Monday, August 31, 2009

Holy Hell!

Just a quick note but...

I just signed up for IRONMAN KENTUCKY for August 29, 2010.

Commence training... now.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Work, Work, Work!

I've been painting, organizing, cleaning, sorting out cable and setting up wireless Internet, dusting everything, taking up the rug in our room, and finally lazing around with Robbie and Adam. Those two are going to make me so damn lazy!

Robbie got home from job orientation to me singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" painting our wall in a wife beater and underwear, sweaty from a weight set and completely covered in paint. I looked like a Jackson Pollock!

We made Vegetable Korma with tofu and watched Birds of Prey, this awful old WB special about when Batman leaves Gotham and Oracle, Huntress, and a new girl take over crime-fighting. Very girl power, but very very bad. Still, without cable (until now!) we had to watch something... (I admit, I secretly enjoyed it a little bit.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vacation Pics and this week

I confess, I’ve been very remiss in blogging. So, I bring you my vacation in a few pictures:

Anyway, settling back into our normal life has been sort of hard, I have to admit. Instead of having a week to get back into the swing of things, this week I was suddenly working my fall schedule and we realized that while we needed cable and internet, we also needed to clean our entire apartment very well, grocery shop, organize our books and DVDs and clothing, and desperately get rid of the Wonder Woman theme we had accidentally created in our room. We had thought that the blue, yellow and red oriental rug looked great with the red wall, gold curtains, and gold eagle mirror… but it turns out we just had a superhero themed bedroom that was just too darn dark. So, we’re taking the rug up, changing curtains, and painting the wall white. Yeesh. In the midst of that, I started my normal babysitting schedule, which is exhausting, switched the day I work as a web designer, and now I’m an hour early to an interview to be a tutor for football players. I’m trying to sort out my job situation now- I have a computer lab incredibly low paying job that I sort of want to quit but it’s just hard to even consider giving up a job- but maybe if this tutoring thing works out I will. Robbie is on my back to do it, but his mom works at Rutgers- he has free tuition, unlike some of us. Anyway, it’s been busy, busy, busy! And naturally, I’m the one who deals with the cable company tomorrow morning while my boys are out at job orientation.

What about training? Well, I declared this week a rest and recovery week, since frankly, my schedule is hard to get into, there’s a million things to do, and once next week begins, I’ll rarely see Robbie except at night, so I’m getting in my fun time with him now. We are doing amazingly well- after a week on vacation pretty much together 24/7, we still talked for the entire 8 hour ride home- didn’t even have music on! Now that’s love…

Yesterday I went home planning to train, but my friend was in romantic crisis, so Robbie, Adam and I went to the rescue and ended up out until 10 comforting him. Men can be such babies!

I’ve been remiss in training, but starting Saturday, it’s business as usual. I’ve been doing some riding on the trainer, and I have a weight set planned for later, but I really needed this week- it’s making me itch to get back to a normal schedule, which is actually good- I was getting a little down on training, so it’s nice to be excited about it again.

More exciting because on Monday, IM KY 2010 opens up, and I’m signing up! I know it’s a year away, but I’m really excited. I’m even more psyched about Skylands, the sprint tri on my home turf coming up in a couple weeks, as well as the Belly of the Beast 70.3 in late September… I need to get my butt out and riding though! I still haven’t even previewed that course- yikes!

I’m just ready to have everything done in our apartment and get next week started. I know I’m only taking one class but I still feel like I’m going “back to school.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Beach, Part 2

Q: what does a triathlete do whilst on vacation?
A: find a bike club to ride with.

Yesterday, after an internet search came up with a ride with the Tidewater Bicycling Organization labeled "A+++ You Will Be Dropped," I decided that it was the ride for me. Not knowing any good bike routes here, I figured I had to try a group ride- my first since the Watermelon Crit in early June. I miss Rutgers Cycling!

So, sporting my Rutgers kit, I headed out for the 12 mile ride to the place where the group ride was slated to begin at 7:30 AM. Somehow I ended up running late thanks to my Dad... Not really his fault, he decided he wanted to come on the ride to the location, so he left 10 minutes before me on his mountain bike so I could catch him and we could ride together. He left 15 minutes after I had planned on leaving myself though, so I was running super super late. We didn't get to ride together, as I had to blow past him in a ditch attempt to meet the group on time. Knowing that the pace would be super hard, I wanted time to get there, eat a gu, collect myself, and meet the group. No such luck.

