Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Day Hike

Yep, although I had a very rare complete rest day from Coach Karen, Dr. Z and I decided to go on a lovely hike up one of the smaller hills around here. After all, he needed to test out the new trekking poles I got him for Christmas. It was mid-20's with just a little bit of snow - perfect weather for playing outside!

At the trailhead



Dr. Z adjusts his new toys before setting off.



The beginning, easy, flat part of the trail.



And now starts the climbing. Was steeper and more technical than I was expecting given this hill's reputation.



The photo doesn't do justice to how STEEP this section was, which is why the rope was there. I opted to NOT go this way and bushwacked my way around.



This sign was up near the summit. Guess which way we had come from? Durr. No WONDER this wasn't the cakewalk it was supposed to be.



At the top. Not the best of views between the clouds and the fact that this was a small hill, but still pretty.



The very highest part of the hill. My feet always seem to get me there.



A well-earned cup of hot cocoa at the end of the day. A wonderful Christmas indeed.


Here's hoping that all of you had as lovely a holiday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cha-Cha-Changes

Yes, after ignoring this blog for a month, I am playing with the template. Any suggestions or offers to professionally redesign are welcome.

Edit: Finally found a layout I'm happy with, although I'm still open to suggestions for improvement. Hope to start posting regularly again.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

First 5K in Two Years

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I haven't run that hard for that long in two years. I sounded like a dying asthmatic duck most of the time.

No pics since Dr. Z. was racing it as well, but here's what I like to call Working It: (Clicky for non-cutoff version.) Way off my old PR, but not a bad morning's work.



Happy Turkey Day Everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Friday Film on Wednesday

It's a couple days early, but I wanted to share this week's Friday Film before the holiday weekend.

Shatner. Turkey Fryer. Genius.



Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Film #13

Lucky number thirteen...

Stephen Colbert's interview with Elijah Wood earlier this week. I LOVE how Stephen totally geeks out over The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Elijah Wood
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive


Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Last OWS of the Year

(Obviously yet another delayed post since autumn weather starts at the beginning of September around here)

Well, the last triathlon of the year is finished and that means it's the changing of the guard, where trainers (turbos) are set up and pools re-entered after a summer of riding on the open road and swimming in the lake.

First up - the last swim of the year. It came surprisingly late this year. Just as we had an early spring, we had a late fall. It is about a week from Thanksgiving and we STILL don't have any snow on the ground, which is unheard of.

Anyway, Dr. Z. and I went for our last swim in the lake around mid-September. It was going to be a short one - the water was really cooled by Hurricane Katrina, but the air was warm. Although the water felt REALLY cold at first, I felt great once I got going. My fingers were a little cold, but that was about it. I was soon in my own little aquatic world, watching the trout swim under me. The air was still and the sun was warm and I just didn't want to get out, but after 30 minutes Dr. Z was on the shore waiting for me.

So, off came the wetsuit and I stopped to take pictures so that I don't forget the beauty I'm surrounded by everyday. This is my pool, people:





And for one last time, the wetsuits were hung on the front porch with care:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mohawk-Hudson Half Marathon Race Report

Yes it was over a month ago. Shut up.

ANYWAY, since there was no packet pick-up on race day (kind of dumb, but that's a rant for a different time), Dr. Z. and I headed down to Albany on Saturday afternoon. I wasn't in too much of a rush since judging by the website the expo was going to be really small (which it was). I basically got there just in time before pick-up ended.

Afterwards, it was dinner at P.F. Chang's, which I love way more than I should for a chain restaurant. Their lettuce wraps and Mongolian beef are like crack to me. This is a decision I would regret.

After dinner, it was time to tuck in at the hotel. It was so weird - I hadn't done a running race in a couple years and compared to a triathlon there just isn't much to prepare. I laid out my outfit . my Garmin, and my running belt and was kinda, "Ummm...am I forgetting something?"

Unfortunately I did NOT sleep well. It wasn't nerves - running is my comfort zone, I'd done a half-marathon before, and I wasn't even going for a PR. It was HEARTBURN. For reals. Like I'm 60 or something. Not sure what caused it - I've eaten at P.F. Chang's before without a problem. Anyway, slept fitfully and reminded myself that not sleeping well the next before a race wouldn't have that much of an effect.

