Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Almost Have Javelin Pictures

I (Eric) meant to post pictures of our new bikes today, so I brought in the camera, but forgot the cord. So, instead I just describe them. They are black and have 2 wheels and stuff like pedals... Okay enough silliness.

So, I've gotten two rides in on the new bike and so far so good. Yesterday's ride was a beautiful one in the evening with lots of other riders out. Unfortunately, I forgot the workout I was supposed to do and went a whole lot harder than planned, but it felt good to hard. I also swam yesterday for the first time since lasik, but got out a bit early when one eye was getting irritated. Got in a good run this morning with the Izzy dog.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Roller Derby, Pearl Izumi warehouse sale, and garage cleanup...oh my!

Amber here. I just got back from my 4th trip to Denver for Lasik follow up in the past week. The great news is that the Dr.s at Icon are taking very good care of me.....the bad news is that I'm "not normal." I really didn't need them to tell me this.....but that is another post entirely. What they mean is that it is unusual to have inflammation after this normal surgery, and it is unusual to need to refloat the flap twice....yup, twice. On Wed evening I'll head back down to have the flap refloated (straightened out, un-wrinkled, etc.). Since my refloat on Friday, the eye has been much happier (no weeping or swelling of the eye lids) but the vision has been very blurry because the flap didn't lay down correctly. The next (and hopefully final) refloat should get that flap to lay down like it is supposed to.

Between now and Wed., the inflammation needs to continue to decrease (doing well, just needs to be even better before they go back in). To achieve this I'll keep up with 1 set of eye drops every 30 min, another set every 4 hours, another set on a 4-hour schedule, but offset from the others by 2 hours, and a forth set twice a day. Got that? Luckily, I am adept at setting an alarm and keeping to a schedule (think Ironman feedings.....). Lots of rest will be on tap, too, to speed the healing. Then, after they are done messing around in there, the 1+ week window before training can resume will start.

Ok, on to the topics in the title of this post!

On Friday I went to work, headed home for a short nap, then we drove back down to Denver. Again, you ask?!? Yup, down to Denver for Roller Derby at the Fillmore Auditorium. We were there to watch the Denver Roller-Dolls take on a top-notch team from Albuquerque. The 'Dolls got routed this bout, but still put up a good fight. Especially Slick Vick, the quiet, petite, but tough-as-nails QA manager that I work with. She is one of the top Jammers on Denver's A-team and scored quite a few points for the 'Dolls.

After the bout, we walked the ~ mile to Vine Street Pub where happy hour was just kicking into gear. The owner recognized us and offered a free "amber for Amber" and a free pint of Young's Double Chocolate Stout! Two more stouts later ($2.50 each, compared to the $5 PBR available at the bout) and a large order of fries and we were happy, sated, and ready to drive home. Oddly, we kept bumping into old friends from Boulder at the Pub. Hi JP and Shawn, great to see you again!

The next morning I needed to go back to Icon for a check-up and to have the contact lens "band-aide" removed. On the way we stopped at the Pearl Izumi annual warehouse sale. It is hard to beat $15 jerseys, $20 shorts, and $15 AmFib tights! Especially when there are Sesame Street jerseys to be had (cookie monster, Bert and Ernie, and Super Gonzo!). The checkout-line was nuts, though, and held us up over an hour.

Somewhere in there, Eric decided we should aim for a Mountain Sun weekend tri-fecta and hit all 3 of their pubs, so we swung into Southern Sun for a lunch of Nachos once we got back to Boulder (this post-race recovery can be dangerous!). Then we headed home to cook up some yummy fajitas as we were having a few folks over for a belated-birthday dinner. We had great conversation and a fabulous Mexican feast, thanks for the enchiladas Heather and Alan! It was a great day (even with the snow and cold temps).

