Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Multi-Tasking Tuesday

Two crazy busy days of work crammed into Monday and Tuesday between 8:15 AM and 2:30 PM (the times I can work in my out of town office on days I have to pick up kids from school).  The mom that I share rides with is moving into their new house/unpacking and asked me to cover a bunch this week.  But I had a ton of work to get done so I worked through lunch both days (not good move as I was starving both afternoons at 3:30). 

And after wolfing down an early dinner/late lunch at 3:30, I put my bike rack on my car and got changed into bike clothes.  I loaded two bottles with Powerade and we headed out to my daughter's piano lesson which was at 4:30.  While she had her lesson, I ran an errand to the Post Office (about time I returned all those bid bonds on my street project).   After piano, we drove through a traffic jam across the bridge to the North JC practice fields. 

I dropped my girl off with her new softball coach and jumped on my bike.  I rode out to the WWTP, then by the airport, and onto Hwy 94 out past Wainwright to Feeler Road and then did the whole route backwards.  The wicked crosswind made it feel like a head wind both directions.  Not so much fun.  And being mostly flat, there was no coasting to give any kind of break.  It was also one of the warmest rides I've had this year (mid-80s) and I blew through my two bottles.  I'll have to pay attention to that on June 1 and make sure I refill when I can. 
The down side of the Capitol being so big/tall is that you can see it a long time before you are anywhere near it.
This was just after getting back off the highway and looking across the airport and WWTP.
Also probably not the smartest move to hit the highway during rush hour.  People are rushing home from work and buzzing me a little close for comfort.  If I multitask during next week's practice, I'll head into town - still traffic, but going 30-40 mph instead of 60-70.  I time it just right and pulled back up to the car right as the girls were finished with practice.  Go me!

Got home and fed my daughter dinner while I showered (thanks to daddy who'd cooked), had her shower while I mapped the ride to see how long it was and then checked Facebook and a couple blogs while she finished her homework under my supervision.  I've gotten comments sometimes about how crazy my schedule can be.  I just think of it as the life of a busy self-employed mom.  Sometimes I get more of a chance to catch my breath - other days (like today) I just squeeze it in however I can.

Swimming = 9600 yds = 5.5 mi
Biking = 558.0 miles
Running = 80.8 miles

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bike Rides

Apparently, I didn't get around to mapping/blogging my Thursday night ride.  Since I hadn't followed up with Susan, she thought I was too busy for our usual Thursday morning run.  In actuality, I was just lazy.  I feel slightly guilty about it, but less so since it took away any excuse not to go on the bike ride. Walter gathered a small group to take advantage of a break in the rain and cold temps with a ride around town starting from the Ellis Blvd parking lot and looping Jeff City for 21.3 miles.  Funny how perspective changes - this felt "short" with some of it feeling "easy".  Hmm...

I had a lovely girls night out with Susan on Friday (no running - just margaritas and Tom Cruise).  I was stoked for a long ride on Saturday with Walter and friends.  But Mother Nature was not cooperating.  Pouring rain canceled the ride and I spent half the day doing laundry and the other half just chilling. 

Looked like the ride was being moved to Sunday at 11.  They wanted to meet across town at an elementary school for 20-25 miles.  I wanted more miles so I decided I'd leave an hour early and ride to the meetup spot and ride back afterwards for about double the mileage.  But when I texted after I got home from church, I found out it had been postponed again because it was only 50° with a forecast for 70° later in the afternoon.  Enjoyed a nice breakfast with my family and chilled for a bit longer.  It had only made it up to the mid-50's with a lot of cloud cover when I left at noon.  I was a bit chilly until I got through the first two climbs.

I got to the school with about 5-10 min to spare, chatted with Kelly and waited for the others.  It was nice to start all warmed up where I could almost keep up with Kelly and Bruce.  Walter was bringing up the rear with Prenavi (who hadn't biked in 3 months).  I ended up in kind of a odd middle spot where I couldn't quite keep up with the front two, but was solidly ahead of the back two.  I hate riding alone.  We did a tough loop around St. Martins and Elston with some gut-busting hills.  They build character though, right?  Everyone seemed pretty tight on time so there was little dawdling. 

Turned out that my daughter's softball practice had been moved to the school where I had met my bike friends.  I called my husband about the change and he brought her.  Practice was to start at 3, about ten min after I got back to the school.  I just got her on this new team (modified rec - slightly more competitive, but no traveling which I think is ridiculous for 3rd graders).  So I wanted to make sure she was doing ok getting settled with a bunch of new girls/new coaches. 

I hung out watching practice for about 30 min and she was doing fine.  The sun had finally come out about this time and I realized I didn't bring my sunglasses - oops.  I decided if I didn't get back on my bike and head for home, I'd be too tempted to toss it in the back of my husband's truck and get a lift home.  So off I went.  I stopped at a convenience store about half way home since I was out of fluids and wanted a snack.  And before long, I was almost home.  McCarty Street's bad luck was less horrifying this week - just a dropped chain on the last hill before home.  Doh!  Nothing like getting all greasy fingered and having nothing to wipe my hands. 

