Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's snowing!

I love a good storm. I am too much of an optimist to fully acknowledge that this might mean a delay to some of our plans. Right now, I'm just in love with the snow. It is white, fluffy, and not very cold here.


I think last night brought us ~6". We are in a lull in the storm, and snug inside getting ready for Christmas Eve Dinner, so it is easy to have warm fuzzy thoughts about our weather situation. All of that might change if family can't make it here to help eat the 13 lb turkey and 4 lb of Christmas cookies. And a change could be in store if the storm picks back up tonight and tomorrow like they are predicting.

Until then, we'll keep getting ready for What's Next.

So far, that has meant washing the dog (Izzy was a bit, well, filthy. Not good for guests ad petting, which just seems to be part of Christmas) planning When We Start What with the cooking, putting the final touches on the wrappings for gifts, shoveling the steps, changing out the shower curtain (it was time. 'nuf said), and making sure we can get to church for the family program at 4, I think E will come, too.

Next up: a fresh snow Stomp. Walk seems too normal. Ski and run are going to be hard until the groomers and plows catch up with the new snowfall........ I must admit, my hopes and wishes for new snow did not account for the possibility that new snow would mean a change to training. I'm trying to stay flexible, but too much snow to ski was not what I had considered. Ah well, I still love all the white stuff!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Hello blog. Long time, no see. Sorry 'bout that......

E and I are in MN on vacation. We are splitting the time between our two families, which are about 3 h apart by car. We start with the Rydholms then move on to the Hofstads. All has gone well so far. The drive was loooooong, but uneventful. The roads were dry until Des Moines, then just wet not icy. The winds were either absent or steady, no gusts. The stops were few and brief. The only slight disappointment was lunch (we normally pack food but did not get to that in time so we ended up at a Hardees. I used to crave their burgers (mushroom and swiss!) as a kid, but I have much higher standards now and was just.... disappointed. Nothing was bad, it just wasn't good. And the fries were cold.)

Since our arrival, we have been busy skiing (Murphy-Hanrehan! My first time! What a neat set of trails. Snow is good, but bring the rock skis), running, shopping, cooking/eating, even went to a movie (The Blind Side, good stuff). Last night we cooked up some dinner and headed to my sister and brother-in-law's house. It is neat for me to see my little sister all grown up, and it was a fun time to sit and visit some in person.

Today will be a run, some visiting with E's dad and Bonnie, and prep for Christmas Eve dinner, which we are cooking. It will be turkey, mashed potatoes, Fiona's green beans, and fresh, made from scratch biscuits. Today we start the turkey brine, but are trying a dry brine for the first time. Oh, and waiting for the biggest snow-storm of the past 30 years to hit. That might be a kink in our plans of travel to the Hofstads on Christmas day, but we do have the snow tires on, you never know what'll happen. We'll try and turn a new leaf with the blog and be better with updates for 2010. Or at least during this vacation. Maybe even post a few photos.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

E's cross race 1

Our first cyclocross of year (my first ever and A's second ever, although first on a cross bike) was a couple of weeks ago now. We had some family visiting but we still dragged them on a cold, wet day to Broomfield to race in Boulder Cycling's 2nd race.

We had just gotten my bike and ordered a bike for Amber, so we would be sharing mine. Fortunately we ride the same bike size and almost identical seat height, so fitting isn't an issue. Unfortunately, A's race was immediately before mine which left me unable to 1) pre-ride the course (kind of key for cross racing, but...) 2) to practice clipping into the Candy pedals that we just put on the bike (this turned out worse than #1).
There are a few new skills to learn for cyclocross that we just don't practice while swimming, road biking, running, or Nordic skiing. Oh sure, some triathletes work on flying mounts onto their bikes, but since we focus on long stuff, we just don't. And not many triathlon courses (road tri's at least) put barriers in your way. Or had sand on the bike course. Or off camber grass sections.
Naturally, we would have been practicing these skills before racing, but more naturally we started racing first. Kinda like the swim of my first triathlon. I did get a bit of practice dismounting and re-mounting while commuting, but did get a good scrap from falling on the gravel path from an unsuccessful dis-mount.
Anyways, we showed up to the race with the tiniest bit of practice for me and zero practice for very nervous A. A and I signed up and then got her on the bike for about 10 minutes of mounting and dismounting. She then pre-rode the course a bit and got ready to race. I walked around a bit to see some of the course and heard from A that there was another set of barriers on the far side of the course. Shortly after the start of her race, I went to change and ride the trainer a bit to warm up.
With a bit of warm up in, I went back to the start line and watched A finish. She was worried that the rear wheel was flat, but she thinks that during 65% of her races (the other 35% being ski or run races). I got the bike and headed to the start.
I got lined up pretty far back, but was fine with that since I didn't know the course well. Starting a race with 60+ cat 4 guys can be a bit sketchy and having that race be a cross race just adds to that, but the start seemed pretty well controlled. I had one foot clipped in, but had some trouble getting the other side in until we were near the first set of barriers.
The 1st set of barriers seemed very tall the first time around (pretty tall the rest of the time, but not as bad). I just ran through the first sand section based on earlier observations and rode the second section. I didn't worry about getting clipped in during the sand section, but started to get annoyed when neither side would clip in. We had a pretty mild section of path and grass until the next set of barriers during which I got passed by a few guys that I had just passed while riding. This would become a familiar theme of passing people while riding and getting passed back over the barriers. Skills, I need skills.
Over the barriers and through the woods (actually there were only a few trees) I continued to struggle to get my feet clipped in. It took almost all the way to the start/finish line to one side in. On the s turns, my lines were terrible. Too much speed going in, too wide and slow going out. Skills, I need skills.
On the second or third lap, I had a nice little slide down the off camber grass section. It might have been fun except for the facts that I was racing at the time and it knocked my chain off. I eventually had a bit more luck clipping into my pedals, but still spent at least 70% of the race with one or both sides not clipped in. Maybe that's why your not supposed to race on new equipment.
The rest of the race was pretty uneventful as I only hit the ground one other time on a slippery 180. The 45 minutes of racing went by very quickly and I was soon done. Many lessons learned, but it was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cross Action

We haven't wrote for quite a while, but we finally has something worth blogging about. The awesomeness of cyclocross!

Well, that sentiment is somewhat tempered by my hip which too the brunt of a crash (not the only) on Sunday. But, this morning I told A that I felt like I got kicked by a small horse, which is an improvement over yesterday when I felt like I got kicked by a frigging Clydesdale.

Last year, A suffered through a very snowy cross race using my mountain bike. Not good times. She was pretty convinced that her life you be complete without every doing another cross race. Fortunately, I was able to convince her to try again and in the course of the last two weekends, we've done three races. We're hooked. More details on the races and photos to come.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Home in Boulder

Our last day in Penticton was well spent, and I (finally) tubed the canal. It was wet and relaxing. I missed a splash/walk in the lake, though. I missed it badly. I almost considered trying to go for a lake-walk in the dark, but didn't want to risk stepping on anything unseen.

We almost didn't make it back, I wanted to stop and stay a while in Bozeman. I love that town. But we cruised back into Colorado around 3:30 on Wed. afternoon and hit Boulder about 2 hours after that. Since then we have unpacked (I think most everything, by now), eaten great pizza at Protos, and ridden to work both yesterday and today (my feet are protesting cycling shoes, but the legs are loving a low-key spin). I also did a quick check of MSU's webpage, but there are no faculty openings for chemical engineering......

Our drive back had us spotting a moose, driving through a forest fire (very close to the road!), slurping huckelberry milkshake and enjoying the countryside unfold. Flying would seem easier, and is definitely faster, and though another day in Penticton would be a slice of heaven, I like the sense of place that comes from watching the terrain speed by out the car window.

The pets seem to like having us back. they had excellent care from their pal, Beth, while we were out, but they also seem happy to have us around again. I'm already trying a new trick with Izzy at meal time. And the cat wants to cuddle at the worst times, like when I am asleep. She makes up for it with her cuteness and boundless energy (currently, she is running labs of the house, made possible by our two staircases).

Chores have included unpacking. laundry, calling around for a new windshield (we hit a rock just right in some Montana road construction and now get a new windshield), reassembly of The Good Bike Ditto, etc.

This weekend brings the Farmers Market (our first time this year, in Boulder) by bike, followed by breakfast out, cleaning for upcoming family visits, yard work (see mention of family visits), and hope that my stomach might finally get right. Should be fun! Happy weekend!


Monday, August 31, 2009

A's race report: IM Canada 2009

Note: I am reflecting on this after writing it and realize it is more highlights and reflection than a race report, but it is my blog and that is what I needed to write right now. Also, it seems a bit dreary, and I am a tad disappointed in the overall outcome of the day, but as I state below, I have a very positive feeling about the fight I fought, too. A final warning, this gets long.....

It is now the morning after and my legs won't let me sleep, so I thought I'd start to write a race update. Yesterday was my 5th Ironman race, and my 4th consecutive time here in Penticton. E and I showed up ready. The most ready we have ever felt. It was almost scary how ready I felt. Our training had been a bit lighter than normal earlier in the year due to work overloads for both of us, but since June it has been business as usual. Only harder. And faster. And I was responding well to that.