RACE DAY - PRERACE

Grabbed my usual coffee, bagel (instead of toast) and Gatorade from Dunkin Donuts. (America LITERALLY runs on Dunkin!)

Got dropped off at the start since I missed the bus, and hung around FOREVER waiting. Boyfriend drove back to finish line to park and get on his bike. It was my first point-to-point race and the logistics are definitely more complicated.

Ate an apple about half an hour before the start. I decided not to warm up since the first four miles were going to be my "warm up" and I wanted to keep my core temperature down as long as possible.

RACE TIME!

I had been laughing at my ridiculously high HR during the pre-race meeting and waiting for the gun to go off, but quickly realized it was no laughing matter once we got going.

It would NOT stay in Z2. When I saw that my HR was 170 while going DOWNHILL at a 10 minute pace, I knew I had to adapt the game plan. Decided to go by the paces +15 seconds or so (to play it safe) that I'd usually hit at each zone.

First four miles (Z2): Stuck to a SLOW pace - hit the 4.4 minute timing mat at 44:04 - 10 minute pace. Literally got passed by hundreds of people and only passed one walker. Felt ridiculously easy. My boyfriend met up with me on his bike at around mile four.

Miles 4-10 (Z3) Stuck to around a 9:30 pace, which would usually be Z2 on this course. STILL felt strong and was holding myself way back, even at the end. Started passing people, which was fine. I was all smiles and not even working that hard despite my still-elevated heartrate. It was really heating up at this point but a cup of cold water on the head at every aid station kept me comfortable.

At one point I had tucked in behind this really tall dude. When I passed my boyfriend I told him I had found me a "Pacer stud." I then passed said stud, at which point my boyfriend said "and now he has pace booty!' LOL!

And this is where my boyfriend took tons of photos of me in my hot weather "Pace Booty" outfit. It was literally a record high 82 degrees so I wore as little as I could without getting arrested:







Miles 10-11.5 or so (Z4): Brought it up to a 9 minute pace - closer to a Z3 pace. Still felt great, believe it or not. REALLY started passing people at this point. It's funny - I'd get up to the next person, settle in behind them, and half the time I'd have to pass them because although they had shot way ahead of me in the beginning of the race, they were going at about 10:30 pace or so now. Kept having to pass more and more folks.



Still feeling good at mile 11.


11.5-13.1 (Afterburner time): This was the first time it really began to hurt, believe it or not. My engine, endurance, and even the pace felt fine. What was giving out were my quads, just like during Tinman. Was tempting to walk at several points, but was determined to make it 13.1 without walking for the first time. Got to the finish chute and saw that the clock said 2:04 and change. I REALLY wanted that sub-2:05, so somehow found another gear and FLEW through the finish line. My Garmin says I hit a top speed of 5:02! Holy crap!



Quads were FRIED! DONE.


Right after I came down the finish chute I had half a dozen ask me if I was okay. Why? Because this is what a 5:02 pace after 13.1 feels like for me:



I really WAS happy with my performance though:



Post-Race Thoughts:

I was way off my 1:55:45 half-marathon PR, but this was literally the first time I've ever run 13.1 without any walk breaks. I finished very strong (aside from that final sprint) and am happy with going from NO running at ALL in February to a 2:04:16 half marathon where I didn't start hurting until mile 11.5.

As I've been continuing to build my run back up I am positive that I can PR at Cowtown in February. Going from zero running for five months to a half marathon PR in a year would be AMAZING and a nice celebration of recovering from my IT Band injury.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Equipment Changes

As everyone knows, we triathletes LOVE our gear. Whether it's a power meter, the latest compression wear, or a new Garmin, it all makes us hot. Although I've always been a minimalist runner (shoes, cotton shorts and old race t-shirt, wristwatch, done.), there's been a few equipment changes around here over the past few months:

1.) New Road Bike Seat

I had been riding mostly my tri bike all season, but my stupid spill in T2 at one of the Mini-Tris (fell because my shoe clipped back in during my dismount, causing me to take the bike with me when I tried to step off the pedal), necessitated a long time in the shop for poor little Roo. I rediscovered Beauty and fell in love with her all over again.