Got to the house and still felt pretty good - briefly thought about blowing past and getting in another 5-8 miles by going out to the interchange, but home was just too inviting.  Went inside and mapped it out best I could recall all the turns.  I'm pretty sure I got it right - 44.8 miles.  Should have gone for that extra bit as I really should be doing 50+ rides on the weekends.  Training plan actually called for 60 so I am behind.  Less than 5 weeks until I need to double that.  Praying it isn't too awful.

Swimming = 9600 yds = 5.5 mi
Biking = 537.6 miles
Running = 80.8 miles

And since I haven't recorded it in a while: MMNW = 162.0 - annoyed that I seem kind of "stuck" between 160-163, but not annoyed enough to buckle down on the diet front.  Just more mental energy than I have right now.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Joys of Self-Employment

There are plenty of things I can bitch about on any given day about being self-employed.  Whether it is paying quarterly estimated taxes or having to fight to get invoices out the door/paid or having to wear all the hats of this one-woman show - there are definitely less awesome parts of being the boss.  While there was some work to get done today, I took advantage of the fact I can flip off my boss and take a long lunch with my friends (and surveyors).  We snuck off just after noon for chips, salsa, cheese, tacos and margaritas!   Just one to take the edge of a sucky, rainy day. 

Went back to the office and worked on a report for a little while, but then decided to knock off at 3:45 and head to the ARC for a swim workout.  I do have a sprint tri coming up in two weeks and am weak on swim training!  I was in my suit and ready to swim about 4:00.  But the lanes were full!  And there were two guys sitting on the bench next to the wall waiting to get a lane.  Doh!  Even more annoying were the two guys that would swim a lap and then chat at the end of the lane for a while and then swim a bit more.  I'm like "Hey screwballs!  We're waiting out here!!" 

But I didn't say that.  Thankfully, the old man next to me was staring hate daggars at them until one guy finally gave up his spot for the old guy who then apparently bugged the other dilly dallyer to move it along.  So I got in the pool and tried to keep count of my laps.  Tried being the operative word.  I gave up part way through when I lost track thinking of the million other things I should have gotten done today.  Oops - guess my boss will be pissed.  I watched the clock and I counted a few times in between and looked at my average pace.  I'm sure I did at least 2000 yards in around 45-50 minutes so that is what we're going to call it for the total. 

Swimming = 9600 yds = 5.5 mi
Biking = 471.5 miles
Running = 80.8 miles

Monday, April 22, 2013

Longest Ride + Near Death Experience

My weeks don't seem to be getting any less crazy.  Work is still going full steam ahead; kids still need to be driven to games, practices and meetings; and we are closing in on the end of the school year with all that goes with that.  Rain this past week didn't help.  Sometimes, I need to just suck it up and get it done. 

The Tour de Cure is only a little over 5 weeks away.  I didn't get my 2nd "easy" workout in last week and I ended up blowing off Saturday to hang at the house doing a mountain of laundry.  So yesterday it was time to stop procrastinating and do my long ride.  I've fallen a bit off pace with increasing the mileage, but I knew anything less than 50 wasn't going to do it.  I mapped a ride from my house to Mokane and it was just a shade under 26 to the turnoff - with the only real hills being in the first 5-6 miles.  I decided that is what I'd do and my husband verified online that there was a little market open where I'd be able to refill my bottles in Mokane.

After mass and a breakfast of french toast and a banana with peanut butter, I changed into tights and my long sleeve tech tee (really need to own a long sleeved jersey with pockets!) and loaded up my water bottles with Powerade and my fanny pack with whatever nutrition I could gather.  I also took some cash, ID, credit card and phone for emergencies.  Then I got on my bike and started pedaling away. 

The roads between my house and across the Missouri River are hilly, but at least I was fresh and ready to tackle them.  I could also look forward to the long, flat (boring) expanse of Hwy 94.  I got across the bridge and around the airport road and texted my husband about 38 min into the ride to let him know I had made it through town and was getting on the highway.  I also ate a ShotBlock (a single leftover one from last weekend). 

I fought with a pretty strong cross/head wind on the way out - and the sheer boredom of the road.  There isn't much of a place to ride out of the way of traffic and people tend to drive kind of fast.  But on a Sunday, there wasn't a ton of traffic.  Thankfully, most folks slowed down and/or swung wide of me and I wasn't too unnerved.  I hugged the white line for dear life a few times.  To the asshats that didn't give me proper room, bite me!

At 1 hr 56 min of riding, I made it to the Mokane turnoff.  I rode past the trailhead and started looking for this supposed market.  There was a gas station, but apparently it doesn't really have a "store" - just a pay at the pump type deal.  I got off my bike at the bottom of the hill and was just about to call my husband to ask where the market was when I saw a storefront (no sign) that said "open" and I could see chips on a shelf.  I assumed this was it and went in.  It had all the usual convenience store type stuff, but also had a little lunch counter.  I wasn't that hungry so I just got a couple snacks and another gatorade.  I stretched my legs while I ate and drank, texted my husband that I was at the halfway point, used the bathroom and thanked the nice lady for being open.  I got back on my bike before I could chicken out and call for someone to come get me.