With that preface, I'll state that I am pretty disappointed with my race yesterday. After my 4 previous attempts at this distance, I lined up at the start line ready to rock it. Especially the run. I have been dialing in a new nutrition plan, updating the race wardrobe, and was excited to give my best effort. Which I did, it was just not a 3:30-3:45 run, it was a 4:09. In the end, it was my stomach that did me in. Canada has a single out and back run, and by the turnaround at Christi Beach I had stopped in about 10 of the 12 port-a-potties dotted in through the aid stations. Finally emptied out, I got down to the business of running and had an OK race from there in, but the damage was done and I never hit my goal paces even after I found my legs.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start back with our departure prep on Monday when I was chopping veggies for dinner (enough for leftovers on the road the two nights we were traveling, too). I did a good job of slicing my left index finger, right through the nail. This limited some training last week, but being taper, I think that was fine. By Friday I had stopped wearing a bandaid (I hate how soggy they get after you wash your hands a few times) and had the thing super-glued together. The drive up went smoothly. We broke it up into two nights (Casper, WY, Tuesday after work, and Spokane on Wed.). We got in on Thursday and settled (groceries, cooking, visiting with friends, etc.). Friday we spent a bit of time training to flush the legs and check the gear (just a swim in gorgeous Okanagan Lake and a spin up Green Mtn Road for ~35 min) then it was off the feet. Saturday we prepped gear, took a turn through the Farmer's Market on Main Street, found Ivy, Cathy, and Michael, and dropped everything off at the race site. All week, I slept well and felt only mild race anxiety. Mostly, I felt calm and ready to rock. And confident that I could.

Pre-race on Sunday was uneventful, save for the huge port-a-potty line, but I'm glad I waited to use that. E and I seeded ourselves well. I got an OK start, but spent a bit of effort clamping my middle finger onto my index finger to try and save my nail which was flopping now (so much for that super glue). That lasted until the first turn of the swim (we do a single triangle, ~1600 m, 400 m, 1800 m) when it fell off. My swim at 1:01 was a PR and on target (I wanted a 1:00 to 1:03). TI seemed to take FOREVER, as I had to do a few things twice, but the clock doesn't make it look too bad.

The bike started well. I quickly settled in and got to business. I wanted (and think I was easily capable of) a 5:30-5:45, so my 5:50 is puzzling and a bit disappointing, but I felt spot on for the effort I wanted to give, and occasional heart rate checks confirmed my effort was appropriate (though that data is a bit muddied by the fact that the strap was unhooked on the right side and only the shelf-bra of my top was holding it on, and then, only sometimes making contact with me). There was some wind, some heat, some smoke from the nearby forest fires (no smoke in town the days leading up the the race, it moved in during the bike) but nothing really intense, at least by itself. My nutrition went well (only carbopro 1200, nuun made on course from their water, thermolytes, one tums, two gas-x).

T2 was also uneventful. I finally fixed the HR strap, yeah! Got my brand new compression socks on (bought at the expo, so very new) and was off. I took a mile to try and settle in. Felt pretty good, but was already off pace. I decided to let the legs settle for a mile or two and then bring it down to what I had planned on. But by mile 3 I was running for the toilet, and that continued for almost every mile until the turnaround. I was able to run strong after each stop, but they were costing me precious time. My nutrition kept going well (on the top half, at least). I never got dizzy or low on energy like I have when using powergels in training. I just never really ran. I shuffled. Or sprinted for toilets.

All in all, it was close to what I had hoped for, but still.... wasn't. Overall, I have a positive feel about the race. I fought a good fight. I never gave up. I was patient, showed courage, and tried to find joy in the day as it unfolded. I gave what I could, then dug deeper and gave more on the run when it got tough out there. But..... I guess I thought this year would be different. I'd finally come in and race to my potential. I'd be a "competer" not just a "completer." I'd RUN. Not shuffle, not survive, but run, mix it up with the big girls, get to go up for an award, whatever. Maybe, after 5 tries and one sub-11 h (not this year, this was my first non-PR Ironman) it is time to find a new sport, or go back to Olympic distance races, or something. Maybe. First, we have St. George and Lake Placid to do in 2010, though. Maybe I'll learn to emulate my idols by then. Marit, Kerrie, Jenni, what're your secrets?

Now: coffee, maybe a trip to roll down (would 3 slots ever make it to 11th?) and a final "vacation" day before tonight's banquet and we pack up to roll out tomorrow at first light. I think I might finally float the canal......

With patience, courage, and joy,

Thursday, August 13, 2009

E's Late Night Update

So I'm up late due to an issue at work and I've updated my training log and read other's blogs, so I'm left with having to write a post.

Since I last wrote, A went to Minnesota like she wrote about, I got in a slight bit of an accident with a car while biking to work, we did the longest swim workout I've ever done, and observed a little 5430 long course action during our bike on Sunday.

It was pretty quiet around the Casa de Rydholm the weekend that A was in Minnesota, but I managed to get some neglected housework done since I took Friday off to bike a few hours and run a few more hours with A before she left and had shorter workouts for the rest of the weekend. Hopefully she doesn't want to ride her road bike too soon as I took off the cables and bar tape to move her handlebars up to where she wanted them. Most likely that project won't get completed until after Canada.

The rest of the week was busy after A got back with training and that whole work thing. On Friday, I had a guy drift into me while I was biking to work. Luckily the only damage was a bent rear wheel.

On Saturday, we headed to the pool for a long swim. 5.1km swim to be more exact. I was actually a bit excited for it since the last time we had a 5 k swim scheduled, the weather forced us to shorten it. It took a while (almost two hours) for me to finish, but I felt good to get it done. A had added extra 50's in middle to keep at about the same point as me so she went an extra 300 meters (crazy girl).

After the swim, we headed to Pekeo Sip house for some Americanos, Deli Zone for some breakfast sandwiches, the auto parts store for a headlight restoration kit (huge improvement for the Subaru) among other stuff, and the Styrofoam recycling place. Then, we headed out on our bike ride which included some climbing up Lee Hill.

On Sunday, we headed out early for our long ride. We started on the 5430 long course route but knew we should have around a 15 minute head start from the pro's. We were amazed on how much glass and debris was on the road as they obviously didn't sweep the course this year. Just before we were about to leave the course as it made a turn, Tim O'Donnell passed us with a photographer following along side of him. We then proceeded north to Masonville and headed back south. We got back onto the course for a few miles on 75th after most of the people had finished the bike, but did pass a few racers. It was kind of nice to have police officers controlling traffic for us. We headed through the town of Niwot to add some distance and I managed to get double flats. I thought I had just flatted my front wheel and A thought I had just flatted my rear wheel, but in the end, I had done both. I fixed my rear wheel and A fixed my front wheel and we finished up our ride.

We then headed back to Niwot to use the track to run a bit at our goal paces for Canada. It was warm but we survived and then went to Dairy Queen for dipped cones.

Since the weekend, we've been busy again with work and training, but it would be weird if it wasn't the case.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

3 days in MN

This will be quick, but then so was the trip. I spent last Friday doing my weekend IM training with E so I could fly out that night to Minneapolis. First I biked for ~3 h, then did a near-3 h run, caught the bus to DIA at 2:50 pm, plane at 4:50 pm, and shuttle-van at 9:00 pm (new time zone) before meeting my dad at the park-n-ride at ~11:25 pm. Murmurs of a family tri-relay filled my head as I drifted off to sleep.

The next day, I woke to the cutest alarm ever, my new 8 mo. old niece who I was meeting for the first time. I headed out to the country roads for a walk with her (looking cute in the stroller), her parents, and my other sister, Beth. There the plans for the race were fleshed out, as I secretly wondered why the 3 of them were all on one team.

Throughout the morning my amazement and love for my family grew and grew. I was amazed that my cousin Joe was able to single handedly delay a 10 am sharp start to ~noon. I was awed at how each family unit (my dad and his 4 sisters each had a family member participating or assisting in awards and finish line paraphernalia) really got into the idea of racing each other, helping their team, and having fun with the sport. And despite all the banter and small talk, I could sense an excitement and curiosity at the craziness that was about to ensue. Between finding toilet paper and ski poles to mark the finish, discussions over how to size the winners crown when we didn't know who it should even be sized for yet (this was critical for sticker placement), and efforts by a least 3 people to get all bike tires filled with air, their was a steady banter and energy filling the air.

Right before noon, Joe and family arrived and final instructions were given before a prayer for safety was said. Then all of the self-proclaimed non-athletes headed out to their starting areas to wait for their team mates.

In the end, I anchored the final team as their runner. I got to see the exchange of speed and excitement between all other bike-run pairs. And after I crossed the finish line is when I really began to be thankful for the family I have. Only on of them had ever done a triathlon before, but there was already talk of "well, next year I'll......" as plans for training and race strategy were hatched. And there was plenty of warrior stories floating around, too. The moment when my sister was almost finished with the bike and her pedal fell off. The moment my Dad was about to pass my cousin while flying down one of the rolling hills and his chain fall off. The disbelief of those waiting on shore as the 2nd place swimmer was so befuddled by how to navigate a large patch of weeds that his lead was lost to his sister as he elected to go around while she went straight through the middle.