Unfortunately, my love was returned with a nasty saddle sore. After a long talk with the bike shop guys, I brought in BOTH bikes for comparison and they found the root of the problem:



A nasty wrinkle had developed in the side of my otherwise lovely Terry Butterfly. I replaced her with the same saddle on my tri bike, a Terry FalconX . The old saddle was literally coming apart underneath anyway, with the glue coming away, which surprised me since it was only two years old, but the problem was solved.

2.) New Shoes!

Usually new running shoes wouldn't exactly be something to write about, but I made a pretty drastic change. After years in the most cushiony, pillowy shoes I could find (Saucony Progrid Rides for the past 3 or so years), I switched it up. After none of the local shops had my ProGrid Rides, one of them suggested I give the Kinvara a try. I got on the treadmill and ran them hard and liked them. After gradually upping the distance in them, they DEFINITELY agree with me. Who thought I could get by with this minimalist a shoe? They look freaking sweet too. Check it:



No, I don't wear them outside of running. But I *could.* Look how great they look with jeans!


3.) And this is a big one...NEW BIKE!

YES! CARBON FRAME!

Isn't she a beaut? Madone 4.7. I had been drooling over her all summer long, but at over $2600, she was out of the budget. However, end of the season brings end-of-season sales. She was marked down to $2300 and I talked the guy down to $2200. Between that, being able to strip everything (saddle, pedals, etc.) off of Beauty and not having to buy any add-ons, and (once Spring comes) selling Beauty, I could totally make it work. I do believe I have found my IMLP bike. Now I just have to ride her lots and become worthy of her.



Side View




Front View




Components. Yes, they're Shimano 105s. Feel free to buy me SRAM Red. ;-D


So yes, it's been exciting around here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Film #12

Here's a commercial that always makes me smile. The tune is just so darn catchy.



Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

End of Season Body Comp

(This is one of several posts I've been meaning to write but never got around to it.)

------------

Taking inspiration from Sonja's annual body comp blog entry I decided to do one of my own.

I usually go by how I feel, how my clothes fit, and what I see in the mirror, but once in a while I get on my trusty Tanita body comp scale to get some actual numbers. Now, the impedence method of body fat analysis isn't accurate, but it's accurate within itself, i.e. if you always use the same scale at the same time of day it will tell you if you're up or down. At least that's my understanding.

Anyway, when I first started training in February I was coming off a long time off of biking and running due to some serious IT band issues. I had been swimming FREQUENTLY, almost every day, but never for more than an hour, so I really wasn't in shape. At my starting point I was 111 pounds and 26% body fat. Ouch.

So many months of training later and a Half-Ironman behind me, I decided to weigh myself right before the Lake George Triathlon. 108 pounds and more importantly down to 23% bodyfat. (For perspective, I'm 4'10" and the short, compact, muscle-y type that actually looks unhealthy under 20%. That's just how my body rolls.) I looked lean and mean and just plain FELT better than I did at the beginning of the season.

I weighed again right before the half-marathon, but everything has pretty much stayed the same. My goal is to maintain my weight through the off-season (more time to cook healthy now!) and toe the line at IMLP at 103-105 pounds and 20-21% bodyfat. There. I've put it out there.

And speaking of putting it out there, here's some pics. Should be fun to compare again at the end of NEXT season.



Front shot. No six-pack yet.




Another one.




Have to mug a little bit. GRRRR!!




And the back.


So I would love to hear your thoughts about weight/body comp and performance, especially for a super hilly course like Ironman. My usual attitude is to eat mostly right, splurge sometimes, train hard, and let the weight fall where it will.

Thoughts?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

For the past two years I've dedicated all of my physical energy to swimbikerun. Last off-season I was injured so I didn't really get to do anything different. However, with the Mohawk-Hudson half marathon over I am officially in the off-season and only doing base/maintenance work.

So with it being extremely windy, Dr. Z and I decided to do something we haven't' done in at least a year and hike - one of few outdoor activities NOT affected by the wind. We targeted Owl's Head, a bump of a hill against the backdrop of the REAL Adirondack mountains but perfect for two out-of-hiking-shape mountain bums. It was kind of strange packing nearly nothing after being accustomed to all-day hikes. Just some water and rain jackets since the weather was iffy.


On the way up the trail.





Some views on the way up. Notice that all of the "real" mountains we usually hike are towering over us.



Me at the top. I'm leaning because the wind is blowing me over. This picture would have literally been impossible if the wind was blowing the other way - it would have been too dangerous. We didn't linger on the top because of the gusts.