I had hoped that the wind would be more to my back on the way home, but it didn't really feel that way.  I was still insanely bored, but sang to myself, prayed and talked to myself thinking about how much nicer riding with a bunch of other people will be on June 1.  I would try to ride hard in sections and just pedal away mindlessly on others.  Figured I would stop and eat the cookie I had bought when I got to a certain junction.  But I missed the sign and apparently rode past it.  Pretty soon, I could see the buildings of downtown Jeff City.  This was a bit of a mind-f*ck though - they were still a long ways off when I felt like I was getting "close".  At 3 hr and 14 of total riding, I was back by the airport commuter lot finally eating my cookie and getting more to drink.  I texted my husband that I was back in town and headed for home.

I made it up the long ass ramp to the bike/ped bridge easier than I had envisioned.  Then the hills through town which weren't as bad as I had expected.  I was pedaling away, only about a mile from home when I heard squeeling tires and looked ahead to an oncoming car spinning out of control on a straight stretch of McCarty Street.  I slowed down, then fully braked as I watched in horror as she came right at me and slid sideways across my path and up onto the sidewalk next to me.  When the car crossed my path, I thought for sure I was a goner.  But in the end, I got the bike stopped just inches from where she went in front of me.  I even managed to get my foot unclipped just before I would have fallen over.  A truck stopped behind me and got out to check on me and the driver.  They actually knew the lady driving.  But that woman (B*TCH!) didn't even ask if I was ok or apologize, she was just pissed about the tire she blew. 

After standing there dumbfounded for a few minutes, I decided it wasn't worth calling for a pickup when I was so close to home even if I was completely shaken.  So I got back on my bike and pedaled up the final hill and on to my house.  After 3 hr 52 min and 52 miles (longest ride ever) and by the grace of God, I got home.  I hate to think how my day could have ended differently.  But I ate my dinner, went out for ice cream with my family and chilled out on the couch for the rest of the night.  Thank you Lord for sending your angels to watch over me!

Today is a rest day.  I have some soreness, but don't feel too bad considering the mileage.  If the rain doesn't give me too hard of a time tomorrow, I'll head out for a recovery ride for an hour or so.

Swimming = 7600 yds = 4.3 mi
Biking = 471.5 miles
Running = 80.8 miles

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Loop-de-Loo + Linkup

I started this post on Monday with the intention of finishing and posting it that evening.  But it seemed inappropriate with all the tragedy of the Boston Marathon.  Then yesterday I did my 2 workouts to say "screw you" to the evil of the world. 

Today I needed to get my butt on the bike for a "Moderate effort ride of 50 minutes" per the Tour training plan.  With a sky full of dark clouds, I decided a loop-de-loo workout that wouldn't leave me too far from home if the skies opened up would be best.  I fought some pre-storm wind from the south and the fact that we saw temps in the 80's today.  But I did three loops up and over the interchange and around Scholastic for 15.5 miles (avg 13.7 mph even with wind and 4 hills).

And back to my previously planned post:  I enjoyed Jamoosh and Kovas's participation in the new link-up from Kelly the Culinarian so I thought I'd play along.  Been a while since we've done some kind of meme like this - check out her answers as well as others over at the Running Blogger Survey and add your own link if you get a chance.  Take this for what it is worth since I only barely consider myself a "runner".

Best Run Ever:
In a race, I'd say the Jingle Bell Run 2011.  I had a great time running with a friend and her son and reminiscing about my college days as we ran through the MU campus.  I wouldn't say I "raced" it, but I was "in a race".
As far as training runs, I enjoy almost all of the ones I do with friends.  Or at least more than I enjoy going alone.  Still trying to "find the love" of running in general.  A pretty day shared with one or more friends can make it all worth it.
Three Words That Describe My Running

Slow, Painful, Necessary

My Go-To Running Outfit

In the cooler (cold) temps, tights and/or yoga pants with a long sleeve tech tee (current fave is one I got on clearance at Kohls that is pink with kind of a tribal design on the front - click HERE if you want to see the shirt in a truly awful finish line pic) and my Performance jacket.  I sometimes wear my Original Buff on my ears or my Saucony ear band that Susan got me for Christmas.  Cheap stretchy gloves because I tend to take them off after we get moving and I don't want to be too broken hearted if I lose one.

Warmer temps, sometimes I wear my tri shorts on the bottom though I also love some capris I have and a tech tee (my favorite is a Fila safety orange one I got at Kohls that of course they discontinued when I went back to get another).

Always wear Asics on my feet - whichever the model that Ultramax is carrying at the time for more "structure".  I've thought about switching, but in general they work for me.  And I fell in love with Pearl Izumi socks a couple years ago and wear them about all the time (even when not running and biking) now.  Also wear a pink Road ID Slim and my cheapo sports watch on most outings.

I Won’t Run Outside When It’s...

Icy/multiple inches of snow on sidewalks/road; way below 0°F; or lightening.  I used to say "rain", but I've kind of gotten over that.  Maybe not a downpour.