I hung around the finish until the crowd dispersed as another rain shower moved in, then I headed out for another 30 min of running to get in my hour for the day. A quick shower and it was time to set-up for Grandma's birthday party (the triathlon relay was in her honor, a first annual they are saying....). Kids were running around the yard and through the house, turkeys (3!) were frying, potato salad and from-scratch baked beans were being finished off, and the 3-layer chocolate cake was waiting for the celebration.

The on-and-off rain prevented the annual wiffle ball game from commencing, but we did get treated to some wonderful singing by Joe and Em, and a poetry recital from my cousin's middle child, Wesley.

Sunday was breakfast, church, and a visit with Grandpa at the nursing home. I think the highlight of my year was having Grandma try to explain to him who I was and to whom I belong, only to have him respond "I know!" in a voice loud and clear enough for all to hear. He was tired, though, so we moved on to get some groceries and prepare dinner for the crew back at the farm (they brought grandpa out for dinner, later, so the visiting continued).

Sunday was a rainy, sleepy day that was spent inside visiting. Not my favorite type of day at the Farm, but the motivation to get out for a swim or bike or run, or walk when it was 58 and drizzle was not high. Instead we watched my niece try and crawl. She is very, very close, but not quite there yet.

After dinner, my youngest sister and her husband had to head back to the Cities for work and school. My parents, niece, other sister, her husband, and I then headed for the cabin on the south shore of Lake Superior. I got to have the sweet sound of the waves send me of to sleep. The morning brought a walk on the beach, a few bald eagle photos, a wonderful breakfast where I was introduced to June berries (yum!), and a contemplation of a swim in the lake.

Right before lunch time I did pull on the wet suite, cap and goggles and swim out a ways along shore. Then I noticed one of the eagles checking me out, thought of Wesley's "Food Chain" poem from the night before, loudly shouted "I am not lunch!)"and turned back for our beach.

After lunch we packed up and headed back to the farm. My mom and I loaded my cousin and cousin-in-law into the Forester and drove down to Minneapolis so they could make their connections before heading to my youngest sister's house to meet them for dinner. I had not seen their apartment yet and they have been there for ~15 months now, since their wedding. It is small but cute and cozy, just like a newly-married couples home should be. Then we got a short bit of sleep before heading to the airport again, this time for my 6:xx am flight.

When I bought the tickets, this early departure seemed to make sense since I could maximize my time in MN and still get a full day at work, but by this morning, it seemed like sheer craziness. I had a great trip. I had been very worried about taking a weekend off" at this point in our IM Canada build, but in the end, I think I made the best of a balance of family summer-time and training maintenance.

Then I saw the workouts I missed yesterday and today (we get workouts monthly and this was my first glance at August) and panicked. It seems like I missed a lot! Too much ??? Time will tell if this was a good idea or not, I guess. I did have fun, lots of fun, I just hope none of the time and effort already spent in preparation for the IM were wasted with some family down time and travel. Too late to worry now, time to focus forward. August 30th seems very, very close right now. And I am excited to go to Penticton to race again.


Oh, a shout out to Whitney, a swim mate, for her Vineman full course win repeat! Wow! Way to go!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

E's Quick Update

For a quick recap ...
No racing since Mt. Evans, just a bunch of training.

Before Mt Evans, we both got FUEL testing done. That consisted of lactate threshold testing, carb vs fat utilization, and VO2max testing. Neal at BCSM thought it was pretty amusing how close the numbers were between the two of us for the LT portion. His first statement was "Well, I can see that you guys train a lot together." Not surprisingly, A's VO2 max put mine to shame, but I won for better fat utilization. So, we'll call this round of testing a tie.
One run turned "interesting" when we were supposed to hit certain paces and our Garmins were in disagreement over what paces we were holding. In the middle of the run, I was trying to convince A that she should be running way faster, while she thought she was going way faster than her assigned pace. We had to be reminded by the coach that we should know our paces without the silly gadgets.

Last weekend (after a late evening at some friend's house) we had a bit of a ride up to Estes Park via Big Thompson canyon. Previously, we've always taken the canyon all the way to Estes, but this time we decided to try the side road that goes through Glen Haven. We'd heard that it was pretty steep, which turned out to be pretty accurate. Most of it wasn't steep at all and absolutely gorgeous. After Glen Haven, the road turned towards the sky and I was wishing that I had my compact crank and road bike instead of the normal crank and tt bike. Oh well, we took it as steady as possible and made our way into Estes Park.

Descending Big Thompson canyon on a Saturday in July is not fun with all of the traffic and it started to rain which made it even worse. Eventually we made it out alive, headed back to Boulder, and made it back without getting more rain.

Oh, and it was my birthday on Sunday. A and I: had a crappy swim, made some great waffles, went to Harry Potter 6, had a happy hour meal at Bloom, grilled up some steaks at home for dinner, and had a backyard fire. Nice day. I also set a personal record of facebooking that day.

Peace Out,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

E's Mt Evans Hill Climb Race Report

Okay this will be short.

First, you start riding your bike at an elevation higher than you live at (7500 ft). You then proceed to climb 6600 ft over 28 miles to the top of Mt. Evans. You try to ride with others in your category for as long as possible, but in my case that was only for 5 miles. You may almost catch your wife who started in front of you, but she may see you behind her and speed up (or slow down less) the last mile and you never do catch her. At the top, you are cold and tired, so you turn around and bike down. You experience a head wind on the last section that requires a decent amount of effort to get through. If you're smart, you drink beer afterwards (I am smart) in town.

Fortunately, for the effort, you treat yourself to a dinner and a half at Mountain Sun with plenty of beer.

Peace Out,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon race report

I am sitting here wondering where to start with my return to blog-land and figure that a belated race report is a good place. This past February, E and I headed down to Grants, NM, for the 26th annual Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon. As usual, we had a car loaded with bikes, run shoes (with screws for the snow and ice), skis, skins, poles, and snowshoes. New this year, we brought with some other Boulder athletes and shared our hotel room. It was good to share the race experience with new companions, but it was a break from the tradition we had kept for the last 5 times we have done the race.

Friday we left Boulder early, drove to Grants without issue, picked up our materials at registration, and dropped off all of our gear for legs 2-4 at the fire house before settling into the hotel (away from the 24-7 rail road tracks) and then heading back to town for the complimentary pasta feed. A few last minute bike prep steps back at the hotel, and we headed to bed.

The race started Saturday at 9 am and we made it there in a single trip (years past have seen us rushing back to the hotel for timing chips, forgotten medication, etc. I do not know why, but this seems to be the one race where I can forget something vital and cause a ruckus race morning). We arrived at the start early enough to get great parking spots and with plenty of time for a good bike and run warm up. Unfortunately, as E already mentioned in his post, we had enough time to find some glass on the road's shoulder during our warm-up that led to some drama pre-start.

I didn't know it until I was trying to drop off a few last minute things at the car and ride to the line, but I was getting a flat front tire. I sprinted to the start, found E quickly, told him what was going on, and swapped wheels with him while he made a bee-line to the race mechanic's tent. I was able to stall the starter long enough for E to get the tire changed and head back over to the start. Unfortunately, E now had no spare tire, which cost him later as he had a slow leak in the rear due to more glass.

And with that, the gun was fired and the field was off. We all rode in a pack through town and out towards the county corrections facility. I was with two of the top women, but soon saw a pack breaking off the front and worked to bridge up to them, leaving Lisa and Keri close behind me, but out of site. At ~ 9 miles they reappeared and passed me as we flew down the only down-hill in the first leg and then started the steepest portion of the climb. Lisa was gone in a flash. Keri lingered a little longer due to shifting issues, but was out of sight by the time I moved into the first transition (T1). A few other strong riders (women) where there this year, and I entered T1 in 5th place for the female soloists. Just in time to miss the dirt and debris getting kicked up by the helicopter trying to land next to T1!

I was in and out of T1 quickly, and soon passed my nearest rivals. This year I made some strategic shoe choices for the run that had a positive impact on my race, and I was zipping along nicely through the early rollers and up the steeps. It was a beautiful day for a race. My nutrition was going well, and the legs and lungs were feeling OK, considering we were climbing ~1200 feet over the 5 mile run.

I entered T2 in 3rd, but knew I had a few women close on my heels. I took a final swig from my hand-held water bottle that I carried for the run, threw on my skate boots, clipped into my skis, swung my bag with snowshoes onto my back, and started to quickly walk out towards the timing mat at the end of T2 while strapping my poles on. The amazing volunteers were still loading my rejected run equipment into my bag as I transitioned from trudge to shuffle and skied out of sight.

The ski is always steep and painful at the Quad. 2009 was no exception. By now my muscles are screaming for oxygen and any motion feels like you are engulfed in lactic-acid derived quick sand. I fought on, driven by the thought that the race leaders, the women I emulated, and my own time goals, were within reach if I could stay focused and drive steadily onward.

