Sunday, April 26, 2009

R2R2R

I know, I know, it's been a long time in getting this post up. All sorts of stuff going on both good and not so good including but not limited to having 3 out of 4 family members puke in the last few days and yes I was one of them.  But since I really don't want to write about the copious amounts of vomit I have seen lately, I am finally sharing my report!  Oh, and since I have been laid up - I have taken the "easy" way out and just posted videos directly here without the benefit of editing, sweet effects, music etc.  

After our great race day in Henderson and a fun night on the strip Saturday night, we were off on the next part of our big adventure...the Grand Canyon.  Michael, the girls, and I had never been there so it was going to be an adventure and fun for all.  For me, it was definitely an adventure.  For some reason, it sounded like a good idea to run R2R2R (south rim to north rim to south rim), lots of climbing, lots of descending, and a great way to actually experience the GC.  

Of course, as soon as we got there and looked over the edge, I nearly had a heart attack and turned around for home.  Oh holy moly!  It didn't help that the girls ran full speed ahead towards the edge.  THE EDGE.  Yes, I know, there is fencing around the lookout point.  But really, it is just fencing and I seriously thought I was going to lose it.  

Michael, Charlotte and Isabelle at the edge.  I am literally shaking as I took this picture.

We checked into our hotel and met up with the rest of the gang and started getting ready for the day ahead.  I woke up at 2:10 (5 minutes ahead of schedule) and got ready to go.  The group had decided to leave in waves:  Andrea first around 1, me and Keith next at 3 followed by Sonja and Dave at 3:30,  Steve and Anthony started at 4.  Oh man it was dark!!!  Absolutely no moonlight but it was warmer than we thought, around 35, and really just perfect.
 
Keith and me at the start of the day


I led off setting a very conservative pace....in fact we were fast walking more than we were running.  It was steep and I knew that my knees were my limiting factor for the day, if I could make it down without too much stress and strain I would be OK.  All of a sudden we were at Indian Gardens and on the edge of the horizon, the sun was coming up.  A quick potty break and we continued on.  It was so peaceful in those pre-dawn hours, listening to the water, the sounds of my feet as I ran along, hearing different animals (not sure what they were!), it was a surreal time of the day.  I'm actually very glad we left when we did......first of all I couldn't remember any of the terrain for the way back up and secondly, I couldn't see over the edge!!!  

Sunrise almost to the bottom of the canyon

I heard some talking behind us and sure enough, there were Dave and Sonja!!  We all ran down to the Colorado River and were just giddy when we got there.  The color of the river was green, not brown as I had been expecting, and I thought a swim would have been nice:)  Next up was Phantom Ranch, I believe we were around 9 miles in at this point.  We watered and fueled up and got ready for the next "chapter", the box canyon.  

Dave, Keith, me, PIC at Phantom Ranch

The box canyon was all that it was cracked up to be....stunning scenery.  Canyon walls on either side of us, the creek roaring down next to us.  Everyone was feeling great at this point, the pace was good and I was smiling and laughing.  The milestones after the canyon were Cottonwood, Ribbon Falls, the water crossing, Ranger Station at Roaring Falls, and then onto the North Rim. After the canyon, I felt what I was hoping to avoid:  my knees.  And I had promised myself that I would turn around if started to hurt.  So even though I felt great otherwise, I had a decision to make.  

Just turn your head to left a bit.....this is the box canyon

Just keep running....

Nuun tabs are the bomb!

Water crossing - clearly not an issue!  

We made it to Cottonwood and then climbed onward. I cannot begin to describe how gorgeous the day and the scenery was....and it's even hard to put into pictures. At Roaring Forks I left the group knowing that I was only half way done and 18 miles in....and would likely be on my own the rest of the day. But it was OK and I really never even thought twice about turning around. I was now on my own to enjoy all that the GC had to offer! As I started back, I realized how much climbing we had done. It didn't seem like it at the time but there was some pretty steep terrain and my knees were screaming for mercy. If it was too steep, I'd walk and as soon as it flattened out a bit I would run. It worked out great and I ran more that I walked.

On my way back, I didn't focus on the fact that I had to go all the way back up!

The next couple of hours I had a blast!  There were all these running geckos (lizards) that kept me company on the trail and I tried not to crush them.  My nutrition and hydration were going reasonably well and I was looking forward to the candy the Phantom Ranch cantina had in store.  And, I was starting to see more people on the trail so I'd wave and say good morning.  I'd also stop every once in awhile just to take in the scenery.

My apologies for the Blair Witch-y video...

Colorado River mid-day

M&M's at the cantina.  Yum!