I got there as they were leaving, a few hundred yards in the distance, so I put the hammer down and went to catch them. And I never stopped dropping the hammer. They "warmed up" at 22 mph, then the fun started as they got into a pace line and started at a casual 24 mph and going up to 28. Having not ridden in a paceline in a while, it was tough. I was proud- I hung in for 25 min before getting dropped... I might have held out a while longer but was already beat from the fast ride to get there on time.

So I dropped back. It was a bummer watching them zoom off, but I just couldn't keep up. Problem!! What I didn't realize was that I was now totally lost in the middle of nowhere. I didn't know where in the hell I was!

I tried backtracking, and when I saw a couple riders, I was so freaking happy that I sprinted to catch up. My legs felt fine, which was a great feeling. I caught the guys, and it turns out they were some incredibly nice Colombian middle aged cyclists who were out doing intervals and heading back to the main road that I needed to get to to get home. Perfect. They kept it steady at 18 mph and then would hammer at up to 28 mph. I was so freaking excited- I was holding the 28 mph speeds without drafting! Awesome.

They were the nicest guys, totally making up for the entire group of riders who, while I was riding with them, never said a word to me.

In all, a good 2 hour ride, about 40 miles.

Anyway, there's another ride on Friday that I'm going to do, hopefully I'll keep up!

Then, today, I got up at 7 in order to go for a 14 mile run. Unfortunately, my Ipod was dead. I wasn't about to run that much without music in 90 degree heat. So I waited 20 minutes, charged it up, and dealt with some "restroom issues." Yuck.

Headed out, and felt good for a few miles, despite a couple of bathroom breaks. It was a nightmare from then on though. Ugh. My stomach went nuts, and then I was just trying to MOVE. My legs were getting sluggish, and I realized that with the heat and the sun, I needed to drink a lot more. Problem was, the Accelerade that I was carrying was making me nauseous, which was just another addition to my host of tummy troubles. So I had to resort to stopping at water fountains along the way. Yeesh. I was dying!! I've never had a worse long run.

I haven't had a run over 7 miles in about 4 months, so 14 was a pretty big leap, but since I'm heading for a half Ironman in a month and a marathon in November, it's time to start. In retrospect, it wasn't too bad, but clearly I NEED A FUEL BELT OR CAMELBAK. Dehydration sucks. I felt sick for a few hours afterwards, which was a huge bummer, since we went to breakfast and I really wanted to eat my pancakes with apple compote and scrambled egg, but I barely made it through one pancake. And since we biked down, I really was dying... I thought I was about to pass out and throw up if I didn't get a Coke STAT!

At any rate, tonight I went for a 2 mile beach run and felt ok, so all is fine with my legs. Just a matter of paying attention to nutrition and getting some more miles in.

So some good, some bad, all OK just because it's at the beach!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Let's Go On Vacation!

Hanging out on the beach!

Thus far, I have:
  1. Gone on 3 beach runs in a bikini (Yes!!!), 2 of them 5 milers, 1 was an 8 miler, and today I did a 2 mile warmup before my...
  2. Awesome open water mile long ocean swim, when my amazing dad paddled next to me on a surfboard (though he had to get out and walk because I went too fast!!)
  3. Went on a few casual bike rides with my lovely and wonderful boyfriend, who has been getting sand rash. My boyfriend is allergic to my favorite thing on earth! But luckily it's not too bad.
  4. Bought vegan chicken wings, vegetarian kielbasa, lots of ice cream, and just ate a loooot of pizza.
  5. Did some weight sets, went on walks, and generally am having a blast.
So yeah, it's been a great vacation. Case in point:

Regaining our punk rock cred on a bike ride to the boardwalk.

And now that I've finally uploaded old pictures:

My shoes after my run in the thunderstorm 2 weeks ago! (Yes, that's BLOOD!)

A dinner Robbie and I made a while ago: mine is always a sloppy mess but Robbie's is a work of art. Blue corn tortillas, refried beans, fresh salsa, slices of avocado, sour cream and cheddar cheese. Yummy!