At T3 I saw the men's race leader leaving to start the ski down as I was ripping my skins off the skis and shoving my feet into my bolted-on run shoes on the snowshoes. As I ran along the flat portion, I saw Brian Hunter ahead. He had passed me on the ski up and we would continue to jockey back and forth for the next 40 min or so, spurring each other on. I had a gel. Declined the whiskey but took water at the edge-of-the-world, and somewhere in there put on the light weight windbreaker that I had been carrying in my jersey pocket since the start. This jacket was a life saver, and the decisions to wear it was one that eventually propelled me to a great total race and 15 min PR (after having 4 of the previous 5 years all be within ~5 min of each other). Keri and Erin were not as fortunate. Both eventually were pulled off course by medical due to potential hypothermia. The winds were brutal at the top of the mountian and we were all very wet due to the efforts we exerted to haul ourselves up the mountain. My jacket (an awesome find at Golite) packs down to a lump smaller than most supermarket apples and weighing less than its volume in marshmellows (its small and light) and had been out of sight and mind until I needed it and quickly remembered having it and threw it on mid stride. Then I passed the Edge of the World and started to assend the steep section that would send me to the half way point distance wise, also known as the top of Mt. Taylor.

At the top I paused briefly for a 2 second look at the view, then followed directions and started down. This year they sent us down a different way than we went up. It was a very fun section to descend, but I missed seeing where everyone in front of me was like I could when the top used to be an out and back.

Before I knew it, I was back in transition trying to stuff my feet into my wet ski boots, attach my boots to my bindings, and plop my snowshoes into my backpack for the ski descent. As I started to shuffle off I was still trying to jam my hands into my poles. I had a few close calls this year when my skis got caught in a rut or when I was maneuvering around other racers on some of the tight hairpin turns, but I made it down in decent time with no falls. Near the bottom, in the middle of the whoop-do-woos, I shot past Keri, much to my surprise. After that section there is a short up and then flat-ish section where I always skate. I pushed on, worried that Keri was just behind me. She is strong and has multiple wins here, and she can run!

By the time I made it over the timing mat and into transition, the volunteers had grabbed my gear bag, removed my skis from my feet, and were directing towards a bench where I could sit briefly and prep for the downhill run. On with my shoes, run hat, and handful of gels, and I was off. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to grab my water bottle in the rush. That ended up not being too much of a problem, but having it with me would have been better. Part way down, after turning off the steep road onto the flatter road and getting ready to cross the second cattle guard, a headwind picked up and nearly blew my hat off. I pulled it loose from my ponytail and stuck it in my race belt. The last bit of the run is rolling and gets ugly. I always think this is the hardest leg of the race because I'm starting to tire, ready to be done, and assuming all is downhill, but it's not. The last mile has noticeable uphill sections and lots of flat that seems to go nowhere. Regardless, keeping one foot in front of the other seems to get one through this part and on to the bike.

The bike down this year was uneventful. The headwinds picked up throughout the bike, but by now I almost expect that (unlike 2005 when I was on par for a significant PR and expecting a 30-35 min decent, only to go 50 min and nearly bonk since I had not grabbed food and expected to be done much sooner). I crossed the line in second place, a major accomplishment! I chatted briefly with the radio station announcers, tuned in my chip, drank copious amounts of gatorade, then turned back to find E. He wasn't too far behind, but was further back than I expected. I soon learned that he had also found glass during our bike warm-up that left him with a slow rear leak. A number of stops to top off the tire with CO2 got him to the finish, but he had ridden the last bit up at the beginning while standing, cautiously descended the steep parts at the top on the way down, and had to stop at the top of the little climb during the end bike to refill.

The rest of our acquaintances drifted in and we learned that Lisa had won, Tom was done in excellent time, better than expected, and both Eric and Keri got to ride down together in a cop car after the medics pulled them off course for hypothermia. We used our meal ticket to have lunch with Keri and catch up on her latest adventures. I think this lunch at El Cafecito was my favorite part of the trip. Keri is a neat person, and we really only see her at races, often only at Mt. Taylor. And the food at El Cafecito is AWESOME, true NM cuisine.

Then it was back to the hotel to start cleaning up, packing gear, packing the car some, vegging out, etc. We headed back in to town for awards that night, then hit the hay. The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel, then said goodbye to Eric, loaded Tom and the last things into the car, and turned towards Boulder. The 2009 Mt. Taylor Quad trip was done, but we'll be back next year. You should join us in Grants, NM for the race, it is one of a kind and a true gem.

Monday, July 13, 2009

E's weekend recap

Not surprising, but A and I had a busy, but productive weekend. Since, we are "racing" up Mt. Evans next weekend, we needed to get some climbing in, so Jared assigned a trip up to Brainerd Lake. Fortunately, we got out the door pretty early and missed most of the onslaught of riders that we later saw in Lefthand Canyon as we were descending. I was glad to see so many people out riding on a nice day, but it would have been a bit tricky working our way through them as we did our workout.

A let me lead up to Ward, where we filled up our water bottles. After that she took the lead and put the hurt onto me as we headed to Brainerd Lake. She later asked if she had been going too slow, which is funning since the normal sign of showing that someone is going too slow is not to fall back 30 yards (or meters for any Canadian readers).

The descent was nice except for a dude that apparently didn't like getting passed as he almost ran into A who was on my wheel. Dude then passed us back and flew through the residential area, which opened a gap to us. Sure enough we could have easily caught him back on the lower section, but decided not to play games with him as it would have been hard to drop him with our compact cranks. Anyways, we made it back home and went for a short run.

After lunch and a nap, A and I tried to un-neglect our yard for a while.

Sunday started with a crappy swim for both of us, followed by a run in Eldorado State Park.
We ran from the park to Walker ranch via a pretty hill trail. Once at Walker, we were met with another big hill. We then turned around and hit all the hills in reverse. The trail was difficult, the weather was warm but overcast, and views were amazing, which all made for a very nice run. Hopefully the legs rest a bit today as I'm getting a FUEL test done tomorrow.
Post-run, we got some shoes at Solepepper and then dined at Efrains I. Lunch prompted the second nap of the weekend. We finished the day doing more house chores and dinner.
All in all, a busy, but good weekend.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A's BSLT race report

I have been busy at work this week, reading other's blogs and BSLT race reports, and writing my own 20 times over in my head. The bottom line is (and I feel qualified to say that. As an engineer, I know what a bottom line is) I am very, very disappointed with my race.

Despite an 11 min personal best time at this distance, I do not feel I raced to my current physical potential, and that just doesn't sit right with me. Somewhere along the way, my abilities have expanded, and subsequently, my expectation also rose. Unfortunately, I had not taken the time to evaluate that in much detail before the race, so I merely wanted to "race well" without any way of quantifying that during the race. I didn't help when others who I knew there seemed to be having "rock star" races (kudos to all of you, you rock!).

But, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Let's back up to our Boulder departure. We have raced BSLT two other times and thus learned that there is NOTHING to do in Lubbock, TX. So, I "smartly" decided we should leave mid-day Friday rather than sun-up Friday and break the drive down into two days. What I did not think about was the fact that we could not get into our hotel in Lubbock until ~3pm on Saturday. At 3 pm we also had to head to the race registration hotel to get our Trakkers units which we were helping to demo during the race. By the time we got our Trakkers and had a good visit with Armando, we didn't get back the hotel to get bikes built until nearly 5 pm! And then they needed a quick test ride, we had more race prep, and we had to cook dinner yet (a perk of our hotel suite was the kitchen and more control of our pre-race dinner, but this meant more time/work, too). By the time we laid down to sleep, I was pretty worked up. My tight neck knot combined with my racing mind meant ~1 h of actual sleep.

At 3:30, though, we rolled out of bed and started to eat breakfast, dress, and get the last minute race prep done. I consolled myself with the thought that I was ready to race. I was prepped physically and less-than-ideal sleep was not going to significantly interfere with what I had come to Lubbock to do: which was RACE FAST and beat this 70.3 mi distance. I was ready. No excuses.

The drive out to the lake was pretty uneventful, but we were both aware of the weather and how it might impact our day (wind was howling and there was some consistent lightning to the North). Once parked (which took much, much longer than normal) we donned our headlamps and rode down the hill towards transition. Set-up was quick, though I modified where I put my helmet and glasses due to the way my bike was swaying on the rack from the winds. At the last minute I shoved my run shoes into a random plastig bag E had rescued as it flew across transition. That ended up being a great thing later when my shoes were some of the few to start out dry. Then a quick zip into my borrowed long-john (thanks, Billy, it worked great!) and down to the beach for a wait and some splashing around.

I found Jenni, but not Cathy as Jared had instructed (I hear she is a good open water swimmer...... !). Before I knew it we were filing over the first timing mat and lining up at the water's edge. As we ran into the water, I looked for fast feet. I missed the leaders, and a few fast solo swimmers in the middle of the field, but soon settled in behind two women who could site well, swim strait, and were close to my pace. Now I just had to follow without hitting them. Too much, at least. On the back side (the swim is a long rectangle), a faster white-cap passed us on the right. I moved to catch her feet, but never quite got into her draft before she was gone. In the end, my swim was 2 min slower than last time (2007) when I lead my age group (but had a great draft off of an older woman), but it was sounding like everyone was slower than normal, leading to the conclusion of a "long" course.

