not think about that part.
My goal is hit the workouts hard right up until I leave. Then, that drive across middle america isn't just 18 hours of horrible-ness -- its my taper. :) I'd like to think I'll be using the chairlift for solving all life's little problems and not administering Advil.
However, based on how I feel after my first week of "hitting the workouts hard" I think my Colorado scene might look a little more like the crash reel from the filming of Under the Influence.
Actually, right now I feel like I may have been in the crash reel. Ouch. Amazing how a couple boot camp classes can make you feel like you're body's been pummled by an avalanche.
Another muscle group I enjoy forgetting about....abs. Those are demanding attention today as well. Did you know that you use your abs to turn corners IN YOUR CAR? Well, trust me, you do.
I actually think I would really enjoy this boot camp nonsense, if it wasn't so - freakin - early. I'm struggling with the mornings. I like the class, I like the people, I think the workout is exactly what I need and I enjoy getting it out of the way before the day starts. But round about 2pm there is not enough caffeine to keep me alert.
Maybe the mornings will get easier as my body adjusts to it, but right now I just feel a little....off.
And *bonus*, I told a friend I would do spin class with her tonight. What was I thinking? Tonight could be my first spin bike injury....when I fall asleep in the middle of class and fall off my bike.
But this is good for me. I will thank myself for this later. Just like I'm now thanking myself for buying that ankle length down coat in August. This will pay off later. It will. In the meantime I'll be stocking up on Ibuprofen and coffee.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Well, maybe the current state of the economy will slow development....even if just temporarily. I may have just found the only perk to this little recession.
I knew this morning would be rough. I don't even try to be a morning person, and my sleep schedule is adjusted accordingly, so I was ready for a little early morning pain on day one of boot camp. Something like jet-lag but without the fun travel part.
The alarm goes off at 4:37am and from there I partake in a series of major accomplishments that get me out the door. You know, big impressive feats like getting my feet on the floor....brushing my teeth.....and finding something to wear.
The bleariness of morning doesn't lend itself to luxuries. Actions become minimized to survival. Roll to the edge of the bed such that you must put your feet down or fall on your face. Fumble for the light. Overcome temporary blindness. Locate clothing. Then water. Food. Car keys.
As I was standing in the dimly lit kitchen contemplating nutrition....seemingly monumental decisions like cereal? or banana?.....I tried to pretend I was traveling....or maybe getting up early to catch the first chair on a powder day. In the dark, your mind can't prove that their aren't mountains out there. Then I daydream a bit about my upcoming trip. That is, after all, why I'm up at this hour.
So in a nutshell...I'm having a pretty successful and tolerable morning.
I pull into the parking lot of the location that was specified on the website's google map. And wait.
I'm about 10 minutes early so I figure, maybe its a small group and they're just running late? I wait some more. I drive down the road wondering if maybe I got the wrong building. No. I'm definitely at the only school on this road. I wait some more. I think about a nap, but decide I don't want to be found frozen to death in my car by a bunch of school kids. About one minute before class is supposed to be starting another girl shows up. We converse a bit about what the deal is and then conclude that we are most definitely at the location on the website map, but either class was cancelled or the map was wrong.
We head off to the only other school I know in the area (not really nearby either....so this was an entry error not a google error) and manage to find where we are supposed to be on the third attempt. 25 minutes after class started.
I could have stayed at that point, but I was annoyed. And if you know me you know I'm not good at hiding my emotions -- annoyance in particular. I tried to be at least pleasant about the mix-up but I didn't think I could put on a happy face for another 30 minutes. And realistically by the time we warmed up we'd have about 5 minutes of workout before the cool down probably started. So it seemed rather pointless to me.
I knew I had a speed workout planned for after work anyway so I went home and enjoyed a nice pre-work latte.
I'll give it another try tomorrow. But it is supposed to snow buckets tonight (6-9 inches by the end of the day tomorrow) so we'll see. I won't be surprised if I end up doing a shoveling workout instead. Ugh. Oh well, the important part is doing something. I'll try not to think about the fact that shoveling is FREE.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
But then, I might hate my upcoming two weeks in Colorado if I don't do this.
For the next two weeks, this non-morning-don't-talk-to-me-'til-I've-had-my-latte girl will be getting up at 4:45AM to attend "boot camp." And when I say "the next two weeks" that means EVERY BLESSED MORNING for the next two weeks.
I guess that's just what I get for my serious lack of self-motivation. If I knew I could force myself onto the treadmill in my office building a couple times a week I wouldn't have to do this. But the truth is, I lugged my workout bag to work more than once over the last two weeks and failed to make it on the treadmill once.
So I had to throw down my $100 for the privilege of rolling out of bed in the cold, cold, darkness at obscenely early hours that no one should see unless they are catching a flight for an unbelievable vacation.
I know it'll be good for me AND for my upcoming two-week mountain adventure. But right now the only thing that looks good about this idea is it being over.
I'm sensing a renewed addiction to caffeine in my future. And possibly ibuprofen.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I'm a list maker myself. I really enjoy lists. They keep the chaos in order and my little brain from exploding. Checking things off lists is one of my favorite little joys in life. So I'm pretty excited to get to work on this one.
