Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Training Update

Man, have I been missing my peeps something fierce lately.  Tuesday track is when we all gather and warmup and go over all our crazy workouts or race reports or whatever else that is going on and I missed last Tuesday.  I also missed Saturday morning at the Pond due to babysitting issues.  So when I got the call (OK I called him) from StevieP Coach Extraordinaire to join a small group for a HARD ride up High Grade Sunday morning I practically pee'd myself I was so excited!  Or maybe just scared because the group I would be joining is TOUGH:  Sonja (PIC), Steve, and Anthony in a pace line.  Up High Grade.  YIKES!  But I was in and I knew I had my work cut out for me.  

My goal was to stick with the group and not fall off the back.  All I had to do was hang on for dear life until the cut-off to City View, they were going on to do the Shadow loop.  Sonja started out the pace line at a great pace after the turn-off, then my turn to pull.  Oops, I was a bit excited and eager to "prove" myself and pulled out a bit too hard.  Steve reminded me to not shoot ahead on my pull, and we spent about a minute each in the front although I think Anthony was taking longer pulls....fine by me!  We got to the switchbacks and it got pretty intense.  But, I really liked the "pull" factor.  Plus, I was concentrating so hard on sticking to Son like glue that it seemed to go by fairly fast.  Before I knew it, we were at the top and I was making the turn.  I could've taken it easy at this point but I kept going hard and actually missed the pace line.  Up the switchbacks, breathing so hard I'm sure the people I passed thought I was going to pass out, and then ZOOM on the downhills (building confidence).  On Turkey Creek Road, I made the turn and immediately swooshed by some other riders (men) who clearly didn't appreciate being spanked by a lone women (gasp, the horror!), so they caught me and I got on a wheel and enjoyed the ride.  Then hard up the backside of Deer Creek (spanked the boys again hehe) and stopped for a breather at the top.  Whew and what a great ride:)  

A nice long swim on Monday with not one, but TWO main sets!  Whoa that takes me back to serious swimming days.  And then track on Tuesday.  I could not WAIT to get to track and see my peeps again!  Warming up the Sonja, Tyler, Steve, and the rest of the crew was the highlight.  Well.  OK, the best part???  Having Sonja pace me on the last 300 of the last 1000 of the set.  Holy fastness Batman, she helped me kick it in high gear and went from :51 200s to a :47 and then the last one, ready for this???  :44!  Yee Haw and a big Boo Yah!  Thanks PIC, way too cool to run shoulder to shoulder with you.  Absolutely loved that.  After, of course, I got my breath back and stopped seeing stars.  

Second best part:  Schedules are out for August.....17 days until Pikes Peak......7 weeks until Nationals!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How Time Flies.....

Charlotte last week at the cabin

Isabelle and Charlotte three years ago

And, Isabelle is starting FIRST GRADE.  On Tuesday!  YIKES!!!  I'm so proud of her, she is super excited to be going back to school.  

Isabelle with her missing front teeth

I love my girls, love my hubby.  Life Is Good.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Snow Mountain Ranch

After the Peak, I got home, we packed up the car, the kids, the dog and we were off to the mountains!!  Woo Hoo!!  Discovered an important factoid about Iz on the drive:  watching a movie on curvy Berthoud Pass is a bad idea:(  

We spent quality time in the arts and crafts building, walking around, eating, reading, and Charlotte's new favorite:  puff puff golf!!  We hit the course twice in a couple of days and had an absolute blast....I'd lead off, Iz would follow, then Charlotte, and Michael would get a shot off.  Then the girls would take all the balls and put 'em in da hole - we made par every time!  And Char would say I win, I win (competitive???).

Yep, they're rock stars

The highlight of the trip was our horse back ride to dinner for Charlotte's 3rd (OMG 3!!!!) birthday.  And she wanted to ride with me - my lucky night!!!  Our horse's name was Studley and apparently he was the horse in Dumb and Dumber, that's right a movie star.  And, he acted like it too.  He had a great time testing me......I wasn't supposed to let him eat and had to pull up on him each time he did.  But when I did this I squished poor Charlotte and she would cry. The wrangler (?cowboy?) finally tied up his lead so he couldn't eat and things got better.   Iz rode her own horse Scar and did great.

Charlotte, me & Studley

Iz and Scar

We went on a great hike to the waterfall before we left on Wednesday, it was longer than we thought but the girls and Primo were troopers!  Check out these pics.....

Primo cooling off in the stream

This trip also served as an "active" recovery from the race.  I went for a nice run on Tuesday on some trails and am now a bit concerned about the next event:  Pikes Peak Ascent.  Hmmm, 13.1 miles straight up a mountain.  Who's idea was this anyways?????