Off to the bike. My T1 was a mess as I tried to get a heart rate monitor strap on while wearing a 1-piece swim suit. This proved difficult and useless, as I never, not once, looked at my heart rate during the race. At least I won't do that again!

I had my shoes on and fastened before the first steep hill, then down the back towards the lake's dam (all within the first mile) where I promptly ejected both drink bottles. This was all my fluids and a good portion of my calories, so I turned to retieve my water-electrolyte bottle resumed racing, thought better of it and turned to retrieve my glucose bottle. Both had damaged lids and had lost most of their fluids. This would be interesting, but I had 7 gels on-board the mothership and headed out to start my race, hoping to snag another water bottle soon.

Immediately, the bike felt smooth, strong, solid. Then I realized that was due to a sweet tailwind. We did the first 180 degree turn-around and faced the headwind as our payment for the free-ride. But with all the earlier racers in front of us (we were the 8th wave, I think) there were plenty of people to pass and use as wind blocks.

Before I knew it, the bike was done Honestly. It was a good bike for me. Very good. Finally! I am starting to feel like I'm playing with the big girls out there. The bike has been my weakness in year's past. I even got to "play" some when Jenni passed me at mile ~45 (right before the last turn-around, where Kerri has passed me every other time we raced BSLT) and I let her go a bit before reeling her back in for good (for the bike! that girl can run!). The last bike was wet from rain, and transition was soaked, but my dry run shoes and socks were waiting and I was soon off on the run course (after being tackeled by a volunteer for trying to run down isle 1 instead of isle 2).

And that is where my race frustrations began. I was soooooooo ready to rock this run. I even wore the race suit for it. My legs just did not get the memo. I ran a steady pace, but it was 45-60 s slower per mile than planned. By mile 3 I had peed twice and was congratulating myself on good race nutrition (my normal problem with BSLT is nutrition issues). But by mile 8 I was talking myself into a pit stop for my gassy, sloshy tummy. And then, as I was reaching for the door to the porta-potty as the current occupant exited, a man, heading the other way (so he was only at mile 5) jumped inside right in front of me! I was incredulous. Seriously? Yeah. So I stood outside pacing and whining... "Sir, please hurry up!"....... "Sir, go, go, go" ...."Siiiiiiiir!" It was rude, but I was now despirate as I had mentally committed to this pit stop AND I was watching the women in my race run by me as I was stopped. I was able to run again (opposed to the iron-shuffel I had embraced) after my pit stop. But I never really was able to turn it on all the way with my tummy remaining unsettled. A 1:48:xx was 8-10 min slower than the plan, but I ran the whole thing which was not a given. And my pit stop was not quick (4 min? 5?).

I crossed the line and told a changed and clean looking E "I think I quit." Afterall, who wants to keep training and working hard towards goals that just seem so ellusive. A more honest reflection, after some time has elapsed, has me conceeding that I never really gave myself a chance. Our training volume has been low so far due to work obligations adn "life issues" consuming our training and recovery time. On top of that, I went into this race wanting to "race well" which I guess meant to break 5 hours (I was a high 5:09) at this distance, have a solid run, and maybe be close to a Kona slot. I was feeling pretty far off the mark in all 3. But I had never set those goals up pre-race! At least not difinitively. This race was a good eye-opening experience for my Canada: I need concrete goals. Time based goals. And I need to state what those goals are clearly, now, before thetraining ramps up and LONG before the race cannon fires. I need to state what I want. Which I am not very good at doing. In anything.

I trust the training. I always have. Now it is just time to focus that training so that I have the race that I am capable of. Even if I don't know it yet.

It was a good learning-experience race (which I guess I still needed, even after 11 years in this sport). It was also an awesome chance to race against some of the best women in this sport and to meet a few amazing tri-bloggers that I admire and read as often as I can. You guys rock! It was an honor to race you!

Now, time for dessert!

E's BSLT race report

So, this first sentence has be re-written a few times.

I'll start with the good: I broke 5 hr in a half on a tough course and difficult conditions. I executed my race well in terms of nutrition and pacing. I'm stronger on the bike than I have ever been before.

But, the bad: My fitness isn't where it was 8 months ago before Halfmax. My run was slow. My swimming sucks right now.

The reality: I have time before Canada to get my fitness back, but the next month and half are going to be seriously hard.

Backing up to the beginning, A and I left for Lubbock on Friday at noon. We got to Lubbock on Saturday morning after spending the night in Dalhart, TX. Although we got everything done that we needed to, not getting into town until Saturday morning caused more stress than necessary. By the feel of it on Saturday, we were in for a hot race on Sunday. At one point, I dropped my hotel card underneath the car and had to put a hand down on the asphalt to get it. Bad idea as it hurt for the following 30 minutes. Anyways, went to bed expecting a hot and humid race.

Race morning after the alarm clock goes off, A asks me if I knew how many floors the hotel had. I answered that I didn't know, but was curious about why she asked. Turns out that between pain in her shoulder and race nerves, she couldn't sleep and walked around the hotel and found out there were three floors. Uh, oh, I thought. We get out the door a bit later than we wanted which caused us to hit the traffic parking at the lake. We did get a brief warm up run in, but I didn't get any swim warm up. I've learned that I need at least 10 minutes in the water to loosen up. Instead, I got 30 seconds.

The swim was pretty uneventful and slow, no clobbering of A this time as she started 25 minutes after me. Although it has always been my biggest weakness, my swimming has been really crappy recently. On the bright side, I started swimming better this morning and the next two months should allow for consistent training. Turns out the swim was a bit long this year, but in the past it has seemed short.

T1 went quick (2nd fastest in age group) which was helped by racing last weekend.

The bike was interesting. It started with my right foot getting stuck underneath the insole of my shoe. I was able to make it up the first hill out of transition that way and while biking at the top before the first downhill. At the damn on the first downhill, my drink bottle ejected out of its cage, which I stopped and retrieved. Luckily it was intact, which wasn't the case for A when she lost both bottles. After that, I enjoyed the cross/tail wind and tail wind until the first turn around, when it became a tough headwind. Headwind became into crosswind and crappy road when the course turned to the east. We got tailwind again when we headed south towards the next turnaround, which gave headwinds again. Then east again, the north, then south, then west, then north, then west, then south, then west. On that second to last west, it started to rain. At least the wind died down then, but it still was pretty annoying. In a stroke of sheer brilliance, I opened my mouth up to hydrate from the rain. In a second stroke of sheer brilliance, I realized that north Texas rain may not be the cleanest and I closed my mouth. Eventually made my way back to T2. In the end, I had a really good bike. I went at a pretty comfortable pace and had the 65th best split of the day, with having to stop at the bottom of a hill to get my bottle

T2 wasn't the fastest, since I had put my shoes in a plastic bag, but doing so was so worth it as they were nice a dry.

The run. A disclaimer of sorts, is that I was a runner before being a skier or a triathlete. As such, if I hold any pride, it is in my running. Two years ago at Lubbock was my first solid run in a long course triathlon after two previous half ironmans and two ironmans. In 2007, I ran a 1:45. Not fast by my standards, but solid. Since then, I've run 3:40 into stiff winds at IM Canada. Again, not blazing, but solid. My goal for Canada this year is a 3:20 marathon. I was expecting to be able to do a 1:30 - 1:35 at BLST, mostly based on the training last winter as running training has suffered over the last few months. But, on Sunday, the best I could do was 7:40 miles which gave me a 1:41 and change run split. I didn't waver on that throughout the whole run, but it hurt the pride not to be able to go faster. As I was coming to the finish line, I was using my watch to try to figure out what my overall time was as I didn't start it with the swim. As I went just past the 5 hr mark according to my watch before the finish line, I got pissed off at my swimming and running. 30 minutes later, I learned that I went under 5 hr by 49 seconds. It really didn't hit me as an accomplishment as much as thinking I was over by 30 seconds felt like a failure.

So, where does that lead me to:
1. I still race to train rather than train to race. I love workouts. I love hard bike rides up canyons, runs where your legs are feeling that they will fall off, but you still are maintaining pace, swims where you do a 200 at a pace you previously keep for a 100.
2. I need to work my butt off if I want the kind of race that I expect for myself at Canada.
3. Triathlons aren't easy. It sounds simple enough, but you can't miss the training (BSLT '09) or the execution (Halfmax '08) and expect to do well.

Peace Out,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

So much to say.....

It has been a while. A long, long while, since I have blogged here. Life has been very busy for E and I. Mostly good stuff, some drama, but for now, not public. At least not bloggable. If that changes, you will know, I'll ensure it.

Anyways, I think I owe y'all at least 4 race reports (more good stuff!) and lots of "life updates," etc. Unfortunately, I only have 8 more minutes inside the NormaTec "pants of pain" tonight and most of that time will be spend eating ice cream with E. Then it's off to bed. Gotta rest up for bike-to-work day tomorrow (I think I might be capped at only 3 breakfast stations) and it is also pre-race week, BSLT on Sunday.

BSLT. Sounds like something you should eat! Bacon, salmon, lettuce and tomato? Nope! Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon. For those interested (dads?) you'll be able to follow along real-time this time, as we will both be demo-ing Trakkers units. If you want to follow along, go here: .

That's all folks! At least for now. I hope to be back with more updates soon. Swim-bike-run safely and enjoy Summer!