Sunday became a "chore day" but we got a LOT done. I headed out for early church while Eric did some laundry. Then he was out the door for his first bike ride since surgery (on the new TT bike!). The weather was turning into a beautiful day. I sorted through my closet, purging un-worn items from the stash and organizing the rest (long overdue!), got more laundry done, and prepped for doing dishes once Eric returned. In the afternoon, we attacked the Garage. It was a big task, but felt GREAT to get so much accomplished. All of the ski and bike tools, supplies, wax, parts, etc. were sorted, organized, and purged of un-needed items. We didn't finish completely, but got the hardest, biggest parts tackled (mostly it is just old, used paint and other house-maintainance stuff still to go through). It was fun to work as a team, too, and to see the fruits of our labors come to pass as the counter re-emerged and to-be-completed tasks got set aside in a spot where we can see them and do them.

The finale to a great weekend was a trip to the 3rd Sun: Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery down on Pearl Street. Great food, great beer, and all just a short bus-ride from home (safety first!). Oddly, it wasn't until we were about to leave that we recognized anyone. We couldn't help but muse at the oddity that we knew two people at the Denver Pub, but hadn't recognized anyone at either Boulder establishment.....until our neighbors walked in. Small world! Not unlike triathlon, really. Again, par for the course in the Boulder bubble!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Another Visit to the Eye Surgeon and a Great Concert

Unfortunately Amber's Lasik recovery didn't start too great. Last night, her right eye got very teary and by the morning her eye lid was swollen to the point where it was hard for her to open it. Headed down to the eye clinic and the diagnosis is that it was just inflammation (not good, but better than an infection). The eye surgeon lifted the flap and rinsed out the inflamed cells so that it can start to heal better. Even with the problem, she was seeing 25/20 out of that eye (left is at 20/20). The silly girl then decided to go to work since she didn't want to just sit around at home.

Rewind to last night. We went to the etown radio show concert/recording. Not the best night given Amber's lasik, but a high school friend was performing. If you would have asked me slightly over a year ago to name a classmate of mine that would be singing and playing the banjo for multiple groups focusing on bluegrass/old time with some of the songs in Chinese, I don't think the name Abigail Washburn would have ever come up. Fast forward from high school to present day and we have seen her perform now as part of Uncle Earl and with the Sparrow Quartet. The Sparrow Quartet is Abigail, Bela Fleck, Ben Sollee and Casey Driessen (4 total), but recently they have gone by Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet, shouldn't that mean that there are five total. Anyways, their show was great. Since it a radio show, you get interviews and such done which reduces the amount of music, but the audience did learn that Abby and Bela have a lot of configurations.

So it was good to see the Sparrow Quartet who were the headliners, but maybe the better guest was Vusi Mahlasela. He's from South Africa and was an activist against apartheid. He spoke about the community he grew up in (and still lives in) and the need for forgiveness. And his music was great.

Enough rambling for now...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

4 Eyes Down, None to Go

Amber had her Lasik surgery a few hours ago and everything seemed to go fine. Tomorrow will be the first real test of her vision. She fell asleep on the car ride home so she should be able to rest this afternoon, but Sammy the cat was demanding attention when I left.

Since I have now completed the one week without exercise, I asked the doctor if I could start running and biking again. He told me to go only half distance at first from what I am used to. Not sure if he realized that he gave me the green light to do a half IM.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

News from Lake Eric

So this should be brief...

My eyes are getting better. Hopefully I get the green light to start training again tomorrow.

Printed off release forms for Duluth Classic cycling races. Let see, I've done 3 bike races total and will be signing up for 4 in 4 days. But since I'll be racing cat 5, the total distance will be less than the IM bike (but a much higher effort). I've also got the advantage of having 2 less gears on my cassette than most people on my road bike, which must mean its lighter.

Interesting short article on Triathlete's website. It goes along with my feelings recently that the destination might be nice, but be sure to enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A day with no carpool.....

Like most, today dawned bright and early. Unlike yesterday's run where Izzy and I spotted about 40 pelicans, it was a normal jaunt off to the 6am Master's swim. But it was by car, and it was without Eric. He is still in post-Lasik recovery no training. As I commented on Marit's blog earlier today, that is the part of my upcoming Lasik that scares me most: no training. A break in the "normal schedule." A chance to focus on something other than getting faster, fitter, stronger........scary! That will be a LOT of energy that will need focusing.