1. Alta/Snowbird, Utah (scheduled, Jan 09)
2. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia (been there, done that, over it)
3. Vail, Colorado (been there, going again Dec 08)
4. Jackson Hole, Wyoming (been there many times, but may never consider this "done")
5. Snowbasin, Utah (scheduled, Jan 09)
6. Fernie Alpine Resort, British Columbia (done, may do again March 09)
7. Silverton Mountain, Colorado (uhhh, might need to hold off on this one 'til I gets me some better skilz)
8. Aspen Highlands and Snowmass, Colorado (may be paying them a visit in Jan 09)
9. Squaw Valley, California (I've biked by here....but I guess that doesn't count)
10. Steamboat, Colorado (scheduled, Jan 09)
11. Mammoth, California
12. Telluride, Colorado (hmmm....maybe Jan?)
13. Solitude, Utah (might make the list for Jan 09)
14. Alyeska Resort, Alaska (ya, I WISH!)
15. Taos, New Mexico (New Mexico....really? I've got a few that I think should make the list before this one....but I'll just have to keep them my little secret lest I not be able to have the gondola to myself. on. every. epic. run.)
In case you couldn't tell, I've been frantically plotting ways to spend as many days as possible in the mountains this winter. And I have to say, its going pretty well so far. Right now I'm booked for two weeks in Colorado to ring in 2009, and then I'll be following that up with 5 days in Utah later in January.
Now....all that's left is to get my lazy off-season booty into mountain-girl shape. I see a lot of lunges in my future....perhaps I should just forgo the office chair and do squats and wall sits all day? I think Bode used to put one of his friends in a wheelbarrow and push them uphill for a mile or two....any volunteers to ride? You're only likely to get dumped on your head a couple hundred times. It'll be fun. ;)
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sorry about my recent hiatus from blogging, but you see I've been taking the off-season very seriously. And by that I mean, take OFF to another country, then take OFF to another state, totally blow OFF all your workouts while you try to recover from your travels, then have nothing to say and no time to say it so just blow OFF blogging too while your at it.
Off-season is going very well.
Truth be told, I had been trying to keep up with at least the speed workouts but managed to catch a nasty cold that put me out of commission just as I was getting back on top of work and whatnot again.
Then came time for the annual trip to Iowa. For four years I've been making the 5+ hour drive to Des Moines for the Living History Farms X-Country Race. I was starting to feel a little better before the trip, but still decided not to do the race. Another addition to the OFF-season accomplishment list, I guess. But I figured running through streams and up muddy embankments for 7-miles in 26-degree weather wasn't really going to help me kick the cold for good, and another week of being sick wasn't something I was interested in dealing with. So when my friends were pulling on their warmest mud-loving clothes Saturday morning, I was happily heading off in search of coffee.
The race has always been an excuse to visit some friends in the area, but this year the visit was all about the friends. So there was ample time to catch up, with no regrets about another glass of wine, and lots of extra energy for shopping (thankfully, because I'm pretty sure I tried on 100 pairs of jeans at Blond Genius!).
I think I'm really starting to get the hang of this off-season stuff.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
There is a little part of the route I ran tonight that is sans sidewalk. Which meant that tonight for about 800 meters I was out running on the road in my little pale yellow t-shirt and grey runner-girl skirt. Way cute, (and quite speedy, I might add -- yes, I believe that what you wear CAN and DOES affect your speed) but not reflective.
Although, fear of getting run down by a car does apparently make me run faster. So I guess there are perks. But I think I'll be digging out my ankle reflectors before I try that again.
Aside from the traffic part, tonight's run was awesome. I am loving these short, fast workouts. I really feel faster. And tonight, I had enough energy left at the end of the run to suggest that a few hill repeats sounded like fun. Yes, fun. I really used that word. And I really did a few hill repeats -- just. for. fun. I don't know what's gotten into me lately.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
And even with an extra daylight-saving hour of productivity thrown in there I swear my 'to do' list got longer over the weekend. How is that even possible?
Its like the vacation hangover that will not end.
In other news, which I failed to report, last week I completely rocked my speed workout. No, really. I was monumentally faster than the workout before I left for vacation. I have no idea how. But I'll take it. Guess all those stairs climbed to castle towers really paid off. Or maybe it was the three week "taper." Not sure, but the way I see it, if I go to Europe one or two more times before tri season starts, I'm feeling some podiums in my future. I'm altering my training schedule accordingly.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
For a few days I wasn't quite sure where I was but now I think I have been in one place long enough for my over-extended life to catch up with me and reality is setting in hard.
I'm so, so tired. And I should be. Its just funny to me that it didn't hit me until now. The dark setting in so early now and the cold days are probably not helping this either. But I think going from sunny and 95 in Phoenix to 40 and flurries here is a tough transition no matter how much travel preceded it.
