Friday, February 26, 2010

E's - 9 weeks out to St George

Expect for my still banged up hand, swimming hasn't been too horrible. Some more volume and I'll be fine.

It is definitely possible to train for an early season IM when you live in Colorado, but it means checking the weather constantly to see if your long bike is going to be inside or out. Fortunately, the snow we got yesterday didn't amount to anything and tomorrow should be outside.

Otherwise, we got finished with season 3 of Alias this morning on the trainer. I think we are considering getting some of the 24 seasons to get us through March and April. Which seasons are the better ones?

We hate the treadmill and don't mind snowy trails or roads (except for the possible hand injuries), so the weather hasn't affected our run schedule. It does mess with paces, but considering how hard the St George course will be, I think strength will rule over foot speed.

Stout month is almost over. General nutrition should improve after that.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

E's Mt Taylor Quad 2010 Race Report

So, I've been a little melodramatic on FB about A beating me at the Quad. She has beaten me pretty consistently over the years at the race, but this time I had a real shot. But, I was stupid. I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's start at the beginning.

The Mt Taylor Winter Quadrathlon. Quite simply, 42+ miles of pain and suffering. Although it takes roughly the same time as a half ironman triathlon, the nature of the race is much different. Simply put, you bike, run, ski, and snowshoe from the town of Grants, New Mexico to the top of Mt Taylor. Then, you turn around and snowshoe, ski, run and bike back to Grants. The elevation gain is 4770 ft to the top, starting at a not quite sea level 6500 ft and going to a lung busting 11,300 ft. So, unlike a triathlon were your goal at the start is to pace yourself evenly for the whole race, at the Quad, it starts hard, keeps getting harder, gets even harder, gets freaking hard, gets easier, gets a lot easier, gets harder and gets ?. And you have 6 transitions as well.

Okay, timeout. So far, I've just listed good reasons to NOT race. Why do the race? First, it is the "Ultimate Challenge" according to their brochure. Second, the volunteers are the best. With all of the different transitions, you send up your equipment for the run and ski/snowshoe the night before and then when you get to each transition, the volunteers try their best to get you going to the next leg as fast as possible. Third, the whole feel of the race is awesome. For someone who has gotten tired of the hoopla (and cost) associated with WTC/NAS races, it is really refreshing go to such a homegrown race that is very affordable. And finally, where else can you do a Quadrathlon?

Timeout over. The day before, you send up a bag of running stuff and anything you might want for the bike down to the first transition. You also send up your skis, your snowshoes in a backpack and anything you want for the run down to the second transition. You have to bring your snowshoes up with you on the ski as they can't readily bring them up.

Race start is at 9 am, which is pretty late for us. We got a bit of a run warm up in after getting the bikes ready. Last year, we got some flats while biking to warm up, so we didn't feel like risking that too much and spun around just to check the bikes out.

The bike starts out going up a little hill. I started right behind Amber in the second row. A doofus in the first row almost took us out when he stopped pedaling and swerved left while tightening his toe clips. After that little scare, we got situated into the main pack. Like all of the legs uphill, the bike starts with some elevation gain, but ends with the steep stuff. Once we were out of town, it became really clear that there were going to be tough headwinds for most of the bike. A and I lost the front group after a bit but were able to stay together and draft off each other and a few other guys.

- We interrupt this post as A got her race report out first. So, if you have managed to get through hers and the first part of mine, you have shown enough endurance for the race. But, I'll leave out some of the planned details from now on since she had them. Now back to the post -

Near the top, Jenny S caught back up to us and A did a nice job of jumping on her wheel. I got dropped.

T1 went pretty smoothly and I wasn't too far behind A coming out of transition. I felt pretty good and tried to have a decent turnover. I passed A and ended up going back and forth a bit with Jenny S until it got steep near the end of the run. A was just behind me.

During T2, I got interviewed. I was in good spirits and answered four or five questions. Off to the ski. Started trekking up the ski course and my head was really warm, so I took off my hat and easily put it in a back pocket on my jacket. A bit too easy. Hmmm. Crap, I forgot the backpack with the snowshoes in it. Stupid interview. Head back down the trail. Go by A. Ski around the timing chip mat. Yell for my bag. Get my bag. Take off my poles. Put the backpack on. Put on my poles. Go back out of transition. Head back up the trail. Not sure how long it took, but a crappy way of losing time (and getting passed by A). Rest of the ski was brutal, but at least my legs didn't cramp like normal.