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Boulder Peak: Race Report

Going into Sunday, I thought I was "appropriately" nervous, little butterflies and a bit of excitement.  On Saturday, I was just nervous.  My tummy was not cooperating.  But the good news was, I FINALLY got to swim in the morning after StevieP (coach extraordinaire) kept me out of the water for the week.  Ahhhh, it felt great.  I thought for sure I had forgotten to swim in the time I was out of the water but as luck would have it, everything worked just fine.  

The Practical Coaching gang had a great entertaining, and relaxing dinner together on Saturday night and I started to feel a bit better.  Back to the hotel, Sonja and I were roomies again and just went about our business, putting numbers on and getting ready for the morning.  We room VERY well together, we just seem to click and get each other, Partners In Crime, and total twinkie sisters.  Her presence has an awesome calming affect on me.  After a decent sleep, it was 4:20 and it was time to get going.  My tummy was clearly not going to allow any type of food so the peanut butter and jelly sammy I had just sat there looking at me.  Oh well.

I got all set up in transition relatively well without any problems (except for the newbie taking up an entire rack to herself , looking at me like I'm nuts because I asked her to move???) and Beth, Steve, Son ja ja, Andrea, and I went for a warm-up jog.  I had a 6:50 wave - #4 which I was happy about......not too much waiting around.  After my fifth trip to the port-a-potty, wait maybe only three trips today, I went to the beach to watch the start and get my wetsuit on.  But, we were delayed 15 minutes.  OK, no biggie I just sat around listening to my ipod.

Swim:  Our wave had boys in it.....say it with me:  EWWWWWW!  Big stinking aggressive boys!  That was the toughest swim start I've had all year - arms flying, people grabbing my legs trying to swim over me.  So I just got the hell out of there.  Probably (well definitely) went out faster than I had anticipated but after a few minutes, I was in a comfortable pace and breathing pattern.  I was hoping to find a fast boy to draft of, but I never did.....I think I may have swam faster than all of them.  I managed to catch red caps, blue caps, and even the first wave of white caps!  And then I was done... running up the beach.  I glanced at my watch and saw the surprising time of 21: something.  Woo hoo, fastest time all year!  Of course, my immediate thought was hmmmm must have been short.  Can't give myself credit for too long.....

T1:  Kind of dorked out a bit getting out of my wetsuit but not too badly.  I remember standing there for a moment and saying Oh wait, I have to go!

Bike:  In my mind, the hardest part, OK second hardest part of the race is the approach to Olde Stage.  But, I stuck to my strategy - little chain ring, spin it out and be nice and relaxed and in control by the time the hill starts.  Within minutes, the eventual winner of my age group passes me.....and then a couple incredibly speedy girls in the wave behind me.  But, I am sticking to my strategy.  The hill comes, but I was ready and in control.  I even passed a couple of girls that had passed me on the approach.  To the top and down we go WEEEEEEEEE!  I held on for dear life and did a pretty good job on the left corner and then the right corner and then I just tried to take off.  I really, really, really wanted to break 1:20 on this course so I was going at it and not wanting to leave anything out there.  And then I was back at the rez, took my feet out of my shoes, thought about doing a fancy dismount and chickened out at the last minute.  I told myself my feet were in the wrong position and then a guy coming in next to me totally dorked out and wiped out on his way into transition.  Maybe next time.....

T2:  Run in, bike into the rack, shoes on, grab hat and number and out I go.....

Run:  It was hot.  But I was determined.  I started out at a comfortable pace, I didn't want to blow my wad on the first 3 miles.  Got to the first aid station and dumped water on my head.  Tried to pick out bogies ahead of me to take my mind off of the hot temps.  And then I was at the turnaround and thought maybe I could go a bit faster but no, nothing there.  I saw Beth coming for me (AHHHH) and just kept wondering when she was going to pass me.  At this point I was struggling but I kept thinking to myself, OK only 2 miles to go, I can do anything for 20 minutes.  I wanted to quit, it was hot, and I was done.  OK, 1 mile to go, I can do this!  But I couldn't pick it up.  I felt like I was shuffling along.  As soon as I hit the black top of the rez, the heat was just radiating up and, did I mention, it was HOT.  But I was almost there.  There was no one around me so I hit the downhill and tried with anything I had left to pick it up.  I heard Troy cheering and then some other cheers and thank GOD I was finished.  
I looked down at my watch and just wanted to cry.  2:34 something.  A full 18 minutes faster than last year.  OMG.  Absolutely unbelievable.  I sat down with my cold towel and actually had someone ask me if I was OK.  It took me awhile to get my s**t together and I finally found some PC folks to cheer with.  Then I saw Beth and we "threw down", that was a blast!  She pushes me each and every time we train and race together.....thank you Bethie!

