Friday, April 30, 2010

Live from St George, its pre-race day

Ah, Ironman insomnia. Actually, this isn’t quite real insomnia since I just couldn’t get back to sleep during my nap. A on the other hand can’t sleep well at night, but is terrific at napping.

Folks, tomorrow is going to be tough. But, if the latest weather prediction holds (winds below 10 mph), it won’t be as bad as it would have been the last few days. The winds when we got here reminding me of the planned 6 hour ride to Rist Canyon that turned into an actual 7.25 hour ride about a month ago. At least the ride will be very scenic for however long it takes.

After the random intro, lets start with the swim.

The swim is out a Sand Hollow Reservoir. The single loop course starts in a protected area, but will get choppy with any significant winds. It is supposedly around 59 degrees so A and I keep flip flopping on wearing our neoprene caps. I’m usually better at CCW loops (due to my right sided breathing) and swimming has gone well so, I hope to break my streaks of 1:09 swims.

The bike starts with a ride back to town of ~22 miles. There were a couple of longer climbs that reminded me of riding around by Carter Lake. In town, you start the first of two laps. The laps start with some in suburb riding like at the Loveland Lake to Lake. It will be a bit congested, so patience will certainly be needed. After that section, we start climbing on the back highway roads. Some of the roads aren’t in too bad of shape, but most are pretty rough.

Oh, and there are 3 cattle guards that will likely be covered tomorrow, but have A freaking out. On our ride on Thursday morning, we turned around just after the first one when a cow got a bit testy as I tried to ride by and started running besides me and then cut in front of me when I slowed down. I was trying to picture how to explain to everyone that I didn’t race because I got run over by a cow.

The climb is pretty varied with some small descents to some bigger hills. Nothing too crazy though. (Say, like Rist Canyon on a windy day). At the pie shop, you get onto a must nicer road, but still have to climb for a bit.

At the volcano (hopefully dormant tomorrow), you get to go down. Coast back to town and do it all again.

The scenery on the bike varies from old black lava fields, snowy white mountain vistas, green valleys, and red rocks. We’ll put up some of the pictures from the drive the other day.

Then the run. There are a couple of billboards promoting energy conservation on the bike (two of them are exactly the same about 200 meter apart). Good thing to remember on the bike since the run will be brutal. I’m actually looking forward to it since it will favor the skinny little runners over the big bad bikers. I may not qualify as being in the first category anymore, but I certainly don’t fit in the second. And it isn’t just the climbing that will be difficult, the descents are going to cramp many quads. I think my heartrate went up 10 bpm just writing the last paragraph. Pace will mean very little, just keeping the feet going and catching the person in front of you (assuming you aren’t leading).

The trip back to the hotel is going to be rough as well. Not as long from the finish to the Tiki Shores in Canada, but all uphill here.

All that for another t-shirt.

Peace out,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Haystack Time Trial

Yesterday was the Haystack Time Trial. Our cycling team, GS Boulder Cycling - Trek, hosted the race. This meant we got to race AND volunteer. Volunteering was harder (always is, it seems). E and I were working registration. E worked a split shift because his race started at 12:34. I raced in the morning and worked in the afternoon. Registration was busy, but was a great volunteer job.

The race went well or me. I started out hard after a good warm-up. So hard, in fact, that the rear wheel (disk) skipped a few times as I was charging off the line and getting up to speed. I'm pretty sure that is not what you want to do.... Anyways, I quickly settled in and just tried to hammer the whole thing.

This year the course was shortened due to road work (a bridge was out, not negotiable course change!) and the part chopped off was a gradual uphill. So we were doing 12.1 miles, with a decent negative elevation difference. The course is usually a box, this year it was mostly 3 sides of that box. Going East is the part where you drop down a few hills, but this was also the portion with a headwind this year, tempering the pace some. Luckily, for me, the rain held off until my race was finished (the team time trial races were a sloppy mess, but everyone seemed to have fun and most stayed safe). I rode well and posted the fastest time for my category, I won!

Then it was on to volunteering. That went well too.

Now, my mind is still at registration, though. It should be sleeping! Usually I am a great sleeper, but tonight all I want to do is help people get their race numbers.... Might have something to do with the 6-8 servings of coffee (I didn't realize it was that much until now, I was just trying to get warm post-race, but we had ~16 oz at home, then 2-3 more 16 oz at the race. Wheeeee!). I think I'll shut down now and try for a bit more sleep, I want a good go at the bbrbrb on tap for today.

Train safe, and happy Sunday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

April Updates #1

Yikes, what happened? Seems like it was just yesterday that I wrote our previous post.....

