Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ZIPP-e-tee-do-dahhhhhhh



Chisago is in the books. It was a very good race for me. I PRed by 55 minutes over my 2009 time (when I walked pretty much the whole 1/2 marathon) and PRed by 37 minutes over Liberty 1/2 iron tri earlier this summer.

Yippee, yippee, yippee!

Two things worked well for me:
1) I have been working hard. Still not sure if it has been "finish Ironman WI before midnight" hard enough, but I have been working hard.
2) Zipp wheels.

Yes, that's right: awesome, rocking Zipp wheels.

I rented a pair for IM WI but got a chance to "preview" them last weekend. I had a bike fit tweak scheduled for last Wednesday with Kevin at Gear West. Unfortunately, Kevin had to switch my appointment at the last minute. When making the new appointment, Kevin asked me what my concerns were. I talked about the bike fit but also asked about the race wheels.

Having never used them before, I didn't know if they'd really make a difference, or if they would ride differently than regular wheels, or if it would make a difference if I was on a flat course (which IM WI is NOT) versus a hilly course (which IM WI IS).

He answered each of my questions (Yes; not really; no) and then said that I could preview a pair for Chisago... and so I did.

WOW!

What a difference! I was much faster on the bike; the little hills didn't feel like much work at all and made it through those 56 miles in 3 hours and 10 minutes. That was a HUGE improvement for me!

The swim was pretty uneventful -- felt good in the water and came out in 45 minutes. The "official" time was 47 minutes because the timing mat was at the top of a hill (where transition was set up). I decided to take a potty-break in the bath house, which was on my way up the hill.

My run was okay -- not stellar. I actually RAN this year -- but did end up taking lots of walk breaks. The temps were up and there was not a cloud in the sky, so I got very hot, very fast.

All in all, I discovered that getting off the bike earlier means you see more of your friends out on the run course. (Who knew?)

Nat, Patrick, Gary, Rich, CY, Derek, Joe, Pam and Brett all just rocked the course. Marcia did the sprint distance and was out on the run course with her wonderful supplies of ice, water and other "aid". (I think it will be very hard for her to not be able to provide any support other than cheers at IM WI....If she hands us any thing on the course, we risk disqualification).

Another really nice plus was that my coach decided to race the event too. I saw him right before the swim, where he wished me well and gave me a nice little pep talk. He caught up to me at about mile 35 on the bike and gave me another "Atta Girl" along with a high-five as we passed each other on the run. That kind of encouragement means a lot to me.

After the race, I was supposed to ride the 56-mile course again. I ended up only looping the 22-mile sprint course. (I know. I am a bad person.)

I was way over heated; the sun was relentless and, foolish me, packed a cooler with water and extra nutrition for the second loop, but forgot ice.

So.... I had HOT Infinit and Nunn. Blech.

I had also developed a bit of a blood blister:




which bugged me a bit.

Still and all, 78 miles, plus 1.2 for the swim; plus 13.1 for the run? All in all a good day.

Only one more tri left before IM WI: Waseca 1/3 iron.

I can't believe how fast time is flying and how fast the summer is passing.

I'll run a 1/2 marathon with Hubby on August 7th -- it will be his first...And I'll got back to Madison for one last ride on that bike course... plus, I'm sure my coach has lot of other fun stuff in store for me over the next 7 weeks....

Finally, I thought the photo below was very telling about life at our house. Notice what fills the dishwasher:



Seven water bottles and three cat food dishes.....

What more can I say?



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shhhhh

I am whispering, just in-case the Tri Gods hear me and decide to throw a little "fun" my way....

Chisago 1/2 iron tri is coming up on Sunday.

I

feel

ready.

I sort of hate writing that sentence down, lest it be construed as overconfidence. Or just plain confidence. But....

I
feel
ready.

Ready for Chisago, mind you, NOT READY (yet) for Ironman Wisconsin....

I've been training since January. I've been putting in the time and the effort putting miles in on the bike, and the trainer; in the pool or lake and on treadmills and running paths.

I've covered the distance for the 1/2 a few times already -- I've even completed one 1/2 already this year, so the distance doesn't scare me.

I can even overcome those crazy-making voices in my head:

"Ready, huh? Don't you remember last year, when you did Chisago and the bike sucked so bad that you were ready to quit, but put your running shoes on anyway and then WALKED the ENTIRE 1/2 marathon????

Oh AND, this year, the bike course is hillier! What do you say about that???"

I say: I feel ready.

What I'm NOT saying is that I'll definitely PR or have an easy race. But I am going in to this race better prepared mentally and physically than I was last year, which is really great.

It should be a very fun day -- lots of my friends will be racing too: Nat, Marcia, Gary, Amy S, Brent C, Patrick, Derek and loads of others. The weather is supposed to cooperate too.

What I'm not so ready for is the additional 56 miles I'll put on the bike AFTER the race.