Maybe I'll be like Eric and get, in his own words, "domestic." With both of us training and working so many hours a week, often the house-things get pushed to the side. I like things neat, tidy, ordered, and on time, but often laundry, dishes, and organization get downgraded or completely neglected. We are both neat people, but it seems like I am the one who really gets bothered by disarray. Well, today while I swam, Eric did dishes and 2 loads of laundry....before leaving for work! Gotta love it!

The only sad part is that we did not get to do our normal morning carpool (both drove in separately) .....and on Earth day no less. Our normal routine lets us listen to NPR together, plus saves some gas. At least in our house, nearly every other day is Earth day, we carpool or bike to work 4 or more days a week. Just part of being in the Boulder bubble, I guess, but that seems.....normal.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A's Weekend Update

It was a busy Birthday weekend, filled with much doing, and not so much thinking and contemplation, so this blog entry might be a tad boring.

Friday, I did a quick lunch-time run where I went a bit too hard (for post-ironman, anyway). I never hurt in my legs, but sure was huffing and puffing. I did not expect this since I think of Ironman as long, slow, all day stuff that would build, not destroy and completely obliterate, aerobic capacity. I survived, though, and had a nice long stretch afterwards. And started my post-race sunburn peel,!

After work, we zipped down to Golden to meet Arvid and Bonnie (father-in-law and his girlfriend) and some old Rydholm neighbors from MN that are now living in Evergreen, Colorado. Dinner was lovely and included a surprise birthday phone call from my sister-in-law, Teresa. We had a nice brief chat that included some sparing for the upcoming Avs-Wild hockey game...I root both ways, but in head-to-head matches, I'm an Avs fan.

Unfortunately, our server never asked if we wanted dessert. Maybe none of the other adults would have said yes, and normally I wouldn't say yes, too, after such a yummy, large meal, but it was my birthday! Eric, sensing my near-tears state, quickly took control out in the parking lot and made for Boulder and the Glacier Ice Cream Shop as fast as our little car could go.

A double-scoop waffle cone later (banana brownie and peanutbutter-blast) and all was well in the world. Both the waffle cone and two scoops were a big upgrade from my "normal" order, but, again, it was my birthday. And not just any birthday, but my 30th. I did learn that gelato has less fat (and lots of different flavor options than the other 50 or so ice creams they offer) so I am already plotting what to order next time....... definitely gelato, though.

Then, back at home, my most-wonderful-husband-ever fixed our dishwasher! I has not functioned since just after the last Ironman (~8 months) and washing all dishes by hand was getting old. Especially with company. Luckily the ~$20 valve was available online AND fixed the problem....much cheaper than a new appliance.

Saturday, I climbed Flagstaff. By bike. For the first time ever. I know, I know, we have lived in Boulder for a long time (more than 5 years) and it wasn't until a week after Ironman and a day after my 30th birthday that I did this climb. Our coash, Jared, was hosting a camp last week and all teh athletes were climbing Flagstaff and then running to the first flatiron. Jared asked if I wanted to join in, and so I said "yes!"

I didn't really know what I was getting into until he started coaching some of the Minnesotans and Canadians to "just keep going.....what ever you do, do NOT get off your bike...." Most of it was steep, but quite ride-able. I even started thinking, this is no worse than Lee Hill, heck, the dirt part of fourmile into Gold Hill and most of Super James past Jamestown steeper than this.....and then I hit the steep stuff.

It was steep. It was sandy after Wed. snow. It hurt, and I wanted to just stop and turn around. But I made it to the top. And I will be back, this one will be part of what we need this summer to get stronger. I do not know my time for the climb. This one was for the finish. Next time I'll set a time standard a bench mark to start whittling away at. And next time I will have non-Ironman-trashed legs.

After the ride I bailed on the run to join up with our family foursome for a hike in Eldorado State Park. We had also never been here before, even though it is right in Boulder, practically. It was a nice hike and a beautiful day. Though it was steep, our MN companions hung in there for a long, hard climb up the north side of the canyon. The views were great! We even saw a train headed to Denver. After a while, we turned around, descended back to the visitors center, and then headed out on a much milder trail. We were watching the rock climbers, enjoying the rock walls and warm sun, and then the winds picked up. This was bad for Eric and his recovering eyes, so we headed back to the car and towards errands and home.

