Sunday, September 30, 2007

I am an Elephant Man - or something like that :)

(I'll try to edit this later and add links to fellow bloggers. Sorry, I can never remember how to do that and want to get this posted)


Got a call from GeekGirl on Saturday afternoon. She was on the bike course following S.Baboo and gave me the low down. In summary, I should expect it to be hilly, bumpy, & scenic.

My friend & I left at about 2:30pm and drove through a storm. It quite windy when we arrived. We drove the bike course and I knew that this was going to be a challenge. I had little sinking feeling in my stomach and started feeling quite anxious about how the next morning would unfold.

We attended the pre-race meeting and the athlete's dinner, which was pretty good.

SWTriGal walked over to the car with us to admire my new steed (photo is of friend taking bike off car).

We called it an early night and slept well as per the plan.

We arrived plenty early in transition and got set up near the bike out. During the pre-race meeting, I was surprised by the Most-Wonderful-and-Supportive husband who had awakened at some rediculous hour to drive down alone so that he could be there to support me before and after the swim. I am SO BLESSED; I cannot tell you how much that meant to me.

They concluded the pre-race meeting with a blessing from a local Pastor and the National Anthem. I thought that was a nice touch.

The Swim

The swim was basically in the shape of a triangle. They started the race in two waves - men under 50, then everyone else. They started our wave when the men had cleared the second bouy. I counted to 10 and started swimming. This time, my swim was MUCH better, in that I didn't panic and need to flip on my back or anything. However, I did manage to swim terribly off course in the middle and probably added and extra two tenths of a mile, so my swim time wasn't so good. Despite this, my goal for the swim was simply to swim 'well' and not panic, and in my mind I accomplished this. Next time, I'll add 'stay on course' to my plan!!


I'm not sure where T1 officially started and the swim ended, but the run from the water to T1 was very long and uphill. I had placed my sandals near the water so I didn't have to trudge all that way barefoot. That was a good move. Husband was there to cheer me on. That really lifted my spirits. He made a point to let me know that he would be heading home and told me to have fun. I still can't believe he drove 2.5hrs each way just to stay for an hour or so. He SO ROCKS!! Other than that, T1 was pretty uneventful. My wetsuit came off easier than it did at Buffman Squeaky and I was happy about that.

The Bike

The bike was challenging, very challenging. But I must say that there were portions that were just absolutely BEAUTIFUL. As much as I was struggling, I couldn't help but enjoy it because of the scenery. At one point, I even caught myself singing out loud.

Cindy yelled "We're doing great" or something like that as she passed me at mile 6. I didn't see very many other cyclists out there, maybe three. It was a bit lonely.

They had bottle exchanges at miles 10 and 20. I picked up some water at mile 10.

I leap frogged with one woman who was having trouble with her wheel. She ended up getting a flat near the end and walked her bike into T2 (bummer!!).


It was a little disheartening to see people packing up to leave while I entered transition, but T2 seemed to go smoothly. I was very happy to be off my bike and start the run. I remembered to WoooHooo as per the plan. ;)

The Run

I started off happy to be running, and this quickly faded. The run course was difficult, more so than I expected and had trained for. It was hilly and hot. At my last Oly, I ran the whole thing. This time, I walked quite a bit. The first .8 miles was a bit of a trail run including a fairly steep uphill portion in sand!! :(

On my second mile, I saw SWTriGal and my friend, both looking strong out there. On the second Dam, I saw Cindy. We cheered and hooted for each other. That was a bright spot for me. :)

GeekGirl and her fellow Outlaws were manning the water station at the run turn point. Their station rocked and was by far the best out there. They even won a trophy for it. In addition to having water/gatorade, I was fully hosed down with a power squirt gun, a few folks dumped water on me per my request, and I was offered Gu (I refused, having just had one a half mile earlier).

With about a mile and half left, I really ran out of steam and two runners passed me including the lady who had walked her bike in with a flat.

