Monday, May 31, 2010

Tri for Joe Duathlon - race results

I came in 4th out of 4 in my age group ;)

Overall I was 58th out of 89.

Here are the times. Unfortunately (and annoyingly) they didn't break out the transition times. I have no idea why...there were mats. ?!?!  So my first run is right. Then my bike had my T1 time included in it. Then my last run had my T2 time included in it. I can figure out my T2 time because I know my second run time. I'll just add a few more seconds on to T1's time (because coming in from the run to the bike is a little slower for me) and we'll call it official:

Run 1:  26:36  |  65th rank  |   8:35 pace - - - FASTEST 5K I'VE EVER DONE!!!!!
T1: 2:00 (educated guess)
Bike: 38:49  |   48th rank  |   19 mph - - - PR ON THE BIKE!!!!
T2: 1:49
Run 2: 29:24   |   61st rank   |   9:29 pace


I beat my 2006 first run a LOT! I'm really happy about that! And I went faster on the bike, though it was shorter distance. Last run was slower, but only by 15 seconds per mile. So overall, I'm really happy, looking forward to more races this season and getting faster!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tri for Joe Duathlon - race report

This is a difficult race report to write since I still don't know my actual results. I feel like I need numbers to back myself up. But I really think I did well and am completely happy with how I did. So, numbers or not, that is what matters. I'll post the results when I know them.

Greg and I left bright barely light and early at 5:45 to get to Coney Island. Thanks for coming to watch, Greg! And for taking most of the pictures so this blog might be a little more interesting! We pulled in the parking lot and parked, and then it was time to set up.

The entrance and slides as we drove in.

I picked up my race packet and timing chip, pumped up my bike tires, and then started setting up my bike and everything else in the transition area. I laid out my bike shoes, GUs, helmet, towels and had to think for a moment about if everything was in the right order. It's been a couple years since I've done this.

Pumping up the tires.

Setting up in transition.

The mess that is transition.

Greg thought it was funny that my bike just hung on the transition rack and had to snap a photo. The front wheel didn't touch the ground. I am short so my bike is little! I quickly found another bike that was a women's specific Trek hanging the same way, proving I wasn't the only short person there. ;)

We stood around, did the national anthem, then I got in the lineup for the start of the duathlon.


Here's the group. Not too many people.

1st 5K Run
I settled into a nice pace as we wove our way through the park. It was comfortably hard. My first mile was 8:40 - perfect! I think the turnaround was somewhere around 13 minutes. And I think I checked again at the 2 mile marker, but I don't remember anymore about times. I was running well - very smooth and my legs felt strong. My knees had stopped aching, and any soreness I might have still had from the week wasn't a factor. The course winds through the park, back out into a big parking lot, then back into the park a little bit to the turn-around. Running past the motionless, carnival-like rides is somewhat eerie.

I surprised Greg with my arrival time near the end of the first 5K, but he managed to snap a photo of me anyway.

Transition 1
I'm thinking the T-time was probably pretty slow, but I tried to hurry. I put my shoes and helmet on, sucked on part of a GU, grabbed my bike and jogged out to mount.

Probably ripping open a GU here.

Bike 20K
I quickly got situated on my bike and saw Greg before heading out onto Kellogg Road.

Greg had installed a new battery on my bike computer and had entered in the correct tire information, but it wasn't really clear if it was set up right. So I wasn't sure if my speeds were going to show accurately. When I started out, I looked down and saw 17 - 18 mph so I figured it was wrong. It was right in the beginning, and I just didn't think I was going those speeds yet.

Race photo, not sure where this is.

The bike was pretty uneventful. I was still breathing hard from the run, so it took some time to settle into a comfortable pace. I passed people left and right, and also got passed by some serious people with tri-bikes like I was standing still! :)  There was a big downhill that was fun, though I realized I would have to come back up this hill on the way back. I noticed a big "10 MILE" painted on the road. I looked down at my computer and saw 9.9. What?!?! So this is accurate!! I've been going 18 - 19 mph!!! I was ecstatic. I think I had been maintaining some pretty decent bike speeds, so now I had to keep it up. I pushed those last 2 miles, hoping to make the bike average even better. The slowing down for the two turnarounds and hill could lower it pretty good though. We'll see whenever I know the results.

Transition 2
I hopped off my bike and clomped through the transition area in my bike shoes. I changed shoes, grabbed my hat and started out for the second run.

2nd 5K
My legs had the familiar "what the hell are you doing to me?!" reaction as I started running. I felt like I was going so slow. I was also stiff. After the first mile, which was 9:40, I loosened up. This run was more exciting since all of the triathletes were running too. There were people running everywhere. Watching the efforts of the people on their way back was inspiring and took my mind off my own pain. I love out and back races for that reason!

Around mile 1.75

I was afraid I was going to overheat, so I dumped water on my head and hat every chance I could. My breathing was maxed out. The last mile was a welcome relief mentally - I was glad I was almost done and hoped to still be able to finish strong. Within the last half mile, I caught up to a guy whose family was teasing him because he had just taken a walk break. After we were past them, he started laughing about it and commenting on things to me. I couldn't talk. I grunted laughs and smiled instead. As we came out onto the last stretch of asphalt outside of the park nearing the finish, he said, "You're not going to let an old fat guy beat you are you?" (neither of which he was.) This was funny because I had already made up my mind that I was going to race him. I breathlessly said, "We'll see."  It was great having him there because my pace got stronger and I really did feel like I could kick it a little in the end. I felt kind of bad not reciprocating his cheerfulness so I said, "I suppose it is a race" between gasps for air. He didn't understand me and I had to repeat it - doh! He laughed and went on to explain how yes, perhaps for some, but he was just trying to finish, thought he was going to drown in the swim, yadda yadda yadda. I was clearly working way harder than him and that's when I left him. :)

Me and Chatty Cathy.