At home, my awesome Splish birthday suit was waiting....thanks Sunny! YOU rock! Then I promptly took a nap, and not by choice, by sheer need. Then dinner, more visiting, and bed......ahhhh!

Sunday I did church (great sermon, as usual), met back up with the rest of the clan at home, headed out to brunch, then off to get the final sizing done on OUR NEW BIKES! I finally got pictures, too, but they are at home on the camera. A few small tweaks were needed, so we didn't bring them home, yet, but they are WONDERFUL. Colorado Multisport did a GREAT job fitting them to us and building them up. Hopefully, I get mine in time to ride a bit before Lasik on Thursday......

After we left COmuSpo, we headed up to elephant rock just inside the base of Boulder canyon to park and hike/walk on the boulder creek trail up to fourmile road. While there, we saw multiple fire trucks head down the canyon with all their sirens on, but didn't think much of it. As we drove back into town, we realized what all the fuss was about, there was a wildfire at Red Rocks and Settler's Park! Our shopping and wandering on Pearl Street was smoky, to say the least, but that didn't keep us from doing happy hour on the patio at Bacaro!

Today, Arvid and Bonnie turn homeward, but the route takes them up through the Black Hills, so the vacation will linger a tad longer. And we will get the laundry - vacuuming - dishes - organization - chores tasks started. It was a good, fun, busy, tiring, beautiful weekend!


Friday, April 18, 2008

A's IM AZ race report

As I asked Wolfgang yesterday at it the athlete's curse to forever be unsatisfied with one's performance? I am trying to decide if this is what keeps us striving after greatness, pushing limits, and growing into new potent competitors, or if this is what keeps us from ever attaining happiness for the rest of our lives.

I had 4 main (though undefined, prior to the race) goals for this ironman: move categories from "finisher" to "athlete/competitor," run the whole marathon (no walking), figure out the nutrition (mostly for the run goal), and break 11 h. I think I got the first three partially or totally accomplished, but still am not satisfied. I was ready (and confident that this COULD be the race) to just get out there and let 'er rip....Oh well!

Swim was a PR. I want to be at/under the hour mark, but we are getting closer with a 1:03. Never really felt settled, but never was working too hard nor drowning, well maybe, but only once, with some help from the guy next to me who thought pushing off my head was a good idea.

Had trouble getting the wet suit off. The volunteers helped, but then, as I grabbed my gear and started to run to TI for my bag of helmet/shoes/etc., I got a horrible, horrible leg cramp in my right quad/IT. Very local, but made the whole leg eventually tighten, all the way down through the calf up to the hip. I couldn't run, could barely walk. I was scared and angry. All the volunteers, racers, spectators, etc. tried to be encouraging, but I didn't want to be told to "take in salt", "keep going", "it's OK", etc. I was hydrated. I had enough salt from last night and that morning, I was not too cold, too hot, etc. In the change tent they offered to get someone for massage, but I foolishly said "no, it'll work its way out" and got out of there to get my bike. I could barely pedal. The beginning 400 m was a slight uphill through the park and was a "no pass zone" until the street, I was barely pedaling, I couldn't bend my knee. This was the worst pain I had ever felt in my leg.

Out on the street, after ~100 m, I stopped, got off the bike, tried to massage it out, lay on the ground to stretch (bad idea with the aero helmet!) before trying again. For the first 3 mile of the bike or so, I kept coasting and massaging the leg, and I stopped another ~4 times to work on the spot. By the first aide station, though, I had decided to try and ignore the pain and just ride my bike. I got settled in and started getting to work. Found a good pace and stuck too it. Through all of this, though, I had given up all that my great swim had accomplished for positioning and was now in the thick of it with all the other racers. One good thing about all the straight-line drafting that was going on (many people on the right, too close together, but probably not getting too much draft): it made for a good wind block on the climb once you started to pass. You could pass 20 people at a time and they were all essentially blocking for you, like a double pace line. I was very careful not to draft, it is a pet-peeve of mine, instead I just passed all the drafters. At the end of the first lap, I peed on the bike, a sign that my efforts at drinking and taking in salt for the leg cramp had me hydrated. I ended up peeing 4 times on the bike....woah! Overall, pace felt pretty steady and smooth. HR looked good, too, with an avg of 140 and a max of 158 (could have been even higher, I think, maybe lost focus on the last lap?) Leg did loosen up, but never went completely away.