Monday, June 22, 2009

E's L2L recap

Time to get this blog back going as triathlon season is upon us in full force. Before this weekend, we hadn't done a triathlon since the Halfmax in October, so racing on Saturday (Loveland Lake to Lake), volunteering at the 5430 sprint (aka Ironman 20.5), and tracking our friends at IMCDA (I hope Amanda get her heartrate issue figured out soon, congratulations to Marit, Kerrie, and Glenn for great races) really made it feel like triathlon season started the same weekend as summer.

The main thing on the agenda was the Loveland Lake to Lake triathlon. It's a relatively small race (623 finishers), pretty much Olympic distance (30 mile bike) race that we've done off and on since we've been in Colorado. Last year, my race felt really good and I just missed breaking 2:30:00 by 5 seconds. Training has been pretty inconsistent recently, but I thought I had a good chance of taking a few minutes off of last year's time based on my improved bike fitness. We actually didn't sign up for the race until last Monday, by which time it was pretty expensive, but we wanted to get a race in before Buffalo Springs next weekend.

The swim was pretty uneventful. A reported to me (during the bike) that I had clobbered her when she passed me on the swim (she started 4 minutes later). In my defense, I was just trying to get drafts off of the sides of the passing women and not trying to get on their feet as I thought there might be people already drafting there. There is a pretty long run from the water to transition, so I stripped the wetsuit off on the way. My time difference from last year's swim of eight seconds was probably due to me stopping and picking up my swim cap that I dropped during the run (its a nice gold one, if it had been pink, I would have left it).

T1 was pretty quick as I already had my wetsuit off but I did take a few seconds to put my race number back in my pile of stuff after I had kicked it away from my stuff.

Starting the bike, my legs felt like crap. The first part of the bike is a lot of turns as you leave town. I caught sight of A up ahead in her bright red birthday suit (Sunny gave it to her as a birthday present). I eventually passed her and heard about my prior clobbering (or was it pummelling) of her on the swim. On the long, grinding uphill, A repassed me and pulled away by a bit. The mind was willing, the lungs were working hard, but the legs would just not deliver more power. At the top of the slow climbs, I started to gain again on A and by the steeper, shorter climbs, I passed her again. From there it was a fast trip back to Loveland from Fort Collins due to a nice tailwind.

For T2, I didn't plan ahead much and wasted a few section by putting on my number before my shoes instead of grabbing it and putting it on during the run.

Somewhere on the bike I must have lost my feet as I had no feeling in them for the start of the run. Unfortunately, they came back angry and weren't feeling good for the first two miles. I also seemed to have lost my turnover somewhere and that never came back, so I was stuck at less than full race pace. I saw A near the turn around and she had a pretty good gap to the next woman, but with there were other age groups that started behind her. The way back felt a lot like the way out, without any real turnover. At least I never got fatigued from the effort, so if I might have found my pace for Buffalo Springs next weekend. I managed to hold A off to the finish, but with my 4 minute head start, she beat me by about 3 minutes. I gained a minute from last years time, but considering I never felt good this year versus feeling great last year, I'm not too dissappointed. I really ready to give it again next week.

The post race food was very, very good. The awards were just a bit delayed. I missed out on getting a souvenir glass by one place as they had awards four deep and I was fifth.

Amber ended up with about a minute and half lead over the next woman and almost making enough to pay for her entry. Her biggest gains have come on the bike (3.5 minutes better than last year), but she also dropped time on the swim and run.

Next stop is Lubbock, Tx.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Getting worked by Amber on caffeine

There are a lot of crazy athletes in Boulder who swim at Flatirons Athletic Club, but most of them are too lazy to swim at 6 am. Well, maybe they just aren't crazy enough or don't need to get to work by 8. We can't even claim to be there every time, but most of the year we are.

Anyways, its a pretty small group that shows up every Tuesday and Thursday at that time to work out with Wolfgang or Kurt. As a small group, there are usually only four lanes going. The fastest lane recently has been occupied by the Finangers and whoever can keep up with them. Next is usually Amber's lane which numbers between 1 (solo Amber) and 4 (on a busy day). Most of the time she is the lane leader. Next is my lane with 3 or 4 people, which I have been leaded recently. The last lane usually has 1 or 2. Compared to Sunday's workout with at least 6 people per lane for all 6 lanes, our workout is tiny.

The Plan
Since my swimming has been going well, I decided to move up to A's lane today. But, Kurt removed the cover from all of the lanes and her normal swim buddies went to the lanes with my normal swim buddies, so I found myself all by myself with A. Oh, boy. My hope had been to hang on by drafting off the second to last person, but I've never been able to draft off of A for long. To make matters worse, I wanted coffee this morning before the workout and so A had a mug of it as well. We've only had coffee before the swim twice before and A has noticed the performance enhancement that it give. So, not only did was I alone with A, I was alone with a caffeinated A.

The Workout
The warm up went fine, although A took the full rest assigned and I took less to keep up.

Then, Kurt gave us the main set. He started by telling us that it was a 200's day, to which A responded "Great, I love 200's". Red alert, red alert. Kurt told us "4 x 200", okay not too bad, "then 4 x 50's with kicking ...", good, some recovery, "then 3 x 200" uh, oh, I think I know where this is going, "50's again" here it comes "2 x 200" yep, we're going to be doing 10, "50's and then 1 x 200", I hate it when I'm right some times. Then, the timing discussion started and I deferred to A as I was the interloper in her lane. She gave Kurt a range and luckily he picked the top end of it.

The first one went well as it always seems to go and I got 5 seconds rest. After the second, I got 3 seconds rest. After the third, I had to immediately start the fourth. I skipped the first 50 to get some recovery and A told me she was getting 24 seconds of rest after each.

The next set started okay and I got 5 seconds rest after the first. I blew up on the second and missed the interval by 10 seconds. On the third, my goal was to keep A from lapping me. She was at the flags by the time I flipped at 150 meters, but at least I made that goal. I missed the first 50 and skipped the second.

For the third set, I geared up with paddles and buoy and made the intervals for both.

For the last one, I was determined to make it my fastest and I beat my goal time by 1 second. Still 16 seconds slower than the caffeinated A, but there is always next week.

For now, my plan is to only swim with A's lane once a week until I can complete the entire workout as given. Maybe next time, I'll substitute decaf for her.

Peace Out,

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Future Adventures

I started this post a while ago, so some of it is a bit dated...

Over at the Daily Espresso, Lars had two recent posts that got me thinking. The first was his post on some of the adventures he has had including his ride from Canada to Mexico and Emily and his races at the Xtreme Norseman in Norway. The second post was a link to a triathlon training camp in Sweden that traverses the length of the country.

I've wanted to do the Norseman since first heard about it a few years ago, but our annual pilgrimage to IM Canada has taken the summer Ironman role and the Norseman is a difficult race to coordinate for since you have to have your own support crew, including someone to finish the race with you as it is up a trail to the top of the mountain. And we don't have enough vacation. And we took a trip to Sweden and Norway a few summers ago, so we should go somewhere else. And the swim is freezing, since it is in a fjord. And it doesn't have qualifying slots to Kona. And, all that doesn't matter since I really want to do the race.

Its not like Amber and I haven't had some cool adventures (weeklong backpacking trip in Montana, the trip to Sweden and Norway (which for the first half we didn't know the driving laws), our IMs as they really are adventures, ...). But, it is easy to get complacent.

We keep going back to IM Canada for a number of reasons. The course is awesome. And our Wisconsin friends are always there (Jim, Janine, Wolfie, etc.) And its hard to get into, so if we stop going, we may not get in again And we have a nice room at the Tiki Shores (took us three years to get into there). And we like the peaches. And, all those reasons shouldn't matter if it is keeping us from trying something new.

Mt. Taylor is a different as it really doesn't keep us from trying something else and suggesting otherwise would get me in deep trouble with A.

So, here is a list of adventures I want to have and why. The next step will be to figure out when.

Xtreme Norseman triathlon: it would be supremely challenging race in a country I want to explore more.

Ironman Lake Placid: I didn't like Ironman Arizona's multiple loops as the scenery got boring. I don't think that I would get bored with the scenery in this upstate New York gem. Our plan is to try to get into 2010.

Kona: 'Nuff said.

Challenge Wanaka: this is a new addition, but they claim it is the most scenic Iron distance race. The pictures they have would support that claim. Also, it is in New Zealand which holds many adventurous opportunities.

Boston and New York Marathons: I really don't have any desire to run a marathon by itself, but the history and courses of these two races really intrigue me.

Mt Evans Hillclimb (bike version): I've bike up Mt Evans before and plan on racing up it this summer. Not many races finish at 14,000 ft.

Iron Horse Bike Race: We're signed up for this year. The race won't be a huge adventure, but it takes us down to southwest Colorado for only the second time. The only other time was when Amber did the Imogene Pass Run and we drove straight there and straight back. Hopefully since we will be there the whole weekend this time, we can see more of the area.

TransRockies Run: 113 mile, 6 days, and 1 partner. Only 12% on paved roads or paths, the rest on dirt trails or roads. I know who I want my partner to be (the wife). If you're interested they are 75% full for this year. Get on it. Unfortunately we'll be in Canada.