And the final stretch...I think my face says it all.

Post Race
I felt great!! I got my medal and found Greg, who thought I did very well. I do think this is the best duathlon I've ever done. I can't wait to learn the results!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Coming Soon...

Tri for Joe race report coming soon...

In general I did well, from what I could tell. :)  My first 5K may have been a 5K PR, which would be awesome. I also think I went pretty well on the bike. The second 5K was 29:24. The results still aren't up on the site yet. I just woke up from a little nap, which felt great!

Pics and report tomorrow, even if I don't know my results :)

Friday, May 28, 2010


I'm all packed...

Bike shoes, towels for transition, helmet, Gu, water bottle (still in the fridge), license, sunglasses, USAT card, bike pump, post-race clothes, watch, food, camera for Greg, Advil, headband...   it's enough to make you a little stressed that you might forget something! I have to pick up my packet at the race. Bummer but I missed the packet pickup at Fleet Feet because it was 2 weeks ago or something not even remotely close to this race date. Odd.

Anyway, now I'm trying to relax and get some good sleep. It's going to be about 65º and sunny at 7:30, race start, and closer to the mid 70ºs when I finish. Warm! There will be lots of water dumped on the head, I'm sure.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Goal for Tri for Joe Duathlon

I'm really looking forward to the duathlon this Saturday!! I feel pretty prepared, aside from the fact that I don't think I have very good endurance right now for that second run. But we'll see what happens. 

7:30 bright and early, and hopefully not to warmly, I'll be on my way. My goal is to come close to my best time there, which was back in 2006. Holy crap that was 4 years ago:

Tri for Joe Duathlon 2006

5K run 1:  28:05  (9:04 pace)
T1: 2:41
18 mile bike:  1:03:20  (16.6 mph)
T2: 1:56
5K run 2:  28:39  (9:15)

Total: 2:04:45
(5K run, 18 mile bike, 5K - - - this year it's actually a Sprint Distance, 5K run, 20K bike, 5K run)

If I can run 9s on the run, I will be very happy. It will be a good start to the season. And if I can maybe manage a 17 mph average on the bike, that would make me very happy too. I need to get my computer fixed! Oh and maybe I can be faster in transition, geesh. Those are the slowest transition times ever.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

33 Miles Solo

Monday night I missed the group ride due to working. I was pretty disappointed, but there wasn't anything I could do. The first weeks of Fill Creative are going really well! We have so much to do still.

I had to get in a ride Tuesday. I moved it up on the priority list because of the duathlon Saturday. I wanted to go in the afternoon, but I didn't get out the door until 5:30. Still plenty of time to get in the miles before dark, thanks to the lengthening days.

My plan was to go 30 miles. I changed clothes, let Christen laugh at my outfit (I came back to our room after changing into my bike shorts and tank jersey with heels on because I didn't want to walk barefoot through the hallway) and headed out the door. The entire day had been so exhausting. We both had frustrating mornings full of small but annoying problems. We spent an hour meeting with an accountant learning of where else we are going to have to put our money and adding to the long list of things we have to do yet. The afternoon wasn't any smoother as our still-to-be-solved technology problems popped up left and right. Email wasn't working, it seemed like everything we worked on required one of us to transfer files on a jump drive because we don't have our high speed internet set up yet nor same versions of programs, etc etc. I was extremely in need of this bike ride!

Bad tech woes followed me to my bike. I zeroed my computer and started out on the road to get to the trail but nothing was moving. No speed, no time, everything just stayed at zero. Once on the trail, I pulled over and fiddled with it. I toggled through all of the settings I know but just couldn't get it to respond. I had wanted to pay close attention to my speed and effort on this ride so I could gauge how I can do on Saturday. But that wasn't going to happen without the computer working. I was upset, but nothing I could do about it. Turns out the battery in the part that is on the wheel is probably dead. The only thing I could do was look at the clock on my handlebars and a mile marker and figure it all out later. I started at 5:40...or was it wait it was mile 41? And 5:38?  Crap. I couldn't remember as I pedaled along. But I had decided I'd go up to the 25 mile marker and turn around to make it 30 miles.

Some parts of the trail make me feel like I'm somewhere else, not Ohio. There are a few stints of very lush areas along the sides of trail, and the land drops off towards the river to a flat marshy looking area in the shade. There were some cool patches of air that felt like someone was blasting A/C in my direction. Then 2 seconds later it would be gone.

I cruised along, avoiding sticks, wondering if I'd get a flat. I knew I probably wouldn't but I couldn't help be a little worried about it. Occasionally I came upon white, cottonball looking debris strewn all over the trail, as if there had been a fluffy white animal massacre. But I think it was just an explosion of some sort of cotton-like pollen. 