I got through T2 well. I was burning on my arms so asked for more sunscreen from the volunteers. I did not change socks ( from the bike (mistake, they were full of grass and dirt from the end of the swim-run), but just got out of there and got busy. Took the first 10 min easier, as planned, but then never really was able to kick it up to where I wanted it. My Garmin was misbehaving, so I was blind to pace, and often to HR, which was a big blessing in the end, I just went on feel. But I couldn't talk myself into RUNNING, instead it was a shuffle. Tummy was sloshy, and kinda full, but it was working. Near the 6 mile mark, I needed a pit stop and ducked into a porta potty. Why can't my intestines behave? After that, though, all was good, and I just cruised. I kept telling myself to HTFU (Thanks Marit and other bloggers, this mantra made my Spring training really get going!) and just get going, but I never found that fifth gear to shift into. Somewhere on the 2nd lap I realized I was getting strange blisters between my big toes and the rest of my toes (like the spot where flip-flops go), and I was loosing most of the skin off my right ankle to my sock, but I just didn't care and kept going. I even picked it up the last 5 miles or so, but it was no-where near enough to get into the top 5 (awards) or top 2 (kona slot) in my age group. Finished before sun set! Gained 4.5 pounds from that morning (3am weigh-in at home before breakfast) which really, really surprised me. I was well hydrated and peeing all night (before and after going to sleep), so I think it was extra water.

The next day we did the awards banquet then started the drive home. We got in on Tuesday with enough time to get massages from Josh Shadle. Calves are sore, knot in the right leg is still there, but it is coming around. This is probably my best/shortest recovery yet.

Especially mentally, I am ready to RACE and TRAIN again. I will give it time (I have Lasik next Thursday, April 24, and then no real training for at least a week) but the hunger is there. I've got some unfinished business. Throughout the day I was filled with confidence, and a great, deep peace. I did not accomplish all of my goals, but I was extremely thankful for the chance to get out there and try to give it all I had. I was even thankful for our "spring of wind" in Boulder, as it helped prepare me for the winds we had race day. I was thankful for my friend and family, for their support and well wishes. I was thankful for my body and all that it can do, and I was thankful for challenges and unexpected problems that make me grow and learn.

the big three-oh!

Happy Birthday to me! The dawned early when I woke and couldn't sleep. This started a few weeks ago after our first 2+ h marathon prep-run. That time it was my legs that woke me from slumber with a deep, aching soreness. It happened the next week, too, after a longer run, and once more the night after Ironman AZ. Last night, I am not sure what woke me, but it was a racing mind that kept me awake for more than two hours. I was frustrated, I knew I needed sleep. I did get a lot of planning done for today and this weekend though!

I'll post my race report from the Ironman later today, but in the meanwhile, I need to catch up on our adventures since crossing that finish line.

Sunday we finished, took our time getting food, massage, and rounding up all of our gear. Back at Debbie and Brian's house (my aunt and uncle, our wonderful hosts) we showered, talked with Sunny and Debbie filled my Dad in on how our day went, we checked results (I was 6th in my age group) and then hit the sack.

Monday, we loaded the car, headed down to the awards banquet and race expo area, got our finisher certs, waited for the Kona roll-down (no luck, only 2 in my age group and the 2nd went to the 3rd place finisher), checked out the merchanidise for sale, and found our special needs bags - yeah! The awards were in the sun, so very hot, but we met some neat people from Huston and a nice, fast guy from Longmont, CO (small world!). Then we started our drive. North Eastern AZ is very beautiful. The saguaros gave way to pine as we headed up, up, up to Flagstaff, then came the canyons and beautiful rock layers. We were hoping to make it to Moab, UT, but stopped about an hour south in Monticello, UT for the night. All was well, until dinner, when I ordered the Wolrds Grossest Hamburger (I think the boiled it, it was swollen, large, and spongy....NOT grilled). I was still pretty spent, though, and didn't realize how awful it was until I had eaten almost the whole thing. I think I am laying off beef for a week or so while this memory fades.

