Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Annoying injury

My training is at a bit of a halt, thanks to an injury.   Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!  I hate begin injured!  I put the blame on Pedalfest a few weeks ago.  When I first got my bike, I would get pain in my shoulders or neck.  The more time I spent in the saddle, the better it got, and I was told this was normal in getting used to my bike.  It is supposedly "normal" until you build up those muscles in your shoulders.  I would say that next to getting my  butt comfortable in the saddle, it has been a major issue with not completely LOVING my bike.  Don't get me wrong, I do love my chariot, but it is a love/hate relationship because of this discomfort.

Anyhow, I was starting to live with minor discomfort when I got off the bike, or stayed on it for more than 2 hours or so.  Anything under that was pretty much fine.  Then I did Pedalfest where I was on my bike for 6 hours.  My longest previous ride had been 3 hours or so.  Big mistake.  I knew about 4-5 hours in that my shoulders weren't happy, and mainly my right side.  I finished the race, took some ibuprofen, and have been applying Bengay.  I stayed off my bike completely because of this pain all of last week and it started to feel better.  I did some swimming and was fine, and it was just a little sore, so I didn't think anything of it.

Then I had my Oly distance tri Saturday.  That hour and half on the saddle for the bike portion did me in.  I finished fine, but my shoulder really hurt on the bike, and I was so glad to get off because of it.  It bothered me some during the run with the motion of swinging my arms back and forth the way you do when you run.  After the race and since then, it has felt like a pinching feeling at times, a burning feeling at other times, or just a dull throbbing pain at others.  All in the same spot on my right shoulder.  After looking at a diagram of the muscles in that part of the body, I am pretty sure you could say it is my rhomboid muscle there that is completely ticked at me, and it sucks!

At this point it hurts to carry my purse, lift things, or really do much at all with that arm.  I am unsure what to do about it.  Most of the time when you are injured, the doctor simply tells you the typical rest, ice, compression, elevation stuff.  But I have been doing that for a week and no improvement!  Luckily, I don't have anything for a few weeks, other than a mud run, so I am going to focus on running at this point.  Well, considering my splits from all of my races, this could be a blessing in disguise!

In the meantime...

Happy Training all!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bear Lake Brawl 2012

This was a great day any way you look at it. It was my first Olympic distance triathlon, it was in a gorgeous location, I was with my friends from TriBuddies, and HELLO!  It was a race day!  Doesn't really get any better in my book!

Beautiful day for a tri!
Ken and I had planned on camping at the state park that this took place at, but then had the invitation to stay in the cabin with some of the Buddies.  I was so glad we did that!  The cabin was amazing, Ken and I had the guest house (yeah, that kind of place!) to ourselves, and I actually slept really well!  I NEVER sleep the night before a big race, so that was a nice surprise!  We got up at 4:45 to make sure we were there in plenty of time to set up our transition areas, here the briefing, and not have that rushed feeling on an already crazy morning.  We ended up setting up transition in the dark, but it was all good.  Great to have a good racking spot though!  This was on of the first tris I have done where they didn't limit who was in the transition area, so Ken was able to help me set up and he proved to be a great race assistant!  After I had everything set up, we waited on the beach for my wave to start (wave #9).  The sprint distance athletes went first, then the Oly distance folks.  The waiting went by fast, and it was fun to watch people, mingle on the beach and think more about my race.  I had a few goals for myself pre-race:
1)Race comfortably hard in all three sports, but save enough for the run.
2)   Hydrate well on the bike.  I didn't do this at Daybreak back in June and paid dearly on the run
3) Average 16-18 mph on the bike at all times
4) Give my run my all, even though it might hurt ;)

Waiting for my wave to start
The sprinters are off!
Brandy and I at the start
Tracey, Kathy, and Kirsten
The Olympic virgins!  This was all of our first Oly distance
Finally, they called our wave at about 8:45.  The water was much warmer than I thought (it was only 45 degrees outside, so we thought we would freeze in the water) but it turned out to be perfect.  I had brand new goggles (I know, I know, nothing new on race day...I wanted to make sure they wouldn't fog up!) and when I was warming up for my swim I noticed how clear this water was!  Bear Lake is a favorite spot for many because of the gorgeous water, but this was unbelievably clear!  Loved it!