T3 was okay. There is nowhere to sit easily to it always a bit of a pain to switch from ski boots to snowshoes. Up the snowshoe is a hard grind, but is pretty short compared to the run and ski. I saw A in her windbreaker up ahead and wondered how she could wear it without overheating. She saw me without my windbreaker and wondered how I wasn't freezing.

At the top, the call out your name and the woman there asked if A was my wife. I answered yes and said something about catching her.

The snowshoe down went pretty well. The snowblown steep part was a bit difficult. Mind you the last time on snowshoes was Mt. Taylor last year, so some practice couldn't hurt.

T4 was a mess. My area was on a hill and I nearly fell over a bunch of times trying to get my skis on. The ski down was pretty quick, but I did fall once due to the soft conditions.

T5 went fine. I caught one guy on the run, but otherwise it was down right lonely out there. I kept hoping to see A up ahead but she put more time on me on the run.

T6 went smoothly. I had to convince the family helping me that I didn't need a bunch more clothes for the way down. During the decent I actually stopped and tighten the axle of my front wheel as it showed a gap that freaked me out. Otherwise the ride was lonely. Usually, there is a team or two that catch me on the bike as they start an hour behind, but none this year. Almost did get hit by a car that turned into the coned off lane, but there was room in the driving lane to swerve around them.

Well, that's the recap. Not sure about my feelings of the race. Some good parts - felt strong even though we didn't train for the race or taper at all, some bad parts - mental mistake with the snowshoes. Overall, I guess I'm pleased. I guess.

Hope to see YOU in Grants in 2011.

If it snows for IM St. George, we'll be ready......

Today's work out was a toughy. Originally, it was just supposed to be a 4 h (3.5- 4.5 h, to be precise) group ride. Then a 4-day snowstorm moved in, and for safety reasons, it looked like the 4 h group ride was fast becoming a 4 h trainer ride (in hind sight, the temps warmed to just above freezing and the cross bike on the roads probably would have been some good, sloppy, safe fun, bit that was not how it was looking on Thursday). On top of all this, E found out he had to work on Saturday, and thought it would be an 8 am start, so I was going to get to do this solo.

I started freaking out at the thought of riding my trainer, solo, for 4+ hours. Eek! I know there are folks out there doing this kind of thing, but I was overwhelmed by the thought this time around (I think my record is 3 h, but I was in a bit better condition then and had the summer olympics to occupy me, where here the winter olympics coverage would not start until after noon).

Anyway, I emailed coach J and asked what I should do. I mostly wanted to know how to occupy myself on the trainer for 4 h and what to focus on/think about since a "group ride" it was not. What I got back from J was something completely different:
90 min on trainer with 2x20 min at ironman watts
60 min run, building into ironman pace
60 min on trainer with 2x20 min at ironman watts
30 min run, at ironman pace.

This all looked like an abbreviated version of Linsey Corbin's super duper birthday workout from last week. And while it was not 4 h on the trainer, it had me intimidated. About this time, E's work schedule changed, giving me a partner for at least part of this suffer-fest... I mean "growth experience." If we got up early, on a Saturday, that is.

The alarm went off at 5:15 and we were on the trainers not long after (quick breakfast and some drink/gel prep). The legs were stiff and heavy after last night's high RPM/big-gear work. A 30 min warm-up helped get them moving, but that first 20 min piece of ironman-watt work was tough. I was also struggling to get comfy on the bike as my current saddle position feels ready to launch me off the front, requiring a lot of arm, back, and glute strength to stay put.

Soon enough the first bike portion was finished and we were trading sweaty shorts and t-shirts for long-johns, poly-pro tops, jackets, hats, gloves, and screw shoes for the first run. E's hand is still bothering him from his fall a month ago, so I got to hang on to Izzy. We all headed out the door and quickly were settling into ironman-pace (a bit slow from a true pace perspective with the soft footing from the fresh snow, but the effort was in the right spot). Then, right at 15 min into the run, the strangest thing happened (again). I say again simply because it became the norm last year during our bricks for this same thing to happen to me.

