Monday, August 31, 2009

Taper officially started

I have feeling of little sadness today- sadness that I didn't spend my day yesterday biking through the counrtyside of Kentucky and running through fourth street live. A year ago today, I was competing in my 1st Ironman in Louisville, KY and it was 95 degrees and windy! How different from today although the weather conditions last were a little less than ideal-there is something that challenge that I had welcomed! Ironman Louisville took place yesterday in which I actively watched (I was on the website starting at 6 am-hoping to see some early race coverage of the event and excited to follow some of my friends as they race the course). The weather in Louisville yesterday was awesome-I believe the high was 74 degrees and wind free; I can only hope that we will have similar weather in Madison in TWO weeks!

My coach sent out an email a couple of weeks ago explaining the plan for the next month, he also included some advice and expected feelings over the next couple weeks. Coach talked about the emotional roller coaster that will take place throughout taper-the feelings of blah-ness mixed with feelings of excitement that are so intense that your ready to jump out of skin. I have been feeling pretty blah over the past couple of days, I think partly related to the fact that I wasn't in Louisville, partly that I want to keep up with the intensity of daily training, and partly knowing that craziness of everything else in my life have started up in full force again (work, meetings, and school).

Saturday, I met Cindy for a swim and bike ride on the Liberty course. It was a bit chilly and very windy which helped us make the decision not to do an open water swim that day. As explained earlier, I was feeling a bit blah which made it easy to take it really easy on the bike ride. Cindy and I just tooled around on the course, although our average speed wasn't all that slow, the ride was really relaxing. We took in the scenery and I fantazised about living in (I have one picked out in particular) the gorgeous homes along the route and spending the triathlon season training out there. I love that route!

Sunday, I did a 10 mile run and finished up my workout with a hour bike ride around the lakes. I had stopped at Hoigaards on my way to the lakes to pick up some warmer weather riding gear as the weather in Madison this time of the year is a mystery. I ended up running into one of my old college roommates at the store which was fun. I have only seen Allie once since I graduated from MSU in 1998-how time flies!

Today was a scheduled day off for me but I had to lead swim club at LIF. I took it really easy on the swim spending most of the time working on form, feeling the water, and drills. I even took some time in the water goofing around which allowed me to remember why I love the water so much-I loose this feeling as my life becomes so hectic and the intensity of the training sets in (swimming becomes the one activity that I just do not want to do).

I can't believe that Madison is only two weeks away! Everyone keeps asking me if I'm ready-I think that I am. The funny thing is that last year at this time, I was battling a multitude of anxiety attacks related to Ironman, this year I'm excited to race and my anxiety is much more controlled-maybe related to my previous experience of completing an Ironman or maybe related to the training that I have done on the course throughout the training season.

Until next time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Okay, I have meant to start this new blog post about 10 times! It's amazing how fast the days are flying by and knowing Ironman is approaching quickly has me flurrying with excitement but also the fears that go along with it as well. So much has happened over since my last blog posting!

Where to start!

My training has been pretty consistent with the break from school over the month of August. I have felt strong on my workouts and have managed to get in some much needed R & R in over the month.

Last weekend, although busy was filled with fun activities! I kicked off the weekend with the 1st Fix A Flat Over Wine clinic at my house, which went really well and was quite fun. A lot of my friends have moved from being runners to being multisport athletes-most have raced or will be racing either in a triathlon or duathlon yet this season, which is why it is important for them to know how to change a flat tire-me being the flat queen I have tons of experience at changing flats that I can pass on. After the instruction portion we hung out eating some healthy snacks and drinking wine.

The next morning, it was my scheduled Saturday to lead Run Club. Cindy, Erica, and I ended up doing about 5 miles while Paul was shooting for 18 miles. The run went well-Cindy and I took it pretty easy since we were hopping on the bikes for our 2nd annual cabin ride following the run.

The cabin ride went a little smoother this year without the wrong turns or flat tires and Cindy actually trained to do 100 miles (last year I conned Cindy and Jen into riding up to the cabin with pizza and beer). We made pretty good time-ride time of 5 hours in a head wind for 65 miles of it! I did discover that I really like hilly courses much better than flat ones though!

Monday's workout consisted of an easy swim with me leading swim club. I felt great in the water!

