Monday, July 31, 2006

Doing it well

We had to change our weekend plans due to some pretty big forest fires near Sisters, Oregon are so we went further south to camp at Cresent Lake for the weekend with Nate and Kara. None of us had been there before so it was a real treat find a gorgeous blue lake with views of Diamond Peak. We got in late Friday night snagging the last spot at the last campground we found.

Nate and Bill went out biking Saturday morning while Kara and I set out with Marshall dog for a run. Kara is training for the Portland marathon and needed to run 2.5 hours so I started out with her and then hit some trails to find "Windy Lake" with Marhsall. I ended up hiking/trail running for almost 3 hours which was fine except I only had 1 bottle of Gatorade for the dog and myself. Luckily he was able to drink out of streams and the lake we finally found but I was wilting in the sun quickly.

Once we all made it back to the camp site we set out for a swim in the lake, testing out our wetsuits and open water swim skills. Marshall dog joined right in and I worried about him overdoing it with all the activity, I think he thought he was going to save us. We grilled up some burgers and played cards before going to bed early Saturday night.

Sunday morning we woke up and Kara, Nate and I hit the road on mountain bikes and headed toward Summit Lake. Bill drove with Marshall dog and met us there with the kayak and fishing equipment. Marhsall actually jumped out of the car with about 2.7 miles left and ran with us while we biked. He is a total jock, you can't stop this dog, he just loves to go! Summit Lake was so clear, there weren't any fish to be found.

Bill's kayak finally got the dust cleaned off and we managed to fit in just about every sport we could think of in 24 hours. Bill and I did another swim here since I have a triathlon next weekend while Nate and Kara biked back to the camp ground. After a quick lunch, we packed up and hit the road only Nate and Bill decided they needed to ride down the mountain to Oakridge. Kara and I went to Salt Creek Falls for some photos and met the guys at the bottom of the mountain were they showed up sweaty and exhausted, apparently there was a headwind and they had to push the whole way down.

Marshall dog went to bed early Sunday night (as soon as we got home) but I'm sure he'll be back to fighting form tonight. I'm still tired but have a bike ride tonight and a little push tomorrow before I start tapering for the Mid-Summer Sprint Triathlon this weekend. More weekend pics in my album.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Put that tired old gal in a new dress

Triathlon training gets to me sometimes, not necessarily the physical part of it but more so the time it takes to get it done. I swim or run on my lunch break and when I get home from work I typically take off work clothes and put on biking or running shorts. Sometimes I come home, sit on the couch and just stew about it, forcing myself out the door at some point, I've only just delayed the inevitable.

This gets tedious day in and day out. I love exercise but when you HAVE to do it it gets harder to love. There are other things I love that I don't get to do when I'm training. I walked into my sewing room a few days ago and the smell of the fabric and colors in the room made my heart feel empty. I haven't done any new projects in months. My project list is so old I could barely remember what it was I wanted to do next.

I barely made it to the garden last week and my walks with Marshall dog are mostly being handled by Bill. Last year I gave up music, I used to meet a guitar player once a week and we would play a bunch of jazz tunes together. I haven't been singing at all, it has been months.

I have girlfriends who have almost given up on me, I have said more than once that I can't go to lunch because I have to train and I miss girl's night at Sarah's house almost every week because I'm either training or exhausted from training.

I don't see these things as sacrifices because I have been obsessed with triathlon for several years now and you have to be focused to get this stuff done. I do crack in my resolve and I try not to punish myself about it. Last night I skipped riding my bike so I could make chair cushions for our deck. It felt great! I missed biking but I also miss gardening, I miss sewing, I miss singing, I miss web design, I miss being inspired and I miss feeling relaxed without being exhausted.

I don't know how I'm going to be able to handle all of this when we start a family. That is scary to me. The one thing I do have going for me is that I have done some really tough things, sustained hard efforts over long amounts of time, and I've gotten a lot of things done when I didn't want to do anything at all. Triathlon is a huge confidence booster.