Some views from the top. Unfortunately peak foliage is long past, so the colors aren't very vibrant. Still a gorgeous view though!



Heading back down the trail.


The rain came in just as we got to the truck, so our timing was perfect.

As for S/B/R? I did get in a quick spin session on the trainer late in the afternoon. You can never quite shut up the inner triathlete.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Film #11

Sorry for the neglected blog. Work has been CRAZY. Coming back next week with a backlog of entries I've had planned for a while, including a race report from last Sunday's half marathon.

In the meantime, here's a very short but very cute Friday Film for you all:

Friday, September 09, 2011

Friday Film #10

Helloooooo everyone!

It's time for our weekly dose of video fun. This is one of my favorites. (Yes, I'm a Whovian. I'm a total GeekJock.)



Have a great weekend everybody!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Lake George Triathlon Race Report

Here it is, only one day late. Hey, I took Sunday and Monday as a much needed "Mini-Vacation" from everything - work, training, computers, etc.

Pre-Race:

Got up at the ass-crack of dawn. 3:50 to be precise. My lovely boyfriend drove the 1.5 hours to Lake George while I drank my coffee and had my usual pre-race breakfast of toast and Gatorade. Parked, went to take Roo off the truck, and found that the front tire was completely flat. Went to fly through registration/marking/chipping while my boyfriend (did I mention how lovely he is?) changed the tube for me.

After I set up transition, opting to put Roo in rear wheel-first despite the fact the rear derailleur was bumping the "Wheel slot" rack (more on this later) for a faster transition, I got in the water.


Post-warmup, doing my mental preparations. Superhero pose completely coincidental.

Took my Gu and it was off to the corral.


Waiting for the gun to go off.

The Swim:

So the gun goes off, and blam - I get a full lungful of water. Not just a "little bit, spit it out, and keep going" mouthful, but a "Deep in the lungs, hacking, choking" mouthful. It takes me over a minute to get over my panic and by then I've lost my wave and the hope of having any feet to follow. I swam my best the rest of the way, but without feet I couldn't post a really good time. I also had the lovely experience of being dunked and swam over by someone, who quickly received an elbow. That just pissed me off. It's poor sportsmanship even at the front of the pack, but at this point the only people left in the water were those of us who were just hoping to SURVIVE the swim. Lady, you ain't racing for any podium spots. Calm the fuck down and swim around me. I later found FINGERNAIL MARKS on my hand. Not cool



So I kind of stumble to transition, all original plans of sprinting the relatively long distance and using my footspeed to my advantage out the window, and it's all Keystone Cops. First my wetsuit sticks, then the earpiece of my sunglasses gets caught on my hair - just a mess. I'm finally out of there and in a pissy mood.



The Bike


Heading out, not happy at all.

So at this point I'm already 2 minutes behind where I wanted to be between the swim start issues and my lousy transition, and I settle into my bike only to look straight up at a STEEP climb. On my tri bike. Shit. Shifting into granny gear...okay, granny gear keeps skipping...derailleur must have gotten knocked by the rack....DOUBLE SHIT. Mentally I was in a bad place for the majority of the ride. My speed sensor was also out of alignment so while I had cadence info, I didn't have any idea how fast I was going. Since I was constantly climbing or descending, I didn't have high hopes though, especially since I was getting passed like no tomorrow and I really didn't think there had been many people behind me in the water. In fact, when I FINALLY got off the bike, I purposefully hit the "Lap" button without looking because I didn't want to know what my bike split was. I figured it was best to just mentally move on to the run.


Coming in, in a better mood and happy to be heading for the run.

The Run

I'm including T2 here since most of it took place outside the timing mat. Sigh. So I rack my bike, and first off the backs of my running shoes fold in so I have to fix that. I grab my race belt and Garmin to run out, only to realize that I really REALLY need water. (It was hot and humid.) So I stop right at the transition aid station, fumble with my belt trying to clip it in back before I do what EVERYONE ELSE does and clipped it in the front and then moved it to the back, then put on my Garmin, THEN got a drink, THEN FINALLY STARTED RUNNING. Craziness. I'm going to test wearing the belt under my wetsuit to see if I can save myself a step. That and drink right before getting off the bike so I can wait until the first running aid station. Lessons learned.