Tuesday, Cindy and I had our last personal training session before Ironman. Luke wished us luck and gave us some advice following our grueling workout on our already angry legs from our weekends LONG ride. It will be fun to share our stories with the group of guys over there at Discover Strength once we return from Ironman (we always have stories for those guys-they think we are CRAZY!)

Following my personal training session, I trained with P2 that night. Our workout was to bike 60 minutes 70-80% up Shepard Rd to River Road and back. The ride was going pretty good considering the amount of traffic and angry drivers out there-since when do I not pay taxes to use the roads?

So now the story begins-Margarita and I got to our turn around on River Rd to head back to the pit for our run. We started on our way back when we encountered another group of road riders that were not following road rules-they were blocking the lanes, etc. We went to pass them and they decided to block the whole road lane including the shoulder causing Margarita and I to pass in oncoming traffic-jerks! Who knew that a couple of girls passing a group of men on bikes was going to set off this whole testosterone road rage thing! As I continued down River road onto Shepard Rd. we got stopped at a light when this group of guys caught up to us-they made some comments and then we were all on our ways again. When us girls had to pass the group for the second time-this pissed them off to the point that the three guys in the front tried to take me out at the stoplight! I was like what the heck! At that point some of the guys riders from P2 passed by and the group of guys started messing with them. The one guy got on the back wheel of Tom's bike. Tom was yelling at the guy to get off his wheel when the guy clipped Tom's back wheel sending metal spokes flying along with other bike parts and water bottles into the middle of Shepard Road. The guys bike wheel was toasted-served him right! But the group of riders took off after Tom-of course they were not able to catch him.

Cindy and I encountered some of this testosterone road rage in Madison as well-What is it with guys! Cindy-I'm reinstating your tip at mile 70 ish-PASS all the jerky males that can't deal with being passed by WOMEN!

My classes started back up for the semester and I finally found placement for my second clinical rotation. Yesterday, I headed down to Mankato for class and to get a few things squared away for the semester. I also threw my bike in the car to experience the roads/bike trails in Mankato. I had a great ride and discovered an AWESOME bike path! I ended up riding 90 minutes-missed my run as I ran out of time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Several years ago I got involved in triathlon-I believe it was in 2002 when I signed up for the St. Croix Valley triathlon. The triathlon went well except for one little issue. I had just gotten my road bike and triathlon day was not a good day to figure out that I didn't know how to change my gears especially when there is a gigantic hill right in the middle of the bike course. I haven't been out to that course since that day in fear that I would tip over on the hill again. On Monday, my friend Leann and I went out and rode the St. Croix Valley triathlon course. Leann is signed up for the triathlon in September and I wanted to make she was prepared for the hill that did me in on my first triathlon. I didn't have any issue making up the hill and keeping upright on Monday. We finished off the workout with a short swim in the river.

Tuesday, It was my turn to lead Run Club. I ended up getting almost 6 miles.

Today, my intention was to trained with P2, however the severe weather caused practice to be canceled. I headed to LTF for a hour swim. I focused on keeping my stroke smooth and keeping it steady. It was a good swim.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A recovery weekend

This past week was suppose to be a recovery week, however with the lack of cooperation from mother nature my long training days were merged into the normal weeks festivities. I ended up taking Saturday off from training to let my body and mind recover a bit. I met up with my P2 friends to hang out on the St. Croix on Michelle's boat. We had a great time even though the sun decided to stay hidden behind the clouds.

Sunday, I headed out to ride one loop of the Liberty Triathlon course in Medina and then followed it up with a 5 mile run through the trails of Baker Park Reserve. My legs were a bit sluggish on the ride, so I took it really easy to try and loosen them up a bit. I intended on doing a short swim, however it was too windy (the lake had white caps). After my workout for the day, I stopped home and picked up Shadow for a picnic by the river at the Coon Rapids Dam.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Finished the Madison ride (112 miles). Felt great!

Okay I'm officially crazy! This past weekend I along with my other fellow Ironman trainees headed to Madison experience the IMOO course one more time before the big day (as stated in my last blog posting). As you know the weather didn't allow for the training weekend we wanted and I couldn't live with the fact that I only did 72 miles on Sunday, so I decided to head back to Madison.