And I'm sore. And again, I should be. Last night was my first strength session after pretty much not working out for three weeks. I tried to take it easy on myself and was actually thinking I had been too easy....until today, the day after. Ouch. Apparently carrying your camera around Europe for week or so doesn't really get you in triathlon shape. And logging almost 50 hours of airport and flight time in 2.5 weeks doesn't build muscle? Huh? Total bummer. I was really hoping I was onto the latest workout craze with that one.
Ah well, its back to life. The workout planning is in full effect. Speedwork picks up again on Wednesday. I'll be able to make the strength sessions now until December. The race schedule has been unexpectedly altered but is in the process of being reworked and nailed down. And road trips to races are in the works for November. So you know....same old, same old. Just the way I like it!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
More rewards.OMG, the walking. Seriously. So - much - walking. In some ways I think running 10 miles and then sitting on your bum for the rest of the day is easier than the non-stop walking.
Even my brain is getting a workout. The constant language barrier can be exhausting. I'm not complaining. On the contrary, I love it. I'm just sayin'....it can wear a girl out. Uno mas Vino por favor? And please don't correct my Spanish....its horrible, I know this. I took German in High School, OK. Today at lunch I accidentally asked for the "hill" instead of the "bill"....cuesta, instead of cuento....so close, but still not impressing anyone (though our waiter was a good sport about it). I wish people in Illinois and Minnesota spoke different languages. We mid-westerners would be much more "worldly."
I'm going to try to go for a run tomorrow morning before we hit the road. :) Buenos noches, amigos!
Friday, October 10, 2008
We walked A LOT today because of my total refusal to move the car once we found a free overnight parking spot. We even hauled our bags about a mile uphill to our hotel because I didn't want to mess with driving around, having to call the police (apparently its routine?) to get let into the square temporarily, and then getting back down to where we parked and hoping a spot would be there.
We also did stairs. 151 steps to the top of Alcazar on the world's oldest stairmaster.
A little sketchy at times but the end of workout reward is well worth it.
Then, after the obligatory siesta (I love a country that naps!), we went out in search of dinner and walked at least four miles so that we could end up eating right across the street from the hotel. Figures. But again, can't complain about the scenery on the hike.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Here are the times from my second (ever, probably -- or at least in the last decade) speed workout. This blog is no gimmick people. I am slow. Here is the proof....
- about a mile warm up
- 4x400 w/2:00 rest---
- time - pace
1:58 - 7:56
2:07 - 8:28
2:09 - 8:36
2:10 - 8:40
- 1 mile cool down at roughly 9:30 pace.
1. They prove that I can run at my goal pace.
2. Even my cool down is already faster than my last race pace, so improvement is possible.
3. Hitting these numbers felt slightly less horrible than what I did last week (which was not on the track so I don't have exact numbers, but the workout was roughly the same), which is encouraging.
The run is by far my weakest link in triathlon (well, aside from the swim but that's a mental issue not a physical one), which means its where I have the most room for improvement. So that's where I'm going to be putting my efforts this off-season. Hopefully it will pay off come spring.
I was a teeny bit pre-occupied with my upcoming BIG HONKIN' MONTH OF TRAVEL and put off registering. Can't a girl get a little leniency?
I'm so, so bummed. I was really looking forward to this race. A 10k trail run, how completely perfect. The perfect distance. Fun terrain. Good eye candy ('cuz you know Dean Karnazes was going to lap me at least twice during the race). And an environmentally friendly carpool of good company all lined up.
But no. It was not to be. I will just have to take my $45 and spend it elsewhere. (like at Patagonia or Nau)
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
However, I think I'll be skipping the one that shows the guy breaking both his ankles. If I pass out on the trainer I'd prefer it to be because I worked out too hard. Not because I have a low tolerance for other people's pain.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Its a philosophy that I try to apply to my life every day. Some days its easier to live the philosophy than others. When opportunity knocks, you have the choice to answer...but its a no brainer. Of course you say yes. Even if whatever it is might scare you a bit, you say yes....if for no other reason than because you can.
But its easy to get into a rut. And when opportunity stops knocking you have to really make that effort to seek out the unfamiliar. To search for new ways to push yourself rather than just react to what's thrown at you.
When I signed up for my first triathlon, the fact that I was doing one at all was well outside my boundary of what was known. But now that I've got a couple races under my belt, its not enough to just do them. Now its time to look a little harder for that next boundary to stretch.
When I wake up tomorrow and can't lift my arms....I will definitely know that I am stretching my boundaries. I have never worked arms like I did tonight....a circuit that seemed to go on for eternity. My legs get tired, but overall are pretty strong. My arms.....wimpy miserable little gumby appendages. I'm wondering how I have the ability to do my hair everyday, really. Because the weight I was using probably wasn't much heavier than my blow dryer.
Before I left I heard the trainer say, "if the only strength training you do is this class once a week, it will just keep feeling horrible." Motivation enough. Hopefully soon what I'm doing now will be the routine, and I'll be able to start searching out the next boundary to stretch. But for now, I'll just try to squeeze in strength stuff one other day during the week and hope my blow dryer starts to feel lighter.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
- a human should not be able to get sick immediately preceding a major trip
- a human should not be able to get sick immediately following a commitment to a new and highly motivated workout plan
- a human should not be allowed to get sick when it is nice outside (the months of May through October here in Wisconsin)
I'm about to leave for what amounts to three weeks of travel....two separate trips....both involving work....one involving a passport. So to say I have a million things to do right now is an understatement. The desire to do nothing but nap and nose-blow is not helping me accomplish anything.