We're off to Central Oregon for training in some new scenary. Yep, I'm putting that tired old gal called TRAINING in a new dress and that will be enough to make me dance with her this weekend. As Bill likes to tell me, "Shake it off Itsy, shake it off."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Who knows


Ms Kitty taking a nap on the deck last night. She seems to like to nap in the heat. I don't get it! We went out for a run last night at 8:30 pm to stay out of the heat but I still came home soaked in sweat. We ran by the Willamette River last night and the river is getting pretty low already. It's strange to see because it was flooded to record levels this winter from the rain and now it's running dry.

Swimming is my focus this week, I'll swim MTWFS and possibly Sunday. Maybe by the end of the week I won't feel quite so much like I'm doing to drown. The bulging disc in my neck isn't giving me too much trouble right now but I'm seeing a neurologist next month to see if we can figure out where the impingment is and if it can be fixed.

The off road triathlon Bill was planning to do has been cancelled so we have some more flexiblity this weekend in where we camp. I need to get out of town and do some multisporting in a new place. Ms Kitty doesn't get to go this weekend but Marshall does! My sister is coming for a visit next week and I'm planning some chaos for her. Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Crazy town

Ms Kitty wants in! It must be time to eat! I haven't been chatting about Ms Kitty much lately because she has been laying low since Marshall moved in. She loves the summer and stays outside as much as possible, mostly hanging out in the bushes in the back yard or in Marshall's dog house. She likes to come in to eat and sleep and occassionally she lets Marshall smell her and chew on her ears.

She also likes to sit at the table while we eat dinner. BAD KITTY! Somehow this is my fault (according to Bill). Whenever the animals misbehave it is my doing. OK so there may be some truth to that.

Bill is working on several house projects including refinishing the deck and all of the furniture and building a storage system for the garage. I'm going to make cushions for the deck furniture and we're trying to turn the back deck into a nice place to hang out in the evenings.

It's going to be 96 today but it's getting slightly cooler each day. I hate this heat. I went to ride my bike after work last night and had to slather sun block all over myself and got over heated in just a few minutes. It felt like it was the middle of a hot day but it was 6:30 at night. I'm over the heat!

Marshall dog gets to go camping this weekend. I don't know, he might be kind of soft for outdoor stuff, here he is laying on the couch using a throw pillow as a cushion. What kind of a dog uses a pillow? When I went to bed last night he was laying on my pillow in my spot on the bed. Who is responsible for this!?! There he is napping on the chair! SHOCKING!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

No pain no pain

Marshall has been swimming in the river almost everyday since he started swimming last month. Last night he jumped off of a dock for the first time, what a cutie!

But that's not the point of this post.

We're planning a camping trip this weekend with the goal of finding a mountain bike course for an upcoming triathlon that Bill is doing in August. I was talking about doing this off road tri too but then Bill asked me to reconsider, he didn't want me to be injured for our wedding.

I was suprised by the request, typically he likes to tell me how tough I am which I never believe, so this was a change of tone from him. I think it's practical, I don't want to have bandages on my arms during the wedding or have to hobble down the aisle so I am on board with him.

His intentions aren't totally pure though, he also wants to ride my mountain bike in that race since his bike is like 15 years old but I digress...

Prior to doing an Ironman in 2004, I would race around 9 triathlons in a year, often placing in my division, but even then I knew I had a lot of improving to do. After the Ironman, I lost a lot of motivation to compete since I came away from the race injured and burned out. Last year, I did one triathlon and was lucky enough to be 1st in my division but a woman out sprinted me at the end and I basically let her have it. She wanted it way more than I did.

So that leads me into this season, I'm looking at doing 3 triathlons and have the potential to do well at each of them. The question will be, how bad do I want it? Do I want to hurt the way it hurts to be competitive or do I just cruise to the finish line with a decent time?

This is where my inexperience with sports really hurts me. I don't know how to enjoy being competitive. It feels kind of desperate to kill myself, huffing and puffing with sweat flying all over the place just so I can finish a minute or two faster. I'm looking forward to my first race on 8/6 so I can get some answers.