I wasn't sure where to seed myself for the swim.  This was the first OWS race I had done where there was a mass start, whereas Daybreak had been a time trial start.  After talking with Brandy and James from my tri group, they said that knowing my swim ability, they would be right out front if they were me, as swim is my strongest.  I was intimidated by this, but decided to take their advice.  I went right out front and it proved to be good advice!  I never got passed and had clear water the whole time.  It was a great swim.  No, it was an AMAZING swim.  The Oly distance people had to do two laps around the buoys for a distance of 1500 m. I did well at sighting and staying straight.  I LOVED how even at the buoys far off shore you could see all the way to the bottom.  The water was gorgeous, a perfect temperature, and I loved every second of it.

SWIM TIME:  32:38  This includes the T1 time as well since their timing mat broke, but I know when I came out of the water my watch said 31 something...only one minute past my 30 minute goal!
Our wave starting

Running to T1, one of the first in my age group out of the water :)
Not sure on my time here as the race result website admits that their transition area mats were not working properly and they can only report split times and total times, and the transition times were added to bike and run.  But, it seemed slow to me as I had a heck of a time getting off the dang wet suit as shown in the pics below.

I really wanted a strong bike.  I really wanted all three to be strong, but I knew I had a good swim, and now I wanted a good bike, because I know I struggle with the run.  I had talked with my Dad earlier in the week (my go to Cycling guru) and he said that it would be cool if I could average 16-18 mph on the bike.  I knew the bike course as it was the east side of the lake, and I had run that for my first half marathon just over two years ago.  I knew that it was relatively flat with a few rollers, and as long as the wind wasn't bad, I should be able to hit that goal.  I felt great heading out of the bike, here I am clipping in leaving T1.

I headed out on the bike, and immediately got up to my desired speed.  The roads were flat, and it was really nice, not too hot, not too cool, and I was ready for a great ride.  I tried to stay in my race "zone" but also took the time to enjoy the scenery around me.  It occurred to me at several time during the ride how lucky I am to be able to do this.  I am thankful for good health and a body that would allow me to race they way I love to do, and to do so in such amazing places with amazing people.  I was having one of those "all is right with the world" moments.  I made sure to be hydrating well and watch my bike computer to make sure it didn't get below 17 mph.  It only did one of two times on some of the climbs on the hills, but the lowest I saw it get was 13! 

I hit my goal of hydrating well, finishing off my bottle of Ironman Perform.  I thought it was more efficient way of taking in calories and hydration than using water and Gu.  I'm still not graceful enough to do a Gu on the bike without almost crashing!  Though I did also take a Honeystinger Waffle.

Coming around the final turn of the bike portion, and feeling good!
 TOTAL BIKE TIME:  1:32: 40 for 25 miles, but this also includes the T2 transition time :(

T2:  I felt T2 went well, though I was confused for a few minutes about where my rack was.  Once there, I was pretty fast in switching to my running gear and heading out.  Wish I knew the exact time!

Heading out of T2 on the run
I started this run thinking, "Oh boy, here you go, you suck at this, so try to suck less than last time."  I then realized those were the self defeating thoughts that would do me no good.  I made a point to think about how far I have come in that just over two years ago, this was the location of my first event EVER, the Bear Lake Half marathon.  I reflected on how I was now doing tris, had done a few marathons, and have had an amazing journey the past two years since then.  It immediately lifted my mood and I knew that I was going to give this my all.  The Oly folks had to do two loops on the 5k course.  The first mile was rough, but not as hard as I would have thought as I was anticipating the lead leg feeling from just getting off the bike.  I quickly found my pace and made sure that it was do-able, but hard as well.  I wanted to push myself.  I really felt good.  I thought about how I was not dehydrated as I had been at Daybreak and was glad I had taken in the fluids I needed on the bike, and it was paying off for me now.

The run course was good, it was mainly through out the state park and only about a half mile of this 5k loop was on the high way outside the park.  I made a point to call out to other runners and yell, "Good job" or "Almost there" and was in a great mood.  Even though it was a hard 10k run, I felt good and enjoyed it. Though I didn't know my pace, I did sense it was better than Daybreak, and I was happy with that.

TOTAL RUN TIME: 1:06:58, though again, this may or may not include some of T2 time.  Wish I knew for certain.  Anyhow, that averages out to a 10:47m/m pace.  Not great, but not too bad either.  I have to remember that this is following a one mile swim and 25 mile bike!

