Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Today was my daughter’s first day of middle school. She seemed a little timid getting on the bus, like she wasn’t sure she was quite ready. Joey was totally stoked to go off to school—he met his teacher last week and seemed to really like her. He has a couple of buddies in his class who he hasn’t had in his class since kindergarden or 1st grade so he’ll be happy to reestablish those friendships. Here’s of pic of them this morning:
Labor Day weekend is always bittersweet. Nothing like having perfect beach weather right when you have to trundle the kids back off to school. It was a great weekend though.
Saturday was my longest bike ride ever—80 miles of east-end fun with Karen (training for ChesapeakeMan), Heidi (IMAZ), coach MarcoDiablo, and fellow IMFL peeps Sharon, Shawn, Patty, Charlotte, and KateG. The day didn’t start out great; there’s something ominous about having your coffee spill all over you and the car at 6am in the morning. I was trying a little variation in my nutrition by filling my on board bottles with concentrate that I could then just add water to during our scheduled stops. At mile 30 though, I hit a pothole and dropped a water bottle. I almost caused a crash turning around to get it (sorry guys!) and then couldn’t catch back up. Karen luckily came and got me, then pulled my sorry ass back up to the group. We didn’t stop again until mile 60. By the time we were riding by the airport (about mile 70) I was counting down the miles, trying to just get through the ride. I was tired, sick of eating Clif Blocks, and getting a little (ok, maybe a lot) chafed. The last 5 miles were tough, but I must admit I was very happy I didn’t then have to run 8 miles like the other Florida girls. I grabbed lunch and a quick dip in the pool on the way home, before throwing the dog in the car to follow Joe and the kids to the beach.
I had signed up for the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon on Sunday, and somehow had talked Lynn into running with me (I think she did it more out of desire to hang at the beach, than to run…) Turns out there were a couple of other TriGirls running too—Heidi, Jill, and Trish! Sunday morning was another early one (5:30am wake up calls both Sat and Sun = Yuck) and, standing in our starting corral at 7am, quite hot and muggy. Lynn and I found Heidi before the race, and Jill and Trish at about mile 3. My plan was to just get the milage in, try to stay well-hydrated given the heat, and finish with a smile on my face. Lynn helped me pace well, and the first 6 miles flew by and luckily were quite shady. The next 3 miles sucked. They wound through the naval base just south of Virginia Beach and offered no shade. At this point I started in with some Gu (found a new flavor!) and tried to keep ahead of the hydration game. Mile 9 was when we started seeing runners really struggling and showing the effects of the heat. I was quite happy that we ran a faster last 5k than first 5k, and Lynn and I finished together right at 2:20. Not a PR, but then again not bad for having biked to kingdom come the day before.
That afternoon, back at the beach house, we lounged pool-side. Ah, what bliss. My friend from grad school Vanessa drove out and joined us, and the three of us had a good time chit chatting and eating mostly junk food out by the pool all afternoon while the kids swam. Lynn’s husband pulled in around 5:30 and after a quick jaunt with the dogs down to the ocean, we met up with Joe for seafood and crabs at our favorite local crab shack. After dinner, it was all I could do to keep my eyes open, and despite our best intentions to get the party on, we all were in bed by 10:30.
Yesterday we spent the first half of the day down on the beach, but we all had to pack up and head home in the early afternoon. It was hard closing up the house—the weather was downright gorgeous and the ocean was warm. But we knew we needed to get home and help the kids get organized for this morning. They were in bed by 8:15, and zonked by 8:30. I was feeling good too—despite being quite tired both Saturday and Sunday, I was well recovered by yesterday, which I will take as a good sign. This week will be a tough one, but I’m sure I can handle it!
Many warm congratulations to our TriGirl/Maramarc Ironman Louisville finishers:
*Joan—her first Ironman, and she finished in under 14 hours! Way to rock that course, girl!
*Our erstwhile swim coach Som—he has ironman #3 of 6 this year under his belt.
*and Carlton, who overcame some mechanical issues on the bike.
Those were tough conditions out there and you persevered!
So, I'm thinking a little more about how my second 1/2 iron (since I never really finished my second--I DNF'd at the Patriot half) compares to my first. The splits come out as follows:
42:21swim 4:31T1 3:24bike 5:23T2 2:18run
44:57swim 3:57T1 3:26bike 3:17T2 2:27run
I'm improving on my transition times somewhat, but those have to include sit-in-the-grass-and-pee time. I'm not one for fancy flying mounts or keeping my shoes clipped to the bike, so maybe these are as good as it gets. The run....hmmmm. I don't know. Timberman run was, like the bike, a hillier course. Some day I'd like to break 2:10 (maybe even 2hrs, but that's a different post) in a half marathon, but I doubt it'll ever be in a 1/2 iron. I do need to keep my head down and swim more instead of stopping every now and then and chatting with the kayakers about the weather or where I'm going--unless I'm lost or really off course.