No matter how long the bike, 2.5 h, 4 h, today only 1.5 h, the same thing always seemed to happen on the run, and like clock-work, it always seems to hit at 15 min into the run. It is kinda-like a bonk, the legs get heavy and numb, I get groggy and have trouble focusing, there is a very strong desire to lay down and nap, and my hear rate falls off at least 10 beats per minute. I feel helpless when this happens. I try and focus on "quick feet, quick feet" but usually it does not help. Usually, at this point, I take a gel and start to feel better in ~15 minutes. Today, I let E go, then I started to panic, got the gel out of my pocket, but just held onto in in my hand.

At about 22 minutes we met a runner and dog who was off-leash. Izzy sniffed noses and then something switched and they were going at it, having a bit of a tiff. Izzy was "protecting" me, keeping herself between me and the other dog, but that made it very hard to get them separated. The whole thing spiked my heart rate pretty well, but didn't last long. Izzy and I continued on our way, but E had turned back to help us out so the whole family was running together again. And I felt fine. Totally normal. Groggy-heavy-numb feelings were gone. I put the gel away again. I kept a steady, strong sustainable tempo for the rest of the run. My heart rate rose to "normal" for this type of effort, and it felt challenging but sustainable, like an ironman training run should.

What is going on? As this has happened before, often even, I am pretty sure it is not all in my head but is physiological. I also know that I can't will it away by focusing or thinking happy thoughts. But today, I finally saw a glimmer of hope, realizing that if I keep moving and wait it out, it goes away and I can get back to business as usual and run strong, on pace, and with good turnover. Without any gel or calories. Now I just need to figure how to prevent it in the first place.....

The rest of the workout was tough, but not too eventful. E got called in to work right about the 3 h mark (after the 1st ironman-watt segment of the second bike portion) so I continued on solo from there. The last two bike efforts were mentally tough. I am not sure if I am just tired from last night, or what, but I couldn't help wondering "how in the world am I going to ever be able to hit target watts for an entire ironman bike? 20 minutes is tough enough!" Hopefully today helps some growth and development down that pathway, May 1st is coming fast!

The same running phenomenon hit me again during the second run segment, but not until 18 min and not until after my heart rate had risen to "normal" levels for the effort. It took a little longer to work through the second time, but everything did come around again eventually. Two good snow-runs in the books!

Izzy was filthy when we finished, so she got toweled off quickly. Then I jumped in the shower, grabbed some leftovers to heat up, and plopped down in front of the TV for some olympics recovery time in the NormaTec. Unfortunately, the men's 30 k pursuit did not air then, like I had expected. I did get to see some interesting arials prelims, but had to wait 3.5 h for the pursuit. It was good motivation for getting the weekend chores started while I waited.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A's race report for the Mt. Taylor Winter Quad 2010

I win, I win! I got my race report posted first! No pictures yet, but lots to read. Enjoy (if you have the time to sit a bit and read all this!)

Even though this blog post is a race report for the 2010 Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon, it is written mostly for myself for next year and the years to come. This year marked my 7th year racing The Quad. Each year the packing and prepping seems to get easier to do, yet there is always an underlying sense of urgency and anxiety to get everything done at home and in Grants, NM, before the race. This year things went very smoothly, so I though I should blog about it sooner than later and help keep the “things I need to remember for next year” fresh by the time next year rolls around.

First, though, before I start writing myself notes, I should probably explain what the Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon is for anyone unfamiliar with this fun, tough, unique race. The race can be done as a soloist, pair, or team of 3-4 people. The soloists race always starts at 9 am on the Saturday before Presidents Day in February. Racers bike 13 miles from the Grants, NM, Chamber of Commerce up the canyon for 13 miles to the end of the pavement. Then you switch to running gear and run 5 miles up to the start of the ski. Here you again switch equipment, grab your backpack with your snowshoes, and ski up 2 miles to the snowshoe start. From there it is only 1 mile more to the top of Mt. Taylor, where you get to turn around and do everything in reverse back to Grants (the ski down is the only part that is a different course, for safety).

2010 marked the 27th year of the race. It is an El Nino year, so the mountain had lots of snow (snow-packed for the whole run and beyond, a first in the years I have done it since 2003). As usual, the race volunteers were the best part of the day, but the tough course and long standing race history make the event very special, too. Grants is a smaller town, about 1 hour west of Albuquerque on I-40, and The Quad is a big event for many of the folks in town. And it shows. Where else can a $65 entry fee get you support for a 42 + mile race, gear schlepping up and down a mountain, an all-you-can-eat spaghetti feed the night before hand, a $7 meal voucher good at most restaurants in town (El Cafecito!!!!), Subway sandwiches after the race, and pretty affordable hotels right in town? The main race coordinators work hard to get people to come do this race, yet still keep it grass-roots in feel. It is a gem.