After what seemed like an eternity, the finish line was finally within earshot. I crossed the line waving my arms in the air like a crazy woman.

Post Race

My friend got a massage while waiting for me to finish. I was hungry and took advantage of the food that they had out. All of my friends placed in their respective divisions. I loved cheering for them. The RD made a point to stop the awards when the final finisher was crossing the line so we could all cheer for her. That rocked.

I wish they had a slow-n-steady division (awards for the final three finishers in reverse order, wouldn't that be cool??). I wouldn't placed in that either, because I think I was fourth from last overall.


This was a first time event and a really well done race. The volunteers were awesome. I tried to thank everyone one of them when I passed them on the course. The RD did a great job; I'm planning to send her a note of thanks. The officials rocked and kept the course safe. My Totally-Awesome-Most-Wonderful Husband came down to watch me swim, which was incredible beyond words. The water was comfortable. The bike course was absolutely beautiful (albeit very challenging). The run wasn't so much fun for me, but we did get the unique opportunity to run across the Dam which has been closed to the public since 9/11. The only downside (and this is very minor) is that the shirts are plain white with black ink.

All-in-all, I'm glad I put this one on my calendar. It was a nice ending to my 2007 Tri season.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Something of a plan

Mon - Off
Tue - 2-3 mi easry run - didn't happen
Wed - 4.5mi run with hills - done
Thu - Upper body strength - done
Fri - Swim; 6 mi easy run
Sat - short, easy bike
Sun - RACE

Leave Sat 2pm - meet friend who is driving
Arrive Elephante Butte 5pm
Check in, packet pick-up
Drive bike course
Athlete's dinner/meeting
Early to bed
Sleep well
Bagel & PB at 6am
Arrive transition 6:30am
Stay calm
Swim well (good form)
Be happy
Luna bars and Accelerade on the bike
Spin easy up the hills
Don't worry about getting passed
Gel on the bike when 6mi left
WooHoo at start of run
H20/Gatorade from run aid stations
Gel at turn point
Enjoy the moment
Finish smiling
Thank volunteers
Come home
Post race report
Sleep well

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mental Prep

What's the opposite of being psyched out? Psyched in? Well, whatever it is, that is what I'm trying to do for myself.

Today Husband & I completed 18miles of our intended 20-30mile ride. This was not a fun afternoon to be riding, it was windy and rainy. I only got about 12miles and 2 of the 3 hills recorded by my Garmin because I accidently turned it off before we were done. Grrrrr. I really wanted data from the third hill.

We were tackling said hills in preparation for next week's Elephant Man Triathlon especially after seeing the reconnaissance report from SWTrigal.

According to my Garmin, that second little hill we did today climbs 200ft in about a half mile. I just barely made it to the top...slowly...but I did make it. The hill at the end of Elephant man is a 400ft climb over about 4 miles. I think a long slow climb is going to find me taking a long (slow) time. And the bike profile shows a lot of little rollers before we get to that climb. It's going to be challenging, but doable.

I expect my training this week to be hit and miss. Husband is travelling, so I'll be on my own during the work week to get the kids to school and such. This means no bike commuting, no early morning gym, and probably no morning runs. Sigh. I'll just do the best with whatever opportunities come my way and chalk the rest up to tapering.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chuggin' Along

Yesterday Cindy & I planned to go to Cochiti Lake and swim. We did go to Cochiti Lake and we did swim. But we did not swim *at* Cochiti Lake. As it turns out, yesterday was very foggy in the morning. We went in and out of fog on the way up to the lake hoping that it would clear up or be clear when we got there. No such luck. We got there and the gate was closed. DRAT!

Anyway, we were good and swam at the gym. It wasn't the same as swimming a mile or so in the lake, but I'm confident that we are both ready to do the swim at Elephant Man. Since she comments, but doesn't blog, feel free to leave some encouragement for her here - this will be her first Oly!! I'll be sure to pass it on. :)

This morning, I had a two hour block of time available to run. I took advantage of it and finished 9.5 milrd with a few minutes to spare. Tomorrow I'm hoping to complete some sort of middle distance bike ride (20-30miles) in the afternoon with Husband.