I think what those splits show is that I have gotten stronger on the bike. Eagleman is flat as a pancake, and while there was some wind we had pretty ideal conditions that day. Timberman is drastically different because of the hills. I maintained virtually the same average speed in both races(which is still a slow 16ish mph), but given the tough hills at Timberman, I am happy with that. There is no way I would've done that well last year on such a hard course--my bike split from Patriot was 3:46 and I don't think that course was as demanding as Timberman. I think this bodes well for next year's Placid training. I'm more determined to keep up the strength training in the off season (which should make Marco Diablo very happy) which can only help, right?
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I am also starting to think that I'm going to be slow as molasses, and not make any cut offs. I'm thinking too much about the swim and how I'll need to fight for space, where I'm going to cram all that damn food I need to take on the bike (Annn, I'm seriously happy for my enhanced bosom right now--I know I can always cram some gels in there!), and how dreadfully slow that marathon will be if I can't run pain free for more than 10 miles. I know I will never be fast enough to qualify for Kona, and I'm totally ok with that. But I also don't want to be that person crossing the finish line at 17:00:08, or worse yet not anywhere near the finish line at midnight. I don't want to turn back into a pumpkin!
My husband was a dear for coming to the TriGirl IM dinner on Saturday, sitting through questions about packing stuff, nutrition, bike shorts, race gear, you name it. He was, up till yesterday, blissfully unaware of how long these saturday training sessions will be. I've tried very hard to maintain some semblance of normalcy in front of him, to pretend that Florida is not on my mind virtually every minute. I don't know how much longer I can keep up the facade that I'm plugging along merrily and juggling things just fine. If I was Bill the Cat from Bloom County, I'd be spitting up one NASTY huge hairball right now. I still might...
On anther note, I've been meaning to post about our last day in New England. We drove down to Gloucester, MA Monday morning to take the kids whale watching. Maddy is totally into whales right now (she sleeps with 3 stuffed ones), and joined a whale conservation support club. There never is any guarantee that you'll see whales on these cruises, but the weather was perfect and we were optimistic. We ended up finding a pod of 6 humpacks, 2 of which were juveniles. The young whales couldn't dive deep for food, so it made them easier to follow, and boy--they didn't disappoint! At the end of our time on the water, the young whales were breaching! I never thought we'd see them so close up, and then to have them splashing around was just amazing. I wish now I had a better camera, but here are some pictures.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
So isn't this the prize that all moms/wives get after every vacation? The laundry pile from hell...all the more fun with the addition of really stinky, still wet race clothes, including running shoes! Peeeeeyyyoouu! It was a great trip--New Hampshire was beautiful, Boston was fun, racing with my friends is always a good time, and through it all we had picture perfect weather. I'll rewind and start at the beginning:
The kids and I met Joe at the Boston airport on Wednesday morning after a crazy two days of yet another doctor's visit for my Baker's cyst, laundry (trips always start and end the same!), house cleaning, and scheduled workouts. After a quick breakfast at the hotel and change into shorts, we headed out to follow the Freedom Trail. Maddy is a big history buff, and liked seeing Paul Revere's burial place and house.
I was amazed that the house is still standing--when Revere bought the house in 1770, it was already 90 years old! We headed back to the hotel after a late lunch so I could take a much needed nap (I only had 4 hrs of sleep the night before) while Joe took the kids to Tomb. That evening, a business collegue of Joe's had given us tickets to see the Red Sox play at Fenway, and we hopped into a bike-taxi rickshaw thing to get us there. We had great seats, just behind home plate, and the Red Sox won their game against the Texas Rangers handily.
Thursday we headed north, toward New Hampshire, after a quick stop to see Harvard Yard and lunch in Concord, MA. By then the kids had just about had their fill of the educational part of the trip, and were anxious for lake swims. As we got off I93, we found our first lobster roll. Mmmmm mmmm. The lake area up there is just amazing--on the far side of Lake Winnipesaukee, you see the White Mountains rising up, and all around the lake are woods of pine, aspen, and maples. It must be such a show at peak foliage time. We stayed in a great hotel, thanks to Annn, with themed rooms with lake views. Ours was a western theme, complete with Roy Rogers wagon wheel headboards. The kids had fun at the arcade at Weir's Beach before our dinner of...you guessed it, lobster!