This ride had its fair share of woodland creature sightings. I startled a deer about 10 feet from the trail. It is amazing how difficult they are to see in the shaded areas of the woods. I almost hit a chipmunk. I think this is the closest I've come to hitting an animal while biking (aside from the already dead snake). It was literally within a foot of my wheel. I made a weird a little yelp and cringed, waiting for the squish. But luckily it scampered quickly enough and I missed it. I also saw some sort of pheasant/turkey bird strut across the trail off in the distance. When I passed it, I could only see its grayish-brown feathery head.

I got to the 25 mile marker, stopped and took my gel out of my back jersey pocket. It was a new kind I've never had: Gu Roctaine. Blueberry Pomegranate! It wasn't bad. I drank some water and noticed a bunch of small black dots all over my chest. And most of them were moving. I had collected a lot of bugs down my shirt and sports bra - ew. I had to pull my shirt up and brush them off my sweaty chest (ew again) and shake out my jersey and bra best I could. It was really rather gross, and I knew I would get it all again on the way back. I also figured there must be an equal amount in my hair that got through the helmet vents.

I couldn't remember the time I had began anymore, so I wasn't sure how fast the trip out had been. But I decided I needed to up it going back. I hadn't gotten winded or felt much burn in my legs yet. So I checked the clock and made a mental note: 6:48, let's hope I can remember it. I alternated pushing hard for 3 or 4 minutes then taking some time to not go so fast, while also alternating my position on my handlebars. I haven't spent much time in the down position and I'm trying to get my back and neck used to it.

Once I got my speed up, it was pretty easy to stay there, so I just started alternating handlebar positions and enjoying the cruise back. I never all-out sprinted, but felt that I had pretty good power. Just north of Morrow, I passed a soccer field filled with little kids running around in a game. I heard yells of encouragement and looked over to see the blue and yellow clad players. The field was far away from the trail, so to me they looked like blue and yellow balls bouncing randomly on the field. I began to see more cyclists and had fun picking off a few. The energy I gained from seeing other people out there made me think I could possibly have a pretty decent bike time on Saturday.

Soon I was past the Monkey Bar and close to Loveland...but I rolled over the 40 mile marker. Hmmm, I thought that was where I started. Guess not. So I kept ticking away the miles and the starting mile marker ended up being 41.5. So 16.5 miles for one way, 33 total. And I ended right at 7:48, so I averaged 16.5 mph, at least for the way back. Easy math, even for me.

There was another large collection of small gnats in my jersey that I cleaned up when I finally stopped. When I got home my legs were really in pain. Then, like always, the pain completely went away. My knees ache today though.

33 miles is officially the farthest ride I've done by myself. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

5K at Idlewild - Race Report

Sunday morning was the 5K down at Idlewild, a very nice park in Kentucky. 7 of us were doing the race together - fun! This was Casey's first 5K, and it was a doosey for a first. Not the best pick, but that just means the next one will be a PR!

Sunday was the hottest it has been so far this year. And even at 10:30 a.m., it was already Sweating Steph temperatures. After an 8 minute warm-up jog, we hovered in the shade as we waited, trying to stay cool. Then we walked down to the start line, all 65 of us. This race was both the smallest and the most difficult 5K I've ever done.

The race director fired the gun and we were off. We followed the park road down a slight grade and back up around a corner. It went a little down and then back up to a turn-around point. Following that same path back, we turned off at a corner where our friends who weren't running were cheering. It was fun to have a cheering section for a 5K! 

The next part of the course followed a paved walking/biking trail. Up and down and up and down and up and down... it didn't stop. I couldn't believe the hills. My first mile was 8:48. I felt good. It was hard, but I thought I could maintain it for the other 2 miles, until this middle hill section. I was slowing down. I couldn't get myself up the hills very well. My breathing increased to a rate that didn't match the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground anymore. It was a little out of control, and I knew I had to slow down. I couldn't wait for the water stop.

The water was ice cold. I drank some and poured the rest on my head. It took my breath away when it hit my chest and back, but it was what I needed. There was a brief section of trail engulfed in a group of trees. Shade! It was over too soon though. I hoped for less hills, but they didn't stop. The entire time I could see Casey out in front of me. I watched the gap between us increase. I gave up on the idea of catching him and running sub 9's, and instead focused on staying OK in the heat and finishing.

Maybe around mile 2.75ish there was a long climb. It went on forever and all I could think about was how I wanted to be done. The sun beat down. I was shuffling, breathing at a ridiculous rate. I probably could have walked faster up this hill. Casey was making his way up the hill, then walked a little bit at the turn which put us back in the parking lot, repeating some of the course we had done earlier. I caught up with him on another hill and then we were running the last agonizing .2 together. Having someone to run with instantly increased my pace and everything fell back into a natural rhythm. The last .1 was slightly uphill, a cruel ending on this already cruel course. We pushed what we could (at least it was all I could push) and crossed the line in 30:06, averaging a 9:43 mile. Ug.

Though it was a far cry from my goals, I suppose it really isn't fair to judge myself too hard from this race outcome. This course didn't have a couple hills. It was only hills. I am still very curious how I will do this Saturday at the duathlon (Tri for Joe). I'm pretty nervous. I want to do well. I want to feel strong. Tonight I missed the group ride after work because I was still at work. So tomorrow will be my last ride before Saturday. I will have to make it a good one. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Brick Workout #2 Before Tri for Joe

According to the loud DJs coming across the alarm clock radio this morning, there was a thin fog that was causing delays. I laid in bed with my eyes closed, trying to talk myself into believing it was Saturday. After I realized I didn't have the power to change the days and finally opened my eyes, I saw a beautiful, fresh sky – a welcome sight after so many cloudy days in a row. Looking out the window, I thought how it would have been a great morning for a run. Misty morning runs are my favorite. But I was planning to do another brick workout in the evening after work.