I reached the cantina and found one of my favorites....M&M's and proceeded to wolf them down, they seemed to hit the spot (for now).  I mailed off a postcard to my parents and headed out.....and who did I see???  Dave!  Great news, I had a partner for the remainder of the trip!  His achilles started hurting shortly after I left the group and he made the decision to turn around too.  Kind of funny though, because he couldn't really run the uphills and I couldn't really run the downhills so after awhile we just settled into an aggressive hike!  

After crossing the suspension bridge it got HOT.  As in probably over/around 100 hot.  We were still maintaining an aggressive pace but mid-way through the first set of switchbacks I stopped in some shade and realized that I wasn't doing so great.  Those awesome M&M's were begging for a reappearance, I was sweating profusely, and my heart rate wouldn't calm down. So, we hiked slowly!  After that, I would cool off at every water crossing we hit - feet, head, whatever I could get wet.  And then, before I knew it, we were back to Indian Gardens.  Only 4.8 miles to the top from here, but when I looked up it may as well been another 15 miles.  At this point I was about 32 miles in, my legs were hurting and tired, and it was still hot hot hot!  I am really grateful that Dave and I were keeping each other company because this would have been seriously difficult had he not been there laughing and joking with me.  

Delirium stage you ask?  If you consider having a conversation about making sunscreen from hippo skin and mule poop then ummm, yeah, we may have been a bit delirious.  Huh.  And really, that last 1.5 miles???  Took forever.  For.  Ever.  But we did it, we finally came to the last tunnel and decided to run the 1/4 mile in.  36 miles.  12 hours.  And then we were done.  At the top.  Amazing.  And that's why this post should actually be named R2AR2R (Rim to Almost Rim to Rim).

The black bird of death at Indian Gardens.....I reminded him that I wasn't dead yet I just kinda looked like it

The view coming out of Indian Gardens

So close to the top

Hmm, explanation for this?  Nah, I think the video says it all!  And yes, we did the 2 3/4 push-ups at the top.

Yep, that says it all doesn't it?

I reunited with the family and sat down.  I knew I was in for some problems with my feet but didn't want to take my shoes off yet.  And then we waited for the rest of the group to arrive: Sonja and Keith came in strong, Andrea aka "rockstar" arrived shortly after that, and then the boys.  We watched the sunset on the Grand Canyon and decided to clean up and get some food.  

The aftermath - the blister on that toe was almost as big as the toe itself! I had no less than 3 blisters on each foot.  



Almost a week out of the experience now and I am extremely proud of what me and my teamies accomplished.  It was an amazing day and adventure and I wouldn't trade that for anything. Although next time?  I may take the helicopter tour:)  Or not.  I know I had the best view of the day!

Oh, I forgot, the best part of the day?  At the finish when I saw my family again and knowing they had a great adventure day on their own.  The girls are now officially "Junior Park Rangers" and can tell you all about different kinds of scat!  And Michael?  Total rock star taking care of everything while I was out exploring, thank you love!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Road Trip

In pictures.  I'm still working on the R2AR2R post/video/pictures but here's a view of the trip in pictures!!!

There was a caravan of cars on the way to Vegas:  Tyler, Anne, and Sonja.  

Me and Bethie pre-race recon.  For some reason, the bike course seemed very different on race day.  It could have been the head wind.  Or the fact that I had shoes on.  Or maybe because I put my helmet on backwards for the race.  Oh, scratch that....there was no photographic evidence.  It may or may not have happened.  I can neither confirm nor deny....

Family post-race.  It was so great to have them there cheering me in at the end!!!

Ummm, Charlotte got a hold of the camera

PC girls

Anne and I were In 'n Out virgins..... that was an amazing burger.  Animal style.  Who knew?


The PC gang.  For some reason Tyler is taking off his shirt????  And what is Beth pointing at? And why is John spooning Anthony?  

After Zumanity (which I LOVED), we went to see the fountains at the Bellagio

You thought the Hoover Dam was cool?  Not as cool as the suspension bridge they are building right next to it!!!

Isabelle at the trailhead 

Phantom Ranch:  Dave, Keith, me, Sonja


Wow.  I went from here to almost there and all the way back.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh Holy Moly

Those were my first words when I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time.  Now they are the words I am using looking at the MESS I have to clean up from our Vegas/Grand Canyon road trip. There is laundry to be done, car to be cleaned, groceries to be bought, email to be caught up on, and of course, blogging to be done!  So, in a nutshell, it was a freakin' awesome trip and the GC was unbelievable.  I am alive, happy, and sore.  The blisters on my feet are ugly.  There will be much much more later!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rage in the Sage Quick Report

We're in Vegas Baby!! And I haven't even gambled yet! Michael has.....he's up $150. It'll be a big night as long as I don't fall asleep. Here's the quick race report:

Lake Mead is gorgeous. And incredible cold. Yep, 56 degrees this morning, I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that I am a proud owner of a full sleeve wetsuit. Two caps and earplugs and I was ready to swim. The water was choppy and the current was very strong, that was the toughest open water swim I have encountered up to this point.