Yes, my coach thinks it would be a "good idea" for me to do 112 miles on the bike, so.... pedal I will.

Ultimately doing the extra distance will help for Ironman, so

I
may
be
ready.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Right where I'm suppposed to be.... I think.

Greetings from Tempe, where it is 115 degrees. But, you know, "it's a dry heat".

Yeah, like an oven. Yikes!

I'm leaving to go back to the "cool" (humid) Minnesota in just a few minutes, so only have a bit of time to catch up on what's been going on.

The WIBA weekend was wonderful and eye-opening.

I went with Nat and Amy S. The Stenzel's were there too and I had a chance to meet Mike and Jenny Wimmer. I met some other new friends, includig "famous" people like RobbyB and Simply Stu.

Friday night, we all had dinner together and there was a Course Prep talk. I got a lot of great tips, including

  • "put your name on every thing" and
  • "put a pair of extra running shoes in your Running Special Needs bag in case it is raining and the pair you started out with is soaked by mile 13.5...."

    Brilliant.

I had already thought about extra socks but did not think about the shoes....makes total sense.

Saturday, we swam in Mendota. The lake felt wonderful and the swim went well.

The only concerns I have for September are that the lake will be too warm to be wetsuit legal and, of course, the chaos of the start. Fortunately, I did that 1-mile open water swim (sans wet suit) and did just fine. I do like the wetsuit for the buoyancy, though and with a big event like Ironman, would like to know that if I get kicked in the head, I won't sink like a stone.

We ran pretty much the first loop of the marathon course on Sunday. The run is great. It winds mostly through the University of Wisconsin campus, which is beautiful. The route took us past my first ever apartment, by my dorm, then out to the Lakeshore path, back in near the Union, down and back State Street, then up Observatory hill and eventually winds back to the Capital.

My run went really well and I felt great. I ran part of the course with Amy S and then finished up with Nat, Rich and a guy who just did Kansas 70.3. I called him "Kansas".

So, so far, so good, right?

Well, notice that I've said nothing about the bike course..... until now.

I had read and heard a lot of things about the IM WI bike course -- and all the stories about the hills are true.

Hills, hills, hills and then more hills. Not Minnesota hills. Wisconsin "hey, a GLACIER carved through here centuries ago and created these hills" hills.

OMG.

Let me say that again:

OMG.

I had read some one's blog about the hills at Wisconsin and he wrote: "Learn to love your small chain ring. Buy it presents".

I, of course, pooh-poohed his advice after reading it. After all, I'm a big girl, I like to mash those gears.

Oh no. Not only was he right, he was dead-on right. I'm looking for presents for my small chain ring every day now.

So the good news : I got through the loop (only once and the course will have us do the loop twice). I stayed seated during all the climbs but one. I got to see what I'm up against.

The not-so-good news: I'm very, very worried about my ability to get through the bike course within the cut off limits.

I'm not the strongest biker in the pack -- this, despite the fact that I've been training since December. I am not the best rider up the hills and I get a bit frightened on the down hills, so I tend to brake a bit, reducing the down-hill advantages.

So, the bike ride sobered my IM WI dreams up a bit.

I'm worried that I haven't done enough training or the right training or the "something" training.

My coach says we still have time to get it together (meaning I'll be doing lots and lots and lots more biking on hilly courses).

I'm going back to ride the whole course one more time before taper time... which should help.

But that little seed of doubt and fear has been planted: what happens, if after all this training and all this preparation, I don't finish?

I'm trying hard not to let this seed germinate and grow.

I know that, about this time in a training cycle, we all tend to doubt our training, our bodies, our mental prep. So, these thoughts are probably "normal" and I'm right where I am supposed to be...

I'm just going to have to keep plugging along. I'll have to trust the training, my coach and the work.

Most of all, I'm going to just have to trust my self...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Travelin' to WIBA

Hubby and I have probably logged about 100,000 or more miles this year traveling for work and other (more fun) stuff.

Unfortunately, we usually don't travel together for the work stuff and, lately, even the fun stuff has been without each other.

We knew this would be the case this year, with an integration (at work), my Ironman training and his playing in the Golf Channel Amateur Tour...We figure we'll see each other this fall (ha ha).

That being said, the long anticipate WIBA weekend has arrived and I'll be leaving shortly for Madison to spend the weekend previewing the IM WI course.

There are about 56 people attending this event, including Nat, Amy S, Patrick, Tim, the Wimmers and the world-famous Stenzels.

I'm so excited I can't stand it.

My coach wants me to ride the full 112 bike course tomorrow and run one loop of the marathon course on Sunday. I'll throw a little swim in just to see what the lake feels like.

I have a feeling this will be a challenge -- but in a good way.

I'm feeling pretty strong and I am looking forward to meeting the course so I can make it my bitch*.

(* keeping those fingers crossed, anyway)