And last but not least, my picture from Steelman at the awards ceremony- note the huge smile and my Dad's old Scott Tinley brand tri shirt he got when he got his USAT membership back in the eighties!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

T Minus 1 Day Until... BEACH!

(from Steelman)

If you all haven't guessed, I'm outrageously excited about my upcoming vacation. Thank god it's Friday, seriously! My excitement has been more pronounced since a recent spat of freaking awful weather hit Jersey this week and completely destroyed my training plans...

Monday was a sweet run, weight set and swim- a 60 minute swim made better by the fact that they divided the pool long-ways to the lanes took a good minute to traverse. Made it go faster. Then, since I ran to the gym with my suit under my weightlifting stuff carrying goggles, I ended up having a very soggy run home. But good for practice!

Then Tuesday I was planning on my super long bike ride, but that got screwed because of thunderstorms in the area. So instead, did some Iron Yoga (best thing ever) and warmed up 45 minutes on the trainer. Afterwards, headed out for a 7-8 mile run- normally it's a 6 mile course that I do, but I hit each of the 3 main hills a total of 4 times each, trying for sprints each time. Fun, fun, fun. I hit the house afterward gasping for air and feeling like all I wanted was gallon after gallon of water. A cold shower and a good 32 oz of water later, I was feeling ok. Also, for the first time EVER, I got home and actually drank Gu2O. I shoudl explain: I hate Gu2O, Gu, Powerbars, anything that isn't REAL food, unless I'm actually training. Before training or after training, no thanks. But I felt like I really really needed a glass of Raspberry Gu2O, and man, did it taste great after that!

I'm planning on bringing long sleeves to VA Beach so I can start training in super hot conditions- if I'm doing IM KY next summer, I'll have to get better with that.

As I said, I hit Chipotle on Tuesday with my friend AJ, and we ended up eating and walking around the parking lot for 3 hours. We always have soooo much to talk about!

Then, Wednesday I babysat again and was planning a 13 mile run afterwards. Enter thunderstorm again. I drove to Robbie's and the clouds still looked threatening but no rain. I ended up biking to the site of the TT I did in May, then trying to recreate the route. I only got lsot twice... So, instead of 13 mile run, I put in an hour and fifteen on the bike.

The highlight (or one of them) was seeing my old super punk friend Danny- he's a couple years younger than me and we used to date, but we reconnected recently as really good friends. He's going to be fencing for Vassar in the Fall, so like me, he's a punk turned jock. We got Rita's and showed off our muscles. Awesome.

On Thursday, I was planning on doing the long bike ride I had planned. But once again, pouring rain. So, 45 minutes of weights, then 1:30 on the trainer going steady but hard whilst watching Cinderella with my sister. Followed that with a wet but fun 35 minute run in the park wtih the huge hill near my house- I had the whole place to myself, barring the deer and 2 baby rabbits that I saw. I think I destroyed my best PR for my mini park run, so I was feeling psyched. My legs just felt good, like they wanted to sprint, so I just let them go nuts.

Yesterday I was also supposed to npick my mom up from Newark airport at night, but her flight got canceled and she and my aunt were stuck in Maine overnight waiting for a flight out. Bad luck!

I have a couple pictures I plan on posting ASAP- I'm hoping to catch up on them while we're at the beach, but my posting is going to depend on how easily I can get wireless while we're there. I used to be able to use the neighbor's wireless, but it varies from summer to summer. Fingers crossed I can keep you posted, but for now:

Probably the best race day photos ever taken of me. Man, the gym is finally starting to pay off, because for once, I don't look horrendously fat in these pictures! (Race day brings out the worst in my poor white Irish stomach, so seeing definition is a great feeling, especially if you compare these to the NJ State Tri from last year when I first started in the sport!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Steelman/Man of Steel

This was one crazy race...

For starters, since Dad was a volunteer, we were up and out by 3:30 on Sunday morning. That wouldn't normally bother me, and I had slept pretty well, but the bagel places were closed so I had to settle on a luna bar for breakfast. While I love Luna bars, they aren't my normal race food, so I was disconcerted. Then, when we got to the site, my worst fears were confirmed- it was raining hard. And it was cold out. So, I helped dad find the volunteer site, then stayed in the car and snoozed while poor Dad was out in the rain helping out. I was cold and wet and pretty uninterested in racing, but trying to psyche up.