On Tuesday, there was chance that I was going to be canceled from my work shift that night being that our census was pretty light for the week. Cindy and I planned our strategies for traveling back to Madison and when we were going to ride the course.

Plan #1
If I got canceled, we would leave early Wednesday morning (5 am) get to Madison by 11 ish, then getting on the road and riding. We then would stay the night and drive back early Thursday.

Plan #2
Drive down to Madison Wednesday afternoon, possibly swim at Devil's Lake and then ride the course on Thursday; then drive back after the ride.

Plan #3
If got canceled, head to Madison at 9 pm to arrive around 2 am. Then sleep until 10 am and then ride the course. Sleep in Madison until 3 am and drive back.

We chose probably the most crazy of the choices but plan #3 won and worked AWESOME! We were pretty well rested for the 112 mile ride. The weather was great great-80's and sunny. Cindy and I had a few laughs along the way as reminisced about the previous weekend along with remembered the 10 mile tips. We stopped about every 15 miles on the first loop to refill bottles and take in a bite of food. The second loop we didn't stop as often but we did make one at the Kwik Trip in Mount Horeb so that Cindy could eat a brat and raid the donut samples.

We were told by several people that we wouldn't feel the hills until the second loop (which the reason that I insisted on going back to Madison to ride the whole course). Personally, I didn't think the second loop was bad-but now I have the experience and piece of mind.

Once we got to the 100 mile mark, we passed three guys on road bikes and we were called "Show Offs"-we wanted to yell out that we had already rode 100 miles but we didn't want to sound TOO cocky. On way back we did end up taking a wrong turn adding a little over a mile to our ride.

Once we got back to Monona Terrace, we both felt great! I could have rode probably another 30 miles! Cindy and I then headed to the local tavern for lots of food-I ordered nachos, grill cheese with fries, a beer, and a diet coke!

Thursday, Cindy and I stopped at the Woodbury LTF for a short swim. Cindy had to shower and go into work. I headed home to see my 4 legged kiddos who were being baby sat by Liz. I then trained easy with P2 (a short, flat bike and a 15 minute run).

Today, I headed down to Lakeville for an open water swim with KLO's (a friend from P2) group. We then headed out for a short easy 15 minute run. Tonight, I have another personal training session at Discover Strength.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What a weekend!

Earlier this year (I believe it was when we had run the "Swine Marathon") Jen, Cindy, and I planned out some of our "important" training weekends of the Ironman training season. This past weekend was our second trip to Madison, the first being in June with the training camp. On Friday, Jen, Cindy, and I headed to Madison to become familiar with the course just one last time before the big day. On the way to Madison, we stopped at Devil's Lake, a place recommended by my friend and fellow Ironman Margarita (she used to live in Madison). Doug a guy that we met at the training camp in June met us for the swim too, while his girlfriend Jami kept watch from shore. Devils Lake was AWESOME!!!! It is a lake that is located about a hour from Madison in a state park. When we arrived at Devil's Lake it was raining and a bit windy (the park worker cautioned us to not swim across the lake due to the weather), but the crazy triathletes we are-we decided to swim across and back making our total mileage around 3 miles. I felt great in the water even though I battled white caps on the way out. Once we finished the swim we had a quick picnic and then headed to Madison to check into the hotel.

On arrival to the hotel we were greeted by some of Jen's teammates from TCMC. We got checked in and then hung out down by the pool for a short bit of time before we were off to bed for an early morning ride. Cindy and I were meeting Doug and Jake (guys we met at the training camp) and then Mike (a guy we met in line when signing up for Ironman) and Krista (a gal that goes to LTF CR) for a ride at 7 am; Jen was waiting to ride with the TCMC bunch. By the time we reached Monona Terrace storms started to roll in, which made us question our safety out on the course-had it been Ironman day they would have canceled the race due to the lightening. The group decided to head to a local Starbucks to discuss our plan and see if the weather would clear. Finally, after some good conversation, we made the decision to run instead since the run takes place in town and there are plenty of places that we could seek shelter if we needed it.

Cindy and I piled into Jake's truck so that we could go back to the hotel and get our running stuff then headed to Jake's friends house so he could get his stuff. While at Jake's friends house one the the dogs got loose Jake hopped in his truck and Cindy and I raced through the backyards of the neighborhood. AND of course while this was all going on it started pour rain! Finally, I caught the dog and walked it back to the house.