Daughter got 3 inches off her hair today. Despite the fact that she loves how her hair turned out and actually thanked me for taking her, all I could get on camera was her 'annoyed at Mom' look. LOL. That's life with a teenage girl.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What's on my mind today

1) GORP (Good Ol' Raisins & Peanuts)

Yummmm. I just love this stuff. I'm thinking of replacing some of the peanuts with soy nuts and adding some 'craisins' and/or other dried fruit and putting it in my bento box for my long rides. What would be better is if I could figure out how to bake this into some sort of bar so I could grab bite sized pieces rather than have to scoop up loose stuff. Someone suggested using peanut butter to glue it together and make balls & then roll it in powdered sugar...sounds messy to me.

2) Alternative Energy

Today I signed up to buy 300 KWatts of Wind Engery per month as part of my regular utility service. Wind energy is clean, uses no fossil fuels or water, and generates no waste. I've been looking at replacing my SUV with a Hybrid SUV (I have my eye on something that will be available next fall). With the kind of driving that I do, I could expect to run my car on the rechargeable battery fairly often. I also consider the use of "Lisa-Power" to get myself to work 2 days a week as a positive alternative energy source. I really should cycle more often to do errands.

I do think that our society as a whole needs to be more responsible about non-renewable resources and waste in general. My teenage son questions whether we can make a difference. I believe we *all* make a difference one way or another in the choices we make about recycling, energy sources, water use, etc.

3) Elephant Man.

The bike profile is scaring me. I"m just gonna' do what I can do, but the closer the race gets, the more freaked out I get about the bike portion.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Only my Nose is Running

Yep, that's right. Today's long run? Didn't happen. I know that it is okay to train as long as whatever ails me is above the neck, but I just felt miserable all day and didn't see the point is pushing myself. I slept in this morning *and* took a nap this afternoon. I actually feel better now than I did earlier today, so maybe I'm on the mend. Or maybe it's the cold medicine. LOL.

I was contemplating the missed run. I don't think it will impact me too greatly for Elephant Man (which is now only 2 weeks away). I do, however, think it might have been the deal breaker with regard to whether or not I attempt a second half marathon at the end of October. If I do another one, I really don't want to go in without the distance. I don't want to run more than 8 miles next weekend so that I'm in good shape for the Elephant Man the following week. I'll only do a 10K at the end of that Oly. So my next chance for a decently long (12ish) mile run will be the week after that. That will be after having long runs of 0, 8, 6 consecutively...maybe not such a great idea. I'll play it by ear. I'm really not sure I even *want* to run another half-marathon so this could all be a mute point.

After my nap, I spent some time on my bikes. First, I replaced the rear break pads on my Giant. I had replaced the front ones some time ago and the rears were in bad shape. Next I installed front and rear lights. My commute isn't in dark yet, but I've seen other bikes with their lights on in the early morning and I think it is a wise decision to help be visible to cars.

The last thing I did was swap the seats between the two bikes. The one on the left is what was on my LeMond, the one on the right is the cushy Rx Serfas gel saddle that I had put on my Giant. I took a picture, because I notice several differences. The Serfas is wider in the back and has never caused pain to the 'sit' area. The other saddle is narrower and has left me with some hot spots. Yes, that saddle is a pain in the butt! Also, the Serfas is split farther toward the front. The other saddle is actually solid at the very front. No wonder my tender female parts have been sore! Anyway, I can tolerate the uncomfortable saddle on my short commutes at least until I buy another Serfas or something else for my LeMond. But I am *not* doing any more long rides on that other saddle.