Making the final turn into the finish, and feeling strong!

Yay!  Finish line sprint!
Post race was awesome.  This is really the first event that I have done that I have had friends along with me, racing for me and cheering for me.  It was great!  I can't say enough how much I love my tri group.  They were along side me on the course, and we supported each other and cheered on each other every step of the way.  They are great people and it adds so much to a race to have people a long with you!  Here are some pics from the finish where we are all comparing notes from the race, and cheering others on as they finished.  It was so much fun!

 Kirsten in our group took first in her age group, she was shocked by this, and it was her first Oly distance as well.  She was so cute up there!
All the Buddies at the finish, happy with how we did, and glad it was over.  Three people in our group had podium positions today!

I ended up having a total race time of 3:13:58.  This was within the margins I set for myself, even though I really wanted to do closer to three hours.  I knew that was a very ambitious goal, and since this was my first attempt at this distance, I knew I had to have realistic expectations of myself.  It was a guaranteed PR either way though!  I also hit everyone of the goals I set for myself!  It was a good day!

-Olympic distance is fun
-I still need to do more bricks
-I really need to work on bike and run.  Speed for both.  I think this means just more time in the saddle, but for the run, I am going to work on speed instead of volume for next season.  I have always focused on distance and not speed, and that is what plagues me in these tris!

This was a great event.  I loved the location.  The organization wasn't amazing, but it wasn't as bad as I had heard either.  I was peeved at no race medal, as I am all about the race bling.  I have now done three triathlons with no finishers medals for any of them!  The shirts were cute, but too big.  Overall, I would totally do this event again, and will probably come back next year.

Man vs Mud is next Saturday, then the Ogden Valley Sprint Tri on September 15.   Still training for the St. George 26.2 as well.

Happy training all!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wildflower Pedalfest - Ride Report

This ride was so much fun, so brutal, and not what I was expecting (though I didn't really know what to expect) so, I will start at the beginning.

Wildflower Pedalfest is a first year ride for all women that includes several different distances, from 18, 35, 50 or 75 miles.  Leanne and I were signed up for the 75 mile ride (78 really) that included a climb to the top of Big Mountain, that is a 3500 ft elevation gain from where the ride starts. I think that we both knew that this ride would be a challenge, but I don't think that either of us knew HOW MUCH of a challenge it really was.  Anyhow, over left is us at the start, totally refreshed, happy, and clueless as to what was ahead :)

Our ride started at 7:00 am and it was only 50 degrees at the start.  I hadn't really planned on that (really Katie?!?) and was glad that I had those arm warmers in the bottom of my bag since it was so chilly.  We headed out and it was 14 miles to the first feed station, and it was a nice ride to that point, nothing major, no major climbs, just some nice rolling hills.  Leanne and I were both thinking that we were the very last ones in the group, but as we left the first feed station, we noticed many more behind us.  Terrible, I know to not want to be last, after all this is NOT a race, just a nice, friendly, organized ride, but both of us agreed it would suck to be the last ones!

To the next feed station was another 15-16 miles, but this time it included a climb up to East Canyon Reservoir. This is the same route that I rode with my Dad this past May, so I knew what the climb was like, but after a summer of training, it was much easier than I remembered it.  Leanne is a beast on her bike, she just coasted up these climbs!  It was fun to make it to the next one, they had some sandwiches, candy, stations to refill our water bottles, etc.  Leanne had told me earlier in the week that she had planned on turning around here.  She didn't feel prepared for the full 75, and this feed station would be the turn around point for the 50 miler.  We got up there and I think we both knew she would be continuing on.  Good thing too!  She is so much fun to ride with!  Here she is looking all refreshed, happy, and ready for some more!

We then headed around the south end of East Canyon Reservoir and there was more climbing and also some fun downhills that we knew we would have to climb on the way back.  It was fun, beautiful, and not too hot at this point.  We noticed the pack of the 75 milers thinning and it often felt like Leanne and I had the road to ourselves.  This is a very popular riding route for many people, so we saw tons of groups riding that were not with the Pedalfest that day.  It amazed me to see these pelotons of people whizzing by like nothing, especially on the climbs!  There are some amazing athletes out there!