Anyways, back to the 2010 race report….. This year we started the packing the weekend before with assembling snowshoes (running shoes already bolted on), skins, ski boots, extra gloves and hats, wheels, bike shoes, and random gear bags lining up in the spare bedroom.

Here is what finally went up the mountain:
in bag #1 (bike-to-run): light weight racing shoes (lunar racers) with screws, visor, stretch-gloves, water bottle;
in bag #2 (run-to-ski): ski boots, ski gloves, water bottle;
in bag #3 (run-to-ski): skis with skins on, poles;
in bag #4 (ski-to-snowshoe): snowshoes with shoes attached, hat, extra socks, extra gloves, lightweight wind pants (just in case) and a gel;

wrapped separately for the way down:
in bag 2 (ski-to-run): different screw shoes (heavier, dry), run socks, gloves, visor, wind breaker, vest;
in bag 1 (run-to-bike): buff for the head, vest;

Then I wore triathlon racing shorts (some compression, light weight pad), tights, long smartwool socks, a camelbak shirt with a 64 oz. reservoir, short-sleeved poly undershirt, my new heavy weight GS boulder jersey, and a buff for the head and cycling gloves (full finger) for the ride. I also carried 1 gel, 64 oz (6 scoops) of carbopro in water, over mittens, and a light weight jacket. I used regular bike shoes and put on my toe covers. I rode the road bike, no aero bars (they might be good to have, but this is my lightest bike) with race-wheels and sew-ups.

This year the race started off at a good clip and I lost the lead pack before the 4 mile mark (at the prison). My legs were just not feeling capable of catching back on, and the group easily split and broke free out front while I was left worrying in their wake about my fitness. Only two women made the break, though, so I was still sitting OK, with a lot more racing left to do. Looking around, I saw my friend B. Hunter and my wonderful E right with me. We worked to bridge up to the leaders, but only B made the jump. In the process, though, we caught the second place woman, J. Smith, and towed a couple of gents along for a bit. Up front the pack was starting to splinter as the climb began. I had L. Isom, lead woman, in my sights, but never could close the gap, and as the climb continued, she slowly pulled further away. Things moved along, ebbed and flowed as the climb continued. Luckily, E and I were racing at a similar level this year, and I was able to use him for a good draft as we had a steady headwind to fight as we climbed the ~1800 feet to T1. In the last mile or so, J. Smith reappeared and woke me up a bit as I grabbed her wheel for the final ride to the top of the bike portion of the race. We finished in a small pack of 4 (2 other guys got swallowed up in the final push) with E a mere 15 s behind us. Time for bike up + T1: 1:00:44.

On with the racing flats, visor, a swish from the water bottle, and I grabbed a handful of my stretchy gloves and took off. The timing mats have me 1 s up on J. Smith, but she soon moved in front of me and never looked back. I was contending with cold, stubborn feet who did not want to wake up. I focused on a staccato tempo as I tried to be light and airy for the next 5 miles and ~1200 feet of climbing. I figured my feet would come around by the ~2 mile mark where there is a water stop. This is where things usually start to feel good (right before it starts to get steeper) but they never did. Not even when the guy wearing the “barefoot shoes” passed me. Instead, my calves both started to feel stiff and numb. It was a very interesting sensation. I plodded on, though, and hoped that my inability to feel anything was a blessing in disguise since I would never know if I should be in pain and suffering (then again, my lungs and upper legs had plenty of suffering going on, so I guess I was in the thick of the race either way). Oddly, though the run portion seemed much loooooonger than I remembered, it also seemed less steep. The camelbak was only sloshing a little and provided easily accessible, readily absorbed nutrition. Soon I was making the final approach into T2 with E and J. Smith both still just in sight (a relay team member waiting in T2 shouted out that I was only a few minutes out of 2nd). Time for run up + T2: 54:07.