Ah...wouldn't you know it, Performance Bike has another sale going on. Husband wants a second pair of bike shorts (Ha! I've converted him!), and I'm looking for some of that highly reflective stuff to wear in the morning. Off to spend more $$...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bike and Sneeze

Woke up this morning sniffling and sneezing and my throat is scratchy. Drat! It seems I've caught a cold. That didn't stop us from our morning bike ride, although I wasn't breaking any speed records today. We only managed to cover 39miles in the time it took us to go 45miles on Labor Day. Oh well. Now, I wish I could figure out a way to strap a box of tissues to my bike...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Attack of the killer....mouse

This morning I completed another confidence-building open water swim with Cindy. I'm happy to report that I had no anxiety or panic attacks at all. I'm feeling good about the upcoming swim at ElephantMan.

Got home and showered right away. As I was getting ready to step out of the shower when a mouse came running full speed at me followed closely by our female cat. I shreiked in terror, surprising even myself. Anyone who heard me would have thought I was being attacked by a psycho killer, but alas, it was just a tiny mouse. Good golly! What is it with me and irrational fears lately?

Anyway, I high tailed it out of there and left the house to do errands, hoping that the cats would take care of this unwelcomed critter by the time I got home. I came home a few hours later and the cats were sleeping. I checked each room of the house for a legs-up mouse and found nothing. Crud! It must be in here somewhere, my luck it's lurking under my bed waiting to come at me again when I least expect it. And what's with the cats sleeping on the job?!?!?

I had to leave again for other errands and got back after Husband returned from work. The first thing he asked was, "What should we do about the mouse?"

"Oh crud, where is it?"

"In the shower. It's trapped and can't get out."

Gahhhh! I *knew* that mouse was coming after me in there!!!

Anyway, the mouse was subject to our own version of catch and release. But if it comes in again...I'm sicking the cats on it!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reflecting Back on Goals

I wrote some goals last December for this year. I figured this was a good time to reflect back and re-prioritize if needed since my race season is almost over.

Go Farther! - Mission Accomplished. This was my primary goal, and I've done what I set out to do.
1. complete 10K race - DONE
2. complete Olympic triathlon - DONE
3. complete half marathon - DONE

Go Faster! - Not gonna' happen this year, and that's OK.
1. under 27:35 min stand-alone 5K – just under 9min mi/hr – BWAHHH!! What was I thinking?!?!? I'm nowhere close and I'm really not working toward this.
2. under 01:30:00 at Socorro Chile Harvest Tri - Didn't do the race, but they changed the venue so it wouldn't have been apples to apples anyway.

Have fun! - For the most part, I think I've succeeded here.
1. Do 3 races of any sort just for kicks - not as stepping stones to farther or faster – 2 for 3 so far, Run for the Zoo and Gallup Tri. I think Elephant Man counts too.
2. No races because I feel “I have to” – only because “I want to” - DONE
3. Rockin’ race photos :) - This sounded good on paper, but I don't have race photos (much less rockin' ones) for most of the races that I did this year.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fact of the Day

Black widows are nocturnal. Only the female black widow bites humans, and she bites only when disturbed.

Apparently a female had taken residence on our hot tub patio and was 'disturbed' by Husband. She has since been evicted...permanently. He had a very uncomfortable local reaction, but nothing too serious.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Chips-n-Salsa Half-Marathon Finisher!!


1) My incredibly wonderful and loving husband surprised me by training for and signing up for the race without me knowing so that he could be there to support me. I discovered this on Thursday evening and was left speechless. I had absolutely no idea that he planned that or that he was ramping up his run mileage. I think it's one of the most romantic things he's ever done for me. I feel blessed beyond words.

2) Lia & I had exchanged a few blog comments and email suggesting we could run together which I thought would ROCK. I fully intended to follow up with her on Saturday, However, regretfully, I never found time on Saturday because...

3) Saturday was packed full! My teenage son had a full day (8-5) of band activities. After that, there were errands to run including an unsuccessful shoe shopping experience for my daughter (spent 1.5 hrs and no success...grrrr). By the time we finally made it home, we ate dinner and went directly to bed. I was wiped out. Son is at the left back row in this picture.