It was a mini-duathlon of sorts. Instead of doing three runs and two bike sessions, I decided to just do two runs and one bike in between, just like the race, but much shorter. With the Idlewild 5K this weekend, I didn't want to take too much out of my legs. I decided to bike longer so I'd get the lead feeling in my legs for the second run. After it was all finished, the only thing missing from this brick compared to the last brick was one 1 mile run.

I set my bike up outside like last time. I have my new tire on.

It has some interesting tread.

I wore new shorts that I would like to use for the duathlon. My current bike shorts are a little too big. I look and feel like I am running in a diaper. Until I can find a good deal on thin padded shorts (which is nearly impossible) I wanted to see if non-padded shorts would work for a short 12 miles on the bike. I'm not sure. It will be close to 45 minutes. Today was only 22 minutes. Hmmm.

I went out the door after some quick arm and leg stretches. I only wanted to run smooth. I honestly didn't think I'd be able to run the same speed as the last brick workout I did two weeks ago. But when I got to the end of the street, my watch said 4:02. Huh. I turned around, still focusing on keeping my breathing under control and keeping my legs smooth and stride strong. I got back to the driveway and stopped my watch.


To my knowledge, I've never ever ever ran under 8 minutes for the distance of 1 mile. Ever. !!!!!!!!!!

I practically skipped through the house, stopping quickly to jot my time down. Then I went out the back door where my bike awaited me. I threw my shoes on, thinking about all the setup for transition at the duathlon and how I haven't done that in a few years now, and hopped on the saddle. I began an easy spin. The seat wasn't too uncomfortable.

As there is nothing to do while on the bike trainer except watch the dogs or the neighbors mow, neither of which were entertaining, I decided to concentrate on my pedal stroke. I tried to feel the power in a circular motion rather than the mashing down motion. I soon got bored and did a few 1 minute pickups, changing gears and going faster, leaning over into the lower position on the handlebars. When I got to 20 minutes, I finally felt warmed up. So I did just a couple more minutes and then it was time for run number 2.

With Harley-dog in my face, trying to lick my sweat, I changed my shoes. I think I should get the quick-pull laces for the duathlon. Not that I'm speedy or going to place, but there is a lot of time that can be gained in transition, and good grief tying my shoes seems to take forever! I went back through the house, wrote down my times and then went out for my second run.

I prepared myself mentally for running out of juice. If I could just manage a 9 minute pace, that would be realistic and I'd be happy with that. I got to the half mile and saw 4:10. OK, I'll go for 8:20. Running back was smooth. I landed back in the driveway at 8:11, a negative split again.


The results.

I sat back outside after walking around a little bit and relaxed. I should have mowed that prairie in the background. There's tomorrow I guess.

I have no idea what to expect for the 5K Sunday. I surely couldn't keep that pace up for 3 miles in a row. So what pace can I maintain? This is getting tricky now that I can actually run different paces. In the past, 5Ks meant run a comfortable hard and then I'd run out whatever is left when I thought I could. Now I feel like I have this huge pace range to play with. If I go out too fast, I'll be screwed. But I don't want to go out too slow and not get the lowest time I can. Hmmmm...

Oh fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun!!!!!

Burger Love

Day 2 fully staffed at Fill Creative - yay! We went to lunch at Five Guys Burger and Fries. Delightful. There is a lovely bulletin board as you walk in that has index cards pinned to it which people have drawn on, showing their support for Five Guys. Among the "Five Guys Goes Hard" and "All Other Burgers Surrender" messages was a card someone made professing their love of me. How nice!

Tonight I'm going to do another brick workout. I'm super sleepy from all the food. I had the cheese veggie sandwich, and don't even know what was on the sandwich, but it was tasty. Hopefully it will be good fuel for tonight.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ode to Bananas

This is for Christen. It's our first day together. And for breakfast, we both had...


It's what we both had
for breakfast this morn'.
If you going to the Austin City Limits Music Festival this year
You'll see Pete Yorn.

My banana was good,
Even with all of its brown spots.
This pushed my ripeness tolerance;
It was nearing the rots.

Though some would disagree,
I whole heartedly feel
The best banana has
A pristine yellow peel.

Those with the brownness
Are reserved for bread,
Or frying in a pan to make
Bananas Foster instead.

But it doesn't matter:
We both had the fruit
For our first day together
At Fill Creative. Woot!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Change of Workout Plans

Today I had planned to do a second brick workout. Greg and I stayed up late after he got home late, putting my new tire on my bike and putting my bike back together so that I could ride tonight. And, by the way, I did manage to get the tire on this time. Greg does have a little bit of a different technique in putting a new tube and tire together on the wheel, and I found it to be much easier. The whole process is still a pretty big pain in the butt, but I think that next time if I was out by myself and got a flat, I could do it, so that's good.