Monday, July 24, 2006

HOT HOT HOT

It doesn't get over 100 degrees in Oregon too often so three days in a row and all I have to say is WHAT GLOBAL WARMING!?!

Saturday I rode my bike early and called it a day early, it was a recovery week so a 30 mile bike ride in the heat was good enough. Sunday we did our gardening early and then drove to the coast to beat the heat. When we left Corvallis we saw a sign that said 106 degrees and when we arrived in Newport on the coast the signs were saying 64 degrees. SWEET!

We went for a run along Moolack Beach for about an hour and enjoyed every minute! Running north we had a nice headwind that cooled us off and then running south was windless and fast. We saw lots of surfers and there seemed to be a good amount of kite surfers out there too. I don't know how they stay in that cold water for so long, even with a wet suit and sun it has to be cold.

We picked up some clam chowder on the way out of town and by the time we got home ~8 pm things had cooled off.

Today it's back up over 100 degrees, we're headed out for pizza after work with friends and I think I will have myself a stiff martini and go to bed early so I can get up and run early again. Who makes plans like this...? ME! We're meeting the triathletes for Griz's pizza awards so I'll be the only one with a drink that isn't water.

I almost miss the winter right about now--I think I'll be ready for it this year after such a hot summer! There are a few more pics in my photo gallery.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mid summer

It's hot today, getting up over 100 degrees.

Marshall and I got up early this morning for a run and it was balmy at 6:30 am. We're going to have to lay low this weekend or take Bubba to the beach.

Not a good week for a run emphasis, I'll have to get up early Saturday and Sunday to avoid the heat. That doesn't make me happy at all. I love sleeping in on the weekends. I am a simple person with simple delights: coffee, beer, and sleep! Getting up early means none of those!

We're going canmping next weekend, this training in the heat is getting tedious. You can only be focused and disciplined so long before you start to crack: time for some fun!

Oregon stays dry all summer which a lot of people don't know. We can't go away overnight this weekend or the plants in the yard would suffer without watering. Here is a field where I walk Marhsall back in May and now in July. What's missing is the in between photo when the grass grew waist high before dying and then getting mowed:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

How to lose 2 pounds in 30 minutes

I ran 4 miles during my lunch break today, weighing myself before and after and I dropped 2 pounds in 30 minutes. Must have been the unseasonable weather! Here is a pic of our girlfriend Samara, she was on the cover of the local newspaper today. She is a Cutie, the type that makes you want to have KIDS. AH don't tell Bill!

We're experiencing highs in the 100s in the next few days which is not common for Oregon. Typically we are in the upper 70s - mid 80s all summer long so no one here has AC.

We might have to drive over to the coast this weekend, it's usually about 20 degrees cooler over there and it's less than an hour away.

Not a good week for me to have a running emphasis. I'll have to get up early for the rest of the week so I can run, otherwise I'll be Samara's size by Sunday!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Don't treat me like an albatross!

Check out the lilacs growing up over the back deck, they are growing like crazy. That's Bill and Marhsall's pool, Bill bought it for the dog but I've seen Bill in the pool more than the dog.

So just when you thought it couldn't get any more strange...

Yesterday I described how I read the directions on the pancake box and thought it said four pancakes instead of 24--in my defense: Bill bought the mix at the dented canned food outlet and it was meant for making pancakes in bulk so the recipe was actually for half the box of mix. The other directions on the box were for making the entire box so as you can see I was set up for failure!

Last night we had a crowd of people over to watch Alpe d'Huez stage of Le Tour and the banana bread woman came over and MADE ICE CREAM. Yes, she made marionberry ice cream from scratch in like 10 minutes. What can I say? Bill was impressed again. I told him he should swap recipes with her ;)

Later that night I asked Bill to do something for me and he started whining and acting like it was a big hassle and I said, "Quit acting like I'm some albatross hanging off of you!" He goes, "What do you think an albatross is?" and I said, "A big barnacle." HA HA! We both laughed because it was obvious I didn't know what in the heck I was talking about so we went to bed (it was late). Well first I went to the computer and looked up albatross and it turns out it's a sea bird but I did a cross search and an albatross CAN get a barnacle on it so once again I have been vindicated!