The race venue is not very far from my house, but we headed out early because they had stressed the importance of early arrival due to the number of people in the event and limited parking. We heeded the warning and left earlier than we might have otherwise. That was a good move. The parking situation seemed to get ugly shortly after we picked up our chips.I wondered if Lia was there and if I would be able to pick her out in the crowd. No luck on my part.

Cindy did manage to find me though. She had told me she would be wearing a red shirt. There was an entire running group clad in red shirts, so she was not going to be easy to find. My yellow hat, on the other hand, was a bit more unique. :)

I also found my friend from work that has been at every triathlon with me. She regularly runs 12 miles on Sundays, so this wasn't much more than a normal Sunday run for her.


It was a bit crowded for the first mile and I forgot to start my Garmin right away. It thinned out soon enough though. The plan was to run a mile, walk a bit, then run to the next mile marker, repeat, and that is what I did from the beginning.

It was an out and back and I wondered when I'd see the lead runners. The answer - mile 4. Man, they were booking it!! Next, I wondered when I'd see my friend from work and Cindy. The answer - somewhere between miles 5 and 6. They both looked great. Go, go, go!

I looked forward to each mile marker and the short walk to get my heart rate back down, catch my breath, and take care of nutrition/hydration. I was thrilled when we got to the turn point. I shouted "WoooHooo! Headin' home!!" I also realized that I was passing some of the walkers. Yessssss!!

Things got interesting at mile 8. I knew it was going to be a struggle from this point forward, and took an extra long walk break. It was mind over matter. I kept moving forward, but every step was begining to hurt...a lot.

My incredibly wonderful and loving husband had been running at my side. I could tell if was a struggle for him to try move this slow. He would turn around and run backwards. He would loop back behind me and then catch back up. I encouraged him to just go on ahead at his own pace to finish the race. We talked about this for most of mile 10. I finally convinced him that I would be fine and to go on ahead. When we hit the marker at mile 11, he took off ahead of me promising to be there for me at the finish.
My Garmin shows that my pace slowed way down after he left. I decided to take walk breaks every half mile at that point.

I wasn't alone for very long though. Before I had gone a half mile, my friend from work came running up the road to bring me in.
Those last few miles were PAINFUL. I hurt everywhere. I knew we were close, but yet still so far. My friend and I chatted to pass the time, and I kept moving forward.

Near the end, I saw my husband coming back up the road to join us. I felt like a rockstar with my own posse. When the finish was in sight, they both encouraged me to 'sprint it in', but my legs weren't having any of that. I finished with a 'strong jog' instead.

Across the line. beeeeeeep. I stopped. Someone gave me water and a medal. I was shaking. I couldn't believe how much pain I was in. I started walking to get out of the way of other finishers and all I could muster was a hobble.


They had apples and breakfast burritos and chips-n-salsa. I hobbled through the line and was afraid to stop moving for fear I wouldn't be able to start again. Hobbled over to the finish results, but they didn't have anything up past 2:00:00 yet, and I didn't want to wait around.Hobbled over to the car which seemed sooooo far away. Getting into the car was an ordeal. My legs just didn't want to cooperate. I practically had to lift my right leg with my arms.

I never declared my time predictions, but I'll share now.

My A goal was to finish between 2:30:00 and 2:45:00. That would require running about 12min miles. I thought that was doable, but would require mental toughness for miles 9-13 since I hadn't worked my long runs up as far as I had hoped.

My B goal was to finish between 2:45:00 and 3:00:00. That would require running about 13min miles. I figured that was realistic even if I ended up walking a lot of the last few miles.

My C goal (okay maybe my over-arching goal) was to finish strong and uninjured.

My finish time was something like 02:38:08. I'm sore, but happy. :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

half-mary planning

I never really declared an A race this year, so I've trained through most of my events. I'm trying out a mini-taper for the half-marathon, mostly an attempt to save my legs for Sunday. Mini-taper basically means no long bike rides on Saturday and an extra rest day this week. Hope it works out for me!!