I felt good on the run itself, and I was with a surprising amount of company out there. It was REALLY nice - I'm JUST getting past the point of being a straggler, so I really appreciate the camaraderie. It's lonely being a straggler. It was two loops and the plan was to negative split them, which I think I did. It was really hot and humid by this point, but an ice-cold cup of water over the head every mile did the trick. The only downside was losing a pgtail braid about halfway through. I looked pretty ridiculous.


Running and feeling good.

When I turned the corner and saw the finish, I got a huge grin on my face and just kept saying "I did it! I did it!" I am such a ridiculous DORK.

Post-Race



Got my medal, and immediately got on the phone with Coach Karen to go over everything. Powerbar-ed and Compression-ed up, had my bloody hand cleaned, and got some grub. Ate while listening in awe to the times posted by the podium-ers. I got grandma'd by a 61 year old, y'all, and I think that's AWESOME.



Wrap-Up

I was hoping to hit 3:15, but was happy with sub-3:20 considering everything that went wrong and how much hillier the bike and run courses were than I expected. I have absolutely fallen head-over-heels in love with this distance. I knew that sprints were too short for me, and was assuming I'd stay with the other distance I've done, HIM, but nope. I'm still super-psyched to do Ironman next year, but after that I'm going back to Olympics. I have found my niche in the tri world and I know I'll knock a ton of time off the next time I do it.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Friday Film #9

Yay! Just in time for this week's Friday Film, it's a new episode of "Simon's Cat."



I work from home, own two cats, and this is pretty much every work day for me.

Back on Sunday or Monday with a report from tomorrow's race.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Wow. Just...wow. Although Dr. Z and I hunkered down and rode out the storm with no more damage than a nasty case of cabin fever and a downed scrub tree:



...the damage in my stomping grounds in Vermont was much worse:



Many people I personally know have been affected. Stay safe everyone!

As for half-marathon training, if you think Irene kept me from getting my long run in...



...Honey Badger don't give a damn and puts in 8 in the wind and rain.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Race Cancelled

It's official. Due to this little bitch showing up, the race director has called the Branbury Classic:



The good news is, I was able to get into this nifty race only a week later. It's kind of the "last hurrah" for triathlons up here:



It means a not-as-nice swim, a 3:30 wake-up time, and a less-than-ideal taper because I have to start half-marathon training, but it's better than not racing at all.

I may even leave the watch at home and go really low-key with it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Top Tricks for Staying Injury-Free

I know, but hey, only THREE days late isn't too bad for me. *G* Anyway, I'm almost completely packed, have utter and complete Taper Brain, and am just plain READY TO FREAKIN' RACE ALREADY. In the meantime, here are my top tricks for staying injury-free after being inundated with them last season. It's nothing new or http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifamazing that you haven't heard about, just some good ol' standbys that are classics for a reason.

1.) Monthly Massage
Luckily, my local massage therapist sells them in 5-packs at a reduced price, making it at least somewhat financially viable. This has probably been the most important thing for me. If you're local, I go to Tim at Balanced Bodywork and Massage. He's the best!

2.) Monthly Chiropractor Visit Not quite as vital, but I've still found that going BEFORE my left shoulder locks up makes a huge difference.

3.) My Foam Roller We all love to hate them, but my foam roller (a hysterically cheesy purple "Jane Fonda" one that was on sale at Target), is killer for keeping my IT band happy and massaging chewed-up quads.



4.) The Stick I've found that this is great for my calf knots/Achilles as it's awkward to hold up my body weight with my arms to roll them with the foam roller.



5.) Running by HR My coach has tethered this former 1 mile/5K churn-and-burner to her Garmin for the run, even for races. It keeps me from running too hard when I'm not supposed to, and forces me to HTFU when I get tired during a hard workout/race.

6.) Slow, careful buildup This is another no-brainer, but my coach REALLY eased me back into running. My first week of training were 2 2-mile run-walks and 1 4-mile run-walk. I'm not kidding. We've VERRRRRRY slowly built up mileage and intensity from there. Smart move since my ITB issues started from ramping up my marathon training to quickly last year.

You'll notice that the main thing that's missing is flexibility exercises and stretching. That's no one's fault but my own and something I hope to get better about before IM training starts next year.

So, hope this helps.