Worst Injury – And How I Got Over It

Haven't had too awful of an injury yet.  I have fought some shin splints and general knee/hip/butt pain off and on.  I turned my ankle pretty badly (sprained probably) on a trail run in December that still has some stiffness and soreness from time to time.  Generally, when I am hurt or feeling the various niggles we all get, I'm big on resting, foam rolling, stretching and self-massage (though I wish I could spend the real money to get more regular professional massages).

I Felt Most Like a Badass Runner When...

I did the SHIT-R non-race with my Team Virtus friends.  Even though it is still my only DNF, it was in insane conditions and I felt like a badass for even attempting it as my first half. 

Potential Running Goal for 2013

First half marathon - probably Roots and Blues in September.  More focused on my big bike goal right now (first century on June 1 for Tour de Cure).

Next Race Is...

TriZou on Sunday, May 5 - Haven't swam much in 2013.  It might be an ugly first leg.  The bike and run will depend on the temps and the wind.  I know I can finish.  Hoping to not be last.

Swimming = 7600 yds = 4.3 mi
Biking = 419.5 miles
Running = 80.8 miles

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Two-Fer Tuesday

Yesterday was a rest day and a day of prayers for all involved with the Boston bombing. I checked in on some of my blogger friends (and their spouses) that were running, but thankfully they were all fine - a benefit of them all being speedy.  So sad for the lives lost and changed forever.

Today I got some work done and then knocked out a mile in the pool, drove home, ate an early dinner because I'd missed lunch, and ran 3.1 miles (to bank/Walmart and back).  I also called my sister on my way home after finding out the college where she teaches was on lockdown while a mentally unstable man walked around a campus parking lot with a long gun (which turned out to be airsoft, but was still scary).

Take that you evildoers!  I didn't let the misty rain get me down and I won't let you win either.  Screw you!

Swimming = 7600 yds = 4.3 mi
Biking = 404.0 miles
Running = 80.8 miles

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Long Week + 5K + Bike Sat/Sun

I squeezed five days of work into two days (plus nights), ran a day or two's worth of errands in one morning, met a client for lunch before kicking off a conference, spent the night at the hotel writing a presentation for the next afternoon, the next night writing one for the following morning, hurrying back home and taking daughter to haircut, dinner, son to campout, daughter to talent show, etc, etc.  To say this was a long week would be an understatement - mentally and physically exhausted would be more accurate.  Oh yeah, and you didn't note any workouts in that Mon-Fri timespan.

But Saturday was a new day.  Around 8:00 AM, we got ready to go and headed out for the 4th Annual Ava Brown Memorial 5K.  Last year it rained and I decided to go by myself at the last minute.  This year, the sun was shining, but it was in the mid-30's when we left the house.  Both my daughter and I wore yoga pants and jackets.  We signed up when we got there and visited with a bunch of the Team Virtus peeps.  We did a warmup jog with SuperKate.  She was aiming for a PR even though this course is TOUGH. 
Quick Pre-Race Pic
Nice when you race with friends who are bloggers and totally "get" wanting extra pics.
We lined up at 9 AM and Robby Brown fired the airhorn to get the crowd moving forward.  My daugher and I ran a bit, walked a bit and paced well all the way through.  We probably walked a bit more than we should have and went slower than we did at our last 5K (38:something I think).  But she continued to press on and not let herself struggle with the mental battle.  I was a proud mom.  I don't think I could have run a lot faster without her.  It is a tough loop with a big ass hill in the last mile after the aforementioned long ass week.
Happy to be done with our 5K!
Me and the 2nd Fastest Female at the Race: SuperKate!
We hung out afterwards visiting and waiting for awards.  I though there might be a possibility she would get an award as the race is small and I didn't see a lot of young girls running.  But she didn't get a medal and was disappointed.  I felt bad, but it is also a lesson about not always winning.  She bounced back after a little time at the playground and a couple balloons Robby agreed to let me take.  We headed over to Target to deal with the fact both of my kids are growing out of all of their clothes.  Then we picked up a pizza and headed home.

Quick change and out the door to meet Walter and a big group to do a ride from Holts Summit to Fulton and back for about 31 miles.  It was still kind of cool (high 50's/low 60's) and I decided to wear my jacket.  Of course I was overdressed as soon as we really got going.  Doh!  We didn't do the longer loop with the heartbreaking hills, but I was still feeling pretty demoralized by falling to the rear of the group a lot.  After the turnaround, I made a comment to Brie about all of the trainer time being such a waste as I was still annoyingly slow and weak.  But the closer we got to the end, the more I pushed to get back to my car.  She made a comment afterwards that she pooped out towards the end and I finished strong and she didn't think my winter workouts were wasted at all.  The down side of not hanging with fellow bloggers is that I am not as good about taking pictures.

I had some pain issues - in my left hamstring, in my right toes and in my knees.  Just one of those things I suppose.  Need to get the foam roller going to work it all out. 