The rest of the TriGirls doing Timberman pulled into town either late Thursday or early Friday. Before meeting up with some of them, we rented a small boat (glorified row boat!) and tooled around the lake and had a picnic on board. The kids were brave enough to jump in the water and swim around. The water was so clear, but also much chillier than the pool back home.
We then met up with Bethany and Bart at the race site for a quick warm up swim. The lake that afternoon was not very choppy, but we also stayed quite close to shore. Maddy and Joey had a good time playing in the sand and swimming. On the way back to the hotel we hit the race expo and pick up our packets. By Saturday, it was time to start gearing up for the race. Joe took the kids up to the White Mountains for some hiking, and ended up spending most of the day at some kitchy but fun frontier-type place. I spent the afternoon with Sharon, Mary, Lynn and sherpa Dave--swimming some more (much more chop!) and trying out a Guru bike at the expo. That evening I racked my bike, enjoyed a quiet carb-load dinner with Joe at the hotel restaurant (no lobster), and hit the sack after watching Michael Phelps swim for #7.
I don't know why, but I always get nervous and don't sleep well the night before a particularly long workout or race. I spend the whole night half-asleep, very aware of the passage of time, and never get up feeling completely rested. I guess it didn't help that many of the other triathletes staying at our hotel decided to leave between 3 and 4am. Our windows were open and we heard every car door slam and engine start. Finally by 4:20 I threw in the towel and got out of bed. I had to really work hard to choke down breakfast--I envied the girl who brought her french press and cereal. Joe graciously gave me and another triathlete a ride to the race site, and we got there by 5:45. I set up my transition, pumped up my tires, loaded up my water bottles and food, and found my friends. Simon Lessing, who won Timberman the year before, was staying in my hotel, and I thought when I first saw him that he was a pro. I had chatted briefly with him up at the hotel. While he was getting all set up in transition (he had race #1!), I stopped by to say hi, wish him luck, and tell him I was going to try to catch him. He said "You do that!" Yeah right! Before long it was time to lube up, get into the wetsuits, and head down to the swim start. Thank God, cuz I had to pee!
That 1.2 miles always looks so damn long, and Susie, Patty, Shawn, Mary and I went off in the third swim wave, after the pros and men 50+. It was a large wave (all women 40+), which made for IM-like washing machine conditions in the beginning. I've never had to really jockey for swim space before and I'm not sure I like it. I also can't figure out how to catch a good draft--I get worried about getting kicked in the face or something that I prefer to swim alone, with lots of empty space around me. For a lake swim, it got pretty choppy since it was a pretty breezy morning. Even before the first bouy, I passed Team Hoyt and commented to another swimmer how inspirational it was to see them out there. By the first bouy I was finally able to settle into something of a rhythm, but I need to practice breathing between swells and maybe take some ginger or dramamine before hand. My sighting was fine, even with the sun coming up on our left after the last turn bouy. Swim split was 44:57. I guess I took my time in both transitions (over 3 mins for both), maybe I should eliminate socks (ouch), biking gloves (snot rag), or switch to yankz on my running shoes.
I think the bike went pretty well, considering I had no idea what to expect. I lost my bike computer within the first mile, so had no way to gauge my speed or cadence other than by my watch. It turns out that the first 15 miles or so of the course are super hilly, and since it's an out and back course, the last 15 miles are hilly too, but the downhills were lots of fun. I was able to keep my eye on the riders in front of me to avoid potholes and prepare for turns. Miles 20-30 were out this highway, with a short loop into a town to turn around. There seemed to be a head wind each way of that leg and by this time I was getting passed by everyone and their dog. I briefly introduced myself to Mel's husband as he passed, and cheered for Chris Waterstraat as he flew by. Susie passed me on the bike, and I caught up to Shawn who made it out of the water before me. I biked for a while with each of them, before Susie dropped me like a bad habit on one of the hills. That girl can climb! It was so great seeing most of the TriGirls out there, yelling a quick hello and good job. Bike split: 3:26, avg speed 16.3 mph.