An hour before the race, I ate a Gu, which didn't go down too smoothly. I was pretty nauseous, actually. Bummer. Then, hit the lines for the bathrooms, hoping my digestive tract would get moving. It didn't.

Finally, a few minutes before the water opened 15 minutes prior to start, I was shivering in the Port-a-potty line and finally my stomach started agreeing with me. To some extent. Hit it once, and would have again but the line was huge. Got in the water for a warmup swim and met some nice people, including a woman who "just raced Lake Placid two weeks ago" (as she pointed out about 15 times. I'd bring it up too though, I admit.) Then, a newbie, and a seventeen year old named Taylor who was into bike racing, which made us best buddies. Out of the water, then realized I needed a bathroom again: no time, my wave went off in 5 min, so I decided to suck it up and hope for the best. The potties were right by the run exit so I figured I could hit them if need be.

Taylor and I started near each other, and for the entire swim, we were literally neck and neck. We sighted off of each other, and whenever one would veer away, the other would recalculate. It was pretty funny, actually. This course was a lot longer than the NJ State Tri, so it took a few extra minutes. I still wasn't psyched about how the swim went but I figured between the rain, no warmup, and the extra distance, I did ok. I was about midpack of my wave when we exited and made our way to transition. Luckily Dad was working a station right there and could shout encouragement.

Onto the bike! God, I love that Profile aerodrink system, it is the greatest invention ever!! It was raining steadily as I chugged up the first hill, trying to keep my heart rate down and stay relaxed. I knew once I was out of the park and onto the road for 2 loops, it would get easier. It was a rolling course, some downhills I hit at 35 mph (scary as hell in the rain), other hills took me down to 17-18 mph. But it was fun!! Even when it started pouring, I just remembered the Yale race- a downpour, riding in a pack of 40 B women (scary in and of itself) and 35 degrees. Yeah, I can handle this.

I ended up with a 30 year old woman with a sweet Splish suit (I complimented her, since I was sporting my Killa Splish bikini) and a 21 year old dude. We sort of had this crazy I pass you, you pass me thing going on. In any other race, it wouldn't have worked, but since this race was on a wide closed road, it wasn't a problem. And in the wet weather, no one was getting blasted for riding side by side, so it was easier to pass people safely instead of trying to blow by them. But the RAIN!! I had to throw away my sunglasses in order to see, and I was pissed about that!

Anyway, then the run... I forgot how much I love to race until this part! First, an awful transition where I ran to the wrong rack, saw a towel my color but no shoes, and panicked, yelling "shit shit shit!" Finally spotted my stuff, got ready and hauled ass outta there! It felt lke forever, but was only 1:57. Then, my dad saw me and screamed "what the hell happened?"

I freaked out. I knew he was yelling it because a lot of women passed me, so when I passed him on the way back (weird course), I yelled, "how many women with O's on their calves are ahead?"

He suddenly smiled and yelled back that I was first or second in my age group. He had been counting sprinters and panicking because he thought they were all Olympic!

Anyway, first mile at 7:30, right on pace. Feeling great. The miles ticked off and for once, I felt good. I was passing people, staying steady. I wanted ot go faster, but I didn't want to blow up at the end, so I stuck to the plan. It went pretty well, and I sped up for the last .5 miles.

I ended up 17th female, 2nd in my age group, in a pretty legit group- a lot of the women were crazy strong swimmers, according to my dad, so I can understand that. I really need to work on my open water swimming, which I'll do at the beach next week!

More later about actual improvements I want to do and a recap of my crazy-ass training from the past two days. But for now, off to Chipotle for dinner with an old friend after a very long very hot brick workout!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lazy Blogger

I've been a very bad blogger lately **hangs head in shame.**

In my defense, summer has screwed with my schedule and left Robbie with more free time, which means when we are both free, I'm with him, not blogging. In addition, this week has been especially brutal because I started a new job... babysitting a 2 and 3 year old in Princeton. Not only is it a 45 min drive, let me reiterate: a 2 and 3 year old. I have never admired mothers more. Yeesh!