Today is warm and sunny again though very windy.  Needed to get back out on bike - Tour de Cure will be here in just under 7 weeks!  Headed towards Taos and the wind was sucking.  Stopped at the top of the big hill on the way out to catch a drink and snap a pic I've thought of taking several times:
I tried to not capture the state penitentiary to the left and this is much prettier other times
of the year, but I am blessed to ride in such nice surroundings on a beautiful day.
Not sure the mph of the wind, but if you want an indication - I averaged 12 mph on the way out and 14.9 mph on the way back!  Just 18 miles total, but it felt like enough on the way out.  Felt awesome when I turned around like I was just hammering away with a lot less effort.  Makes me pray for a tailwind at the Tour.  Came home to a 50 cent cup of lemonade in my front yard.  Daughter and friends having fun, but also fighting the wind.  Solid weekend.  Another busy week of work to come.  Will have to do better at squeezing in the workouts though.

Swimming = 5800 yds = 3.3 mi (MUST go to pool this week - TriZou in 3 weeks!)
Biking = 404.0 miles
Running = 77.7 miles

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gravel Still Sucks - Friends Still Awesome

You'd think my memory would serve me better.  You'd think I'd remember that Team Virtus often makes things that suck seem fun.  You'd think I'd remember how freaking hard it is to ride my heavy ass mountain bike on gravel roads.  You'd think I'd remember how it sucks to be dropped off the back time and time again when I have to hike-a-bike hills or just because I'm slow as shit.  Well, you'd be wrong.  But my memory has now been refreshed.  Because, just like I noted last year after I rode 34 miles with some of the coolest folks on Team Virtus, GRAVEL SUCKS!  But friends that are patient with your piss poor riding on a beautiful day are absolutely tough to beat.

After a full day of racing the CAC2, I was hoping that Team Virtus would be too tired.  Kate even texted me that she was suffering from some chafing and might not be up for riding the infamous "Cock Gobbler" on Sunday.  So when I got up Sunday morning, I decided if she bailed that I might bail too.  But no, she put on her big girl panties (and plenty of chamois butter) and said it was a "go".  That they were meeting at Mokane, MO at 9-ish (ie. Team Virtus time).  I assumed that 9-ish was give or take 10 min.  But I got to the parking lot at the trailhead at 8:50 and called her to make sure I was in the right spot and they hadn't left Holts Summit which was a solid 25-30 min away.  Hmm...things to remember for future reference.

But some of their other Facebook friends were there and we started introducing ourselves and getting ready.  I didn't have a lot to do, but I did spray on some sunscreen (foreshadowing) and got my bike off my rack and put my bottle in it, etc.  When Luke, Adam and Kate finally rolled in (I just tease - it was a gorgeous morning and really no biggie) - Luke didn't even have his saddle bolted to his bike from some previous day's lending at the non-race.  So he did his mechanical duty while we finished getting ready.  I got to give Kate her birthday gift which she was thrilled with (score - a book about riding the Great Divide race).  And finally, closing in on 10 AM, we rolled out.

Sure enough, I was dropped as soon as we hit the gravel.  I cranked along and tried not to be annoyed at how slow I am.  They waited at the tops of hills and major turns.  The front of the group ended up dropping Adam, Luke and Kate as they waited for me about 6.5 miles in.  They decided to help me get through the ride - God bless them.  And we continued to crank away.  We stopped at the top of one hill for a spot of shade and to snap a couple quick pics.

Team Virtus with "Invisi-Bob" Jenkins (Luke, Adam and Kate)

Luke said he wanted to show the pretty scenery.  Slowly greening up around here,
and this pic doesn't do the scenery justice.
Pretty soon, we hit Fulton and I asked to swing about a half a block out of the way to a Casey's to get more fluids.  My one bottle rack on the mountain bike doesn't really work for these rides!  I also got a slice of pizza as it was lunch time and I wasn't sure when or what I would get to eat otherwise.  My stinger waffle and shot blocks weren't probably going to be enough for the whole distance.  It was blissful being on the pavement in town after the beating my body was taking on the gravel.  But soon enough we were back on gravel.

I continued along and occassionally one of them would ride slow enough to chat.  Kate asked about my duathlon and there wasn't much to tell other that commisserating about the wind from Saturday (that was thankfully not nearly as present on Sunday).  I told Kate that I get frustrated that I might always be this sucktastic.  I'm not 100% sure what I need to do (or if I have the will to do what it takes) to get significantly better.   But I still ended up watching the three of them riding together a fair ways in front of me a lot of the time.  Luke was always good about checking that I was ok and getting enough to drink in the heat every time we stopped for a minute.  I just tried to smile and pretend like this was a good time.  It actually was ok because I was with them, but there was a lot of less fun moments (including some hill hiking and way too many dogs chasing us to count).

Before we knew it, we arrived at Hamm's Prairie gas station.  This is a wide spot on a country road that apparently has the best hard salami sandwiches.  It was about 25 miles in and Luke was jonesing for a sammy.  Supposedly, the other bike group was almost an hour ahead of us at this point.  Ugh - so sorry guys for being your boat anchor!  And sorry that they were out of salami!  There were rampant jokes being texted back and forth about the other group chucking it into the trash after using the salami for chamois cream or eating it all.  I had a little slim jim and more gatorade.  I was smarter this time and filled up the empty gatorade bottle with water and stuck it in my back jersey pocket.

Team Virtus at Hamm's Prairie: Kate with her pulled pork sandwich, Adam in a turkey sandwich coma and
Luke sad that he was eating candy instead of hard salami. 

