Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Door County Triathlon Weekend: Pictures (to tide you over until I have time for words)

Pigs are flying....

Full post about my awesome race weekend coming soon. For now, just know that there were major race breakthroughs happening, in spite of the fact that Lake Michigan hates me (4-foot waves breaking right over the swim course -- awesome).

People, I am officially a mid-pack racer! I came out of the water MID. PACK. Like I could SEE THE LEADERS. And then I proceeded to move up 17 places in my age-group during the bike leg putting me in the top 25% coming into T2. WHAT?!

But then, just to keep me humble...I totally bit it getting into the pool last night and had to ice my bottom after the workout. Sporting a very large bruise on "cheek" at the moment. So no need to worry that I'm going to get all cocky and confidant about my athletic abilities. I may have conquered Lake Michigan, but I can still get taken down by a set of stairs.

Next mission. Conquer laundry before leaving for North Carolina Thursday.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Think of me Saturday....

That'll be me out there Saturday....provided I can get over some of my internal issues with open water swimming and stay with the pack.

The game plan is to start slow, acclimate, breathe, find a happy place, then start picking people off. This has worked for me once before (at Devil's Lake) so I'm hoping I can find that swim zen again.

Then its off to hammer the 18 flat miles of biking, and 3.1 flat miles of running. I finally looked at the route map today and HOLY FLAT-NESS. I'm pumped. I haven't biked something flat since, well....since I can't even remember. And seeing how I busted out 3 miles of hill repeats last night with relative ease (dare I even say "speed"....as long as we're speaking 'relatively' here) I'm hoping to make a nice showing in the run.

Overall this training thing I've been trying (you know, actually training) seems to be working. Like, I feel faster and stronger and like, OMG, like, I might actually be prepared for this race?! WHAT?! I know. I'm as shocked as you are.

But there is still the lake. The great triathlon equalizer and consistent root of my race-day demise. So we will see, friends. We will see what Lake Michigan will say about any kind of personal-victories I might be thinking of having on Saturday.

In the meantime, I will go on musing about how I continue to ruin perfectly good vacations with races. Stupid racing. I hate racing. How does this keep happening?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


This one was a much friendlier shade of green. Good stuff! Next, I'm thinking about experimenting with veggies.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Its what's inside that counts

I made the ugliest smoothie ever this weekend. It tasted great. Maybe even a little too sweet (one too many dates). But man, was it ugly. Had I not made it myself, I don't know if I could have brought myself to try it.

Ingredients in my post-hour-long-run smoothie:
a handful of ice
about a cup of frozen mango chunks
5-6 frozen strawberries
handful of spinach
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 banana
4 dates
1 cup of water

I've been giving the Vita-mix quite a workout of its own lately. The smoothies have proven to be a great fuel alternative in these hot summer months. Great both pre- and post- workout. I've even managed to recreate the Starbucks Orange Mango Banana Blend almost exactly. Pretty proud of myself for that one. Its nice to be able to appease a $4 craving from your own refrigerator.

I've been feeling quite domestic lately. I might even try to cook something this week! Notify the fire department!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Off Topic -- if you find yourself needing to seek out an air-conditioned place to spend some time

This little movie is coming to a theater near you very soon, and you should see it. Its quite good. :) And I'm not just saying that because the director (Marc Webb) is from Madison. Its just really good. Hopeful in a funny, entertaining, and -- most importantly -- realistic way.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Along for the ride

Hey everyone, c'mon along for my Wednesday ride! We're doing 30 miles, you might want to grab some water.

I was looking forward to this ride all day....which is odd for me....but the idea of burning off 1500 calories on a weeknight is very motivating for me these days (more on this in another post). It drizzled most of the day but about an hour before the ride the clouds parted and the sun peeked out as if to say "hello, dear cyclists....here is your reward for slaving away in your cube-hole all day."
I was meeting up with my speedster friend a couple miles from my house. Right here at this intersection, where there are two stop signs. I would really like to know why there are two stop signs at this intersection. Anyone? And, I drive this road a fair amount, why have I never noticed this before?

I'm early. I've got time to kill. I took some pictures. This is my gigantic new watch. Notice how it takes up a very good portion of my arm. I'm not even going to start on the tan lines that seem inevitable.

And here's my lil' bike. Awww....my bike is badly in need of some TLC. Which is why it is currently in the back of the car and headed to the "bike spa" very soon. Which reminds me, I should go make sure my car is locked.....

And yes, there were cows. This IS Wisconsin. And, um, if I may....I think these cows look quite happy thankyouverymuchCalifornia.....and content. Not to mention adorable. And quite friendly all lined up along the fence to greet us. So, um, ya...so there.
And then there were some hills. *Disclaimer - hills in picture may be MUCH LARGER than they appear. (and I think they still look pretty big in the pictures)
And some more hills.....

But then there was this sweet reward....I'm sure the picture does it no justice, but after a nice big set of climbing we were rewarded with an entire road of downhill, end to end....on SMOOTH NEW PAVEMENT. Ahhh, such a sweet reward indeed. Like flying....but, you know, with the chance that you could hit a rock and go flying over your handle bars. But still totally blissful.