Italy: Not a race, the country.

Alaska: 'Cause it is the home of Sarah Palin. Actually, for the backpacking, kayaking, skiing, and other outdoor adventures. And it is where A was born.

Late addition - Ironman St. George: After I started drafting this, they announced a new Ironman in St George, Utah in May 2010. After some deliberation, A and I signed up. The best part of the course should be run with its hills.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lonely Ride

Unfortunately, we didn't take a camera with us for our ride today. Our current cell phones don't have cameras since they are that old. But by Tuesday or so, we will be geeked out with Blackberries, so we can always have a camera with us.

Back to the ride. It was beautiful with all of the snow, the roads were mostly good with only snow chucks occasionally to deal with, and no other bike riders. For the first time that either Amber or I could recall, we rode Hwy 36 from Boulder to Lyons without seeing another rider. We finally saw another rider at 2 hr and 13 minutes into our ride at 75th and Hwy 66. I'm guessing that people either thought the roads would be bad or were waiting until later for it to get warmer. The nice part of riding when it was still a bit chilly was that the roads were dry as everything hadn't started melting.

The ride itself was pretty uneventful. A and I just wanted to spin the legs for a while as we are unsure if the Koppenburg is still happening tomorrow. The main uncertanity about tomorrow is whether the dirt road and hill can be cleared in time. If so, it should stay decently frozen in the morning for A's and my races. Reports from this morning make it sound pretty iffy though.

Time to go watch some basketball,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ironman St. George

After a week sitting on the fence (not literally), A and I signed up for Ironman St. George last night. It used to feel weird signing up for a race a year in advance, but that's become standarad practice for Canada. This race is just over 13 months away (May 1, 2010).

When I initially informed A about the race, her immediate response was to sign up. Then, we thought about it some more and thought maybe we shouldn't sign up. Then, we thought we should. Then, we thought we shouldn't. Then, we signed up.

Last year, we weren't completely prepared for IM Arizona in mid-April (birthplace of the blog) and this will be only two weeks later, but I think we've learned some things to be better prepared. Also, last year we knew that we had Canada in August, so we didn't want to burn out with training in March (we saved that for July). Our plan right now is that St. George will be our only IM in 2010 as afterwards we will move onto other adventures for a while.

We drove through St. George last year on the way to and from the Halfmax in Vegas and thought the area looked nice. We probably would have look around a bit closer if we knew we were going to race there. We're most excited that its close to Zion Nat'l Park and Bryce Canyon.

So, if anyone wants to hang out in southwestern Utah next spring, let us know.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Not Trying To Ignore You

Really, it's not you. It's us. We've been busy.

For a while we were too busy to train much. We were able to keep active by biking to and from work, but not much else. I (E) told a friend about our lack of training and she was concerned about how A was dealing with it. A's got to train as it is her nature. I'm a bit more able to go with the flow mentally, but my body doesn't adjust well as my back and legs start to cramp up with no training.

The last two weeks have been marginally better, but not by too much. For example, we missed Tuesday morning's swim so we we made it up with swim last night. Just 3.5 days late.

I ended up biking on the trainer today even though it was a beautiful day since I'm on call for work. A got out for a nice ride and then we ran together for 30 minutes. We should get a nice run in tomorrow morning.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Pre-blogging backpacking trip to Montana

I was trying to organize the office when I came upon a topo map from A and my backpacking trip to Montana from about 10 years ago. We captured some of the things that were happening during the trip on the margin of one of the four maps that covered the area we were in. The trip was seven days in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area, about an hour south of Bozeman, MT. We were coming from sea level and the trail started around 6000 ft. The elevation combined with our 50+ lb packs made for some tough days. Since, I haven't finished my "future adventures" post, I thought I'd share our trip recap from then.

Note: We didn't start writing stuff down until day four so the first three days are a bit light. Stuff in parenthesis are my new comments.

Day 1: Lots of climbing
Good views
Moose tracks at lake (not the ice cream, actual moose tracks where we camped)
Lentil stew - good (we wanted to remember which recipes were good)
6 miles
3000 ft up

Day 2: Up to Beacon Pt by 12:30 - tough climb, tough downhill
Saw fishermen on day hike at top (we didn't see anyone the first day so they were the first people we had seen)
Windy but spectacular on Indian Ridge
Walked along river in afternoon
Burritos for dinner - too many beans (I'll let you draw your own conclusions)

Day 3 -Down + Up (Amber takes over writing)
Early start, long day
Multiple river crossings. (she hated some of the river crossings with a 50 lb load going over a log)
No people, many signs of moose
Cheesy Spicy beans and ricey for dinner - good but bland (luckily we had little debbie brownies for dinners, good fuel for the cold nights)

Day 4 - Up down up down up down
Saw Lone Mt + Big Sky ski area.
Saw two groups of people/horses after a beautiful lunch @ Summit Lake.
Saw 1st wildlife - marmots
Camped @ Mirror Lake next to a party of 4 + across from 3 more people. (Group next to us had a huge Tibetan mastiff named Ziegler. Felt safe from bears with him around)
Will take a rest day tomorrow.
Curried veggies + rice for dinner - BAD (we built a fire and burned the rest of it)
Saw shooting stars - Had small fire (mostly to burn the food)
Briefly in Bear Basin

Day 5 - Rest Day
Left camp at noon
Mirror Lake to explore
Climbed up half of Blaze Mtn (I got freaked out and needed to go down)
Ate lunch overlooking camp + fly fishing school - lots of traffic down below
Climbed down + played on boulder field w/ big rocks (size of houses rocks)
Tomato paste gone bad, so spaghetti dinner was without - stole dried tomatoes from chili
Had bid fire - borrowed axe
Next time dried sauce + smaller pasta (I think the spaghetti wasn't easy to deal with)

Day 6 - Amber slept in, still on trail by 9:20
Walked down, up + over - hard day
Saw hikers leaving Spanish lakes - 1 large group + group of 4 w/ dog, 3 people on way up pass, + 2 people, 3 lamas, + dog near top.
People (naked?) camped @ Lake Solitude (maybe they took the name literally), so moved on to Jerome Rocks Lake.
People on far side of lake, but barely saw them.
Mushroom Barley Medley soup for dinner - good! (especially w/ rye crisp)

Day 7 - On the way out
All down.
Pretty trail, easy + flat toward end, soupy in middle.
Saw day hikers near trail head.
Ziegler (the Tibetan mastiff) + owners passed us on the trails (they were on horses)
Got picture of Pioneer Falls. (not sure why this was a noteworthy picture)
Cleaned up in river, got muffins in Bozeman, + hit I90 to Billings.
Ate at Country Harvest + Buffet (really crappy food, but it was the quantity that mattered)
Skies are hazy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Not Yet for A's Race Report

This is E. Don't know about you, but I'm still interested in what A has to say about her experience at the Quad. Sure we talked a fair amount about it on the drive back, but there are somethings that you forget about until you start writing.

Unfortunately as soon as we got back, A started working long hours at work (>12 hours a day long). Currently, I'm waiting for her to get back from going back into work to turn off the cooling to something or maybe it was turn off the cooling to something. Once she gets back, we get to have fresh baked brownie. Hmm, brownie.

My legs have recovered pretty well from the race, but my mind might need a bit more break before the training picks up again. Not due to the race as much as the stress from trying to get everything ready for the race while working crazy hours. Well, this post isn't going anywhere interesting...

Good night,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

E's Quad Report

What a bittersweet race.

The prep for the race went very well, but didn't go into it feeling all that fresh. Stayed injury free and mostly healthy, but had to spend a serious chuck of time at work two weeks before the race (85 hours in 7 days). I also scrambled it assemble our Javelin Amarones in time for the race. I got them ready in time for one test ride for each of us before the race. Fortunately, I did a good job getting them ready and they were ready to race.

Travel to Grants went well. We turned in our stuff, went to the pasta dinner and got to bed early. Race morning went smoothly as we didn't have to make any emergency trips back to the motel (it's happened twice before).

As I've had extremely high heartrates at the start before, I wanted to get a good warm up in to avoid that. A and I headed out with Erin for a bit on the bike course to show her the way the route goes through town. Although they had swept the road, the bike lane still had some glass in it that we rode through. We wiped our tires and didn't think much of it. We headed back to town and A and I got a little bit of a run in. Once we got back to the bikes, I got ready and headed to the start line

Bike Up, well not quite
As I'm lined up for the start with a few minutes to go when I hear A yell out to me that her front wheel is flat. I get out of the pack in a hurry and go with her to the bike mechanic that is there to support the race. He freaks out a bit when we tell him we have tubulars, but he gets it together and starts to get the tire off. I give my front wheel to A and tell her to it. It wasn't completely altruistic since she has been in the money the last two years and it could be pretty costly for her to miss the start. The mechanic gets my spare (only spare) onto the wheel and pumps it up quick. A had gone back to the start and had them wait for me.

Bike Up, part 2
Even with that fun, the race start went pretty smooth. The front group started fast, but I just tucked in behind and was able to get a pretty good draft. Drafting is allowed on the bike up, but not the bike down. There was some movement back and forth and at one point A went by, but I still felt pretty good. The 13 mile bike climbs an overall 1800 ft with only one minor decent at mile 8. Coming into that I tucked in behind Erin, but got dropped by her going down the hill. I thought that was bit odd as I probably weigh 40 lbs more than her.