And after a blissful mile or two on pavement, there was more gravel.  And then we went by the nuke plant which makes for another round of photos.
Kate and I by Callaway Nuclear Plant
Thought I needed to be further away to get it all in, but now realizing I didn't. 
This is the group waiting for me - a common site on any ride I do with them.

Just a little self portait down the road.

It is almost all downhill from here - though still a lot more gravel.  Then we hit a handful of miles on the Katy Trail with some more fun pictures.  We also picked up Jim who was adding some flat Katy miles to the end of the full route he'd already finished with the fast folks.

I thought it was funny that Team Virtus stops to take pics of dead things - this time an armadillo.

"Hey Bob, that grassy spot up there would be an awesome checkpoint for Cedar Cross"

Kate is so talented she can take pics while riding her bike! (Stolen from Superkate)
Big ass rock on Katy Trail
Just before we were back to the trailhead, there was a turn in the route that added mileage.  Neither Adam nor I were up for it after the 40-ish we'd just finished, so we headed to my car after saying goodbye to Luke and Kate.  Jim continued on down the Katy so he could his last few miles knocked out.  Adam had ridden with Luke, but I offered him a ride back home to save his girlfriend from having to come get him. 

At the end of the day, it was a tough ride.  I was feeling it everywhere.  I got home, showered quickly and headed back out for my nephew's birthday party.  Found one little spot on my arm where I had missed spraying sunscreen (oops).  I ate pizza at the party like there was no tomorrow.  Bad idea as between the stomach ache and the rest of me aching, it was a rough night of sleep (and lack thereof) followed by a super busy day of work. 
Kids and their cousins at the park for youngest's 8th birthday
(my daughter is in orange tank and son has arms folded in defiance to having pic taken)

What kids do when told they can do a silly pose if they'll just stand still for a "nice" pic.
So I doubt I'll hit up many more gravel rides anytime soon.  But at some point I'm sure my memory will fail me again and I just won't be able to pass up a chance to hang with such awesome people and I'll forget for just a moment too long that gravel sucks.
Even if it isn't so bad to look at on a sunny day with your friends in the distance. (Stolen from Superkate)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Maxtrax Duathlon - Part Deux

I like repeating a race as a benchmark to see my progress.  The problem is that race conditions vary from year to year and frankly, my improvement isn't taking the kinds of leaps it has in the past.  It is a little demoralizing to have trained all winter with at least moderate consistency and still find myself so solidly in the back of the pack.  And thus was my experience at a very windy duathlon this morning.

Got up this morning after a relatively decent night of sleep and checked the temperature.  It was 50° at 6:00 so I figured I would go ahead with wearing my tri shorts and long sleeve tech tee.  I tried to choke down a trail mix granola bar and stuck a banana in my bag, but really didn't feel like eating.  My dearest husband (and sherpa for the day) loaded my bike, I grabbed the rest of my gear and we headed for Columbia, MO.

After stopping for gas, donuts and coffee (for him), we got to the race site and he dropped me off for checkin and packet/chip pickup.  I got everything set up in transition, got my age and race number on my calves and waited around in the cool wind.  I wore a jacket with my Buff on my ears.  I took a little warmup jog, but everything felt tight.  Husband snapped this pic of me:

Finally, it was "go" time.  The race field was pretty small for the "long" course (1.5 mi run/15 mi bike/3 mi run) - only 109 athletes and mostly the "speedy" folks.  I tried to hang with the group.  At least they didn't drop me before we even got out of the parking lot this time.  I kept a pretty decent run pace for me on that first loop - 10:14 min/mi.  But it was a struggle - and I did some walking on the big hill.  I stripped my jacket and tossed it to my husband/sherpa on the way into transition.

Then it was time for 2 loops of the bike course.  I headed out and mostly didn't see anyone as I rode (except the awesome volunteers and police officers with the best intersection control).  The first hill didn't seem too bad, but by the time we went over the highway overpass, the wind was really kicking my butt.  Then we turned onto a flat section by the fairgrounds and it blasted me in the face where I had to pedal hard to keep from going backwards!  It was no fun!  I tried to think of songs or prayers or even just counting pedal strokes to get my mind off it.  That was followed by a couple more miserable hills before a fun downhill and then one last nasty hill.  The second loop was that same as the first with more cussing of that awful wind.  Average pace over the 15 miles: 13.3 mph (taking a little over a minute longer than last year).

I headed out on the run and was glad it wasn't raining like last year.  But I felt like I couldn't get my legs to stretch out at all.  My stride felt short and choppy, but I just tried to keep going.  I tried to run and then walk when I had to.  My pace was much crappier on the second run - 12:31 min/mi.  But the final time for the course was 2:02:59 - compared to last year's 2:06:22.  Oh, and since I aged up a group this year, I was 4th (out of 4) in my AG and 106/109 overall.  So progress, but nothing to write home about. 