For the past three days, I've spet a few hours playing, running around, and being climbed on. It's exhausting, but the money is good and it'll fund my Ironman quest. But man, are those kids energetic! And while they aren't that heavy, when combined and climbing you, they are pretty weighty. They loved learning yoga poses but what they liked even more was climbing on my back while I did a plank pose. Good thing I'd practiced doing planks with 90 lbs weights on me before, otherwise, it woulda been ugly. The kids are great, but this is going to take some getting used to. And I have to agree with Missy's profile- people with kids are saints! I don't think that Robbie and I are ever going to have them. We want to be the cool aunt and uncle for our siblings' kids, but that's it!

Training-wise, it's been a relaxed week, since I have the TT and the Olympic this weekend. Yesterday was intervals on the bike and some ab workout, and the day before was a relatively intense 30 min swim and a 30 min bike right after. Just haven't had a lot of free time, which is fine since I'm tapering anyway. I'm amazingly not that worried about the weekend- tomorrow's race should be a fun one and a great warmup for Sunday, and Sunday hopefully will go well.

I'm more excited about having the next week to see some old friends and get ready for the beach! I'm like a little kid, honestly- I just love family vacations! And I'm very glad that now family includes Robbie- a week at the beach wouldn't be any fun without him there too- and he sleeps so late that it leaves plenty of time for loooong morning training sessions!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Vacation Musings... And Some Training

I was getting out of my truck to head over to tutoring, and for some reason I couldn't get the idea of vacation out of my mind. I just can't wait to be at the beach, swimming, running, surfing, boardwalk-ing, etc. I'm just a beach bum at heart, and knowing it's a week and a half away is driving me crazy!

Then, as I made my way to the building I tutor in, I saw a guy in a suit walking by. Carrying a surfboard and wetsuit.

What!?!? I know we have some beaches in NJ, and I've surfed them, but none are near New Brunswick. Curious and curiouser. It was very surreal, but now I want out of NJ even more!

I'm also on countdown until this weekend- 8 mile TT on Saturday, then the Steelman Olympic Tri on Sunday. Once again, trying to taper. This week it's easier though, since I'm babysitting the 2 and 3 year old again 3 days this week, so I'll have my hands full.

This weekend turned out sort of well, sort of disappointing. Saturday was perfect though. Got breakfast with mom, took it easy, then attached my sweet new Profile Design Aerodrink System to my bike and took off on a ride. First 10 miles were hills, the second 5 was relaxing, then a 8 mile TT on the course for the weekend, then another 15 or so back to a parking lot. The TT went really well, I think, I kept the pace around 22-23 for most of it. It's one of the flattest courses in NJ, so it should be fun. And it should warm me up for Sunday!

Then, at the parking lot, mom and dad were waiting with their mountain bikes. I stuck my bike into the van, thrw on my waiting sneakers, and we hit the canal path for a 6 mile run. I kept the pace at a comfortable 8 min/mile, but I was sort of hiccuping and having trouble taking deep breaths. It worked itself out and I was having a great time until an older man, who had been resting on the side of the trail, decided to jump back on the trail- with my about 5 feet away. I almost ran into him, he completely cut me off. Then he started moving at a ridiculously slow pace, so I sped up and coasted by him. His friends caught up with him and sped him up a bit, so the rest of the run was sort of sparring with this group for trail dominance. It sped me up at least!

Finished with a 7:30 and a 7:15. I'm hoping that I can hit that kind of pace on Sunday- I was comfortable doing it then, after a nearly 40 mile really intense bike ride, and in the middle of the hottest part of the day, so I have high hopes.

Yesterday, I had training at my computer lab job, doing phone tech support for students. Eep! But at least I got to ride to work... Then, after taking my little sister on a campus tour, I ran nice and slow to the gym, did 45 minutes of weights, then ran home. I was so comfortable running home that I ended up doing some serious fartlek training, sprinting on hills and some flats. It was a lot of fun, surprisingly.

I was amazed about being able to do sprints like that, and while I'm sure drivers thought I was nuts, I was having a FUN run. Something that very rarely happens...