We got to the bottom of the Wildflower Hill Climb, the "official" climb to the top of Big Mountain.  It is 5.5 miles long, and a gradual, though brutal combination of winding roads to the top.  I had NO idea how hard it would be.  I have done climbs, but none as long as this one.  Others I have done may have been this steep, but not this LONG.  We really had no breaks or flat or anything in that five and half miles.  I got into the lowest gear my bike has, and just grinded it out.  We averaged 4-5 mph on this climb, and it took us just over an hour.  Leanne, heck, this was cake to her!  She even took a phone call during the climb!  She was awesome!  I, on the other hand, really struggled with this climb.  I have done three marathons now, several half marathons, and many hard training runs, and NEVER, EVER, have I reached a puke thresh hold on them.  Well, here was the first time in any work out that I thought I was going to puke.  I had to stop my bike 2 or 3 times, take some water and some deep breaths before starting up again as I literally thought I was going to puke.  It was just a very long, slow, steady sustained effort that was just plain HARD!

I never thought I would turn around, and I told Leanne I was determined to make it to the top, but I definitely wasn't going to break any records doing so.  She was very patient with me and we eventually made it, without having to push our bikes once!  We did see many women who got off their bikes and were walking them, but we didn't have too!  WOOHOOO!

At the top and feeling like a rock star!
 I thought it was funny that they had these lei's for us at the top, only for the purpose of the picture taking though, we had to give them back :)

We were feeling very proud of ourselves, and I was SOO glad to have Leanne along!
Leanne and I took a chance at the top to get some food, take some pictures, and visit with other women who had made it to the top.  We went to fill our water bottles and they had run out of water.  I was pretty irritated, I mean really?  The TOP of the mountain and you run out of water?!  Not the volunteers fault, so we couldn't let them have it, but wouldn't you think after climbing a hill like that you would want to have plenty of it on hand?  Notice when you were getting low and plan in advance?  I don't know, it just seemed odd to me, but within 20 minutes they showed up with more.  Enough of my whining...

The view from the top.  If it wasn't for all the dang wild fires, it would have been less hazy
As soon as we were able to refill our bottles, we headed back down. We still had 36 miles ahead of us, and they weren't just straight downhill, we would have some more climbs and rollers on the way back.  The initial downhill from the top of Big Mountain was SWEET!  My bike hit almost 40 mph, and it was just plain fun!  I love that sweet pay off of a hard climb!  We made it down and then were back to the route that circles the reservoir.  We stopped at the feed station again, after a decent climb to get back to it.  At this point my quads were SCREAMING at me.  They were shot.  I was so glad that my Dad had told me to pack ibuprofen and I took some of that, as well as used the Bengay they provided.  I swear those were life savers and probably the only reason I made it the remainder of the course.  We then went and finished the remaining 20 miles and those were HARD miles as well.  As the route wound around through Peterson and Stoddard, we caught a nasty head wind and at times it was just awful.  We were sore, tired, starving, and that wind and few last rollers were just cruel as we made our way to the finish.  We were SO ready to get off those bikes!

At the finish, we grabbed lunch stuck around for the raffle, and then left.  Our total ride time for those 78 miles was just over 6 hours.  With the climbing and the wind, I was pretty proud of that.  It is a VERY long time to be the in the saddle though!


- I really liked this ride in that it is very pretty (ok gorgeous) and it was fairly well organized, especially considering this was a first year event.  I had some quips with running out of water at the top, the fact there was no finisher's medal at the top (sorry, I am all about race bling) and when they told us there was a "special award" at the top, and it was a head band, well, not exactly the same

- I would have loved something more substantial at the feed stations.  I don't know what it is about biking, but it wears me out more than running, and I can't live on Gu and Gatorade alone.  They some bread at some stations, and peanut butter and honey sandwich squares, but at the top, they didn't have those things, and that's when I could have used it the most.  When we hit the aid stations on the way back down, all they had left was candy.

- I think that next time, I would just do the 50 mile route, unless I prepared more than I did.  That amount of climbing and that total distance together make for a brutal ride.

- I feel like a more credible cyclist now. I can now say that I have done a cycling specific event, and a difficult one at that. I'm not just a runner that rides on occasion :)

Leanne and I are now wanting to a century ride together, looking at Little Red next spring.  It is fairly flat, and if we can do 78 with those climbs, a flat century would be cake!