I had planned on going out to the CAC2 non-race that Team Virtus put on to cheer on their adventurous athletes, but never heard from Bob where to go.  I was pretty worn out with some soreness in my hip and my knees so I wasn't too broken up about taking it easy.  Texted with Kate a bit this evening who indicated she had a tough, but fun, day.  There is a gravel grinder tomorrow morning that I'd like to go on, but not sure I am up for.  Hate to miss out, but I don't want to hold them up and/or not be able to walk next week.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Swimming = 5800 yds = 3.3 mi
Biking = 312.0 miles
Running = 74.6 miles

Friday, April 5, 2013

Another Round of Book Reviews

I've been doing a lot of reading lately.  It helps me settle my mind before bed which is a good thing as the stress from my busy work life has been wearing on me pretty nasty lately (with a couple sleep deprived nights when even a good book wasn't enough).  Just finished the last of my stash so I'll have to hit the library or Amazon again soon and see what I can rustle up - or maybe catch up on my boring engineering magazines - who knows.

First up: "Running with the Kenyans" by Adharanand Finn

This book was ok.  It passed the time and served the purpose, but it was a little slow.  Generally, it is a story about a guy who picks up his family (including wife and two kids) to move to Kenya for several months and live with some of the fastest runners on earth in hopes of learning their "secrets" and improving his own running.  There were definitely elements of adventure to this undertaking that were not nearly as interesting to read as Chrissie Wellington's in her book, but that showed a bit of the culture in a part of the world I am unlikely to ever see.  It was interesting to learn about some of the simplicity of their daily living - especially for the athletes who are nearly single-minded in the way that they eat, sleep, run and repeat.  I also thought the sociological aspect of how running is often the only way out of poverty for some of these people (and yet, how success can doom them as well) was interesting though could have been more explored in the book.

At the end, the secrets are that there aren't a lot of secrets.  The Kenyans who become successful get that way the same way that a lot of athletes get there - through an awful lot of hard work and maybe a whiff of natural talent.  They run everywhere (typically barefoot) throughout their formative years.  They eat a diet very low in fat, high in produce and get their carb energy from ugali (a cornmeal porridge).  If they choose to be athletes and pursue it as a livlihood, they don't do anything else.  I don't know that these are "secrets" per se - just insight on how some of the fastest men and women on the face of the planet happen to be Kenyan.  I did like the way it becomes obvious that introductions are all related to races they've won or records they hold.


"Eat and Run" by Scott Jurek and Steve Friedman

It was funny.  This book was sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read when I did my last book reviews and BDD suggested that I read it.  I finally got around to it this last week or two.  It is an interesting mix of memoir, recipe book, and running book.  For those who have been living under a rock, Scott Jurek is one of the greatest ultramarathoners of our time.  He has won crap tons of races - most in the 100 mile range.  He has a way of transcending pain and fatigue that is nearly zen like.  He attributes a lot of it - throughout the book - to the way his dad raised him with the mantra "Sometimes you just do things" along with eating an extremely "clean" vegan diet. 

I barely made it through the first couple chapters as he laid out his childhood dealing with his mom being diagnosed with MS and how it affected him (and this came up a few times throughout the book with a later chapter making me put the book down in tears).  It hit a little too close to home with losing my dad to diabetes less than 3 years ago and the pain of watching his decline over the decades he battled the disease.  That later chapter was also in a relatively dark part of Scott's life - a bit of a midlife crisis if you will - where he was feeling very lost.  I know of those dark times and it touched me greatly how he shared them with the reader.

I'm not sure I have much interest in the plant-based way of eating that Scott subscribes to, but I also felt like he respected the choices that other people make even when he doesn't agree with them.  I can't imagine how I'd even find some of the ingredients he espouses.  Though he managed to do it long before it was in vogue and even in areas of the country that are pretty meat and potato folks. 

Scott has a few times in the book when he is faced with an injury during a race or another obstacle in his path and I liked the self-awareness review that he does where he seems to (while still running it seems) take stock of how he is feeling and acknowledges what he is feeling.  Then he assesses the pain/injury.  And then he lets it go and keeps going - with his dad's theory that "sometimes you just do things".  While at times, I found his story to be self-involved, I can see how this self-awareness has led him to great things.  At times, it may have also cost him as he doesn't seem to pay near as much attention to what is going on with others.

I felt like the book ended somewhat abruptly though maybe that was as much because of the timeline (ending in 2010) than anything.  But the book was relatively well written (no doubt thanks to the co-author) and enjoyable with some good quotes to reflect on and maybe a recipe or two I should try. 

As usual, these books were acquired from the Daniel Boone Regional Library for free.  I was not compensated in any way for my review.  Just sharing my love of reading about inspiring people.  Stay tuned as I've drafted two more reviews that I'll share soon. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Short Brick

Have you ever looked at a brick wall - noticing how there are some bricks in the end that are either turned or cut short to make the pattern end in a straight line?  Well, today was a "short brick".  The Tour de Cure training plan called for 45 min of easy riding.  But with a duathlon coming up on Saturday, I couldn't ignore the need to get some running in - even if something short.  And I decided to suck it up, dress for the 45° temps and do it all outside as I am just refusing to accept that it isn't yet spring.  At least it was sunny.