I also just committed to two workouts/week outside the realm of my workout comfort zone (speed and strength)....I'm working on a long term plan for next year's success...I've got races lined up for my return from these trips that I need to be ready for. I'm highly motivated right now. I don't need germs to come along and suck all the energy out of my little plan. Its not fair.
And did I mention it's been absolutely b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l these past few days. And living here on the tundra I know that these may be the last beautiful days until June of 2009 so I want to savor and enjoy them. I want to ride my bike. I want to run outside while I don't have to worry about falling on the ice or what the windchill is. I do not want to be moping around my house with a Kleenex box.
So frustrating. At first I was in denial. I thought it was just allergies. But now I've accepted my fate and am trying to nurse myself back to health. I'm hoping to be good to go for my first strength class tomorrow. Crossing my fingers anyway.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The speed thing really is an entirely different experience than endurance. Here are my Cliff's Notes:
Endurance -- try to pre-occupy your brain with thoughts of anything else but what you are doing. Zone out.
Speed -- just shut your brain off completely, you'll need that extra oxygen.
Endurance -- try to just keep going
Speed -- try to go until you find that line between as fast as possible and puking
Endurance -- find a rhythm, your arms, legs and breathing all working together "zen-like"
Speed -- just try to move everything as fast as possible until you fear one of your limbs may bust loose and go flying through the air
Needless to say the first of my speed workouts was a very humbling experience. But I think it will really help me so I'm determined to stick with it.
And now I have numbers...actual workout numbers...to base my training and progress off of. Its really a whole new ball game now! One that hopefully ends with a winning season. ;)
Monday, September 22, 2008
CHECK THIS OUT
You couldn't pay me enough to jump off the back of a ship in the dark in the middle of a fjord in Norway. I don't care how awesome the race tshirt is.
Though I have to admit I like the mindset of the race director. The website said this about him:
"Hårek used to be the slowest long distance triathlete in Norway. Instead of training harder, he decided to try to recruit other slow moving sportsmen. First he found the most beautiful and hilly part of Norway, and then he invited them to do the toughest triathlon on earth. This is the history of Norseman."
Sunday, September 21, 2008
What does this mean?
It means I need to get my growing toochie back on a training schedule that's what it means. And quick-like before the holidays add another 5lbs of dead weight to my frame making me EVEN SLOWER.
As a little reward for my stellar performance I signed myself up for nine weeks of strength and conditioning sessions. Small group training for women triathletes, meeting once a week to work on strength and injury preventative conditioning. I think it will make me sore in ways I cannot even imagine, but I'm excited. Excited to meet some new tri-geeks. And excited to be committed to a strength plan that lasts until December. Right up to ski season. Its perfect!
This should also compliment my other latest commitment. My commitment to speed. Yes, that's right. I'm going to actually try to get FASTER. Or really, maybe it should more appropriately be referred to as "less slow" in my case. One of my speedster friends has agreed to take me under her wing for track workouts once a week. I think there may be actual running tools like stop watches involved. Ah! Scary.
I have a few more races coming up, but for the most part I've pretty much written off this season now and am looking toward 2009. I've got big plans. And preparation really needs to start now if I'm going to do it right. No more "cram session" training. I want to head into 2009 with a solid base, ready to put in real work for an awesome race season. So everything I do from here on out is with 2009 in mind and that's actually surprisingly motivating. Because there's still hope for 2009 and still time to get there.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I know...avid cyclists everywhere are cringing. Yes, its horrible. Yes, I'm that girl that got a flat on a ride and called her boyfriend to come pick her up. I'm an embarrassment to women cyclists everywhere. ......though I know I'm not the only one out there -- you know who you are miss "i got a flat before a race in which I podiumed but had to rely on the mercy of the woman next to me in transition to change my tube out before the race"...... :)
I tried to change a flat on the hybrid once way back in the dawn of my cycling career....I was using an air compressor to blow up the newly reassembled tire and, well, it BLEW UP alright, making me violently aware of the definition of "pinch flat". I thought I was going to be permanently hearing impaired and I'm pretty sure the neighbors thought someone had just been shot. I promptly piled the bike in the car and paid $10 to have my friendly bike shop correct the problem. And that was the last time I attempted a flat change.
So when Chrissy and I met up in the parking lot a while back for a ride and found her tire to be flat in a way that pumping wouldn't fix, we had quite a conundrum on our hands. Chrissy being of equal experience in the flat changing arena and there being no bike shop in the town we rode from. It was either fix the flat ourselves or skip the ride.
The day was way too beautiful to skip the ride. I'm quite sure, had we given up on the ride that day, the cycling gods would have cursed us with rain and perpetual headwinds from there to eternity.
