Mile Repeats

Please note - trying any of the activities in my blog may cause serious injury..do not try this at home!
So - on my birthday I decided instead of doing a triathlon, I would do a 10k.  Perfect, way less painful and I would have enough energy to enjoy the company of the ones I love!  Unfortunately, I put so much pressure on myself that I barely made it past the 1st mile before I started to have trouble with my breathing...augh, here we go!  Needless to say, I ended up having to slow way down and ended up with the worst side cramp in history.  This, of course, sent my day into a total tail spin...don't worry, I did eventually recover.  It just took a 2 hour car ride and a long, hot bike ride.  Which brings me to my latest fete - mile repeats.  Anyone who has done these can attest, they are hard.  It doesn't really seem to matter how many you do, or how fast you're doing them...they hurt, period. A mere 3 mornings after my race, I ran times that would have crushed my goal.  In fact, if I would have ran the 6:12, 6:09, 6:07 & 5:54...and finished the last of the 10k @ 7:45 pace, I would have beat my goal.  WTF! 
There are a couple of things I took away from this lesson:
#1 - Don't race on your birthday, the risk of disappointing yourself is way too high!
#2 - Breathing right keeps you from hyperventilating and doesn't even slow you down :)
#3 - While focusing on breathing, don't forget to relax your shoulders, or you may strain a neck muscle
#4 - Remember that only I am aware of my personal goals, getting upset only confuses people.
#5 - Sweet new racing flats don't make me invincible.
#6 - Breathing exercises will not only help my training, but also help me not take out my frustrations on those around me....breathe...
..I tried to come up with 10, but they were just getting stupid...I'll leave the top 10 to Letterman.



(yes, I mean the temperature)
Ok, so I don't know about anyone else, but going from 70 to 100 in a week makes my body a little crazy!
Wednesday I attempted to do a 10 mile TT up Weber canyon...and after getting 2 bloody noses, hyperventilating 3 times and getting sick, I was finally on my way back home.  Feeling like I did, I knew I had to hydrate, even though it would mean emptying my only source of fluids.  Thankfully, my body has become very efficient at cooling itself, so I was able to make the 10 more miles to a gas station.  Mistakenly I filled my bottle with soda water - I never thought soda water could taste SO GOOD!  By the time I made it home, I was starting to feel a little better - an ice bath and recovery drink later I almost felt like myself again!

So, of course the next day I thought I would be fine running hill repeats since I had acclimated...right!  Yeah, good thinking Barkley...
I felt really good and saw I was running my warm-up way too fast, so tried to slow myself down or I knew I would pay for it later.  After a little over 3 miles, I was good and warm, to say the least.  After my first hill, I began to question my sanity.  On the way back down, I had a sit down with myself to in order to find my motivation to continue.  Could I do this?  Was it worth it?  Would my body make me pay for it later?  After a couple of minutes, I was ready to go again...I refused to let myself quit! 
#2 and #3 were right on track.  Unfortunately in the middle of my 4th and final interval, my body finally caught on..my stomach started to cramp a little and I decided to back off my pace and coast to the top, after-all I still had a long ways to go before I was home.
My trip home, was a walk/jog and even then, my heart rate fluctuated between 150-160.  1/2 way between my hill and home is a Starbucks - I stopped in for a water and to call for help. Unfortunately my ride was out on a bike ride, but fortunately the water was enough to get me home!  I would take a sip, then pour some of the icy water down my back then down my front - a pattern I repeated until I finally made it home.
Not sure if I'm glad I did the work-out, but I am glad that I didn't quit!


Training Ride

So, I'm almost finished with my last HARD week of training before my first A race of the season - I can hardly wait!  Today while I was riding and looking at my super high-tech garmin, I thought for such a high tech devise, why doesn't my virtual pacer ever have the same head wind that I have or ever go up the same hills???
I can't believe it's been so long since my last post.  I have been super busy, which means any spare time I have is spent sleeping...not writing :(
I vow to keep up with it now that the season has actually started and I will have more interesting things to report.
Too much has happened in the past 2 months to try and catch up on everything - but here are a few highlights:
I did my first cycling stage race in a few years and won all 3 stages :)  It was even more sweet when I beat the lady that said triathletes can't ride bikes - ha!
The first triathlon of the season was Onion Man in Walla Walla and I placed 2nd :)  I was way too far behind after the swim to make it up - but I'm working on that!  Now I'm getting ready for Pacific Crest, which is usually my favorite race of the season - yipeee!


the race is on!