Perhaps these inside jokes between Bill and I are too strange for my blog. Folks, I am not an idiot, I'm just silly and enjoy being silly.

Got a massage yesterday, we have awesome health insurance and can get an hour massage for $30 and I really needed it (ouch!) This week is a run focus week so I'm hoping to find some running form quickly because next week is a big swim week and then it's RACE TIME! I'm doing the NW sprint distance championships as my first race of the season so I am getting ready to hurt big time. The dog likes a week that requires a lot of running.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Baking lessons


Sunday was quite nice, I skipped racing the 5k but we went downtown to spectate the race for friends and Marshall enjoyed the people and other dogs hanging out. Afterwards I went to the garden center for some bargains, it's getting late in the season for planting so things are on sale and the selection is getting sparse. Bill bought some blueberries from a farm down the road and we enjoyed spending the afternoon at home in the yard and watching the Tour de France.

Marshall and I went trail running in the evening and we found a great spot for him to swim in the middle of the run at Peavy arboretum so I think we have a new favorite run together. My legs are pretty fatigued so I'm going to use the next few days to recover and get ready for another training push.

Last night Bill and I decided to make use of the blueberries and have breakfast for dinner. I got the pancake mix down from the cupboard, read the directions, and started rummaging around for a large mixing bowl. I couldn't find anything remotely big enough so I said, "Bill we need to buy some mixing bowls. None of these bowls will hold six cups!"

He looks over at me with a funny look on his face and says, "How many pancakes are you going to make?" and I say, "Four..." so he grabs the box and says, "Erika this says six cups for 24 four inch pancakes not four pancakes! Get out of the kitchen and go read your book, I'll make them!"

Ouch! It must have been that beer I had after work, my brain cells are on the mat from all the training so you add a little microbrew and I'm practically an invalid. I thought it was pretty funny. People tend to be impressed by Bill's abilities in the kitchen and how much housework he does. Apparently we have an unconventional relationship in that I don't do all of the cleaning or cooking. Bill does the majority of that work and I work more than he does.

I don't think there are any advantages to making men feel incompetent with handling housework. Bill doesn't handle some housework or grocery shopping the same way I would but I'm sure he would say the same thing about me. Women who do it all so they can be in control aren't doing themselves any favors in my opinion.

I did have a moment last week when a female friend brought over some banana bread to the house and Bill went crazy over it and asked her if she would make him more. He was joking around about leaving bananas on her porch in the morning and picking up warm bread from her in the evening. She looked over at me with a funny look on her face and of course I had to feel guilty about not baking more. I imagine Bill would like me to continue to work and do triathlons right now but he might also like some banana bread to come out of our own oven.

I guess I need to get better about reading instructions, otherwise we'll have 24 loaves of bread coming out of the oven!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hamstrung on the Decker Time Trial

Saturday morning brought out the Doggs, our group of slightly off kilter training buddies. The heat was on me to time trial Decker, a hilly 20 mile loop with a nice climb right in the middle. My goal was to complete the loop in under one hour so that old Griz would owe me a slice of pizza.

The start is in front of Lavs house and everyone was there so I qued up and took off first, setting myself up to be a carrot for the guys to pass. Bill, Lavs, and Jess were also doing the time trial so they gave me a 4 minute head start before taking off. Everyone else was along for an easy ride so they rode behing me, chatting away while I huffed and puffed.

I didn't have a lot of power for the first half and dreaded the looming hill climb up Decker hill. I had ridden the hill hard on Thursday in 8:44 and I suffered up it this time in 8:57 and I was falling behind on time. Taz was trying to distract me on the climb with updates on his health since the Ironman (I'll spare you the yummy details) but I couldn't be distracted from the numbness in my feet. I think my hamstrings were fried or my shoes were too tight. Griz was giving me splits and it didn't look good.

