Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New toys

My arms feel like jello and I smell like chlorine. Why? Because I went to the pool and did an actual workout....like one where I WORKED. HARD. It was new, and crazy, but I liked it. Because, I guess, when I pay someone to tell me what to do I actually do it. Oh, the epiphanies happening around here. But more on that later....

Right now I want to talk about this:

My new toy. The Garmin Forerunner 305. It is large (literally, takes up half my arm) and in charge, and will be telling me just exactly how hard (or not) I'm working from here to eternity. Or at least November, when after 26.2 miles, there is a strong possibility it might end up in the Hudson.
So this is going to put a new spin on things around here. I have a feeling things are about to get a lot less lazy and a whole lot more painful. I'd buy stock in Ibuprofen, I foresee a spike in demand on the horizon.

Friday, June 26, 2009

six at six

I ran six miles this morning....at 6AM. Yes, you read that right. SIX IN THE MORNING.

No, I'm not on crack. Though crack might have helped.

I generally do not do mornings. But it was either six miles at 6AM with a buddy, or six miles some other time today, alone. I know myself (and my self-motivation abilities) pretty well. It was 6AM or nothing. Or at least not 6 miles. Might have been more like 3 miles at 8PM and then some frozen custard.

So 6AM was good. For a number of reasons. The biggest of which was having someone to share the pain with. Having a running buddy is beyond value. Especially one that pushes you just enough so that you only hate her a little while you are running (because she annoyingly, consistently always faster than you), can get over it quickly (so quickly that you're already thanking her for the run before you're even really done), and have forgotten about hating her altogether by the time she asks you to run again (some form of post-traumatic stress disorder that causes amnesia, no doubt). A relationship like that is truly priceless.

Overall, I have pretty much rocked the workouts this week -- if I do say so. I took Monday off after the race.....I was feeling the race for sure and just couldn't motivate to do much of anything but sit in my air conditioned house, because someone certainly flipped the "ON" switch for summer around here. Tuesday I waited until 9:30pm....when it was a cool (not really) 87 degrees....for my three mile mini suffer-fest. OMG, the humidity.

And then Wednesday....ohhh, Wednesday. Wednesday I biked 16 miles (farther than planned), including two of the biggest hills in SW Wisconsin (not on my original route), in temps hovering around 90 (I was hoping for rain and a cancelled ride). Awesome. When you are trying to be lazy you should not let the "big guns" know where and when you are riding...I'm going to have to remember this. Though, admittedly, the scenery was as amazing as the workout, and I enjoyed the company of some awesome peeps while watching the sun set behind storm clouds from the highest "peaks" for miles.

So ya, when I said tri season started, I actually meant it this time!

Monday, June 22, 2009

and she lives up to the name....again

The Slowest Triathlete is no joke people. This weekend was proof. Although, The Very, Very, Slow Triathlete might be more accurate as there were technically a few people slower than me. All seven of them.

Truth be told I did little, if any, real training for the race Sunday. Any workouts that might have resembled training, were actually more or less social engagements that happened to involve running, biking, or swimming but where the main purpose for the event was usually to catch up with a friend.

Which is fine....if you're willing to pay the price during the race in pain and humiliation. Which is exactly what I did.

Let's start with swimming. My nemesis.

Open water swimming can suck it. Fish, weeds, giant man-eating turtles....who knows what lurks in the murky depths of any given body of water. It creeps me out. Which, you would think, would make me swim as fast as possible so as to get out of the creepy waters. But no....instead it seems to induce some sort of involuntary panic-driven hyperventilation. Super fun.

So I exit the water feeling like I've just spent 13 minutes in a blender trying to survive. Not good, considering that I was worn out just trying to get my wetsuit on -- I don't have the endurance for this sort of nonsense this early in the season.

And then there was biking.

The bike course is HILLY. I knew this -- I've done this course before -- and I still underestimated it. I also seem to have forgotten how to use all my gears (what you're supposed to practice this sort of thing?) so there were a few hills I had to pedal-mash up due to bike-user error. Because going anaerobic is highly recommended, especially when you're faking your way through a race you are under trained for. Or, not really. Really, its a recipe for "bonk." Which, yes, you can do in a sprint. Apparently.