So we set to the work of flat changing, armed with a new tube, a little never-been-used plastic do-jobber that was in my seat bag, and one pink bicycle pump. You can quite imagine the dialogue and scene that followed. Something like a sequel to Legally Blond....Elle Woods takes on cycling, conquers the world, and learns something in the process -- all without breaking a nail. Though in this sequel there was no need to call in the emergency sorority support crew.
We were determined as we got comfortable on the pavement and set to work, but things didn't start well. We both took a try at getting the tire off with the little tool and were failing miserably.
Are we really this wimpy?
Chrissy: "aren't there supposed to be more of these little tools?"
Me: "uhh, I think there were three but that seemed a little excessive so I only put one in my bag. Was that a mistake?"
Both shrugging. Who knows?
Chrissy: "maybe we should let the air out of the tire"
Me: "oh yea....I think that's right.....less pressure should make it easier"
($100k science education comes in handy, eh)
There were a few more ah-ha moments like this as the process went along....and a few very contortionistic arm-tire-tube entanglements but we finally got the tube changed and the tire back on.
Then we stared at it.
"Do we dare blow it up? What if there's a pinch flat?"
"Well, we've gotta try. I've got another tube if we blow this one up."
Shockingly, no explosive pinch flatting. Even more shocking were the two test loops around the parking lot without the need to fix our fixed flat. In disbelief we discuss the possibility that we actually just successfully changed a flat. And then tentatively, we head out on what was to be a beautiful 20-some mile ride.
And I am SO PROUD of us! That was quite an empowering little exercise.
I just feel bad for the guys at the bike shop....they are really going to miss me.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Me --- "....its just that its in my hometown. My backyard. If there was no Ironman in Madison I probably wouldn't want to do it....."
My dad ---- "....they have rodeos in Madison, does this mean you want to ride a bull?"
Friday, August 29, 2008
Coming back from a three day weekend is usually hard, except guess what next week is.....its IRONMAN week. I can hardly wait. Its one of my favorite Madison holidays! All that Ironman energy....its more addicting than crack. And every year I can't wait to soak up some more.
But first, I have many campfire beers to drink and hours of lakeside lounging to complete.
Happy weekend! Stay safe!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
If only the biking could be so effortless after weeks of delinquency.
Last night I enjoyed an easy two hours of riding that was more about just being on the bike than how fast the bike was moving. Which is good, because I wasn't moving very fast. And as we rolled along toward the country roads on the edge of town I was cursing myself for being such a slacker and letting all the fitness of early summer just evaporate.
But the beauty of routine, is that you can always return to it...adjust it...and make it what you need. Last night's ride was a great reminder to not let those things that you love fall prey to the other nonsense that creeps into your life.
One simple ride, that's all it took, to remind me that I need the time on the bike as much as I need the workout....to remind me of the me that I knew a few months ago...and even a few years ago. And why I need to give that part of me what it needs to stay happy, to make everything else in life a little easier.
Rides are so much more than workouts. They are therapy. Our training partners the therapists. Philosophy on two wheels. A road of stories, interrupted by hills for pondering perspective and challenge. Life simplified, if only temporarily.....but what a wonderful break from reality.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I will NOT be talking about things like jLo as a triathlete. That's great that you want to lose some baby weight and raise a little money for charity. Hey, guess what.....thousands of other people have done that too. Except they did it without the help of a personal trainer or a personal chef....or a personal assistant...or whatever other assistance jLo has the resources to employ. So ya, we're just not talking about that.
I WILL talk about other people who have celebrity status that was earned for athletic achievement as they continue to amaze me. So as if winning a few Tours and rockin' the Boston Marathon weren't enough...apparently Lance felt the need to hop on a mountain bike and give the Leadville 100 a go of it. Here's little video that sums up the race. Ran with the leader most of the way and took second. The guy's amazing. I realize its biking, something he's familiar with, but there's a whole other technical aspect to mountain biking that you don't have to deal with on pavement (probably why I steer clear of that sport altogether -- looks like a trip to the ER if I've ever seen one).
And another thing I WILL talk about on this blog....changing the world with bicycles. Seriously. How cool is this organization -- Project Rwanda. Its amazing how much something as simple as a bike can change the quality of life for someone. I'll talk all day long about cool stuff like that. :)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Long version: It was a beautiful (if somewhat chilly) morning. Arguably a perfect day for a ride.
Over 100 teams of two showed up for the second annual ride. A crowd that was looking a lot more serious about this "fun and crazy" ride than I expected. I figured I could rule out the Ironmen-in-training for this event, seeing how IM WI is only two weeks away....but I did not expect the caliber of racers that showed. I was half wishing I hadn't been too lazy to switch out the pedals on my road bike instead of just grabbing the hybrid.
Then we cut through the parking lot at West Town Mall (something I doubt they see very often at the mall) and headed back to Olin via Odana (yes, through the major intersection at Gammon and Odana acting like cars) - Monroe - and a time saving jaunt down Drake and around the south side of Monona Bay.
28+ miles later (course ran a little long I guess! haha!) we were finally FINISHED. Bring on the beer and burritos please! After only eating a banana for breakfast I was starving.