Well, my excuses for lack of blogging are 1) work and 2) Ironman training. E will have to post his own excuses. Despite these two big "time sinks" soaking up all my blogging time, I have had plenty to write about, just no time to jot it down. Those theme-based posts will have to wait though, in lieu of pure news updates, 3 weeks is a lot of time to catch up on! Here goes nothing.....

At the end of my last post, I walked into the production area and my work project began. That day I was at work from ~8 am until ~5:30 am the next morning, then home to sleep a few hours and back in by 1 pm. That was Thursday-Friday. Saturday, the process was on auto-pilot so I snuck out with E for some Costco shopping, other errands (including the purchase of a stove-top esspresso maker, woo woo!), and a quick 2 h bike ride (glorious! but about all I could last for with my limited sleep). By the time Thursday rolled around again, I was mostly back to working day-time hours and getting 1-2 calls at night. Which was good because we had just done the longest-run-before-Ironman on that Wednesday after work. The run went well and the body felt strong despite the crazy-work-sleep-eat hours I had been holding. Recovery included a good session in the NormaTec pants after the run, but I still had my normal "cramping legs preventing me from getting good sleep" that night. Thursday night was much better for sleeping.

The Saturday right before Easter I was at work from 2:40am until ~5 am, then we headed straight out for what was supposed to be an enjoyable 6 h on the bike followed by a 60 min run. We planned a hilly route for the bike, loaded up the car, and headed out. The rest of the ride will be fully captured in a future post (look for the one titled "Canyons") but the quick summary is: it was windy and the wind soon made the whole ride an epic adventure. Truly. Epic to the point of a strong, ~100 mi ride spanning 7-7.5 h. The run was set aside and I headed home to sleep.

Easter came and I headed to church for the early sunrise service. It was short but meaningful. I headed home and we had a nice breakfast of homemade waffles, then hit the yard to plant the spring crops (lettuce mix, spinach, chard, and peas). We split an Avery Salvation as we finished turning the beds, planting the seeds, and doing some other random tidying and yard work, yum! Then we got in a mellow bike ride and run.

The next week got even more normal at work, and had the usual mix of swim-bike-run. Saturday brought a 112 mi, self-supported bike TT (actually ended up being 114 mi). E was looking so strong! I was good for ~25 mi, then slowly started to lose my mental focus and would get dropped by E easily (I was trying to stay close but sit totally out of his draft pocket, per USAT/WTC standards, and ride my own ride). At the 40 mi mark he turned back to find me and I made the decision to stick to his rear wheel like glue. It may have meant that I did not complete the workout as intended, but I still rode strong, tried to stay close and not draft when possible (there was plenty of wind to "catch" if I staggered my position from his slightly) and got really worked. Then we headed straight out for a 70 min run with 20-30 min of climbing to stimulate St. George some. This will be our last long bike before the race. I wore my brand-new tri shorts for both the ride and run and they performed charmingly.

This Wed. brought the last long run. We went after work and got a later start than planned. As we ran, the sun sank lower in the sky. We finished as dusk was fading into twilight, it was beautiful and ended up being perfect! We stayed to the dirt trails and roads north of Boulder. It was a glorious, glorious night to be out and running. No wind (!), warm, peaceful, and relatively quiet (busy trail heads, but we chose non-populated trails). A freshly grilled steak, quinoa salad leftovers, and a splash of red wine made a great end to a wonderful evening (yes my legs were throbbing, but some time in the NormaTec and some time on the foam roller quieted them enough for me to sleep, and the evening was just a special, almost magical time spent in a beautiful place with the man I love). The only thing that would have been better would have been more sleep between the 8:05 pm end of the run and the 6 am swim the next morning.

This weekend will bring a bike time trial. Our club (GS Boulder - Trek) is hosting the race so we get to race (yeah! haven't raced since Mt. Taylor) and work all day. We are hoping for no rain (only a 20% chance) and no wind. Come out and race the Haystack TT or TTT if you are in the area. It will be fast since some bridge work has shortened the course to 12.1 mi. Vvroooom! Then Sunday is a birthday (mine) bike-run-bike-run brick. Got that? A bbrbrb.

All told, it has been busy around here. We are well, happy, healthy (amazingly), and actually got seeds planted before the end of April. More gardening and yard work remain, but they will wait until after ironman #1 is done for 2010. Also, I am very, VERY excited to race in St. George. It is an excitement that has been slow to build, and has been muddled by the magnitude of work and training loads, but it is here and it is still continuing to build. Yeeeeee haw, let's race! (and let's see how taper goes, always a bit of a gamble).

It is also spring here now, here are the signs of spring: the apple tree is about to bloom in front of our house, tulips and daffodils are up, and, my favorite, the peepers are peeping from all the swamps, ditches, and anything looking remotely like standing water. I love those little frogs and their welcome to spring each year.

Happy Friday, happy Spring!