Swim: 22:33
T1:  1:09
Bike:  1:20:14
T2:  :55
Run:  49:42

5th out of 68 in my age group.  (Yee haw)

So, I met a couple of my goals.  I didn't have a specific swim goal only to not want to quit in the middle which I did.  My transition times were "in-line" with my wave.  I didn't meet my bike time which I am very disappointed in......why am I not faster on the bike???  Something to explore in the next couple of months.  And the run.  I knew it was going to be hot so I really wanted to be under 50.  Accomplished.  

Best part:  Throwing down with Boulder Peak
Second best part:  Throwing down with Beth at the finish
Third best part:  Throwing down with Steve, Beth, Noelle, and Tyler in the Rez

Oh and the really best part???  Going home and seeing my family and having them be proud of me.  And then packing and going to the mountains for a little family post!!!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday Track

Coach Steve got everyone all fired up today about our track workout:  PR the mile.  He's been building this up for the last week and I have been thinking about it lots.  Nervous?  Maybe a little but really, what's the big deal?  About a month ago I did a 6:52 so that was my goal, to beat that time.  I wrote down splits, descending, that I thought sounded manageable and calculated a 6:46.  I can do that.....

The workout built up to the 1600.  We had 6x(400,200) at an "easy" pace.  OK.....Beth and I started at 53s which felt a bit fast.  Hmmmm, I'm not sure how this will work because I calculated my first 400 at 53s.  Oh, and did I mention, it was HOT HOT HOT!!!  Probably around 93 degrees but it's good Peak training right?  Finally, finally we are ready to start the 1600 after waiting the last week to do this.  My main goal:  don't blow up....start out slow and try to descend.  Bethie wanted to hold 50s and I thought it was a bit aggressive.  But we started and the first 200 felt OK but a bit fast:  51.  Faster than my written plan but I'm going with it.  Next 200:  51.  Then 50, 50, 49, 50, 49......for a time of 6:41!!!!  WOO HOO!  Awesome, beat the goal and still managed to descend.  

So that makes 2 great track workouts in a row.  I'm feeling pretty confident going into this weekend.  If I can do a 6:41 all out, surely I can manage 7:35-40s for a 10k????  

Best part:  I'm pretty sure all my peeps PR'd today, Nice Job everyone!

Second best part:  I went shopping all sweaty at Nordstrom afterwards.....ewwwww!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Boulder Peak Re-con

Today, a bunch of us from Practical Coaching and friends meet up at the Boulder Rez for a pre-peak recon.  It was an early morning, I was not ready for the alarm at 5:10 but, hey, up-and-at-em.  A few of us met to carpool at 6am and I had the pleasure of Tyler's company for the ride.  Always nice to have a pal in the car for the drive!  

Anyway, about 15 (maybe more?) showed and we got started a bit after 7.  My plan was to stick in the main group and soft pedal for a while to get the legs flowing....this ride is tough because Olde Stage Road (read:  big ass 15% grade hill) comes only about 6 miles in.  The plan worked great so that when Steve, Tyler, Beth, and Anthony came along at the foot of the hill I jumped on and the work began.  You never really remember how tough this hill is until you are on it just goes up and up and up.  But I worked it standing up out of the saddle and then back down, and then back up and so on.  I never really felt like I had run out of gears (even though I had).  What a change from last year when I just wasn't strong enough to lift my ass out of the saddle and had to do the majority of the climb sitting.   Up the first part and caught up to Barry who was riding like he was in the Tour with my friend Andy right there.  And then the fun part (for me), a bit of a downhill and then the last section which has about the perfect climbing grade that I can usually just crank on.  My legs were tired but we were done with the major climb.

A few of us gathered at the top and down we went.....there is a speed limit on this downhill of 35mph and I really have no idea how fast we were going.  I've been fighting some speed demons of my own since my crash and was riding my brakes for the first part but successfully navigated the left and then the right turn, hooked onto Anthony's wheel who was hooked onto Steve's and he pulled us to the front group where I was DETERMINED to stay.  I will not get dropped today.  The rest of the ride went very well.....about 10 of us rode together (we were FLYING) on Nelson and then we broke up into little pace lines for the remainder of the ride.  Beth was directly in front of my and I was not going to let her go!!!  Barry, Beth and I had a great ride down 63rd taking pulls and then we were done.  Very pleased with my effort on the ride and very excited I didn't let anyone go (other than uber-fast boys....).  Great day for a ride!!  