We weren't last, but it sure felt like it.
Would I do the race again.....well, I'm never one to say 'never' but this event probably won't be on the top of my list of ways to spend my hard earned race entry fees.
Did I learn something from this....yes.
- Communication is KEY to teamwork. (maybe this was more of a reminder than something learned)
- Madison really is a pretty bike friendly town. A lot of the day we found ourselves either on bike trails or following little green "bike route" signs that I didn't even know existed.
- Madison is surprisingly hilly. Roads I drive on every day and thought were flat became hills on my bike.
- My hybrid bike is HEAVY. I have a new found respect for carbon.
- A banana is not enough fuel for 28 miles on your bike.
- Biking in traffic really isn't as bad as I make it out to be.
I was really hoping this event wouldn't draw the usual uber-competitive crowd, but it seemed to. I think in order to really draw out the casual cyclist and promote urban cycling to the crowd that hasn't already discovered it, they need to make the race a little shorter. And a few more mystery checkpoints would really make it a little more interesting. But that's just my opinion.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
1. I don't really like traffic. I don't like it in my car. I like it even less on my bike. You see traffic and I have had encounters in the past that didn't go so well (but did get me one very entertaining visit to the ER). And if anyone has been paying attention you'll notice that lately traffic is totally beating the pants off cycling in the game of life. I'd prefer not to be a pawn in that ongoing game. But this race takes place entirely in the metro Madison area and no one blocks off a route for you because...well, there is no route. Granted its not Chicago or Seattle, but I think traffic is a guarantee.
2. The homework SUCKED. First, what kind of race has homework? I just want to ride my bike. Add to that the fact that the pre-race quiz was perhaps the most pointless, tedious thing I have completed (though completion is arguable) ever. It was something of a wild goose chase on the Internet where five other unrelated geese needed to be found prior to getting the goose you were originally looking for. And the geese are clever, and at times invisible, and able to outmaneuver you and your wimpy little weapon (aka "Google" which I have far less faith in these days). And in the end, no one really cares about the geese anyway. There is nothing interesting about the geese that you will be better off in life by knowing. You are simply capturing really annoying and crafty geese. If the race is anything like the quiz I am likely to fry a circuit in my brain and cannot be responsible for my actions.
**It should be known that your start time is determined by your score on the pre-race quiz which is the only reason i spent the limited amount of time on it that I did....when i turned it in my score was a 57%. yes 57. I'm pretty sure that's failing on most curves. Well we roll up to packet pickup and I'm even more bitter about the quiz because I'm thinking I have wasted my time and we still won't get any benefit from it. I overhear the guy say 'if you have a 57 or better on the quiz you're in the first wave". WHAT. Oh ya. Can you say min-i-mum com-pe-ten-cy. I've never been so happy to have a 57 in my entire life.....why? Because it means I spent exactly the minimum amount of effort needed to get the maximum result. Perfectly played. The guy in front of us in line said he spent 9 hours on the quiz. NINE HOURS. Are you kidding me? I would have shot myself long before 9 hours had I continued to let myself plug away at that quiz. Moral of the story here kids: Aim low, get lucky.**
3. Navigation will play a large part in the race and my teammate and I have been known to have minor vocal disagreements about navigation methods. In fact just today we had one of these little disagreements about whether or not it was faster to take the beltline or Odana to get from 151 to westgate mall. (for the record, its the beltline, read: I was right) We did drive roughly 1300 miles across British Colombia in search of fresh pow earlier this year and manage not to kill each other though....so I guess we've got that goin' for us. Then again, there's pretty much one road across most of Canada. There are a few more options in Madison.
4. Did I mention I don't like biking in traffic?
5. I'm too smart. And I don't mean that in a "I'm a brilliant rocket scientist" kind of way. I mean, my brain works too hard. I can't shut it off and I over think pretty much everything. Probably why I thought my head might explode while taking the pre-race quiz, but also potentially the cause of us not being able to come up with the answers to simple clues about where the mystery checkpoints are. Thus leading to a wild-goose chase around Madison, this time by bike rather than electronically around the Internet. Much more tiring.
I'm starting to think I figured out why they offer copious amounts of free beer post-ride....
Oh well, I paid my hundred bucks, suckered someone into playing teammate for the day....I'm doin' it.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Uh...ok...lemme think.....uhhhh......email a few friends and ask for ideas....they've got nothin'........ok lemme think some more......maybe I should do this later.... [insert about 7 hours] ...ok, gotta register.....nuts, still need a "team name".....still got nothin'......text message race partner......he's no help at all....ugh.
I was totally stumped. Everything that seemed remotely clever or cute ended up coming across as totally cheesy or self-righteous. In the end I went with something relatively innocuous just to get it done. Lame, but done.
Then today I get an email with the standard "we're looking forward to a great race" but also including a link to the pre-race quiz.
HOMEWORK? This race has homework?
Apparently its optional, but your quiz results determine your start time so if you want a fighting chance you better do your homework. Not like I think we're going to win....but remember I'm slow, so coming in dead last is always a fear.