I would have to go all out and hurt big time for the remainder of the loop to make it in under an hour. Fortunately, the back side of this loop is my strength, so even though it didn't look good, I kept going and pushed as hard as I could. Coming into the last mile, it was going to be close, so Taz came up next to me and encouraged me to go all out. I watched the seconds tick by on my watch, an hour coming up fast.

I was breathing hard and tried to push thoughts of quitting out of my mind and clawed my way to the finish line in 0:59:33. Just barely but there is was! Since everyone was there I got to share the moment with my peers and I receive a big boost of confidence in myself. Not because of the time, but because I didn't give up even though the goal didn't look obtainable. That was pretty awesome.

So the old man Griz got me out there doing the time trial and rewarded me with a gift certificate for pizza. We'll have a get together later to eat pizza, I'll enjoy the slice thoroughly and keep training to improve the first part of that loop and the hill climb. I can take a few minutes off my time pretty easily but I won't tell the guys that... if they keep giving me that same head start maybe I can put more time on them and scare them into thinking I'll cross the finish line first. HA HA!
Griz, Erika and Taz

Friday, July 14, 2006

Yeah yeah yeah

Bill grilled up some steak last night and said my blog about steak was B.S. because I never eat an entire steak anyway. Yeah yeah yeah. After all of my whining about being so tired we went for a bike ride after work, time trialed up Decker hill (8:44 I have to improve!) then rode home and then ran with the dog. A nice two hour workout that can only be done this time of year starting out at 6pm. Love it!

I think I saw a naked guy down by the river when I was running so I need to remember the pepper spray next time. Hopefully he was just some wierdo hippy nudist and not a pervert. Might have to avoid that area when I'm not with Bill.

Somehow I'm doing another time trial on the bike this weekend, the 20TT up and over Decker. My goal is to break an hour, if I do it then Even has to buy me a slice of pizza. Sunday I am doing a 5k at Da Vinci Days, an event going on all weekend in Corvallis. There are lots of engineers in this town (HP research plant and OSU) so Da Vinci Days is very popular. My goal will be to break 21:00 minutes at the 5k without killing myself. I haven't been running enough to do better than that but we'll see.

Also will be traveling back to Eugene to get my wedding dress altered (apparently I have no hips) and then up to Salem for a shopping trip. I'm tired and I haven't even started! Yeah yeah yeah!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Anemic couch coma

Drove to Eugene last night to pick up my wedding dress after work and laid down on the couch as soon as I got home, falling asleep to the sound of Bill drilling holes into some wood about 10 feet from my head. I think Bill thought, "oh how sweet, she's sleeping again. She's so quiet when she sleeps!" DRILL... DRILLLLL! It didn't bother me one bit, I snored right through it.

The problem with this early evening nap is I've taken one every night this week and have had a really hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Suddenly I'm REALLY fatigued which reminds me of the last time I was REALLY fatigued which was hmmm... when I was anemic! I keep telling Bill we need to eat meat and he'll say something like, "Well we ate meat twice last week." Just for grins and giggles, let's look at the nutritional content of a steak compared to a pasta dish Bill might like:
  • 1 sirloin steak, cooked: protein 131g, fat 61g, iron 8 mg, calcium 108 mg, magnesium 112, potassium 1673
  • 1 cup spaghetti: protein 8g, fat 1.3g, iron 1.86 mg, calcium 10 mg, magnesium 25, potassium 63
  • plus sauce: protein 8g, fat 3g, iron 1 mg, calcium 34 mg, magnesium 26, potassium 470
Now spaghetti is a fine meal but when you work out 1-3 hours a day, 6 days a week and you are at a low weight for your height, you might consider spaghetti a warm up to some real protein. If you were smart that is.

Bill and I have such different perspectives on this, he wants to lean down and eats like a little rabbit. Meanwhile, I'm fighting my way out of an anemic coma trying to prop myself up on coffee and nutrition bars. It's not good.

I had a big realization about myself while trying to decide if I wanted to do triathlons early next year before trying to get pregnant and I had to admit to myself that I am not caring for my body the way I should be. I need take care of myself and forget about "race weight" and other such nonsense. (Remind me of this in a week when I'm prepping for a race!)