Anyway, I'm pooped today. Completely drained. I took an HOUR nap... ug. The thought of running fast at the moment sounds pretty near impossible. It's just one of those times. I am pretty certain I have low iron. I know the feeling and this is the feeling. So, no big deal. Just time to start taking the supplements again! No point in trying to get through a really difficult workout and doing it poorly, so I'll do it Thursday instead. I might try to lift and do some core work tonight. It doesn't help that it's so gloomy out, geesh. Come on sunshine! This weekend looks like it's going to be beautiful...and maybe a little warm for the 5K on Sunday!

In other news, I went to a new allergist today. It was just the initial consultation and was pretty simple. I breathed into a couple of different things and those tests show my lungs to be normal, which I was curious about. I feel like I have no lung capacity, but the numbers proved I'm average. I think it's just my allergies. I had marked on my paperwork a note about wheezing that happens while I run on the exhale. So they are making me try an inhaler that I would use before I go out for a run. Half hour prior, I do one puff. Then 5 minutes after that I do another. That is supposed to help the irritation from the environment. I also got a nasal spray, which I've used before. We'll see if it helps me sleep at night better and not wake up sounding like I have a full blown cold every day. And I got a prescription for an EpiPen since I've  had a systemic reaction to almonds. Not really worried about it, but I guess they have to provide you with this stuff. I go back in two weeks for the oh so fun 2 hour back prick and arm tests. Then I'll start shots again...and hopefully, eventually, not be so miserable all day! Woohoo!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Nice Run and a New Tire

Tonight after work I went on a nice "easy" 3 mile run. Except that "easy" was what was kind of difficult last Wednesday. So funny, the body, picking and choosing how it's going to react to what I subject it to. I wanted to go slowly because my hamstrings are really sore from weeding. I felt them as I ran. Each pound of the pavement shook them and made them hurt in that good hurt way. They were just there, I was aware of them. I started out at a 10 minute pace, but somehow got it down to 9:26 without meaning to. My breathing was smooth. And the biggest thing I noticed was my stride was smooth. I felt like I was running, not scooting along. It was great!

I did a route I often do from the house, taking me into Landen through the goose poop mine fields. I think I dodged them successfully, but took my shoes off right away when I got back just in case I didn't. I passed a group of people at a house that were either getting back from or leaving for a vacation. Most of them had hawaiian-looking / Tommy Bahama-looking shirts on. They were all standing around an "Airport Charter" white van with tinted windows. It was a van that desired to be a limousine. After I turned around and came back, they were still all standing around as I passed them the second time. It made me start to think about the upcoming trip to Greece and traveling in general. The long list of travel ideas I have tucked back in my brain started scrolling through my head, and before I knew it I was back in my own neighborhood.

Earlier, after work, I went down to the bike shop to see if Rich and Glen were going to go for a ride, and also to buy a new tire. They weren't because it seemed like it was going to rain. I talked with Rich for a bit about his 4-day 400 mile ride. He did it all and they had a great time! He had glove tan lines and of course bike shorts tan lines. The glove lines were funny. He said it was pretty windy for many of the miles, and a cross wind left them unable to even get into a successful pace line. He helped me pick out a tire. It was kind of expensive, but an upgrade from what I had before. More grippy and perhaps more puncture-resistant. It has Vectran for the puncture resistance, which is something like Kevlar. He gave me the 10% discount for doing the shop rides, and I was on my way. Hope to get the tire on tonight so I can do a brick ride-run tomorrow.

I think it's called Grand Prix 4000 because it's good for 4000 miles. 4000 miles!!

Another Rainy Monday

It is not looking promising for a group ride tonight since it is raining. :( Not sure what I'll do instead. I suppose a run in the rain will have to suffice.

Sunday afternoon I weeded while Dad and Greg worked on re-establishing the electricity in our house after something got loose somewhere. My mom helped, which was great! We got a lot more done than just I could have. The right bed is cleared and ready for some weed killer and mulch, once it stops raining. We began on the left side, but there's a lot more to tackle yet. Hopefully I'll get to work on it little by little this week. The reason I'm even mentioning all of this is because my hamstrings are really really sore! This happens every time I weed. It is the position I put myself in, bending over and suspending my body in an angle such that there is apparently a good amount of pull on the hammies. So, some inadvertent strength cross-training I guess! :)

I am officially registered for the Tri for Joe on the 29th. I'm really excited! Not sure I can beat my old best time there, unless I am surprisingly fast on the bike, but I hope I do well. I am a little worried about endurance. I don't feel like I've had long enough workouts to sustain a race level effort for a couple of hours.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Tire, Two Flats

Friday afternoon I was in the land of invoices. It's not a sector of the world I care to be in for long, which probably seems weird since invoices = money. I just hate doing them. A lot.

Around 1 p.m. I decided to take a break and go on a bike ride. I originally had wanted to get through a certain chunk of invoices and then use the bike ride as the reward, but I caved early. I just needed some fresh air! So I changed, had a snack, filled up my water bottle and went down to the trail.

It took me a few miles to warm up. I was riding into a headwind. Eventually I got up to cruising speed between 16 - 18 mph, mostly in the 16s. It felt pretty easy. My breathing was easy, but I did feel the fight against the wind in my legs. I originally thought I'd just do 20 miles and push hard the whole time. But then I decided I should do 30 since I didn't do the longish ride Monday night. I was happy that I was gliding along at the pace I was going, and was really looking forward to flying back with the wind gently pushing my back. I was curious what kind of speed I would settle into on the return.