The easiest to do easy biking around my house is loops of the industrial area near my house.  It is generally flat river bottom land with just a nasty hill to ride up on the way home.  I wasn't sure how long each loop took so I decided on three loops with little legs up to the landfill entrance and the Militia Drive intersection.  Turned out I could have done two and been fine, but a little extra of that flat stuff doesn't hurt.  I rode for 58 minutes and if you believe my GPS (again with some correction as I am losing faith of ever being able to really use the phone app), it was about 13.1 miles.  That makes sense as I should be able to easily do 13.5 mph on the flats.

But when I got back, I had to deal with a discipline issue regarding my son (ugh - I hope all this angst doesn't last forever!).  Then I had to clean up some things and direct homework and then run my daughter to piano.  I voted on the way home (though I had thought about running there).  So when I got home, before I even took my jacket off, I took a quick pit stop and then went out the door to knock out a short run.  Just to the end of the sidewalk and then home and to the end of my cul-de-sac and back.  Ended up about 2.1 miles in about 25 min.  Not an awful pace for me.  I'm ashamed that I still have to walk sometimes.  Really would think I'd build up more endurance than I have.

So it wasn't a long bike ride and it wasn't a long run and it wasn't exactly back to back, but a "short brick" all in one afternoon is sometimes the best this busy mom can do.  And I'd better get my ass to the pool in the next few weeks or the tri the beginning of next month will suck.  Need to get friendly with my foam roller and work out some kinks tonight.  Maybe after a nice hot shower! 

Swimming = 5800 yds = 3.3 mi
Biking = 297.0 miles
Running = 70.1 miles

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sucky Windy Long Ride

My thoughts are all over the place on this one.  The good news is that I got my 40+ miles done per the training plan.  The bad news is that it totally sucked and I'm sore and feeling very unsure of how in the world I will go 60 MORE miles in 8 weeks.

Friday morning, my husband and I extracted my road bike from the trainer and put on a new back tire.  I've come to the conclusion that I really never want to have to change a tire by myself on the side of a road.  I was happy to have his help and it still took longer than it probably should have.  The rest of Friday was pretty well shot with taking my daughter birthday shopping, dinner, mass, etc.  The weather was sunny and I prayed for that to hold over to the weekend.

Saturday it was cold and cloudy with rain coming in the afternoon during the 4 hour birthday party (note to self - 2.5 hours would have been PLENTY).  Cleaned up and chilled out since a ride seemed ill advised Saturday afternoon.

Sunday we did Easter stuff all morning and into the early afternoon.  But after cleaning up, I took off a little after 3 in hopes of knocking out my training ride.  Took grief from a snarky brother-in-law for leaving when I still had guests.  Wasn't my fault they didn't know when to go home. 

It was pretty sunny, 61° and windy.  Oh the wind - how I have NOT missed the wind.  My legs were feeling great until the first climb about 3 miles in.  And that climb ended with a turn into the wind that made the rolling hills out to Wardsville go by so slowly.  I stopped at Kleffner Ridge to check (using the MapMyRide phone app) and I was averaging under 10 mph (though now I'm not sure that was correct due to a data point error). UGH!  Only 11 miles in and I was not feeling good.  I rode out Wardsville Road and then looped back through to the church at the top of the hill before heading home again with a brief Scholastic loop in hopes of getting close to 30 miles in before I took a pit stop back at the house. 

Phone app said I'd only got 27.something in and it was starting to get cloudy (later learned it had a couple bad data points that lopped off about 3-4 miles).  I swapped my sunglasses for my regular glasses and got a drink (forgetting to fill my bottles back up - doh) and headed back out just as it started to lightly sprinkle.  I told my husband I would do loops down in the river bottom and up over the interchange until I got another 12.something miles in or it got dark or it started pouring - whichever came first.  That way he wouldn't have to come get me, as I'd never be more than about 3 miles from home. 

Went back out and rode around the relatively quiet industrial area climbing the interchange overpass a couple times and then looping Scholastic three times with a run up to the landfill entrance and another leg up to Fabick mixed in.  Phone died and I lost GPS tracking. After fiddling with the route (telling it to follow the roads and such), it looks like I added about 6.5 miles onto my ride unintentionally - maybe more as it doesn't show the last mile or so before home (going back up the hill).  I'm going to call it 46.5 sucky, windy miles.

I was super sore and pretty beaten up in spirit.  It took a LONG time to get those miles in and if I ride anywhere near that slowly, I'm not even sure if I'll make the cutoffs on my century.  I'll be so bummed if they force me to shorten due to time.  And two weekends between now and then are screwed up for the long rides by races (duathlon this coming weekend and sprint tri the first weekend of May).  How long was your longest ride before your first century? 

The climbing was definitely the suckiest so I think some of my short rides in the coming weeks will be hill repeats to try to get some of the feel for that back.  I was pleased that my bike handling didn't seem to go too badly even as I got crazy tired/sore.  I never fell (knock on wood).  I know the time in the saddle is a good thing so I'll try to leave the mental beating I took from this ride behind and let it blow away in the sucky wind.  Now it is time to go foam roll all my achey spots. 

Swimming = 5800 yds = 3.3 mi
Biking = 283.9 miles
Running = 68.0 miles