At one point I started thinking that if I biked a little slower the elite olympic men would start passing me and at least I'd have some nice scenery.


By the time I got to the run I just did. not. care. I actually took the time to sit down, put on my running shoes, and then clean the place up a bit. I organized my towel. I took a few drinks of water from my bike water bottle. Until there was no way I could procrastinate any longer and I had to face the run. The run is hilly too. For a sprint tri, this was a hard little bugger of a race. I mean seriously, its like they think people train for this stuff or something. What-ever.

In summary

It was a nice little $90 reality check. I think I'm going to try this thing called "training" before Door County, see how that works out. No more messing around. Tri season is here!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Devil's Lake: The Colorado of the Midwest

This past weekend I decided that I needed to get out of town and change up the scenery, so I rounded up a friend, a latte, and was off to Devil's Lake State Park. An easy 45 minute drive to a little geologic gem. So close, yet so easy to forget about -- but what a great morning!

We hiked the circumference of the lake, climbing to the top of the bluff on the east side. As we hiked through talus fields along the lake and then scrambled up the granite bluffs through the pines I couldn't help but think it seemed a lot like Colorado. The perfect weather -- 75 and sunny with little humidity -- only adding to that alpine feel.

Just what I needed indeed.

Then to complete the adventure we took the scenic route home through Merrimac to take the ferry across Lake Wisconsin.

We even scored a front row spot on the ferry....which admittedly stressed me out just a tad.

But overall it was just a great little mini-getaway. And it has motivated me to try to get out and discover new great places to run as my mileage picks up over the summer. Because apparently I'm running a marathon this year?!

Like being there, but without all the sweat and pain...

Doesn't this just make you want to ride your bike? This video was put together by one of the coaches for the Milwaukee Team in Training program. Another great year in Tahoe....another couple million raised to fight cancer. Well done team cheesehead, well done!

Maybe next year I'll be climbing the switchbacks of Emerald Bay again.....? It really is an amazing ride. Though, there are a few places where a guardrail might have made my ride a teeny bit more enjoyable. Because "scenic" can also mean "extreme elevation drop off to your immediate right," and keeping a death grip on the handlebars can really eat up some energy.

But, you know, other than that its a great ride! :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Weddings, kinda like marathons

I'm pretty sure that I can say NYC training started last weekend, because I was in recovery all week. Wedding weekends are truly endurance events.

...travel, and friends....late nights and early mornings....checklists to complete and logistics to work out....and grand finales that are always amazing, emotional, and cause for celebration.

Things got started Monday and didn't let up until sometime around 9pm on Sunday. Although somewhere around 12:30am Saturday I hit the proverbial "mile 17" -- THE WALL; the point in a marathon where your ability to control your emotions and have rational internal dialogue goes completely out the window, the point at which you seriously question your ability to physically continue to put one foot in front of the other for the remaining 9.2 miles. And in similar fashion, after consecutive days of sleep deprivation and wedding-related socialization I questioned my ability to continue to remain upright and carry on coherent conversation and made a hasty retreat from the party to the comfort of my bed.

But the blood, sweat and tears were all worth it. It was a fun, fabulous week; a series of celebrations, that were enjoyed as much by the couple as by the guests they invited to share the occasion with. With big smiles all around at the "finish line."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hello NYC! I got in!

I still can't believe it. What started out as an off-hand, crazy suggestion has turned into me running 26.2 miles through New York City. I am going to be running a marathon. A MARATHON. This year. As in 140 odd days from now. And I'm actually excited about it.

I don't even like to run. Yet I can't wait. I can already feel the nervous pre-race tummy...the anticipation, the excitement, the overwhelming emotion of 100,000 other runners around me and 26.2 miles ahead of me.....the crowds, the scenery, the dig-deep moments of self doubt, and the exhilarating feeling of accomplishment that comes with foil blankets and medals at the glorious finish.

I am running a marathon.