IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Perfect day for a run!

Well, for the first time since last July, I met up with some friends this morning to run a few miles at Waterfall Glen. The weather was absolutely perfect for a morning run, though I did have to be talked into leaving my gloves behind! I really have missed running out here.

Though the group was going the full loop (9.5 miles), I'm not quite ready for that and just ran out to the 2 mile marker and back. Surprisingly, my splits weren't too bad. And though the company, weather and scenery were just perfect, the hamstring did not feel good at all today. On Monday, it felt bad just for the first mile, but today, I felt a pulling with every step of my left leg. I don't think this problem is going to go away this year. Maybe it's time to see yet a 4th doctor....?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ridge Run

Well, yesterday I did the Ridge Run 5K. The plan was to just take it nice and easy to see how my hamstring would respond to the running. It really felt bad in the first mile, but the pain seemed to lessen when I adjusted my stride...smaller steps. My heart rate was a bit higher than I hoped, but it was a good run that I was able to share with MN and KK. We just chatted the entire time and were even able to negative split. Unfortunately, I had put the camera away before we hooked up with KK, but here's a picture from before the race.
It was pretty great to run in the Luna Chix shirt...lots of spectators cheering for us and rooting us on. I didn't feel fast by any means, but it was nice to hear such great support on the course. Doing the run with no pressure on a time result brings on a whole different feeling. Thankfully enough, the hamstring really doesn't feel so bad after the run yesterday. So maybe it's time to start kicking it up a notch!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Baraboo Training

Each year, the Salt Creek Triathlon Club has an annual training weekend in Baraboo, WI. For the past several years, this training weekend has been on Memorial Day weekend. I went a couple years ago and it was one of the toughest training rides I'd ever done. Last year, I couldn't go because I had some medical issues, but I was able to squeeze the trip in this year.

I headed up late on Friday night. It wasn't ideal, but as long as I was there and rested for the ride in the morning, things would be OK. Unfortunately, I got a little lost on the way up there. The roads are very dark and desolate...didn't help that I had to go to the bathroom! I kept calling the main office of the place where we were staying, but I kept getting a busy signal!

However, this was about the only thing that went wrong the entire time!

The first day - great group, great weather and the notorious hill (that I nearly cried about 2 years ago) wasn't as bad as I remember. Though I do have a better bike now, I like to think I have become a little better of a rider since I was up there 2 years ago. We did several repeats on this hill that takes...gee, I don't really know, but maybe 15 minutes to climb up?!? Trust me, it feels longer than it really is. The route we took is very hilly...I'd say tougher than the IMWI course but not as tough as Horribly Hilly. But it does seem like you're either grinding it out uphill or flying on a downhill about 90% of the time. There really aren't many flat sections.

It was a perfect weather day...sunny, warm, little wind. There were these cotton pieces from the trees flying around and they kept sticking to my sweaty face or landing in my mouth which was pretty gross. I think I ate my fair share of bugs during the day's ride also. The group came back, I went into our cottage and grabbed a water bottle and started to wind down. Unfortunately, I was coerced into going out again for another hour and a half which may not have been the smartest thing I've ever done. But...I drove all the way to Baraboo...besides, it was a beautiful day! The second stint of the ride was brutal. The wind had picked up and no matter which way we turned, it felt like we were riding straight into it. I was very happy when we were done.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent just hanging out and laughing with the group. It was a good opportunity for me to get to know everyone a bit more or catch up with a few people I haven't seen in a while. Many people had spouses and family (and dogs) with them, so all in all, we had a pretty large group! I slept like a rock that night.

The forecast for the following day was 30-40% chance of rain. When we woke up, though, it was cooler than the day before, it was dry. Our group was a bit smaller than it was the day person leaving, another spending time with family and a couple others had started earlier in the day. This route started off with a scenic ride right past to Devil's Lake and it was awesome. While today was supposed to be the "flat" day, I've decided there are no flat streets near Baraboo. We even had to go up the hill we did repeats on the day before! Ugh! My legs didn't quite have the fire in them than the day before, but I was still able to hold my own. I started feeling the burn much earlier in the ride on the second day.

We got a little lost toward the end of the ride, making it a bit longer than planned. This was a tough mental blow - think about doing a marathon and when you think you're at mile 26 you find out you're at mile 22.... But everyone pushed through and we were fortunate that the rain never made it out our way. No flats, no crashes, NO DRAMA!! A very fun, successful training weekend in Baraboo!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Women's Cycling Clinic

For the past 3 weeks, I've been attending a Women's Cycling Clinic (sorry, guys!). They had different categories: Recreational, Advanced Recreational and Racing. So, I signed up for the racing group in hopes of learning a bit more about the world of cycling.