The run, according to Lynn, was supposed to be FLAT. NOT. It was a 2 loop run, which hugged the shore for about 2 miles and had some great shade but had a few painful hills. I was hoping to catch Joe and the kids spectating before heading out on the run but didn't see them. Turns out they got to the race site (not a very efficient shuttle service...) just after I left transition. I was feeling pretty good at the start of the run, with just a little cramping in my calf. I was able to take some salt tabs and it went away. The first 6 miles seemed to go pretty quickly, and Karen caught up to me and ran with me a while. I loved seeing all the TriGirl peeps--it helps morale quite a bit! Joe caught me at the end of the first loop. I was disappointed that the kids weren't there, but so happy to see him. The second half of the run is where it gets really hard and having him tell me I looked strong was great. It had warmed up quite a bit, and temps were probably in the mid 80s. The cold sponges were great for cooling off and wiping off the sweat, but didn't help the sore legs. At mile 10 I was ready to be done. Those last miles are such a battle to keep moving at a decent pace but I knew Joe and the kids were waiting for me. Maddy and Joey ran me in to a final time 6:46, just 12 minutes slower than my Eagleman time.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The Timberman race report will come Tuesday, after we go whale watching with the kids on the way back to Boston.
Safe travels to my fellow TriGirls.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Since Shawn, Sharon and I did our long ride last weekend, this weekend was a scheduled long run. Luckily Sunday was just as pleasant as Saturday. We met up at Shawn's house at 7:30 and headed out for our first loop. Shawn chose our route this morning and gave us the option of one long 14 mile loop or two shorter loops--an 8 and 6 miler. We chose the two loops which allowed for a water/potty stop back at the house. The 8 mile loop was quite enjoyable--running through Ginter Park and oogling the beautiful houses--with the exception of the crazy lady in the BMW convertible that yelled at us to "get out of the road," when we were running single file and there was NO other traffic. Dumb ass. The second loop was painful and seemed much longer than the first. I did get to run through Bryan Park, a first in my 13 years here in Richmond and spend some fun time bonding with my fellow IMFL peeps. On my return home I sat in an ice bath, then again took another 2 hour nap. Yum.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Monday was Joey's birthday. I can't believe my sweet man is 9 years old. It was the birthday of all things Star Wars. He got to open one present that morning--more legos of course--and had a good time putting it together while I went for a run. Joe took the afternoon off and we went to Water Country outside Williamsburg to play! On the agenda for the evening, per Joey's request, was dinner at the japanese steak house (which due to getting home from the water park late was postponed until Wednesday night), and more present opening, and cupcakes. The birthday party with his buddies was Tuesday. Laser tag, followed by more cupcakes and ice cream chez Oliver.
Joey on the Hubba Hubba Highway.
Joey and his dad.
Kate caught in a really FLATTERING pose!
Joey and his buddies.
There are some training related lessons I've learned over the past week:
- Last weekend I was in bed, curled up on my side, and ASLEEP by 9:30 Friday (due to the 4:30 wake up call), Saturday (post 70 mile bike), AND Sunday (why not!?). I have decided early bed times are a good thing. Usually Joe and I trundle up to bed around 10:30 or even 11, and then between brushing teeth, 'jaminating, and reading it's pushing 11:30 when we turn off the lights. I'll be hard pressed to do that on Tuesday nights, since the late workout means dinner at 9pm and there's still another snack to eat before bed.
- Tina the nutritionist has me eating all the time. I've been saying "I can't go to bed yet, honey. I need to eat more food" quite often. In addition to more sleep, the more food has been a good thing. I'm not bonking during workouts, but if I miss that pre-work out snack, or not eat enough at lunch, I really notice it during the next training session. Maybe I should push dinner up to 6pm?
- I've been running at the wrong time of day (usually after 10:30am) when it starts getting really hot out, and inevitably feel that my runs suck. I will be well acclimated to the heat for the run portion of Timberman next weekend. I'm have my fuel belt, and there's the water along the course. I may even throw a small wash cloth in my transition area to bring with me and dunk in ice water if it gets really warm. Anything to simulate my dropped-cooler West Creek runs.
- My 350 calorie/hr plan on the 70 mile bike worked well, even if I had to take in gu's. The missing piece to this puzzle is now the electrolytes. I have another meeting with Tina today, and I'll try out her suggestions this weekend during my ride and long run.