The funny part about this is that I feel much more pressure to be smart than fast. If it was just a bike race and I came in dead last, well that would suck a little but I'd just be all "oh well, I'm slow." But sucking on the quiz -- not an option. Slow is somehow acceptable but there's just no excuse for not being smart. Though I'm not sure why I think the quiz is going to be such a big deal...I doubt they're gonna bust out some differential equation problems (right?) or make us calculate mass properties....center of gravity of an unsymmetrical object anyone?.....how about dipole moments in magnetic fields....ohhh, now I'm really having some bad flashbacks to college. Ummm....maybe I should go study.....
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
However, there is another likely culprit in the "Who's sucking all the motivation out of my workout life lately" mystery -- allergies. They are HORRIBLE right now and it seems every last bit of energy I have is going toward defending my body from the evils of ragweed.
I also tried to give up caffeine yesterday. That was a very bad and short-lived idea. Because caffeine is a necessary weapon in my ongoing battle with ragweed. As is my new best friend Fexofenadine.
And as a parting thought in this completely random assortment of thoughts from yesterday....if ever there was a time to eat cantaloupe, the time is now. Tis the season to be stopping at the little farmer stands in parking lots here in the Midwest and O-M-G is it worth it. You never knew cantaloupe could be so good. Try it.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
So lets weigh the pros and cons:
PRO - The race is relatively cheap ($45 entry fee) -- about half the average cost of a sprint tri.
CON - The race is about a 45-50 minute drive from my house which adds a decent amount of cost in time and gas and means getting up at 4am on race day.
PRO - I have been a lazy slob and racing would make me feel like a triathlete again.
CON - Racing without training will only confirm my laziness and will likely be very painful.
PRO - I'll get in a good workout.
CON - If I had any sort of dedication and commitment I could also get in a very good workout from home, for FREE. (Which actually gives me an idea.....)
Ok, so what if I have my own little mini sprint tri next Saturday? Sponsored by -- ME.
I'll go for a swim at the local pool, head out for a quick 15 mile bike (I already have a 12 mile loop that leaves from my house so the added miles from the pool will work out perfectly), and finish up with a little 3 mile run (again, I already have a loop right from my front door that's about 3 miles). Yes, this is a fabulous idea. I love it. And as a bonus....I am SURE to finish first! The only time in my life that will probably ever happen.
This way I can save my $50 entry fee for Sunday's Urban Assault Ride (entry fee totally justified by free beer and burritos at the end). And save a few pounds of carbon emissions by not driving an hour away to race.
I still have one more race on the calendar in September, so skipping this race is not a season ending decision. And I'm guessing I'll have a few friends racing in September too, which will make it more fun.
Hmmm....I think the first annual Slowest Triathlete Sprint Tri is ON! We'll just call it The Slowest Sprint Tri. Contact me if you want to "register" -- its FREE -- but I'll need you to sign a waiver saying that you won't be faster than me. ;)
Thursday, August 14, 2008
This little beauty popped up on the walk portion of my commute a few days ago. Meet the Trek Soho S. The photo from the Trek site does not do this bike justice. It is quite possibly the sexiest commuter bike I've seen. I try not to drool on it as I walk by every morning.
Yes, something was different....in the best kind of way.
My conclusion: The annual Trek meeting is underway. (Their headquarters are here in the great state of Wisconsin, in case you were wondering why in the world they would have a meeting here....well, besides this town being consistently ranked one of the top towns for cycling...)
Anyway, why is this important, you might ask? Well a certain cyclist who happens to be sponsored by Trek has been known to make appearances at the annual meeting. (ahem....starts with L, rhymes with dance)
How freakin' cool would it be to bump into a 7-time Tour de France winner on your way to get coffee? (way, way cool....in case you were looking for an answer there....WAY freakin' cool)
It makes me want to go for a ride just because of the increased chance of bumping into a world-class cyclist out on the road. 'Cuz that would be freakin' cool.
Ok, I'm going to stop talking like a 12-year-old skater now. I've got to start mentally planning my wardrobe for tonight's workout....'cuz you just never know who you're going to be riding/running along next to (ie getting passed by) out on the road....and since I've never been known to impress anyone with my speed I've gotta bring my A-game in the fashion department.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Anyway, I ordered these super awesome ski poles and was eagerly anticipating their arrival (so I could test them out on carpet in my air conditioned house, of course...how exciting). The oddly shaped box finally shows up on my doorstep and then.....what appeared were not the K2 6-karat super-sweet carbon composite ski poles that I was hoping for, but LIFE-LINK Carbon Pro avalanche probes.
Even the snow gods are subtly trying to tell me I need to step up my game. Do they know I've been a workout slacker? The only people who need avalanche probes are the crazies who head out under the ropes and consider hitchhiking more efficient than the lift lines and I'm quite sure those people are hucking themselves off waterfalls in kayaks or screaming through boulder fields on mountain bikes right now. The pole mix-up was a little message from winter that "people who ski the best secret powder stashes are not enjoying leisurely summers of ice cream eating and comfort bike riding so GET OFF YOUR LAZY BUM."