Poor Bubba hasn't had a morning walk in days since I've been sleeping in.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Greg in Iraq

Pic of our friend Greg with some Ugandan security guards in Iraq. Greg is a Marine currently stationed in Iraq, we know him from his time at OSU, he was involved in the triathlon club. Greg and I used to swim together and we both did Ironman Coeur d'Alene in 2004. I think we did more socializing than swimming but it was good motivation for me to get to the pool to meet the handsome Marine. Those were the days, now I swim with old men!

Greg and his wife moved to California last year and had twin boys before he left for Iraq. He has a beautiful (and obviously strong) wife and the boys are of course very cute. Greg stumbled across my blog while reading another Marine's blog who had a link to tribabe.com. Small world!

Here's a pic of Greg looking exhausted after martial arts training. I think the look on his face says it all, this is no easy life he's living over there.

Greg says is 120 degrees in Iraq and he's having trouble staying motivated with triathlon training over there. He wants to do the Californiaman 1/2 Ironman when he gets back and would like some issues of Triathlete magazine to stay motivated. Bill and I let our subscription lapse but we are sending him some other magazines, if you have Triathlete magazine issues we can send to Greg, email me at tribabe@gmail.com, he would really appreciate it.

Looking good in this pic Greg, what a stud Marine! We are thinking of you everyday and appreciate the sacrifices you are making for us.

Monday, July 10, 2006

No More Long Distance Love

Saturday we attended a lovely wedding in Portland, OR for a couple we met through the triathlon club at OSU. Xavi (from Catalonia) and Kaisa (from Finland) are a gorgeous couple who after many years of keeping up a long distance relationship, finally tied the knot.

It wasn't that long ago that Xavi was home in Catalonia and Kaisa was here in Corvallis, plugging away at grad school, trying not to get upset about an uncertain future with Xavi. He was able to secure a work visa and spent a year here with Kaisa and we all got to see why Kaisa was so in love with this wonderful guy.

Xavi has a special enthusiasm for life, a wide eyed, gung ho, bubbling over with happiness vibe that you can't ignore. His English is quite good and we enjoyed taking spinning classes from him (SHOOOO! Do not move your body!) Xavi is the best instructor I have ever come across, as he is very good at everything he does.

Kaisa is also an amazing instructor and I tried not to miss her classes as they were always educational and challenging. She is also one of the sweetest, most caring and gorgeous women you will ever meet. They are an active couple, full of light and happiness and now there will be no more long distance love--Kaisa is moving to Catalonia where they plan to start a personal training business together.

Of course, we are sad to see them go but happy they are finally together. At the wedding reception, Kaisa and Xavi honored Bill and I by presenting us with Kaisa's flower bouquet, a Catalan tradition in which the next couple to marry are given the bouquet. Bill and I danced with the wedding couple and felt especially honored to share in their special day.

It was a perfect inspiration for us to get through these final weeks of planning before our wedding. Hopefully we will visit Kaisa and Xavi in Catalonia some day and we will definitely keep in touch with these wonderful people.

I Chicked Some Roadies

Photo from a wedding we attended on Saturday, I'll write about that later today, it's a nice story...

Confession: I can be aggressive when I get on a bike. Even in social group rides, it's hard for me to sit back and play nice. I like to instigate surges, race up hills, and if there is someone up the road, my legs start twitching and suddenly I'm going faster. I particularly enjoy passing men on bikes when I am wearing a pink jersey, it's a small victory for me, a skinny chick with no noticeable muscle, passing men with quads twice as big as mine. (It doesn't happen often).

I can behave myself, particularly when I am fatigued, the fight definitely goes out of me and I ride to survive because that's all I can do. So when we gathered at Lavs to start a hilly 36 mile time trial on Saturday I tried to ready my competitive self for a hard morning. My legs were noticeably fatigued from Thursday's run on the track and my upper body was sore from swimming 3 days in a row. This is the burden of a triathlete, having to show up at the start line in 3 different sports and either compete or survive. It can be humbling and frustrating knowing that you're not doing your best because of what you had to do the day before for some other sport.