I found the volunteer who had grabbed my bags and brought them to the benches, so I plopped down and started switching my run shoes for ski boots. Glove switch, hat switch, another swig of water and I was ready to clip into my skis and continue marching up the hill while strapping on my poles. A few meters out of transition and up the first few bumps of the climb and I saw E turned around and headed back towards me. He had forgotten to grab his backpack with the snowshoes and had to head back to T2 to retrieve them. Onward I plodded. This year, the snow had already been tracked into grooves by the skiers before me. I simply did my best to march along in their wake. I was approaching something of a kick-and-glide even with the kickers skins we had on, especially on the few flat or even slightly downhill sections. Next year, though I need to be more careful with my skin placement so that less overlap hangs off the sides. They may even need to be trimmed. And they definately need to be mounted farther back, with the fronts no further up than "C" in "RXC" on the Kestles.

Most of the uphill ski is steep. And uphill. It is also mostly through some beautiful trees. Onward I staggered, then crossed the first meadow. Next I was passing the “Quad 20” road sign (Garmin said 19.99 miles), then out through the second meadow, dashing through the last bit of trees, then breaking out into the sunshine with only Heartbreak Hill in front of me. By this time, no one had passed me on the ski, no one was really insight in front of me on the ski, and a few snowshoers who were on teams (they get to hike up from the start of the ski) were all I had for company. My legs were burning, my glutes were fried. Getting up that hill was not sounding like a good idea, but it was the only way to continue on, so it was what I did. One ski after the other. Often I was able to step straight ahead, but at times it was too steep for that, so a herringbone step was required. Then, after a good long haul, I neared the top of the climb, glided over the ridge to transition, and was quickly changing gear for the snowshoe. Time for ski up: 39:16.

Off with the skis, boots, poles. Off with the skins (fold those onto themselves and toss into the snowshoe bag). Snowshoes went on quickly and were just as quickly cinched using my lace toggles. Then I was off. My plan is always to run the flat part of the snowshoe and power hike the steep part. This year that was a struggle, and I even walked a few steps a couple of times on the flat section to get my camelbak hose in my lips. My legs were heavy and tripping seemed eminent. I was getting tired, but knew this leg was my best bet for getting nutrition in. The flat seemed to be more of a struggle than normal, but it was also very soft from all of the new snow. And it was very uneven. Then came the Edge of the World. I turned down the shot of J. Daniels and hurried on past the volunteers in their party attire to the steep part, the climb up. Quickly I pulled out my wind jacket and threw it on over the top of my other clothes. I even put on the hood. The wind was blowing here and I was sweaty and wet from the rest of the climb, so I knew the windbreaker would be key to a good decent. No one was in sight in front of me and there was a gap (back to E I think) behind me, so I only had my thoughts to keep me moving up, up, up. The track here was “groomed” by snowmobiles and was often rutty and off camber. And if you looked down and studied the snow a little bit, you could see the hoar frost thickly covering the ground. Time for T3 + snowshoe up: 25:11.

A few more big wind gusts and I reached the top, went through the timing chute, grabbed a Dixie cup of water, paused to drink it and discard the cup in the trash, then started the free-fall-descent-on-snowshoes of the steep part. I love that feeling of riding your tails down a steep powdery hillside. This trails was again “groomed” by snowmobiles so it was a bit grabby with the cleats in some places, but it was still magical. The last two years they have made the steep up and steep down of the snowshoe two different routes. This has plusses and minuses. I like the new trail down. I like it a lot. But I miss the chance to see everyone in front of and behind me, to look them in the eye, to wish them good luck, to scope out the competition. Soon enough my magical free fall down the steep powder hill ended, I was back at the Edge of the World and facing head-on traffic from all the racer nearing the top of the mountain and the halfway point of their race. Many were wobbly-legged (as was I, still). That, combined with a trail that was more rutted and deformed than normal made for a few interesting passes and near collisions. In the end, catastrophe was avoided (at least on my watch) and I was back to my skis ready to change gear once more. Time for snowshoe down: 10:10.

I picked the snow clumps off my socks, changed gloves, stuffed my feet back into my ski boots, threw the snowshoes into the backpack and then onto my back, then grabbed my poles and clipped into my skis to start the glide back down the mountain. Once moving I strapped my poles on. Again, there was no one in sight as I began my descent. Soon, I would see I was the next racer to follow a snowcat groomer as he kept moving down the hill. The wind was swirling fresh snow onto the trail and he was trying to keep a track open. At the first tight corner, after crossing the meadow, he pulled over and I zoomed by. This year I carried more speed into the turns, but the snow was also soft and slow, so my time was comparable to year’s past. Near the bottom, in the whoopty-whoop section, I passed two racers. I caught another in transition, but he soon motored past me on the run down. Time for T4 + ski down: 17:24.