Bike was tough too! The recon yesterday didn't seem to do the actual course justice and I struggled a bit with sore/tired legs. I was passed by 3 women (maybe 4).

On to the run I felt pretty good and had quick turnover and just kind of went with the flow. i was passing guys all over the place and at the turnaround it looked like I had a solid hold on my place barring any disasters.

Finished up strong and am pleased with my performance. All of PC did great today and thanks to Michael and all of the cheering section!

I don't have any splits yet (except for the run at 47):

5th woman overall
2nd place age group

The kids are swimming in the pool now, and in a bit we're off to the strip to see Zumanity and fun fun fun:)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Beach

The only way to celebrate the end of ski season is to get your bikini top on (or not depending on how you roll), dust off your lawn chairs, fill up the cooler and head to the Beach at A-Basin.  

The kids are finally old enough to enjoy the Beach so we went up on Friday.  Unfortunately, we are having a wet and cool spring so the swimsuits stayed at home.....but it did mean great snow conditions!

Isabelle had sunscreen issues

Mmmm, juice boxes with Lauren on the Beach

We're pretty sure Charlotte will letter in every sport in high school

?

Anita showing how it's done at the Basin.  That's right, she's double fisting!


The sun eventually came out for 15 minutes and I did manage a sun burn.  With #70!

Monday, April 13, 2009

April - April 12 Update

Weekly Update
Swims
Monday: 30x100 long course
Thursday:  20 min swim

Bikes
Wednesday:  Epic loop (74 miles, a billion feet of climbing)
Sunday: 1.5 hours spin bike (raining)

Runs
Tuesday:  Track (16x400)
Saturday:  Track (10x800)
Sunday: 5 miles OTB and good effort

Other
Monday:  Weights/abs
Friday:  Ski day on rest day (only did 2 hard runs)

Sleep
Yes.  May I more please?  Sleep has been great except for after Epic.

Recovery
Hamstrings were sore after track on Tuesday.  And legs hurt and had no power on ride Wednesday.  Massage on Thursday helped but surprisingly (to me) hammys were still sore on Saturday at track.  

Mood
Good.   A bit stressed out at end of week with pre-trip planning and personal business.

Health
Great.

Comments:
A bit surprised at lack of response my legs had riding on Wednesday but I understand that my recovery will be different from everyone else's.  And my legs will probably feel this way until the end of August.  Yikes.  Run is feeling great and am excited to see what plays out at race this weekend.  

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Adventure Time

Well, it's time to let the proverbial cat out of the bag.  I have committed to something big.  Like almost can't believe I said yes big.  And I'm freaking out just a little bit about it.  Only a few people know about this adventure because sometimes when I take something on that seems too big I don't talk about it.  Not to mention the "are you crazy" comments and "what is wrong with you" statements that I want to avoid because this one actually fits both of those.  


Grand Canyon

In a little over a week, I will be joining a few team mates and friends in running the Grand Canyon.  Rim to rim to rim.  R2R2R.  Approximately 47 miles and 11k in total climbing.  Give or take 14 hours.  And 2 days after my first tri of the season.  

I have never even seen the Grand Canyon!  But I am truly getting excited for this.  It is not a race but a true adventure!  How did this come about?  PIC (naturally) has had this particular adventure on her list of things to do and since we are racing in Vegas, a mere 5 hours away, it seemed like the perfect add-on to an already fun-packed weekend.  I never thought Michael would say OK, but sure enough, a couple of weeks ago he signed on.  Thank you Michael!

So here's how the entire weekend looks:  pack up the family car (a la Griswold style) and drive to Henderson, NV.  About an 11 hour drive.  Hang out with the Waltons and Wiecks in the family house in Henderson.  On Saturday, race the Rage in the Sage.  I am the wimp of the group as I am only doing the Olympic distance.  Sonja and Tyler (and various others) are doing the Half. Saturday afternoon family bar-be-que at the house.  Saturday night adult night in Vegas where we will see Zoomanity!  Sunday, pack up and head to the GC.  Monday, up around 4am to start the trek.  Tuesday, drive back to Denver!  