But then, a few more hills....shortly after reaching this summit, both bikers and the camera went into serious bonk mode. But the ride was totally worth it. Such a great night out on the bike. Perfect calm, cool weather. Sun setting. Good company. What a great Wednesday! Hope you enjoyed the "ride." I sure did!

New Training Strategy: Get Laid Off

Apparently, all this "economic crisis" business is making things a little more competitive out there at the start line, so says this Wall Street Journal article.

I can't say I want to try the "lose your job, get faster" strategy, but it seems logical. If I were to get laid off I'd certainly be spending a lot more time out there training. I might even take it a step further and use my bike as transportation....like, to Alaska, or some other crazy-but-totally-awesome destination. Hmm....

In the meantime, you'll find my slow-ass in a cubicle. Daydreaming.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Let's play catch-up...

Life has not exactly been running along at The Slowest Triathlete speed lately. It would be more like The Slowest Triathlete on performance enhancing drugs speed, in fact. So lets all take a deep breath and catch up on things....

1. I have employed a trainer. Because knowing what I need to do, even writing what I need to do down on paper and carrying it around with me everywhere, is not enough to make me actually DO IT. I realized that if I am going to get to the finish like of this marathon in one piece I have to actually DO THE TRAINING. Not something I have been so good at sticking with. Until now. Now I have paid someone to not only tell me exactly what I should be doing, but also hold me accountable for doing it. And whaddyaknow....I did all but one of my workouts last week (missed second swim workout because I couldn't make it to the pool for designated lap swim time). This is monumental. Very monumental indeed.

2. I was forced to confess all of my bad training habits. OK, I wasn't forced, exactly. But I did have to fill out a questionnaire that definitely shed some very unattractive light on my training (and "racing") history. Embarrassing!

3. I biked 33 miles. Alone. In the rain. On a Saturday morning. That is how motivated I am these days. I came home cold, hungry, greasy, dirty, and soaking wet. It was beautiful. Accidentally putting my half used gel pack in the same pocket as my cell phone, however, not so beautiful.

4. Running and my body are still not friends. Good thing a marathon is only 26.2 miles. Ya. Awesome.

5. I have been channeling Martha.....I cooked! I was blog-stalking and found a few recipes that looked achievable - even for me. First, I made this pasta salad so I'd have something to take for lunch this week. Though, given the amount of garlic involved, this one may best be left to post-work, post-workout carbo loading. And I also tackled homemade granola. I know, who do I think I am Betty Crocker? But it was unbelievably easy, and SO GOOD. I got the recipe from this blogger, who got it from this blogger, who actually modified it from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. So thanks, Ina?

6. I have managed to balance all the workouts with some precious friend time. I guess it can be done. And my reward was getting to enjoy time with friends that rarely get to be in the same state all at once. Because this happened twice in one weekend (with two different groups of friends) it made things a little busy, but so worth it. I'll share a few pics, but to protect the innocent I'll only show babies, and feet. ;)
First a quick trip to Chicago, where the once-crazy three of us were joined by the next generation of wild ones....a welcome addition to "girls' weekend"....though, it certainly changed up what would normally have been on the agenda.
But look at that little face.....who needs $10 martinis when you can stare at this little bundle of entertainment for free all day!

We spent the day catching up on the ins and outs of each others lives, wandering through Grant Park, and Millennium Park, and watching the little one experience all kinds of things for the first time. But after getting up at 5am to get a bike ride in before the drive to Chicago, this day wore me out.

Then it was home Sunday, for a fun afternoon with some High School friends. Which meant a casual outdoor dinner, with homegrown greens, wine, and that priceless, comfortable kind-of companionship that only comes when you're surrounded by people who probably know you better than you even know yourself.

And, of course, an appearance by this little man.

And a nice little ride through the countryside to top it all off. These six feet have been with me through quite a few of life's little adventures (and helped mastermind a few too). I'm a lucky girl to have such amazing friends, and to have the chance to do all the things that I do...ride my bike, run, take off for the weekend, drink wine on the lawn, watch sunsets, hop in the flatbed of pickup truck and ride down a bumpy gravel road....happiness can hide in the most simple, yet all-too-often overlooked places.....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Numbers! We have numbers!

180. The first significant number to be produced from my fancy new tool. 180 beats per minute, to be exact. Which is apparently the fastest that my lil ol' heart can pump when I am blowing up out on the bike.

I found this out through a short series of planned, yet somewhat horrible-feeling bursts of effort.

I sincerely hope I never see the number 180 again. Though that number will haunt me for the next four months as it will be the basis for pretty much everything I do from here on out.

But the silver lining to all this number business is the number 990. That is the number of calories that I allegedly burned while out on my bike tonight (the little gizmo wouldn't lie now, would it?). And it is arguably the most accurate way to count calories burned because its based off my personal data and my heart rate during the workout. That means I can have frozen custard for dinner, right? Is this a great new tool, or what?!