Sunday, June 29, 2008

On Blue Ridge Rides, Beaches, and Races

Ok. So I've been AWOL. Hopefully this post will bring everyone up to date.

First up, our first Blue Ridge Parkway ride.
Many TriGirls, and some others, are signed up for a little 1/2 iron race in New Hampshire called "Timberman" this August. I believe the beautiful Susie Q is to blame for getting us all to sign up by saying something about being up there visiting family, thinking of doing it, and "who's in?" Apparently, not many TriGirls can pass that up. Add TriGirls sitting around a computer drinking wine and talking about races, and inevitably it'll turn into a frenzy of registering for at lease one race, right Deanna? New Hampshire is hilly, which in Coach Blake's world equals yummy.

In addition to our oh so fun Tuesday night hill rides with Coach Blake, he had lined up for us a series of three rides on Virginia's Blue Ridge Parkway. Ride #1 was June 21st (two Saturdays ago). On tap for us Timberman and IMFL folks, a 45 mile ride and running afterwards. The subsequent rides will all increase in milage. In chorus now can I hear you say, "YUMMY!"

This is a map and elevation profile of our milage. We park at mile 13, ride down to mile 0, back up to mile 23, then home to mile 13. (OK, I just did the math, and that's actually 46 miles.) If you go by the mapmyride elevations, we climbed over 2000 feet. Ironman Jeff drove an SUV full of girls and bikes (and some wine and beer) that day--I had been slated to drive, but I grabbed the opportunity to be a passenger instead. In addition to the two of us, there was Melissa, Deanna, and Lynn. As a group, there were 23 of us on the ride. The weather was absolutely perfect. Overcast and quite cool in the morning, which turned into blue skies and warm in the afternoon. Post ride, we feasted on hummus, pita chips, and beer before heading down the mountain for some great BBQ! The day in pics:

Beach week!
That Saturday while I was punishing my legs on the BRP, husband Joe packed up the kids and beach toys and headed to the new beach house in Sandbridge, just south of Virginia Beach. Sophie and I joined them on Sunday. It was a great week, doing a whole lotta nothing. Maybe I shouldn't say nothing, because over the course of the week I did install the new window treatments in the living room and dining room, get all the new furniture installed in the living room (and the nasty, frat-house looking sectional OUT), swam a bit, started and finished Pillars of the Earth, hung out with my sister and the kids, and went for a 2 hr bike ride.

What I didn't do was run. I know I'll pay for it this week, but it was hot. Like almost 100 by 10am hot. Which is ok when your A/C works, but the new A/C system we had to install two weeks ago still needed tweaking. Friday was spent dealing with the A/C man and finding more things to spend money on. Here are beach pics:

So that brings us to today, and the RACE!
When we pulled back into town yesterday, I noticed lots of people going over to the local tri shop, which is just up the street from me and remembered that today was the "I Love the Tavern" Sprint Tri. I realized that many of my usual training buddies had either done their long brick yesterday, or were racing this morning, leaving me high and dry to get a long brick workout done all by myself in sweltering temperatures. Not a fun prospect. Luckily they still had walk-up registrations available, so I signed up! On tap at 7am this morning, a 750m open water swim, 19 mile bike, and 5k trail run. Other than a crappy swim in 85 degree water, I think the race went really well. I passed more people on the bike than passed me (which I think is a first!), and was able to push pretty well on the run despite the rising temps. I finished in 1:51. I don't know what my splits were, but will post them when they're available. There was a good showing of TriGirl pink on the course, and I felt good about getting back into the swing of "race season." This was my first tri of the year! Can you believe that IMFL is just 4 months away???!!! Ack.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dads, Grads, and Races

This past weekend was a good one: the kids finished school on Friday; I placed third in my age group in the 1 mile open water swim race on Saturday, and then had a good brick workout Sunday morning; and Joe got to throw out the first pitch at the Richmond Braves baseball game on Father's Day. As soon as I get pics from the swim, I'll post those. The rest of the weekend in pictures:

Maddy's 5th grade graduation/honors assembly.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Inspirational Women

This past weekend, two brave TriGirls finished the Chesapeake Bay 4.4 Mile Swim. My dear friend Heidi had finished the 4.4 mile swim a few years ago, and I remember from her experience that it was a very difficult, lonely, and potentially dangerous undertaking.

  • Deanna was one of the 9 girls that had finished IMFL just last November, and I watched her all last year work diligently on her training. She worked especially hard on her swimming, which I think she felt was her weakest discipline, and that work continued this year to great success.
  • Jonah has in my opinion always been a strong swimmer, but with two young children at home dedicating the time to this type of training is a big sacrifice. She was always there both for master's practices and TriGirl swims, plugging away in the "grind it out" lane.

I am honored to train and race with these women--who tackle such tough races with incredible grace and courage. Congratulations!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Just a quick update--about a dozen of us started yesterday's bike at about 6:30am in an effort to beat the heat. TriGirl Sharon put together a nice 30 mile loop, out on country roads with some welcome shady spots. I still had to work hard to keep up with Karen and Shelley, on their first bike ride post IMBrazil, and stay in their draft. Off the bike, many were leaving to run in shadier spots (if running at all). I dropped my cooler, plugged in the ipod, and took off. Having the fuel belt really helped--I had frozen the bottles filled w/Endura, and 10 minutes into the run they were drinkable. The schedule called for 8 miles, but running our regular loop of that distance would have included two really big, no-shade hills. Instead I opted to do the 6 mille loop and shady "nub," for a total of 7 1/4 miles. With two stops at the cooler to refuel and cool off, the run took me 1:15. Not blazing by any stretch, but I was just glad to have done almost all of the workout before the heat really settled in. Our record breaking high temp yesterday in Richmond--over 100!