In transition I threw on my shoes, grabbed a handful of stretchy gloves, threw on my visor, took a swig of water, and shot off. Unfortunately, as I was now a human popsicle, I was still wearing my wind jacket with hood. The visor slipped on over all of this easily enough, but the extra jacket and hood nicely hid my ski hat that I was also still wearing. As I started to thaw, I pulled off the jacked and stuffed it into a back pocket, and only then discovered my hat. I knew I wouldn’t need it for long, but the easiest way to carry it would be to keep wearing it, so I did just that from most of the run down, until it got flatter and warmer and was just too much to leave it on my head. The run down this year felt good. I focused on feeling light and having quick turnover with the feet. I was very happy to have chosen my racing flats for the trip down, too (I had a second set of screw shoes that were beefier, more of a training shoe, that I thought might be well suited for the greater impact of the steep sections in the initial portion of the run. The Lunars held up well, though, and were awesome later on when things got flat and the legs were feeling heavier and tired. Feet held up OK, too, only a few blisters that likely would have happened in any shoe. Time for T5 + run down: 39:39.

Into the last transition. My bike was WAY down at the end (women get the low numbers and are racked at the start of the transition on the way up, which is the back of the transition on the way out. Both the first and second women were late to register and got high numbers, so were racked at the other end from me. Of course, by now, they were so far in front of me that I never saw them, but technically they had less running to do since riding in this transition is allowed). Anyways, my nice boy-scout volunteers convinced me to throw on a vest (didn’t hurt, but cost some time probably) and a head band (buff). Then a change of shoes, donning of the helmet, and I was off. I took the upper curves cautiously after Roger’s spill from 2008. The road was in good shape, though, and I was soon cruising through the flatter parts, thankful for no head wind this year. I was trying to discern if it was a tail or cross wind all while going as fast as I could. A few times my compact crank set-up had me maxing out with no more gears to shift into, so I just spun as fast as I could. I felt OK now, but really, really, really wanted to get done with this race. I had not looked at my watch after the top of the hill and had no idea where I was at, time-wise, I just was ready to stop moving for a bit. The entire bike down, I saw no one, again (this was very strange all day, as I usually jockey around with a few guys and start to know who’s who. No teams even passed me, this may have been a first). Back in town there were a few head-wind sections as we jogged our way back over to the chamber of commerce (wind was definitely from the west now), then I crossed the finish line. Time for T6 + bike down: 34:44.

Total race time for 2010 was 4:41:12 and good enough for third woman. A hearty 8 min from second and 17 min from first. E was the next finisher, 7 min back.

Total times from year’s past:
2003 – 4:42:48
2004 – 5:05:31 (food poisoning and forgot bike shoes, used run shoes and home-made toe straps)
2005 – 4:44:39 (major headwind on bike down = major bonk)
2006 – no snow, we did not race
2007 – 4:52:35 (no skins, bad, bad decision)
2008 – 4:44:02
2009 – 4:29:26 (break through year, great race)
2010 – 4:41:12

This year was strong, but the fresh snow made it slow. Clothing was good (changed gloves a lot but never changed socks). Nutrition was good (has been a problem). We also did not train especially for this race or taper for it at all. We trained right through it. And as a test of fitness….. I think we’re fit!

From coach J: “Wheww! Glad this one is done and you were strong and no worse for the wear. So great that you were able to hit 3rd without any focus on this event besides being in good general conditioning which you certainly are. …and think of all the sports energy you still have to put into your St. George Training. Be pleased!”

Be pleased…. I think I am! Until next year. Then it will be off to break 4:30 again, or maybe even 4:20….. until then, stay tough!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Uff Da

Uff da (can also be spelled uff-da, uffda, uff-dah, oofda, ufda, ufdah, oofta or ufta) is an exclamation of Norwegian origin that is relatively common in the Upper Midwestern states of the United States. It roughly means "drats," "oops!" or "ouch!", especially if the "ouch!" is an empathetic one. In Norwegian Midwestern USA culture, "Uff Da" translates into: "I am overwhelmed." It has become a mark of Scandinavian roots, particularly for people from North Dakota and Minnesota