What's next:
 A few days of recovering from this ride, and then the Bear Lake Brawl Olympic Distance Tri next Saturday!

In the meantime....

Happy Training all!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Christmas in August! It's race time!

Well, after a too long break from racing, it is race week again!  And if that wasn't enough, I am racing the next THREE weekends!  I am so excited about this I could scream.  I made the crappy mistake of not planning this race season smart enough to space them a little better, but all my events this season were either front loaded or back loaded on the season with a 9 week break in the middle.  I will NOT be making the same mistake next year, but I am so excited about the next few weeks!  I have Wildflower Pedalfest this weekend, the Bear Lake Brawl Oly distance next week, and then Man vs. Mud the weekend after that.  They are all different types of races, but racing nonetheless.  I need to add to my race bling collection!

Happy training all!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympic irony

So I have been totally wrapped up in the Olympics this year. Ken and I have been watching them an insane amount, literally every minute that NBC broadcasts as we are DVRing it, and when we are both home in the evening we watch our way through it all.  I have been amazed at how I become an instant expert at every sport, like I have a flipping clue, and we give our "expert" observations on everything from swimming to the table tennis.  I have even been fascinated watching the rowing!  Ken on the other hand likens watching road cycling like "watching traffic" and wishes they would just get the coverage to the good parts, the crashes.  Yeah, I know, pathetic!  I have learned so much about swimming in particular and it has been my favorite to watch.  I am carefully watching everything the swimmers do from how many strokes they do per length, their amazing flip turns, how often they breath, on what side, you name it!  I love it!

Anyhow, the irony of all of this is that I have only worked out 4 times since the Games started.  Isn't this kinda opposite of what it is supposed to do?  You would think that watching these amazingly fit and talented athletes compete at what they do best at would inspire me to get my fat arse off the couch and go out there and get better at what I attempt to suck less at.  Nope, quite the opposite.  I am sucked in like a vacuum cleaner every night and we are loving every minute of it.  Forget the fact that I have several events coming up in the next month! I think the zipper on my pants will be thankful when the Games are over, if it can make it that long!

Happy Training all!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Heart's not in it

I will be the first to admit that I registered for the St. George Marathon only half way wanting to get in, I honestly didn't think that I would as competitive as the lotto has become.  I have done three marathons, and they haven't all been great experiences.  I love the finish line feeling,  and racing, just don't always love the volume you take on in training for 26.2.  I have gotten through it and have done three marathons in the past 2.5 years, and am training for what will be my fourth.

Lately though, I am just not feeling it.  I have had a terrible time staying motivated to do the long runs.  Part of me still likes the challenge, but when it comes to getting my butt out of bed to actually do them, it is a totally different story.  I am still enjoying the swimming and the biking and even the running if it is shorter distances, but the thought of getting up and running for three hours lately, just doesn't sound like fun, on any level!  I keep thinking, "Who the heck does this?!?"  I muddled my way through a twelve mile run, and it wasn't terrible, but the thought of the runs just getting longer each week til I peak at 18-20, sounds awful!

So, I am left trying to decide what to do.  If I don't do it, my season ends in three weeks with a mud run Labor Day Weekend.  I also have Pedalfest, and the Bear Lake Brawl Oly distance tri between now and then.  I will be done with my season before school starts or I go back to class.  It works out quite lovely that way, IF I were to quit.

But then again, DID I JUST SAY QUIT?!?  I am not a quitter!  Or am I being realistic about what I do and don't want to do?  I am so torn on this! I know that I will beat myself up if I don't do it.  I also know I will be extremely relieved if I don't.  I also know if I do it, I won't regret it, once it is finished.  But then again, this is a recreational hobby right?  If I am not enjoying it, why do it?  UUUUGGGGGHHHH!  What to do?

I have already tentatively planned next racing season.  It includes potentially two HALF marathons, and the rest are all sprint and olympic distance tri's.  The half marathons would be in April/May, then the rest of the season my "long" runs would only have to be 6-7 miles.  Are you freaking kidding me?  That sounds like absolute heaven right now!  My "long" rides would only be 20-25!  GLORIOUS!

So, I am left with the decision of what to do with the rest of this season.  I honestly don't know what I will do.  I am supposed to do 14 miles this week, if I am sticking to the plan.  Thoughts?  I am taking any ones perspective on this!

In the meantime...Happy Training all!