Bill said he was shooting for 1:45:00 and asked if I would go under 2:00:00. I didn't have an answer, I just needed to do the ride. So off we went, I led out first, then Griz, then Bill and Lavs about 10 minutes later. We hit the first set of hills and my legs burned hotly, not the warm burn you like but the hot burn that says OH NO YOU DON'T but I stayed in the aero bars and tried to exhale my way through it.

I waited for Griz to pass, he usually drops me once we hit the hills but the old man's legs are still recovering from Ironman CDA so he stayed behind me and encouraged me along. We hit the steep hills and I switched into survival mode. My legs were moving and my heart rate was high but there was no power to push me up the hills. This is how I spent the next hour, just climbing, descending, climbing and surviving.

Once we made it onto the one flat section, I managed to eat some Cliff Bloks before we hit the next climb. It was a bit late to be taking in calories so next time I will get on it sooner. Griz tried to light a fire under me for the Decker climb and said he would time me. All I could do was grunt at him, we'll see! I still had no power but the burn wasn't as hot as the beginning of the ride, my body resigning itself to the work my brain was forcing on it.

We hit a section of rollers and Griz said I could get under 1:55:00 if I pushed. So I tried to push but my rear end was getting sore from the new saddle on the new bike so I started squirming around trying to get comfortable. Just then two guys on road bikes cruised past me which gave me some bogies (targets) to follow for the last 6 miles. At 3 miles to go Griz said, "Make those roadies hurt!" So even though I had resigned myself to survival mode, my legs started churning and off I went to pass the two guys.

It hurt, it hurt, it hurt and I caught them right at the base of a little hill so not only did I have to push hard to pass, I had to push hard up a hill to pass. But I did it, I wasn't wearing pink, but I chicked two roadies at the end of my time trial and finished in ~1:53:00. My legs were literally trembling from the effort but it was good to wear myself down like that and push through with no power. I survived the day but it was a good effort so even though I didn't have it all together, it came together well enough. Next time... I'm already working on next time.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Bucket of Pain

A Griz term, the Bucket of Pain is what you dip into to get faster in training. I put my toe in the bucket this week, starting off with a hard run Monday, 50 mile bike Tuesday, swim Wed, Thurs, Fri and a hard track workout last night. The track workout was the hardest, sadly 7:00 min/mile pace felt amazingly like a sprint, in other words, unsustainable.

Tomorrow, a 36 mile time trial on the bike, the course is hilly and hard and I will suffer just riding it let alone riding it at a hard pace. I am killing myself right now so I can get in shape for the NW sprint distance championships on 8/6. I am not good at sprint distance races so in order to do remotely well I'll have to push it pretty hard. Oddly, I'd rather go long and pace myself moderately hard than go short and all out.

Part of the problem is swimming, I have some muscle atrophy in my right arm from the bulging disc/thoracic outlet problem I've had for the past two years. My swim is lopsided and not powerful which leaves me about mid-pack in most triathlons. My bike splits are typically just above average and my run splits are usually just below the top (real) runners. I enjoy passing people at the end of a triathlon but often times I end up in no-man's land with the really fast people out of sight and the rest of the pack behind me. Makes it harder to push when you are out there by yourself.

I plan to push hard on the bike for the next month and get my run sharper. I'm going to suffer and I think I'm ready for it. Sunday I'll try to get out on my mountain bike and do a trail run, I really hope I don't CRASH! Here is what is left of the road rash on my arm, we're going to a wedding tomorrow night so I'm going to have to clean myself up.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Internet Friends

Lesley, Erika, Cathy, and Erin
Coeur d'Alene Idaho June 24, 2006


Earlier this year I went out on a limb and got on an airplane headed for Ontario, California and met a Canadian woman whom I had never seen in person but had chatted with over the Internet. Together we drove into the mountains outside of L.A. to a remote location and found the house of a man we had never met before but had heard about from a triathlon forum.

Nervously, we approached the house and found inside several fit people, hanging out with laptop computers, wearing running outfits and talking about where to go for their afternoon run. Somehow these strangers were perfectly normal to us and we threw on our running gear and made fast friends with people we had never seen before.