Well folks, sometimes you get lemons and sometimes you get lemonade. This time I got lemons. I realized that I was losing ground due to my rear tire going flat (the front was the issue at the start). I had two CO2 cartridges, but didn't have another spare tire. The options I had were 1) call it a day and head back to town 2) ) use a CO2 cartridge on the way up and risk having only one on the way down 3) ride the rest of the way up on the flat and hope that I could get A's spare or at least have only a slow leak and keep my tire somewhat filled with the two CO2 cartridges. My immediate choice was #1 and I sprinted up to Erin to have her tell A that I flatted out if/when she saw her.

Well folks, I decided to at least try to make lemonade from my lemons and decided to keep going. I rode the last 4 miles standing up to keep as much weight on the front end. I lost some serious ground over those miles, but I made it to the top. I actually ended up finishing the bike with a guy that was riding a 30 year old Schwinn. It will be a good dichotomy to see the one week old bike versus the 30 year old bike beside each other when the pictures come out.

The first transition went pretty quickly as I switched shoes and grabbed some drink for the run. Time for bike and T1 was 55:36. By the time I left transition, I was 2:20 behind Amber.

Run Up
The run up went pretty well. Its 5 miles with 1200 ft of elevation gain. The start isn't very steep and has some short downhills. Most of the elevation gain comes in the last 1.5 miles.

I tried to ease into the run as my legs were felt all of the standing up on the bike. After a bit, I was able pick up my tempo, start taking down some calories and catch some people.

My second transition went a bit slow as getting ski boots on is never that quick and I took a gel. My run time and T2 was 50:56, which was nearly 4 minutes faster than my previous best. Amber was a minute even better than that and was out of the transition before i even got there.

Ski Up
The ski up is always brutal. It may be only 2 miles long, but you get to climb 1200 ft with a really steep section know as Heartbreak Hill. As an added bonus, my quads always cramp up during it and almost always at the same spot on the course. This year was no exception and on cue they locked up. Fortunately, I'm sort of used to the pain by now and kept going. On Heartbreak Hill, a guy going up to the snowshoe start from a team (teams start an hour later than soloists) told me that if I caught a few more people that I could get into the top ten. He enjoyed my response that I was just trying to catch my wife.

The ski section gets timed by itself and it took me 37:33, which left me another 15 seconds behind Amber. That was a little slower than last year, but the snow was much softer this year, so I'm happy with it. Now I just need new quads.

Snowshoe Up
One mile and 600 ft of elevation to the top. During the Superbowl, I finally got our shoes mounted directly to our snowshoes. It might not be a huge difference, but they at least felt a lot lighter on the way up. The first half is pretty mild, but the second half is very steep and very exposed. My guess is that the winds on that section were at 30 mph, but that might be conservative. Fortunately I brought a windbreaker along and that helped a lot. I had just passed one guy without a jacket or hat who looked half frozen, but was at least still moving up the hill. After the race, he said he had been considering hiding behind a tree, but realized he would have frozen. I did see Amber up in the distance at one point but she was minutes ahead. The uphill snowshoe and T3 (ski to snowshoe) took me 22:26, which was my best by 3 minutes. A had an even faster 21:35. The whole uphill took me 2:46:15, which was exactly 4 minutes behind A. My time was 18 minutes better than my previous best, while A dropped 5 minutes from her previous best.

Snowshoe Down
The snowshoe down went a different route this year for the steep section, which I didn't push too hard as I didn't know what to expect. The downhill snowshoe took me 8:41 which was a whole 8 seconds faster than A, but she had already left for the ski. T4 seemed to take forever as I had to take off my skins and pack up those and the snowshoes.

Ski Down
The conditions for the ski down this year were really good. There were some tricky sections but for the most part I was able to just point my skis down the hill and hope for the best. T4 and the ski down took me 16:58. A did it even faster in 15:46, but some of that time was due to the fact that she had taken her skins off a the end of the ski up. Which of course means that her snowshoe up was even faster than mine.

Run Down
T5 was slow as I took another gel, drank some water from the tiny Dixie cups, and got my shoes on. The run felt pretty good for most of it. I really pushed first half hoping to get within shouting distance of A, so I could get her spare tire, but never saw her as she was 5 minutes or so up on me. The last part of the run is pretty brutal as it is part uphill and your legs are used to running down. T5 and the run took me 40:52, another leg PR by a minute. A just kept getting farther ahead and ran a 39:39.

Bike Down
As I got to my bike, I confirmed that A's bike was already gone as it had been racked opposite of mine. I got out my first CO2 cartridge and filled up my tire to see if it would hold. Fortunately it did and I got my shoes changed and helmet on. I took the first part of the bike really slow as it is steep and twisty. I was worried about both the back wheel holding air and whether the front tire's glue was set. A few minutes down, I stopped and checked the back tire and it was still holding up pretty well. On the straighter sections I was able to get my speed up a bit with more confidence. At the top of the one uphill, I stopped and used my second CO2 cartridge to refill the back as it had gotten really low again. That lasted me until I got back into town when it was getting low again. As I couldn't see anyone behind me (two guys had passed me already), I took it easy through town to the finish line. A had started back on the course to find me and I slowed down to find out how she did. My T6 and bike down took 48:51, but I was more relieved than anything else to have gotten down the hill.

Overall, the 2009 Mt Taylor Quadrathlon took me 4:41:36, an 11 minute PR. I want to guess what kind of PR I would have had without the bike issue, but that won't do me any good. 6 of the 8 legs were also PR's. Ironically the bike up was one of them, but we had a nice tailwind for that and our new Javelins are awesome light and stiff. I ended up in second place in my age group and picked up a nice chuck of nambe. This year's lesson is to be prepared for flats (multiple ones).

Amber was a rock star with a 13 minute PR, a sub 4:30 finish (4:29:26), PR's on 6 legs, 2nd place for the women, and 10th overall. She was actually worried before the race that her fitness was suffering from her work schedule and since she wasn't keeping up with me during runs and bikes. I'll let her fill in her race details, but I'm so proud of her effort.

I'm off to find some new quads.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Bit of Mt. Taylor Prep

A and I got the pleasure of riding and running with our coach (Jared) today for a little Mt. Taylor Quad prep. To some up the day in three words: He destroyed us.

Fortunately, I think we will recover pretty quickly as today's workout was more bike focused than run focused like the race will be.

The ride started easily enough as we met up on the flat roads between our houses. It soon turned a bit more difficult as the winds picked up and Jared picked up the pace.

Once we hit Lefthand Canyon, Jared gave A an assignment and wanted me to stay on his wheel. Trying to stay with him was the hardest workout I've done in a while. I lost him for good with about 2 miles to Jamestown.

After re-grouping at Jamestown, we headed to Heil Ranch for a bit of running. That went pretty well except for my Superman style fall on the way back. My knee landed on a rock, but I don't think it caused anything more than temporary pain.

On the ride home, Jared had to get home and dropped us like a bad habit. A and I made our way back and made ourselves a tasty strawberry, mango, banana, frozen yogurt, and honey smoothie. It was so thick that we put it in bowls (Rush style) and added granola on top.

Later, we went to dinner at Rincon del Sol in Boulder and A and I both felt like we were down at El Cafecito in Grants, New Mexico for our traditional post Quad lunch as we had whole body fatigue.

Peace Out,

Monday, January 26, 2009

So Its Been Awhile...

Well world or well the few people that bother to check this blog anymore,

A and I are still here, still trying to get our workouts in, still working a lot, still not being successful at staying healthy, still wishing for more snow in town.

Right now, A is describing how someone on 24 is being stabbed multiple times. Otherwise, she came down with something today that made her pretty miserable at work. Supposedly a co-worker found her trying to nap underneath her desk. In the last few weeks, I've been the healthy one in the household as she had to deal with the stitches from the ski collision and then a sinus infection. She just informed me that someone is getting framed for the previously mentioned stabbing.

One of the most exciting things recently (and this might give you an idea of how exciting it has been around here) was the making of paella, which happened to correspond with the first use of our new paella pan. The paella pan was on sale at Williams Sonoma, so I convinced A that we had to get it. She wasn't convinced that I would ever use it, but on MLK day, I broke it out. It large enough to cover two of the burners on the stove and needed to be seasoned, so it was a bit of an intensive process. The actual meal turned out really well and fed us most of last week. Combined with the lasagna (with homemade noodles) we had made a few days before, we ate very well last week going through our leftovers. This week is going to have a lot less cooking, but we have some homemade tamales in the freezer. Actually they are more like neighbor-made, friend-made and/or Amber-made as they came from a tamale making gathering at our friends down the street.

Training has been going decently, but we're not sure is 0, 1 or 2 of us is/are going to be able to get to Grants, NM in a few weeks to race the Mt. Taylor Quad. It's stressful enough not knowing that I'm leaning to just skipping it this year.

A just informed me that the only company that is doing well right now according to the news is McDonalds. My guess is that it isn't cause of their paella.