14... 14.5... 15 - there! I'll turn around now. I made the tight turn in the trail width, just above Morrow. Then I stopped and was going to take a picture of some cool rolled up grass I saw off the side of the trail in the sun when I heard a very loud hissing noise. It came from my back tire... no no no no! I put my finger over the obvious location and the hissing changed to a loud squeak, like the sound you can make with a balloon by pulling on the part you put your mouth on to inflate. Took my finger off, put it back on, took it off, put it back on... crap! I was in denial. This will be flat in 2 more seconds. There was no time to ride on it for a bit to get closer to home. Oh well, I guess it's time to actually change a flat!

I've only ever had one other flat. It was during the Tri for Joe in 2006 or 2007, I forget which. I got a puncture maybe around mile 12 in my front tire. After noticing it, and asking various race volunteers if they by chance had pumps (none did), the only thing I could do was race it back. It was a slow leak. I made it back just in time, and had a pretty good bike average speed thanks to it! :)

This flat was sudden and all the air was gone. I walked my bike up to a bridge area and took the back wheel off.

Then I got the tire off of the rim and the punctured tube out.

The chain made for some dirty hands. I need to clean my chain. I also got grease on my new jersey. Hope it comes out.

Then began the fun part, which I've never done... putting the new tube in and tire back on. In summary, this didn't go well. I spent many many minutes, while the springtime gnats munched on me, wrestling with tire and tube. I had to let one passer-by help get the tire back on – and it took him a long time and three breaks resting his hands before he was successful. Then I couldn't get the new tube pumped up (don't ask – combo of pump I've never used before and missing part on valve stem), and had to allow another guy to help with that. But as he was pumping up the tire, a fresh hissing began. The next tube was also punctured. Crap again!

I had rubbed my thumb along the inside of the tire, trying to remove any debris that maybe had stayed inside after I plucked out the shrapnel that punctured the first tube. But apparently the slit was so large, some of the wire that is in the tire was frayed and sticking out, puncturing the tube as it got nearer to full size. So, now I need a whole new tire too. :(

With a completely flat tire, that meant I had to walk, in my rigid bike shoes. I called my friend Erin, who works near by. She was my only hope of someone possibly being able to come get me. I was so mad and disappointed. I couldn't believe I was done for the day. Initially I was disappointed because I needed help to get the flat changed and get back on the road. I would really like to be able to do this myself. But after the second puncture, I can't even say that I got a flat, had a little help, and was able to ride back! Argh! 

After about a 1.5 mile walk down the trail to Morrow (glad it was only that far), awesome Erin found me at the old train depot near Miranda's ice cream shop (which I have yet to try). 

View along the bridge just north of Morrow.

Main street and the bike trail.

I took my wheels off and shoved my bike in Erin's car. She drove me back to my studio where I put my bike into my own car, grabbed my clothes and went home. (Thanks so much, Erin!!)  It was 5. Ug.

There is a lot of disappointment I feel because of this ride. Changing tires unsuccessfully, interrupting someone's day to come pick me up (and so soon after having to have people come pick me up after bonking), not having a ride partner(s) so I can go out on rides like this more often and with support. But hey, it's only May. I suppose I have some time to iron out all the kinks of my road biking through the season.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Evolution of the Bike...

Perhaps inspired by my comment on my post where I mentioned my first bike, my dad came through with some pictures of my first and second bike as well! Dad, I'm so glad you take a lot of pictures, even if I'm not glad until many years down the road :)

My first bike...with training wheels. This was Christmas of 1980, so I was 3...and by the looks of my outfit, a miniature lumberjack. I remember seeing this bike over by the fireplace at my Grandma and Grandpa's house in Brookville.

And then the summer of '82...without training wheels! This was my era of looking like a boy. I'm 5 here.

And then at some point I got the Huffy. This is June of 83 when I was 6. The Huffy was a hand-me-down from my cousins. I don't know if they got a new bike/bikes or just outgrew this one.

I loved this bike. Marvin and I would ride bikes all the time. And that was what we called it. "What do you want to do?" "I don't know. Wanna ride bikes?" "OK". Up and down the driveway. Occasionally around the house. This picture shows us in the gravel driveway, which allowed for very fun, long skidding. We both look like we barely fit. We did everything we could on our bikes.

And now I ride this.

And it takes special shoes, and goes much faster, and now I wear a helmet. :) But, I have realized while on the group rides I've been doing, the thrills and simple joy I got from "riding bikes" with Marvin as a kid still happens when I'm on my fancy LeMond. Maybe this is one of the reasons I love riding so much.

Three Days in a Row!

...of exercise - woot!

This morning Casey and I set out on our run with the intentions of stepping it up a notch, since we have both discovered that we can run faster than we have been, and to try to gain some speed for upcoming 5Ks. I took off a little fast, but we soon settled into a nice 9:26ish pace. I wore my GPS so we could monitor our pace. Turns out our route was only 2.7, not 3.1 that we thought it was going to be. But we held the pace the entire time, so that is still good.