"There is a prospect of a thrilling time ahead for you."  That was the fortune in my cookie from dinner the other night and that statement couldn't be more perfect.  There IS a thrilling time ahead of me.  There were also a bunch of numbers on the fortune too and I'm playing them in Vegas!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

March 31 - April 5 Update

Weekly Update
Swims
Monday:  3800m
Wednesday:  45 minutes non-stop (swim and pull)
Friday:  3600m

Bikes
Monday:  2 hours trainer (5 min. tempo every 20 min)
Tuesday:  1.5 hours LSD
Wednesday:  1 hour trainer (5 min. tempo every 10 min)
Sunday:  2.5 hours spin bike

Runs
Thursday: 10.4 miles Chatfield loop (first 6 miles conversational pace, last 4 pushed)
Saturday:  9+ miles (8x1mile repeats on tready)

Other:
Weights/abs x 3

Sleep
Very good this week.  Must be tired as I fell asleep on couch watching TV both Thursday and Friday nights (haven't done that in ages, and yes I am FUN!)

Recovery
Good.  Lots of swims this week which help me feel recovered.

Mood
Good.  Not much crankiness.

Health
Healthy!!!  Started taking preventative allergy stuff as we head into April

Comments
All in all a good week.  Had a great run Thursday night and was able to push pace a bit for last half of run.  Got HR up into "danger" zone but backed off pace just a tad and tried to keep at it.  
Felt great that I didn't give up:)  Next time I will push for longer and try to get my wits through mind games!  Swims this week were strong, saw some nice times on Monday and felt good pushing.  Lots of trainer time on the bike this week so I can't wait to get back outside again.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Colorado Springs

Last weekend, I took the first (or maybe final) step in my quest to redefine myself career-wise.  I headed up to Colorado Springs for the USAT Coaching Level 1 Clinic.  Of course, with the blizzard on Thursday and Michael's flight home Thursday night canceled, I was a bit late to leave Denver and arrived an hour late.  No worries, the first course I missed was by my least favorite lecturer.  I was very fortunate in that my friend and fellow tri-chick Sydney was also going to the course so we decided to travel and room together and had a ball!!! 

The only unfortunate part?  I haven't sat my ass in a chair for 9 hours straight, well, since I was last gainfully employed.  That was difficult!!  And, of course, not working out for a couple of hours a day left me feeling BLAHHHHH.  The good part?  I was able to listen to all sorts of great people talk about what I love to do and talk about:  nutrition, running, biking, swimming, mental training.  It was incredibly educational and highly motivating.  Oh, and the really cool part?  The clinic was held at the OTC.  Yep, the Olympic Training Center (insert oooohhhhhs and ahhhhhs here), that's right hallowed grounds.  

Anyway, here are some cool pics from the weekend:

Sydney and I arriving at the OTC, we were clearly in a hurry to get to class (can you tell she just got back from Cancun?)

The walk of something or another.....I found the cool sport

If only I knew how to rotate an image in blogger.

We had lunch in the OTC dining hall.  Not only did they serve up the BEST food (awesome salad bar, salmon, couscous, fruit, noodles, soup, etc.), but it was served up on these plates!

These block had names of all the past Olympic champions

Love this quote

On Saturday night, some folks from the clinic went to Manitou Springs for dinner on a recommendation that The Loop was the place to go for good margaritas.  Really, who cares about food if the drinks are good!  As we were driving into Manitou Springs, I remembered the last time I was there and all I can say is Pikes Peak.....I'll be back (in my best Ah-nold voice-over)

No really, it's just Gatorade

Kristi, me, Sydney, Ryan...really cool people and conversation

I am back on the Starbucks bandwagon

OTC cool pics

And the best part of the weekend?  Finally breaking out of class on a beautiful afternoon and going for a run in the Garden of the Gods.  Wow.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Me, Ryan & Syd


Me and Pikes Peak

March 23 - March 30 Update

Weekly Update
Swims
Monday:  3000 meters at DU, comfortable pace
Wednesday:  4000y Masters
Saturday:  30 minutes EZ

Bikes
Thursday:  2.5 hours trainer

This is what happens when there is a blizzard - trainer time!

Runs
Tuesday:  8 miles EZ in am; PM track (hill repeats) total for day: 17 miles
Friday: 6 miles tready, comfortable pace 
Sunday: 10 miles hills, comfortable pace 

Other:
Weights/abs x 2

I kinda like this saying...

Sleep
Much better this week, slept around 8 - 9 hours a night

Recovery
Body is still pretty tired but I don't expect that to change any time in the near future.  Massage on Thursday didn't happen due to blizzard, will reschedule for next week.  

Mood
Good.  

Health
Felt like may have a cold coming on or possibly allergy season has started for me.  Will start taking Claritin and keep my fingers crossed.

Comments
Good week although I felt like I was "tapering" on Friday and Saturday with lighter workouts due to class in Colorado Springs. When Sunday came around I still felt tired so knew that the "easy" days weren't that easy.