It's finally, officially race season, yipee!
Yesterday was the first in a series of five local multi-sport races, the Rage in the Sage.
It still surprises me how nervous I get before races, it's like I'm not going to remember how to run or not know how to put on a race number (thank goodness for race belts).  Yesterday was no exception!
It seemed like the weather was going to be perfect - starting at about 45 degrees, sunny with calm wind expected.  Of course, when we showed up, it was about 38 degrees with howling wind - it is the desert after-all.  At that point my objective changed from racing hard to getting out of the wind as fast as I possibly could.  Thankfully, my training has paid off and I finished just under 1-hour, 15 minutes...about 8 minutes faster than last time I did the race :)
It was amazing to see so many participants in such crumby conditions racing their hearts out.  THAT is exactly the reason I still do these events.  Yes, I of course am hell-bent on achieving my own personal goals as well, but it's everyone else that keeps me going.  In fact, even one of my clients who wasn't even racing came out to cheer me on - can you believe it!?!?   It's a heck of a lot easier to keep your motivation up when you are surrounded by such motivated people.
I am so looking forward to doing more local races and having more FUN as the summer continues!


long and hard...

I finally kept up with "the group" for Saturday's bike ride, which surprisingly left me with mixed emotions. I was so proud of myself for "hanging on", but by the time I had a chance to realize what had happened, I was well passed the half way point (which means, there is no short-cut home) on a 70+ mile ride in the middle of no-where, when I realized I was exhausted!  The pace was a blistering (too me) 20 mph or so, but the worst part wasn't the pace, it was the focus.  If for a split second my mind wandered off to notice a munching cow or  even a crazy cloud formation, I would have been done for...stranded in wheat fields with only deranged farmers and their ruthless dogs to boost my motivation.  About that point, Ryan said to me, "you know, you're the only girl here"...yah, and I was beginning to think it was a very bad idea!  Not only were they really messing up my potty break, but when was chat time?  Don't you guys ever just ride at conversation pace?!?!  When we stopped to get some water, I looked around and thought who the hell are these guys?  The only recognition I had for the past 3 hours was of what they looked like on their bike from behind.  Once they took their helmets and glasses off, I realized they probably didn't care about chit-chat, they wanted this ride to over with as much as I did!  As we trudged along thru the wind, I began to appreciate the silent communication of group rides - and that the group seemed to not think of me as a girl, but just as a rider...who better start pulling her keep!!!  Hey, I'm working on it.



Celebrate the IRISH!

In honor of St Patrick's Day, we did the St. Patrick's Day 10k (of course).  
The run was going great, until, while running thru the park, a bird decided to go potty on me.  Luckily (thanks to the irish), it only landed on my hand - gross!!!  Unbelievably, that's the first time I've had a bird go on me, not sure I would run in the park if it had ever happened before - but since it was a race I'll give the bird the benefit of the doubt - I mean, it never would have done it had it not been for all the excitement of the race...right!?  Another first - stomach cramps!  It started as an innocent (so I thought) side ache and by the end of the run, I was practically doubled over in pain - yowsa!  Despite these minor set-backs I managed to pull off a win - whew.  I think that deserves a toast...of the green variety that is.


So, I realize that there are a lot of people that swim faster than me...but, I'm not disappinted with my swimming abilities.  Yesterday, I finally broke my PR for a 400...woohoo :)  6:15 had been my fastest time for as long as I can remember, and finally I broke it.  Sure, I did it with my goggles full of water and nearly choked to death on disgusting pool water - but I still made it to the end in 6:10.  Honestly, I was proud of myself for staying relaxed despite the few obstacles.  SO, what did I do next?  Naturally I wanted to see how my time compared with REAL swimmers...not a good idea.  The good news is that I swam fast enough to have broken the world record in 1920, apparently swimming has come a long way since then.


Too good 2B true

After last week's training, I thought I would be nothing more than a pile of useless goo puddled up at the bottom of my bed.  Much to my surprise, I actually feel great today - which is to say that it won't hit me until tomorrow - OR all this hard work is starting to pay off.
Of course, I do have one other theory...the sun.  I can't remember the last time the weekend weather was so nice!  What are the extent of the sun's medicinal powers?  Is it possible that they have given me some sort of superhuman power?  Is it the simple mind boosting effect that has completely changed the way that I'm recovering from and looking forward to training?
There is one more theory - that after the nearly 6 hours of training on Saturday followed by a just under 14 mile run on Sunday has left me in an altered mental state, and I've pushed so far past the point of pain, that there is no returning.
I'm sticking with the sun theory.