It was pretty rough for me. I am not sure if it is the fact that I've ran two days prior and I'm a little tired, or if it's just me sucking. I couldn't talk much. I thought about how I felt a lot, especially the last mile. I was trying to focus the best I could and not get mad - happens sometimes :)

It was really a great run because I need to do this more. When I used to run with Lynn back in the day, she always pushed me (while not even trying) because she was just a faster pace, so I ran faster. And I got faster/stronger from running with her. If Casey and I keep doing these 3 - 4 mile runs at a quicker pace, I'm certain I will become more used to the pace and a 9:30 pace will become what is now a 10:00 and so on. And that makes me happy!!! I'll still be doing track workouts, which also helps greatly. The longer runs need to start happening, and those will be slow and relaxing. The shorter runs are going to be work, but the pay-off is so rewarding.

I'm curious about my breathing. That is definitely what holds me back while running. I just can't get enough air and I wheeze a little on the exhale. I can't breathe through my nose right now, so I feel like a fish gasping for oxygen through my big open mouth. It's inefficient.
Now it is raining and the skies are a little bit dark. Occasionally the wind blows drops onto the porch roof outside my window. It sounds as if a bunch of acorns are being spilled onto it. They must be large raindrops from the trees. I wish I could take a little nap...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Recovery Run

Tonight I tried to do a recovery run after yesterday's brick, which probably has left my legs a little sore. I don't feel like they're sore, but they are probably fatigued whether I realize it or not.

I went for 3 miles. It was windy and humid. I know there were storms across other parts of the area, but we only had the humidity in the air. Going out I was running into the wind, so it was a little harder than I would have liked it to be. Coming back, the wind was at my back, which was nice for the effort, but also allowed me to get pretty hot. I wanted to ditch my shirt on the way back.

Overall it was an OK run. I ran it in 29:09 so a 9:43 pace. I was wanting to do more like a 10:00 pace. Hopefully it was still recovery enough for my leggies.

On the way back I scared some baby ducks that were on the edge water of a pond I run past. I didn't see them, but heard the sudden panicked squeaking, so I looked over. There were about 7 or 8 of them scrambling to their quacking mother that was closer to the middle of the pond. They were cute. Back in my neighborhood, when I passed the firehouse, I smelled chocolate chip cookies baking. I suppose they probably have a full kitchen there, so maybe they were the ones baking them. Also, in the last stretch before getting home,  I heard a funny conversation between a little boy at his house on one side of the street and the neighbor man on the other side. The boy was informing the neighbor man across the street: "Guess what?" --pause as he waited for the "what" back-- "I can ride my bike without my training wheels now!!" He was very excited. His extreme proudness, which was very evident in his voice, made me grin. There aren't enough of those "guess what I can do now!" moments. And then I got thinking...I remember having a bike with training wheels - it was blue and white that my grandparents got me one year. I think it may have even had fenders. But I don't remember the training wheels coming off. I remember getting my pink Huffy and being barely tall enough to ride that. It was scary and difficult learning in the grass. That pink Huffy was the best. I popped many a wheelie with Marvin in the driveway. Marvin was always better at it though. I think I made longer skid marks on the driveway though.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Tonight I did my first brick workout in, oh I don't know... a few years!?

Definition time! For those that may not know, and as I understand it, a "brick" workout is any workout designed for multi-sport where you do two different sports back to back in one session. The point is to train for some endurance and also to get your body used to switching muscle groups while fatigued already. So you could do a run then swim. Or swim then bike. Or run then bike. Or any other combination! When I first read about them (and I don't remember where I read this), the idea was to do the activity multiple times, back to back. Since then I've seen that any two sports back to back is called a "brick". But to me, the bricking aspect of it comes from switching back and forth between the two where you really get your body used to the change. It's incredible how hard that second 5K always is. Maybe this is more important for duathlons, since you run then bike then run again. Anyway, I remember how much I found the workout to be a benefit when I did it a few years ago.

So without further ado... my brick session on my back porch and in the neighborhood.

Here's the set up.

I set my trainer up on the back porch so I could ride back there, then run out to our street and go to the end and back. I decided to run 1 mile, then bike 10 minutes for 3 times (except ending with the run). So it was run-bike-run-bike-run with the run distance totaling 3 miles and the bike distance approximating maybe 9 miles? But I think I was going a little slower than that. That is one of the sucky things about the wind trainer - there's no way to tell what your power/effort really is.

Wee little dogs out in the yard.

So here I am with dry hair pre-workout. Man I sweat a lot. And I think it's funny to start a workout in makeup. It was the end of the work day. I just always feel funny going for a run in makeup. And I was too lazy to take out my earrings.

I took off out the front door down the street.
Run #1, I ran this mile in...


Hmmm, well that was a tad on the fast side and surprising side.

I got on the bike - teehee! This headband rocks. Keeps the sweat out of my eyes, though at one point on the ride portion, I put my head down and about 10 drops dripped out onto my handlebars, like I had squeezed it or something. Or it was collecting in a pocket. Weird. I couldn't help the goofy smile. I was thinking about actually doing the duathlon.
And woah, hey, anyone need some blood because that vein on my arm be poppin'.

The first bike session was kind of easy, probably too easy. I picked it up two different times for a minute each. Other than that it was just extremely boring. We have a boring back yard. And bugs were flying around me, annoying me.

Run #2, ran in 8:32.
Still a bit shocking. Surely I would die on the third run.

Bike #2 was better. It went by really fast. I tried to push longer and harder to feel a little bit of burn in my legs to mimic how it feels actually out there on the road, racing.
I was taking pictures because I was so BORED.

Harley didn't understand what I was doing.