It's not for everyone, but I have made friends with people around the world on the Internet. I participate on triathlon forums, people read my blog, I swap email messages with a cast of characters and I even share an email group just for women where we talk about the challenges of doing triathlons and having some semblance of a life.

The women I met that weekend back in March are women I absolutely adore and I am so grateful to have connected with strangers who I now cherish as friends. I've seen photos of their friends and family and the events they have participated in. We know each others fears, triumphs, and future challenges and have cheered for each other through three Ironmans so far this year.

A few weeks ago, some of the girls were able to reunite at Ironman Coeur d'Alene and we instantly reconnected like we were old friends. There's talk of another reunion in Las Vegas and possibly a bike tour in Sweden with Jonas. I imagine I'll see some of the ladies at a race or two this year and that we'll make time for each other again soon. What a wonderful gift to have friends that I enjoy so much and who won't be dropping by the house some evening when I'm napping on the couch with the dog.

Ladies of Slowtwitch
Triathlon Training Camp March 2006

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Taking it Easy

Marshall is not too keen about fireworks and neither am I. We stayed in last night and watched Tour Day France coverage with Nate and Kara and generally had a relaxing day if you consider biking ~50 miles and taking a 2 hour nap an easy going time. Kara and I met up with another Erica Tuesday morning for a ride through Kings Valley which is a designated scenic loop in Oregon. The road winds through forested hills and vineyards so it is very nice and a challenging ride.

Bill and Nate tagged along on the girls ride and we all had a great time with eachother. The guys took turns pulling and I instigated a few sprints (trying to get King of the Mountain points, I have 0) so my legs are nicely fatigued today. Swimming class will be a challenge, we have a new coach for the summer and I've heard he likes to work the class pretty hard. My legs will be anchors I'm sure.

Having a new bike is inspiring, I just want to get out with my new toy. What a relief! Another stress reliever: we picked out a wedding cake and a local woman will make and deliver it to the reception. So no cake by Bill--thank goodness! Bill's older brother and his wife offered to get us the cake and I think that is a very thoughtful gift! They must have read my blog complaining about Bill threatening to make our wedding cake. Ha ha funny guy! (not!)

Click on this rose photo, I was pruning roses and found a suprise inside this one!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Start all over again (again)

Last week was a bad week for me mentally. After crashing my bike I not only had road rash and a stiff back but some questions as to whether or not I could dust myself off and start over again with the triathlon season. I've had more setbacks this year than I've ever had... ever! I have never been injured or sick like I have this year and now I had ruined my bike. WAH!

I felt like I was standing at a crossroad, did I really want to go through buying a new bike with the triathlon season half over, our wedding coming in two months and thoughts in my head about starting a family next year? Bill is returning to school in September and we're trying to keep our expenses to a minimum so buying a new triathlon bike seemed like a non-necessity.

I decided to call around some of the area bike shops and talked to a few friends and found an entry level Specialized Transition Elite triathlon bike up in Portland that was last year's model and marked down $400. There was only one left and it was my size and they wanted it gone! Swordfish all the way over in NY advised me to get the Specialized as it has a dampener on the fork that reduces vibration from the road. I LOVE THAT for my neck! Saturday morning Bill and I made a rare trip up to Portland to get the bike and to purchase our wedding ring set so I guess you could say we compromised and everything worked out perfectly.

So I guess I can still get married and have a triathlon bike too. ;)

Sunday morning I went for a ride with friends and I am happy to report that I LOVE the new bike. It's blue, it's cute, and the plan is for me to ride it in a 1/2 Ironman in late September. I hope I can get there in one piece.

After our morning ride we drove 45 minutes over to the coast to take Marshall to the beach. He had his first ocean swim and got to chase some seagulls and roll around next to a dead sea lion (yuck I know). We stopped off at a BBQ at the Grizwalds on the way home and we are looking forward to watching Le Tour with friends over the next few weeks. SO NO MORE BAD WEEKS FOR ME!