Monday was 45mile bike
Yesterday was OFF
Today was bike (to work and errands) - 15miles
Tomorrow upper body strength at gym
Friday swim 2000M; easy 2-3 mile run
Saturday OFF
Sunday half-marathon & watch IM MOO!!

I'm planning on bringing my ipod nano and fuel belt with 3 bottles accelerade, one water, and two gels. I can get the rest from the course aid stations. Not sure what I'm wearing, but probably the yellow hat that is in my profile pic. I love that hat for running.

The route is changed this year. Usually, this event comes up into Loma Larga in Corrales which is practically my back yard (okay, not my back yard, but where I do my long runs). This year it goes up 4th (to 313?) to Bernalillo due to construction on Alameda. Drat! I lose a bit of a psychological edge, but I think the new route will have less traffic and hence be safer, so that is a plus.

Packet pick-up started today. I intend to get mine tomorrow!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Monday Miscellany

Saturday, I decided that I wanted to try Accelerade in powder form and bought some. Blue Raspberry to be exact.

Husband & I had today off work because it's Labor Day. Plus, the kids had spent the night up at Glorietta for the Lives Ablaze conference, not needing to be picked up until about 3pm. Yes, the rare night alone followed by nearly a full day without work or parenting responsibilities. I think Labor Day is now one of my favorite holidays.

We didn't have to get up early and had a leisurly morning. It was a beautiful day, so we decided to head out at about 9:15am for a bike ride.

By the way, when the powder form of Accelerade mixes up, it looks way different than the premixed kind. It's opaque and weird looking. If I didn't know that I liked their premixed kind already, there is no way you would get me to drink something that looks like that. But it came along on the ride. And it kind of matches the color of my bike. That made me laugh.

We ended up going 45 miles. My longest ride ever was 46 miles. I just don't seem to be able to break that.

It totally rocks that Husband enjoys cycling and we can ride together. I definately push it when I ride with him, but I was uttering bad things (gosh DARN IT, you fast-peddling-father-of-my-children, SLOW DOWN so I can catch up you skinny-legged-cycling-ANIMAL!!) under my breath when I had to kick it up to 20-21MPH to catch up with him because he had settled into an 18-19 MPH pace and I had fallen behind.

Perhaps this is why I enjoy riding with women that are happy going at a slower pace. I think I could go even farther if the pace was right.

One downside to the longish ride today - my 'tender female parts' were not feeling very good when we were done. I think I may need bike shorts with better padding or something like that. Ladies, if you have any suggestions, please email me.

And for the record, the weird looking Accelerade tasted just fine. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. I even mixed up some more when I got home.

The kids are back home, laundry needs to be done, and tomorrow I need to get up early and go to work. Guess my holiday is over, but it was fun while it lasted. :)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Dream it, then do it.

On the ride home from Buffman&Squeaky Triathlon in May, I decided that I was going to run the Chips-n-Salsa half-marathon this year. I signed up a few days later and have had three full months to prepare. I even put a count down to this particular race on my blog.

That being said, I now find myself one week out from my longest planned run ever, the half-mary itself.

This morning I ran 8.3 miles. Eight miles is becoming a comfortable distance. That's progress, and something that I feel good about. But 8 miles won't be enough on Sunday. Somehow, next weekend I need to dig in and find 5 more miles in me to get to the finish line.

I have calculated an expected finish time based on my training paces. I've looked at the finish times from last year. I can predict that I will be one of the last to cross the line. At first I thought that at least the walkers would be behind me, but they are letting them start 30mins earlier, and it's entirely possible that I may not catch up with them.

I've been one of the very last before, and I know what it feels like. You know what? It's actually not so bad.

13.1 miles for the first time, on my own terms, & at my own pace to the finish line. That's what my race is going to be about next Sunday.

Bring it on!!