Tuesday we woke early and pressed on. The goal was to get breakfast in Moab and maybe hit Arches National Park. Once in Moab, we realized that good coffee and a shared, day-old cinnamon roll were all we needed. We picked up some free literature on the two national parks surrounding Moab, but decided we would skip stopping in either this trip and keep on towards home (we HAVE to go back, it is so beautiful there). We rolled into Boulder around 2pm and proceeded to unpack the car, sort through all the dirty clothes and start some laundry, and get as much tidying done as we could before heading to Tri-Massage for an hour each, then on to Mtn. Sun for dinner.

Wed was back to work, followed by an abbreviated Masters swim in the snow.

Thursday we were up and out of the house early. Eric had a 7am Lasik appointment and I was his driver to get home. I then headed to work for a busy, busy day while he stayed home and rested. Around lunch, Eric's Dad, Arvid, and his dad's girlfriend, Bonnie, arrived. They are visiting for the weekend from Minneapolis. By the time I got home from work, they had the new Ikea furniture assembled. We had some good chats last night and cooked up some yummy stir fry for dinner.

....and that brings us to today, my 30th birthday. Looking back at the rest of the week (especially Sunday and the Ironman) today seems a lot less important. Eric surprised me with two awesome presents already: a Craft cycling/skiing jacket and a Craft hoodie, yeah! The best present, though is another year, another chance to grow and challenge myself athletically and as a person. That, and I am ready to age-up.......wave starts with the 29-and-under crowd were starting to get to me....again, that will have to wait for another post......

Monday, April 14, 2008

E's IM AZ race lessons

10 Lessons learned:

1. One canister of Vitalyte is not enough to supply the needs for Amber and I for a hot race. We started making our concentrated bottles on Sat. night only to realize that we would be short of our planned amount. We had wanted 3 bike bottles at 4 x strength and some for the run, but could only cover the bikes. That meant we would have to rely on Gatoraid on the course which has caused stomach issues before.

2. Even if it is a dry heat, 93 is still hot, especially when Boulder's temperatures have rarely reached into the 70's. I managed to do pretty well keeping hydrated and fueled on the bike, but needed more hydration and calories for the run as I probably had only 40 oz of drink and around 400 calories for the entire run. In the end, I was 3.5 lbs down for the day (even after pizza), so my run was probably affected by dehydration.

3. Tubulars are much easier to change in really hot conditions. This was handy after i got a staple in my sidewall with about 10 miles to go on the bike. Wasted some time inflating the bad tire, but got the new one on quickly and remembered to drink the rest of my front bottle before setting the bike down. At least it was far enough into the bike that i didn't try to "make up the time" by going hard for the rest of the bike.

4. My swim is improving, but still have a lot of room for improvement. I met my goal of being under 70 minutes (by 31 seconds). My next goal is under 67 for Canada.

5. I need to work on my biking/leg strength, but a lack of long rides didn't make me slower than Canada last August.

6. I need better blinders for the start of the run. I've gotten good at letting better bikers go, but still like to keep up with/pass people too much at the start of the run. Midway through and near the end, I think its good to have people to work off of, but not at the start.

7. The Arizona run course sucks if you are running and most everyone else is walking and taking up the entire sidewalk.

8. It helps to have inspiration. For my first IM, my ankle injury gave me inspiration to keep moving forward. For my 2nd and 3rd, I didn't really have anything to inspire to. For Arizona, Marit's injury (even though i only know her through her blog), inspired me to HTFU during the run.