So I was prepared to just not be able to run the same pace on the last run. I got my legs pretty burning on the bike and figured I'd just run out of gas. But I didn't!!!! Run #3, ran in 8:28! I definitely was sucking wind really hard and was tired, but I kept the pace! I felt the lead legs similar to during an actual duathlon, so it was good I finally was able to simulate that.

Mmmmmm water...

I'm really happy with the workout! It was fun, and different, and I did way better than I thought I would. For the next one, I think I need to bike longer to better simulate the fatigue in the legs for the last 5K of a duathlon. It is such an odd feeling. Maybe I'll bike for 20 minutes, with some hard intervals, then run a mile and only do that twice.

I can't believe I ran those miles that fast (which I know really isn't fast, but for me it's fast). This makes me very curious for what I could pull off for a 5K these days. I think I owe my seemingly added strength to both weighing less and the Monday night group rides. Biking long distances makes you strong, for sure! And it's only May! Wooohoo!

Post-workout reflections... eh? get it??

I am getting stronger. Finally. And I love it.

Below is what I wrote/scrawled on when I came through the house between each activity :)  The neighbors across the street were sitting outside during this and must have thought I was a little odd popping out my front door, tearing off down the street...three times. If only they could have seen the bike too. Come to think of it, it probably would have been slightly more interesting in the front yard. But I don't think I have the guts. :)  T = transition, like when you're actually doing a duathlon or triathlon (your time in the transition area is also timed... you can make up a lot of time here. It's kind of like a pit stop). I wasn't hurrying, obviously.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Girls on the Run 5K

This morning's Girls on the Run 5K was really fun! I would definitely like to do it again, and hopefully be a little more involved in the coaching/training part of it for the fall one.

I got downtown a bit early. So I sat in my car and waited. It was windy out, and pretty chilly. At one point, I got out of my car to see if I could go to my assignment, but everyone was still setting up. So I went back to my warm, sun-heated car. The weather was shocking from yesterday's summer-like temperatures.

After some more waiting, I got back out and checked in at the buddy station. The people there said I was to find Megan, the buddy coordinator, and see if she wanted me at Loveland or Southgate (schools groups). I found her and she put me at Southgate. But no one was there yet, so I went to get my bib number...then went back to my car again! Brrr!

After getting out of my car for the last time, I waited for anyone to show up to Southgate.

Eventually another buddy did, Stephanie. So we chatted a bit until everyone arrived. She just did her first half at the Pig. We talked about running and doing the Columbus marathon. After the coaches and rest of the girls were there, we both got assigned to a girl named Jessica, because two of the other girls didn't show up (and hopefully weren't stuck in traffic - it was apparently getting pretty hard to get to the parking lot).

Here we are before the start – Jessica sandwiched by Stephanies!

Jessica had not ran in a 5K race yet - only at practice. She was very excited! She had an ankle brace on from having broke her ankle. She has to wear it when she runs, but apparently it doesn't hurt anymore which was good.

We started right by Paul Brown Stadium.

After many pictures from the other volunteers and parents, we filed into the start line. Megan had told us there were over 700 girls...and if you figure each has at least one buddy...that was at least 1400 people. In a very tight space. In fact the entire race was tight.

When the race started we walk-jogged to the start line and finally got into a very easy jogging pace. It was so very crowded. The streets weren't open all the way, and at some points we were on sidewalks, so there was a lot of bottlenecking. We ran slow with intermittent bursts of speed to all get back together again after filing through the crowds. While we ran we chatted a little bit. Steph and I learned Jessica is in 7th grade, loves running, plays basketball and has 4 older siblings and 1 or two younger ones - !!!  We passed the 1 mile marker and she was grinning ear to ear and felt good. The course went around Paul Brown stadium and back down a little hill before we approached the 2 mile. All the while we were fighting the traffic, dodging people who were walking or running 6 abreast.

Then, right after the 2 mile marker, it opened up...and Jessica took off!! Steph and I kept looking at each other and laughing, thinking, Oh OK, well here we go then! It was hilarious. I was all out running just to try to keep up with her, still dodging people. I started to fall back from the two of them, maybe about 15 - 20 yards. I thought maybe they were gone and hoped I could find them at the end. But then they pulled off to the side and walked. When I caught up to them, I told them by all means not to wait for me that I'd find them at the end. But it turns out that Jessica needed to walk a bit. So we did. A bit. And then we were off again!! Ahhhh! :)

We ran pretty hard. And then we were getting close to the finish. Jessica needed to walk again and asked where the finish line was. We pointed out a traffic light in the distance where we'd turn right, and then the stadium was right there, so that was it! She said she wanted to start running again at the corner. I suggested we could start running slowly again and then sprint to the end when we got to the corner. She liked this idea...and took off! So much for starting off slowly! I was laughing so hard, while trying to breathe and keep up.

It was an all-out arms-pumping run across the finish line! Jessica did great. She was really happy and said she can't wait to do it again next year. We grabbed our free t-shirts, some water and cereal, and then stood around with her dad and brother for a bit. Then they left, so Steph and I went ahead and left too.

Here we are after the finish!  All the girls wore #1 and got medals at the end. Pretty neato.

Pretty fun thing they have going on with the race. Everyone looked like they were having such a good time. I even saw one girl fall over a pylon, but she got right back up, straightened her glasses and kept going. On a personal level, the whole race environment and doing a quick 5K has really got me in the mood to do a 5K race now! Woohoo!