MANY CONGRATULATIONS to Jen Harrison who placed in the top 10 of her age group at ITU worlds in Vancouver!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Heat Advisories

Joy of joys. At 6am tomorrow it will be in the mid 70s, with almost 90% humidity. By 9am, it's supposed to feel like 90 degrees, with almost 70% humidity. I went out and bought a fuel belt last night, and the little bottles are full of Endura and currently sitting in the freezer. I'm sure by the time we start the run, they'll be liquid again. I've got the cooler, clif shot blocks, and extra water ready to go. I'm hoping IronKateMonster is right and training in this crap makes us stronger (as long as it doesn't kill us)! Best wishes to those racing this weekend--at Eagleman and Vancouver, and especially to TriGirl40 and TriMom Jonah swimming the Chesapeake Bay 4.4 miler on Sunday! I wish you all cool(er) temps, gentle breezes, and a following current!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Brick by Brick how you get to Ironman. This weekend was my first weekend (long) brick workout since last October, when I biked 50 and ran 10 with TriGirl Lynn in her last pre-IMFL workout. I am not counting the indoor cycling/run workouts of early this year, why, I don't know. Outside workouts count differently in my mind; they're just different than riding inside and running outside. Maybe just I didn't have my trainer tight enough. But I digress...
I had done a track workout (again, my first in a long time) on Friday since I can't seem to get my lazy ass out of bed before 7am on Thursdays. So those TriGirl morning speed workouts at the Vita course aren't happening yet. I guess I should shout out to some of my fellow IMFL trainees and TriGirls, to arrange some carpool situation, or something, to really motivate me to get me out of bed. OK, I'm still digressing here....
So Saturday morning rolls around, my legs are tired, I'm tired since it's cheeks on seats at 7am or I ride/run alone. I was a good girl Friday night and came home from dinner with my grad school friends early, so I did get enough sleep and I've been eating copious amounts of food for two weeks now. But I just can't seem to keep up with my fellow Florida girls. A dropped chain at mile 23 didn't help. By mile 25 of 30, coach Blake catches up with me. "Keep your cadence at 90," he says. "But then I spin like mad and go nowhere," says I. "Easy work over sustained time," he counsels me. "But what good is that if I'm riding ALONE, miles behind my friends?" I ask. Coach Blake is good--he seems to know almost every TriGirl's A race, and what races she's done so far, and pretty much the right thing to say to get her to do what she needs to do. Have I told you that he's finished Ironman Lake Placid, the toughest IM course in North America? He has been where I doubt I could ever go--but he is able to instill a quiet calm and confidence in me that makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I could. "They've already done a half iron and a century ride this year, where your attention was rightly focused on graduating. Of course they're in better shape. But you WILL get there. Patience," is the gist of what he then said to me. So I put the damn bike into an easier gear, upped my cadence, and tried hard to spin my way back into the pack. Luckily I finished the ride just a couple of minutes behind my friends. Then it was time to run.
Have I said that summer has arrived in Richmond? That the temps the past couple of days have been in the high 80s, with some thick humidity, even at 9am? The run was going to be HOT, and we were supposed to do it in a negative split.
I've come to rely on dropping a cooler w/ water, ice, and sports drinks at about the halfway point in our 6 mile run loop out at West Creek (where we usually do our Saturday workouts). I'm so glad I planned ahead this weekend too. I've had water bottles and coolers stolen/taken on those long brick workouts--so I've labeled my litte red cooler for "TRIGIRLS ONLY--DO NOT REMOVE." Thank god for that red cooler. 2.5 and 5 miles into the run, the only thing that keeps me going is knowing I can pour cold water on my neck and stuff my bra with ice. Last summer it was a life saver, and Saturday was no different. As we look ahead to August, I'll be packing two coolers, so on 10-12 mile runs we can have a "water stop" at every 4 miles or so. We finished the run in a little over an hour, which included two water stops, and for me a sit in the grass (Love those quick-dry skorts!)
The good news from this week:
  • I've pretty much made it back to full training mode, including several bike/run workouts, without any knee issues. PT said that they will discharge me next week if I'm still pain free. I guess that means no more massages from Kent...but also no more dragging a 90lb sled down a corridor. I'll have to pick up strength training again at Maramarc instead, but I'll be in good company.
  • I need to keep up w/ yoga and my foam roller to keep those IT band issues at bay.
  • Time also to focus on getting in the pool at least 2-3 times per week to swim (lounging at our pool working on a tan apparently doesn't count. Damn.)
  • Our fearless Brazil folks are back stateside! Time to celebrate!
Finally, I'd like to congratulate all the TriGirls who finished their first triathlon, the Shady Grove Sprint this weekend! I wasn't able to be there to cheer them on (sleepovers and golfing husbands), but from what I hear all had a good time and raced well. To my blogger friend Marit, kudos to you too for your first post-injury ow swim. I hope it went well. And best wishes to Jen as she heads off this week to kick some butt at the ITU Worlds in Vancouver--you will rock!