Yep, that pretty much describes the day. A chilly bike ride, a tough 50 min uphill/ 45 min downhill run with too much traffic, and then a short swim to end it took up most of our day today. We got a bit later of start than normal as we thoroughly enjoyed Stout Month at Mtn Sun last night as we tried to give Charlie and Tina some advice for the Mt. Taylor Quad next weekend. We even ended up buying two of the "I heart Stout Month" t-shirts. The bike wasn't all that terribly cold until we descended from Jamestown. As usual, warm on the way up, cold on the way down, even with more layers on. Then onto the run up Boulder Canyon to Four Mile to Poormans. Normally, there isn't that much traffic, but normal is at 7 or 8 in the morning. At 2 in the afternoon, lots of traffic. People, I know you live on the roads and know them well, but it doesn't make them your very own race course. The downhill is normally a lot faster but the icy trails slowed things down. Especially after my fall two weeks ago on an icy trail. Finally the swim, which was blessfully short (1500 m). We actually got a little sun during the swim, but when I say a little, I mean it. About 5 m of the pool was in the sun, while the rest was in the shadows from the next-door condos. But, it was our first swim in the light in a while. Although my hand is still messed up from the fall (still 9 finger typing and such). Wolfgang's advice of taping my fingers together is allowing me to swim. Normally, I'm not a big fan of swimming, but it was really annoying not to be able to do something. Wow, maybe I should break this into a few paragraphs. Nah. Now it is post out of order triathlon. A is off getting a massage. I am getting my legs squished by the NormaTech.

Next Saturday brings the Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon in Grants, NM. We have actually now lost track at how many times we have done the race. Who wouldn't love spending a good chunk of the day biking, running, skiing, snowshoeing to the top of Mt Taylor, snowshoeing, skiing, running and biking back to Grants. Hopefully we can both avoid bike issues (broken spoke 2 years ago and flat tires last year). The snow has been plentiful, so hopefully the ski down isn't too icy. My record is 4 (or was it 5) crashes on the way down. A snowplowed that year, didn't crash, and ended up with the same ski down time.

That's enough for now.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

One more thing

Anyone know how to get single workouts out of Garmin Training Center on a Mac? I'm willing to settle for an export into excel. Everything I have tried so far exports the whole history into one large, un-usable file.


Just sayin'

It has been awhile since we posted a blog update. Not really sure why it has been so long, we have been busy with lots to write about. Then again, we have been busy..... Just sayin'

Last weekend we were up at Devil's Thumb Ranch for the Governor's Cup 30 k skate ski race. It was a fun time and a fast day. E did not race since his hand was bothering him still from a fall on the ice while running the previous Sunday. Instead he helped with ski prep, ski selection, and race super-fan cheering. I felt very special. The next day we had a fabulous morning classic ski before heading down to Denver for a baby shower for another A & E who we have been friends with for over 10 years. Great food and visiting were had by all. Really, really good food!

And that was the start and end of our 2009-2010 ski season.... Just sayin'

Before that we have been working (lots, but not more than normal), got out for a 4 h cyclocross ride on the flatter dirt roads in Boulder County, got a new storm door to cut out some of the front-door drafts, and, well, did lots of boring married people stuff like that.

January was a return to swim-bike-run with some ski thrown in for good measure. Was good to get back into the routine, especially since IM St. George on May 1st seems pretty close these days. Izzy-dog has liked the return to more of a run routine, but not the fact that most of our biking is on the trainers (they freak her out and she goes and hides on one of her many doggie beds). The swimming has been..... slow..... but the skiing was great. Really, really great. We got in a fabulous classic ski at Eldora (!!!!?) which is usually thin in the track and squirrly at the beginning of January, then a skate the other weekends after that. All should be good prep for my favorite February race: Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon on Feb. 13th.

We have been cooking some great food, including a batch of Chile Verde, a butternut squash lasagna with hand-made noodles, a cabbage-tomato-bean soup, baked ziti...... you get the point. Next up: tackling the 18.5 lb squash we brought back from my aunt and uncle in MN at Christmas time. I'm thinking chunking and roasting will be a project for this weekend.

Well, that's about all here. Seems to be near bed time. Today marked our first treadmill run in a long time (like nearly 2 years). It was not pretty. Let's say that me vs. treadmill had the treadmill out ahead. I think it is all mental and welcome the chance to throw down in the future since today I somehow just let it pass by. I got all the physical stuff done right, and got in a good workout, but, well...... it was not pretty. Just sayin'

'Til next time, train fast, train honest, train smart, and have fun