Right. Point taken. Thank you ski season.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Before 9am a 21-year old cyclist was run over by the rear wheels of a water delivery truck within spitting distance of my office.
Around 4:30pm three people were killed and one seriously injured when a car crossed the median and entered oncoming traffic.
And at 6:30pm I witnessed what I assume was a bike vs car accident that has etched an unforgettable image into my soul. I didn't see it happen, but if I had been one car further ahead I would have. I heard screams through my open sunroof. I saw car doors open and people run. But it wasn't until the man in the car in front of me turned in my direction that I knew something horrible had just happened. His eyes were saucers of shock and panic. His actions were frantic as he tried to decide what he should do. He got out of the car, took a few steps, turned back toward the car maybe thinking it was better to stay out of the way, and then finally turned and ran toward the gathering crowd. Cars started to move around the congestion, eager to get past, not knowing what had just happened. I moved with traffic. And as I came around the cars abandoned by drivers who had gone to help, I saw her laying in the road. Completely motionless. And I will spare you the details. I will simply say all was not as it should be.
I thought I was going to have to pull over to throw up. And then I started to get a little clammy like I do before I pass out.
I didn't see what happened. (And oddly, I couldn't find it in the news, though the other two incidents were covered). I don't know who was at fault, if anyone. But I do know that the whole thing felt like a sock to the gut. An unequivocal reminder of how your life can be changed in an instant.
The more I hear the stories of cyclists being hit by cars (a woman in Milwaukee killed just last month, a woman on the Scenic Shore ride who ended up with a broken pelvis...), the more it seems its "not if, but when" for those who bike regularly. And I'm not blaming anyone, cyclists can cause accidents too. Its just that the cyclist usually doesn't fare too well in the fight. And whether the injured or the one who caused injury, you are not likely to walk away from something like that unaffected.
So today, I just can't find it in me to want to ride my bike. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe this weekend. But today I just don't have it in me.
Be safe out there. Drive kindly. Ride smart. Wear your seat belt. Wear a helmet. And remember that life is too short to put off chasing a few crazy dreams.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Perhaps its my overly romantic view of the open road? I always have been a somewhat overzealous fan of road trips. Half the wheels must = double the fun. I mean how fun would it be to show up at some bar in the middle of nowhere Nebraska and be all...ya, I biked here... Mind if I sleep in your hay barn?
Ya. Fun with a capital F is what that would be. Beats a Monday in cubicle-land anyway.
Friday, August 1, 2008
-- enter addiction to technical wear --
I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for anything in a wicking fabric. I probably need a twelve step program. But workout clothes are just so cute...and comfy. And because they're used for something other than lounging around looking cute and drinking martinis, they seem like a less frivoulous purchase to me. If you spent a minute in my closet you would think I was sponsored by The North Face. My little zip-up running jackets are hung in the closet in an equal-opportunity fashion right next to my tailored suits...and to be honest I wear the running jackets far more than the suit jackets.
Because sometimes I suffer from a problem far worse than an affinity for dri-fit fabric....I get a case of the lazy. And if buying a new piece of gear can get me out on that dreaded weeknight post-work run, well I consider that money well spent. My checkcard will just have to get over it.
This is my latest purchase: the best little running skirt ever. Totally got me out the door in the melting heat last night. And managed to keep me cute (while dripping with sweat) for post-run wine and appatizers at the bar near the trailhead.
And while on the same little shopping spree I also picked up the best little running shorts ever. Though I have yet to actually run in them....but seeing how these shorts did not suck immediately upon touching my body as most running shorts do (seriously, can it really be that hard to find shorts that fit?) I have high hopes. And I'll GET to wear them this weekend if I actually make it out the door for a run.
I'm hoping that these new purchases can help me out of the mid-summer slump I've been having. I realize that someone who biked 150-miles in last two weeks should find it hard to think they're in a slump....but its true. My motivation for workouts is completely gone. And that needs to change -- like, IMMEDIATELY. At this point I'm worried about completing the sprint tri on my calendar in a few weeks....a SPRINT for cryin' out loud.
From "I'm doing a half Ironman" to "I don't know if I can do a sprint tri" in two months. What happened?
I wonder if those shorts came with a magic-no-workout-get-in-shape feature.....wouldn't that be nice? But just in case, I guess I'll be upping the running and trying to remember where the pool is for the next three weeks. Hmmm....I bet a new training suit would help me find the pool....and maybe new goggles.....
Monday, July 28, 2008
Regardless, I needed a car...so off to the sales lots I went.
I drove, I bartered, I debated. And all through the process I found myself saying things like, "well what kind of rack can I get for this car?" .... "Is there enough room in the back for my bike?" .... "How many people, gear bags, and bikes will this car hold?" .... "Well....I think I could put my bike in here, but then how much cargo space will I have left..."
You'd think I was talking about my family of four the way I was all "well, I don't know if that will work with the bikes."
In the end I walked away with something that should work out quite nicely for me and the bikes. I hope the bikes appreciate this. But then, kids these days have such a sense of entitlement.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
And there was some of this too....a beautiful sight for a cyclist...a straight, flat road all to yourself.