Snot Rocket

This winter I have had the priveledge of increasing my outdoor riding due to improved weather conditions, better winter riding gear and a re-kindled relationship with my mountain bike.  A few weeks ago I was riding with someone that typically spends all winter riding indoors - they commented on how incredible it was that their body could produce so much snot.  I couldn't agree more!!!  This Sunday, while pseudo enjoying my solo ride in the rain, I decided to try and actually count how many snot-rockets it takes to get through a 2 hour ride.  Sadly, I lost count...but for the first 20 minutes I counted 10, if that pattern held true, I would estimate 60.  Which, of course begs the question, how is it possible to produce that much snot?!?!  Seriously.


Ride "like the wind"

How does that saying apply when riding with a head wind?  
Today was a good day of training, and I say that because I like hard days!  
I'm glad there are people that continually put my abilities in perspective.  Being strong at the bike leg of a triathlon is completely different than being a strong cyclist...thanks for the reminder guys ;)
One thing that I realized today was how grateful I am to have friends and family that push me not only to be a stronger athlete, but to be a stronger person.  For some reason I come up with crazy theories when out in the country with noone around for miles.  Today's theory is that they wouldn't push me if they didn't have faith that I could do it, or get there eventually.  If they really cared about me, that is...right?!?!
So THANK you for your faith in me - and I promise I will keep working to get there, even if it takes a while.

That being said - today is a special day because I also have a trivia question.  What makes a 3 1/2 hour ride with a head wind both ways better?

Stay tuned for the answer...



Good news - I had a fantastic swim today :) 3100 yards - and hit all my goals!



Dear Cytomax,
I would like to extend my deepest appreciation for your magical potions!  I was feeling very down and my legs felt rediculously tight at the start of my workout, so I knew I needed something.  I ran down to my locker and grabbed my very last packet of Cytomax and started sipping.  Immediately I started feeling better :)  By the middle of my run (30 minutes in) and 1/2 way through my Pink Lemonade Cytomax, I was starting to feel like myself again - so naturally I cranked up the speed.  The guy next to me kept looking over and smiling, and at one point he even threw up a thumb.  I told myself he must also be a supporter of Cytomax and was agreeing that he too appreciated it's magical powers!  Once I stepped off the treadmill, he approached me and commented on how amazing it was that I could run so fast.
As I finished my last sips of the only remaining Pink Lemonade Cytomax in the world (the flavor was sadly discontinued), I began to ask myself what am I going to do NOW?  Sure, I had made it through my run today, but now I have nothing to turn to tomorrow.  So I guess what I'm trying to say is thanks...for nothing!


The moral of my story is that what I really needed that morning was the power of positive thinking!  Thanks to the happy stranger for cheering me on, your support does not go unnoticed :)

Any recommendations on different Cytomax flavors?



Yesterday was a swim "test" - I didn't quite hit my personal goals, which I can only attribute to not being as fast as I would like to think...or I set my goal too high.  Either way, I don't know why I expect to be much faster than I was a doing the same test 4 weeks ago when my training has been focused on running (explanation = runners high).  After my swim, as I was making a mad dash home to get on my bike before heading back to work, I starting to eat an apple and was amazed that I could still lift my hand high enough to reach my mouth.  This brought me to the realization that maybe I AM actually stronger than I thought...that is, of course until the feeling in my arms started to come back, at which point I savored the last few bites of solid food before I was forced to enjoy the rest of the days meals through a straw.
I guess I'll go back to waiting for divine intervention to miraculously make me a fish!


the beginning

This is just the beginning of my blog, not necissarily my journey.
My journey is my life, which just so happens to center around racing triathlons right now.
While I was riding my mountainbike through the mud and rain last weekend for 2 1/2 hours, it dawned on me how far fetched this activity would have sounded to me a few years ago.  What happened to the good ol' days of fair weather riding?  It was about 4 months ago when I decided to rip off my comfort blanket (good job, family and friends) and dedicate my life for a few years to focus on racing.  Now I'm surrounded by people who think these crazy adventures are just another day in paradise.  Most days I feel like a rediculously lazy underacheiver, which realistically is a far cry from the truth.  But, that's what I get for wanting to surround myself with triathletes!!!
Yesterday was an easy day of training, the second to last day of my "rest week"...an hour run and some core strengthening.  The rest of the day was spent trying to figure out what to do with my car that I can no longer afford and trying to stay tough.  In case you've never tried it, I will go ahead and let you in on a secret...chasing your dreams isn't easy!  Living them makes it worth it :)