Then we were off for a 5 mile run around the Rez.  Started off slow and felt pretty good.  Pace was pretty mellow until mile 3 when Steve ramped it up.  The boys took off, and Beth put the hurt on.  I wanted to stay with her but I just wasn't feeling it so she pulled ahead leaving me to suffer on my own.  I was very happy to see the marina and to slow down.  Saw a 7:38/mile pace in there for mile 4, which I will take.  I'm really glad we did this run because the last 2.5 miles were on the actual course for next I had a chance to "feel" things out and know that those miles are so tough physically and for me, mentally.  

Best part:  taking a dip in the Rez, shoes and all afterwards.  Yea!

Second best part:  Awesome lunch with my awesome friends and teammates at Himalayas, an Indian food buffet.  YUM.  

This race last year kicked my booty pretty good and I am ready for a good race this year.  I've done the work.  I.AM.READY.  No wimpiness, no walking.  I will swim a smart pace, I will bike a great ride.  And.  I will run.  A strong run.  Looking forward to it. 

Thank you to my family for giving me the chance to do this today, and well, lots of days!!!!  ILU Michael:) 

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Long Weekend

I love 3-day weekends and this one had the potential to be awesome.  I had a RARE day off on the 4th so Michael and I took the kiddos and Primo up to Golden Gate State Park for a "hike" and a picnic.  The weather was perfect and we found a nice trail just to play around on.  Of course, Charlotte only "hiked" for about 10 minutes and then she wanted to be held and ended up on Michael's shoulders.  I tried to teach the girls the art of peeing and squatting.....they don't quite have the concept yet.  Primo in all of his 10 years did pretty well but after 45 minutes he was done too.  We had a nice little lunch and a quiet drive home with everyone (including me) sleeping.

Our neighbors, Dan and Nancy, had some folks over for a bar-be-que and to watch fireworks from the deck.  It was a great night relaxing and catching up with friends.  But then it was time to get prepped for the BIG ride up Mt. Evans on Saturday:  32.5 miles of pure uphill to the 14,000 foot summit.  I had my bottles and food ready, my bag of extra clothes for the sag wagon and I was psyched!!  Until 5:00am the next morning when Charlotte came into the room and said she made a mess.  Uh oh.  The mess included about everything she consumed the night before all over everything.....I cuddled with her while Michael went about cleaning the mess.  At that point I was still going, put my waffles in the toaster applied the sunscreen.....and then the call came from above.  Well, our room actually.  Charlotte made a mess in our bed.  Off came the riding clothes, left a couple of messages and I went into full mommy mode.  Poor thing......we all slept together for the next few hours and she seemed to be doing a bit better.

At this point I had a little bit (read: tons) of extra energy/anxiousness since I wasn't doing the workout I had anticipated.  So, at 10am I left for a little run in the 90 degree heat.  And, I was anxious, so I took it out too fast.  Did I mention it was hot???  Yikes, at mile 4 I kind of hit a wall and had to walk/jog for the rest of the way.   YUCK.  When I got back home sweat was just dripping off of me - like I just got out of a pool.  I guess I was well hydrated:)  

Michael's college friend and family was in town and we went to a wine tasting party with them and our kids were able to play together while we caught up.  It was a really fun night and the wine tasting was a hoot.

Sunday morning arrived and I left early to ride the Shadow Mountain ride:  50 miles, 3 major climbs totalling around 9,000 feet.  My coach, Steve, gave me the go ahead to do the ride and follow it up with a run after.  So off I went.  I wasn't anxious at all - even though I was riding alone - and I followed the plan:  easy warm-up effort to the first switchback, and the race pace effort through the backside of Deer Creek.  Whew!  I only had one pit stop at the top of High Grade, and did the ride in 3:30.  On the downhills, I worked very hard to get comfortable and not freak out at every sighting of gravel.  And I was worked but had to transition to a run.....I took off towards the Rez and did 3 miles.  It was difficult, my legs were beat and my heart rate was not cooperating.  But I did it and am very pleased with the effort.  

Afterwards, I met the family at the pool and we played around for a bit.  And then we acquired something VERY cool:  a treadmill and a weight set courtesy of my parents who are moving soon and will not need those items!!!!  A nice addition for winter training, and when Michael is out of town.  Of course, the most important item we acquired was a big girl bed for Charlotte!!  

Thank you Michael for dealing with my anxiety this weekend and letting have the time to go ride Shadow!!!