The rest of this week is more of the same: training, eating, sleeping. We leave next Wednesday for Boston, then drive up to New Hampshire on Thursday for Timberman. It should be a fun weekend! Happy training everyone.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Thursday I rode out in West Creek alone--accomplishing a 30 mile ride in about 1:45. I was able to take advantage of Joey's morning playdate to get the work out at 11am instead of waiting until 5:30 when I had scheduled a babysitter. I'm not particularly fond of riding alone, since I never feel like I push myself hard enough and my average speed drops to like 12mph. Not this time, though! I managed to keep my speed to between 17 and 18mph for each 10 mile loop at West Creek. By the time I got home at 1pm, it was about 98 degrees out and miserably hot. Joey and I hit the pool, which was surprisingly refreshing. Too often when we've had back to back to back days in the high 90s the pool starts feeling like bath water or even a hot tub. Yuck. That evening, I noticed my supposedly "good" knee was quite swollen, especially the area right behind the knee. I've been trying to ignore some twingy things--feeling a little instability in that knee, swelling, and sometimes not being able to completely straighten the leg. I haven't had any pain in that knee, but it's just annoying. Squatting and kneeling are tough. Plugging those symptoms into a google search is never a good thing--I kept coming up with dire diagnoses like a torn PCL. Considering the workout on tap for the weekend (70 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway) I was anxious to figure it all out.
Friday morning I called over to Dr. Cutter's office to see if they could get me in for him to look at the knee. By 10am I had seen him and an MRI scheduled in an hour--luckily he said the knee felt stable, meaning no ligament damage, but the swelling could be from a torn meniscus. Joey was a champ for sitting through first the doctor's appointment, then waiting while I had the MRI. He was entertained with his new Star Wars lego set that the grandparents had sent for his birthday. I spent the afternoon close to the phone, doing really fun stuff like mopping the kitchen. I finally heard from Dr. Cutter at 4. I have a Baker's cyst, also called a popliteal cyst. It is caused by knee joint fluid protruding to the back of the knee (popliteal area of the knee). The knee joint fluid is compressed by the body weight between the bones of the knee joint, and becomes trapped and separates from the joint to form a fluid-filled sac--thus the bulge behind my knee. Dr. Cutter said surgery was not necessary, and just prescribed over the counter anti-inflammatories and ice. If it gets any worse, they can drain it with a needle or give me a cortisone shot. He suggested that riding hills may not be good since that's harder on the knees. No BRP for me, which given the ride that those who went had may not have been such a bad thing! (For details, read Fave's blog.)
With hill riding out of the question, I was able to join three of my fellow IMFL trainees Shawn, Sharon, and Patti, along with IMWI trainee Heidi, and TriGirl Jill for 75 miles of East End fun. Shawn and Sharon like to start early. Rendezvous time was scheduled for 6am at a boat landing about 15 miles south of the airport. I got up at 4:30 to pack the car and load the cooler with drinks and food, including a few post-workout Coronas. After a quick stop to pick up Jill, we zipped down the Chippenham Parkway and only took one wrong turn before finding the boat landing and pulled in at 5:55. Other than the Bass Master guys, we were the only TriGirls there. HELLO?! Kate Oliver early for something? Notify the papers, the armageddon is at hand.
Shawn and Sharon soon showed up, putting to rest my fears that Jill and I would be riding around blind for hours, waiting for that magical "70" to show up on my odometer. Just as we were ready to pull out, Patty and Heidi pull up. Those girls got ready lickety-split! In less than 5 minutes, they were locked and loaded, ready to ride. Our route took us through some great riding areas--Richmond Battlefield Park, Charles City, and beautiful back country roads. We all paced well together and after the 50 mile mark didn't have to brow beat Patti into staying single file anymore! RR, you missed our local (dead) fauna: in addition to the 4 opossum, we saw 1 rabbit, 1 skunk, and 1 fawn. I worked hard to stay aero as long as possible, and managed to keep on top of my nutrition. Our new joke is now not how far you've ridden, but how many blow jobs it was. Saturday's ride was a 3 blow jobber. (I am not convinced that Gu's are the way to go--I have a real hard time swallowing!) I still need to work on getting in the electrolytes. Our 40 minute T-run at noon sucked--it was really hot and I just died out there. Shawn, who took in her electrolytes at our last stop on the bike, was the picture of stick-to-it-ness, and Jill--well, she's a special case. She's now our resident over-achiever. When we were all done, we formed our little circle of happiness in the shade and popped those beers. Those Coronas never tasted so good!
While I was out riding all over the middle peninsula, Joe and Joey drove west to pick up Maddy from camp. Three weeks was a long time without my Moo. She had such a good time, and came home full of stories about having swum half a mile, dancing with boys (!), and singing new camp songs. On the way back from camp, Joe took them to the Mitchie Tavern for lunch, which is my kids' absolute favorite place to eat. Think "colonial" fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and canned green beans all served up on pewter plates by costumed waitresses. A visit to Charlottesville is never complete without eating there. That night, we were all exhausted, and I was in bed and OUT by 9pm, barely beating the kids to sleep. The family is now all joking that come September, the kids will be putting me to bed before 8. Now wouldn't that be bliss?
More to come...