9. Attitude isn't everything, but it sure helps. I spent the day grateful for the opportunity to put myself through the event, so when things were tough, I was able to keep calm and keep moving forward. I ran for a while with a guy that who was having his worst race in over 10 IMs and he was pissed. He kept saying that his goal was to just finish and predicted a marathon time of 4:30 even though he was on a pace better than that. My goal was to give it everything i had and keep trying to run a 3:45 even though i ended up 10 minutes over that.

10. You never stop learning.

Post IM lesson - You can pack a Ikea TV console, dresser, two bikes, lots of wheels, and lots of bags inside a Subaru legacy wagon (better mileage having the bikes inside than on top), but you won't be able to see out the back.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

An Introduction......Hello!


This is Amber Rydholm, the "A" of the "A and E Show." As it is for most of my athletic life, I am sharing this blog with my husband, Eric (the "E"). As we are just starting out in the blogging world, I thought I'd better introduce myself. I'll do my best to keep it brief, because we are racing Ironman Arizona tomorrow and there is still prep work to do, but knowing me, brief might just not be possible......

Well, where to start? I guess back at the beginning is best. I am the oldest of three girls. I was born by the sea in Alaska, moved to Oregon at ~11 months, then on to Taos, NM from age 3 to age 5, and Albuquerque for first grade. We finally settled in Brooklyn Park, MN (a 'burb of Minneapolis) for most of my growing-up years (until the end of 11th grade). For 12th grade my parents moved us north to Carlton, MN, about 40 minutes outside of Duluth. Then I was off to college at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI. There I got a degree in Chemical Engineering and NCAA nordic skiing, and it was there that I also met my other half, Mr. Eric (that may sound like a cliche, but we have so many things in common, he really does seem like my twin some days.....but that will have to be it's own post some day).

While at MTU I was also part of the co-op/intern program that had me in school 6 months and working for industry 6 months for a couple of rotations. My first rotation was with Kimberly-Clark Corp. in Neenah, WI. While there, I bought my first road bike and started racing triathlon at the tender age of 20. I thought it would be good summer training for skiing, and keep me out of too much mischief. I met a great group of seasoned triathletes that took me on as a project (charity case?) and proceeded to teach me much of what they knew for triathlon and bike training. I was an innocent sponge, but did a good job of soaking it all in and still recall that summer fondly.

After graduating from MTU, Eric and I headed off to Boulder, CO for grad school. At that time, we knew we liked the life-style and athletic opportunities that Boulder presented, but, I at least, did not realize what a triathlete mecca it was. Grad school took over life (at least mine) but sport continued to provide great friendships and opportunities. I still skied NCAA for CU (University of Colorado) for our first year in Boulder, and we also joining the CU tri team, a club sport. After a few years Eric got his Masters and moved out into the working world while I slugged on, eventually earning my PhD. We are now both gainfully employed in Boulder, and have shifted our athletic focus to Ironman triathlons and longer ski races. Tomorrow's race will be Eric's 4th Ironman race and my 3rd.

My goal for starting this blog (and for sharing it with Eric) is to journal my journey through sport and life. Along the way we will share our adventures in sport and life with all who are willing to read it, but first and foremost, it is our story. I hope my entries can be made with grace and honesty. Either way, it will be the truth as I see it, it will be heartfelt, enjoy the ride!


Amber is busy comparing the differences between Thermolytes and Salt Stick caps, making sure she is ready for the heat tomorrow, while I'm creating a blog. Go figure.

The reason she is getting ready for the heat is Ironman Arizona where the latest prediction is a high of 94. Two years ago at IM Canada, she turned her race suit white with salt in the heat and didn't take any additional electrolytes. So, she's learning, which is a good thing.

I wonder what lessons we will learn tomorrow. Hopefully they are good ones, like my lesson at Canada last year that yes you can run the whole marathon if you're smart about nutrition.

Otherwise, we are cautiously optimistic that tomorrow will go well. Our swim times in the pool have been improving and I've got a new wetsuit that fits better. Our biking hasn't included as much long stuff and Boulder's weather has been a bit windy to get a great gauge on our speed, but we should be okay. We'll be riding our trusty old bikes as our Javelins weren't ready to come out to play. The run will depend heavily on hydration and nutrition, but our training was solid without injuries.

So, its time for me to compare the salts.