I was impressed by the number of women that showed up. From what I heard, though, this is a program that has been growing year to year. It didn't just start up with the 40 or so women that attended. In the first week, our group practiced a lot of pacelining. Single, double, clockwise and counterclockwise rotations. Nothing special, but I did learn that I typically ride with some really good, smooth cyclists. Most of these women were relatively new on the bike and I found that following their wheels was challenging and very unpredictable. They would break erratically and couldn't really hold their lines well. Just makes me appreciate the people I regularly ride with more. The most beneficial thing I learned in the first week was how to turn around a cone. You know, when you have an out and back on a course and they just put a cone in the middle of the road? Yeah, I'm one of those people that always slowed down too much and even unclipped thinking I was going to fall over. Well - that won't be happening to me anymore! Very valuable information!

In the second week, we did more pacelining. This group really needed it. There was a tendency for the woman in front to surge ahead causing all kinds of breaks in the line. Then, on the return line, the braking and surging was crazy and the line rarely stayed at a nice steady pace. While I didn't think I really needed work on this, of course, I overlapped wheels with a girl in front of me when I was just coasting, she somehow slowed down...A LOT, and I found myself trapped from the other side with the second line of the pace group. I bit the dust, but the damage was minimal. I think the thing that was bruised most was my ego. We did a bid of bridging in this class, too, but it didn't work as planned due to some traffic getting in the way (damn cars).

For our last week, we learned a bit about shifting and cornering. This was good...I'm not very confident in my cornering. Most roadies (cyclists) can dust triathletes on the corners. It is definitely easier to take a corner on a road bike than a tri bike, but there are still some things that are good to know regardless of what bike you're riding. We all rode around this parking lot with 4 corners, just practicing taking the turns quickly. Unfortunately, with such a large group, I couldn't really get into the turns as quickly as I wanted because I was always getting to close to the girl in front of me....and since I screwed up last week, I think I was a bit overly conscious in trying to keep away from the "squirrley" women in the group.

This was a great clinic for women to learn and get more comfortable on their bikes. While I can't say I didn't learn anything, most of the information I did gain was more of a refresher than new. It makes me realize I know more than I thought I did. Now I hope to be able to take some of the information I've learned and pass that along to some less experienced riders, particularly in the Luna Chix weekly rides.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Running and the Hamstring

Went for a nice, short run this morning. Well, I got lost on the trails, so it was a little longer than I had planned, but the conditions were just perfect for a run. The hamstring, however, is not doing so good. I can block out the pain, but I'm trying REALLY hard to NOT block it out. See, that's what got me here in the first place! I've always said, the pain was never really strong enough to get me to quit, but it shouldn't be there in the first place. The hills really don't feel good. (not that they ever felt good, even without the hamstring issue) I am starting to wonder if I will ever be able to recover from this.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

USAT Coaching

So, instead of spending tons of hours on my bike, like my training plan called for, I spent the weekend in West Burlington, Iowa where I attended the USAT Coaching Clinic. Upon successful completion of several factors, I will become a USAT Certified Coach. I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up for the class, but I do know I have an interest in coaching other athletes. My experience with the Luna Chix in encouraging women to get out and get into the sport of triathlon has been hard work, but it has also been rewarding. Even more fun has been coaching the Multisport Madness swim workouts.

The Coaching Clinic was educational and I think I surprised myself with how much of the material I already knew. It was cool to meet other future coaches from across the country and it made me wonder what motivates people to get into coaching. Most importantly, attending this clinic sort of lit a fire under my a$$. For the past few weeks, maybe even months, I've been sulking because of the hamstring injury and have been extremely unmotivated to train. I always told myself I'd quit when it stopped being fun...and I was getting pretty close to that point. But somehow, being with all these triathletes, locked up in a room for 3 days together, talking about the sport, pumped a bit of motivation back into me. I'm nowhere near ready to race, but at least now I'm wanting to. I've got a lot of work to do!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Updating the blog

OK, sorry for "putting the blog on lockdown". I just haven't had much time in the last, what has it been 6 weeks, to post. That, and the fact that I'm really not racing leaves me less to write about! However, since I've been getting lots of emails asking what's going on, I just decided to put the blog back up...and I'll try to get to posting more.

Thanks for your patience.