Finally, we made it back to Monona Terrace for our run. We ended up doing about 14 miles. The rain eventually cleared up and then it turn hot and steamy! After the run we hopped in Lake Monona and just floated-it felt AWESOME!

Following the run Cindy and I headed back to the hotel to relax by the pool-Jami (Doug's girlfriend) came over to join us for a beer and a soak in the hot tub. We just hung around until we got a call that one the TCMC girls was having a problem with finishing the bike ride, so we headed to Verona to pick her up and bring her back to the hotel.

Sunday, Cindy and I got up early to get to Monona Terrace so that we could get on the road by 6 am. We showed up to the Terrace, got our bikes ready and we were on our way. The plan was to ride the full 112 miles to experience the second loop that everyone had warned us about. The ride was going well as we were taking it slow so that our group could stay together and we didn't get worn out from the excessive heat (The weather people put a heat alert out not to be doing long periods of strenuous exercise).

We got through the stick and most of the first loop when Jami started to bonk so we had decided to change up the ride so that she could make it back to Monona Terrace safely. However, on the way back she hit the wall and couldn't go any further, so Cindy, Jake, and I flew back to the Terrace to get our vehicles. Once we got back we got the news that we were in a severe thunder storm warning-seriously! We hopped in our cars and headed back to Verona to pick up Doug and his girlfriend, turned around went back to the terrace before making the decision that it was not safe to ride, so we had dinner instead.

During dinner I was having a hard time with the fact that we didn't do the full route-I drove everyone crazy trying to figure out how I could get back out on the course and finish it. So I decided that I will be heading back to Madison this week to ride the full course-the weather looks like it will be in my favor at least. I know I'm crazy!

Over the past week, I had kept up with my training. Thursday, I trained with P2. Coach recommended that I take it easy since we were doing so much over the weekend.

Wednesday, I had a great swim! PAIN FREE!

Tuesday, I trained with P2. It was another grueling speed session.

Monday, I led swim club.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Are weathermen ever correct?

Thursday, I had planned on meeting up with Cindy, Erica, and Travis for a century ride. The plan was to meet at 6 am-Cindy and Erica were going to ride part of the century and Travis was going to do the whole ride. Cindy and Erica made arrangements with their employers to either come in late or have the day off. Well I got up early that morning (4 am) to watch the weather report which according to the weather people didn't look good! It was suppose to start storming by 7 am and then on and off throughout the day. I quickly called around and sent messages that the weather wasn't going to cooperate.

Well 7 am rolled around and guess what it was sunny! After watching the radars for a bit longer, I contacted Travis to see if he still wanted to ride (the others went to work).

I ended up meeting Travis at 9 am we were on our way to Square Lake. We got of course a bit, but ended up making our way to Square Lake. The plan was to ride out to Square Lake, ride one loop of the long course and then make our way back o Blaine. The ride was hard-I was still feeling a bit sluggish from racing last Sunday and plus my nutrition plan was off considering I didn't eat breakfast, which left me trying to make up calories-that doesn't work so well!

We ended up stopping at a little convenience store in Scandia to refill bottles and so I could get a coke. Once we got our way, we ended up missing a turn, sending us a couple miles out before realizing we were going the wrong way; that was when we decided to try to make our way back towards Blaine instead. As headed back we battled a 16 mph head wind with 27 mph wind gusts for approximately 50 miles-I was dead beat by the time I made it home! I ended up getting in 80 miles-that felt like 150!

Interesting, once I got home I weight myself and was down 7 pounds-I think I was a little dry!

Friday, I headed to LTF for a swim. I ended up getting in 3500 yards! I felt pretty strong and only had minimal pain in my shoulder.

Saturday, I again battled the wind for 35 miles of my bike ride. Wind conditions were 21 mph winds with 28 mph wind gusts! The worst part about it was that you never got out of the head wind! I finished my workout with a 6 mile run at the Dam. I ended up running into Leann, had a short chat and then was on my way.

Today, I met up with Jen and Cindy for a long run. We had the plan to do 15 miles, however only ended up doing 13 miles. I felt pretty strong on the run surprisingly-I never feel good running after working the night before. It was nice to see Jen run strong and not battle pain in her calve and Cindy not battling pain in her knee.