Sunday, July 29, 2007

Maybe I should look at mileages a little better...

It's hard to take pictures while bike riding.

Somehow, for the last few months, I have had it in my head that the two days of RAGBRAI that we were doing were about 50 miles each, so 100 miles total.

Um, no. I was off by about 20%. By the end, we had ridden 120 miles - 65 miles on the first day and 55 miles on the second.

It surprisingly was not as hard as I thought it would be (considering my longest rides have been only 40 miles!) I figured it couldn't be that bad given the wide array of people who ride the whole 450+ miles. But still! It was intimidating.

Kori and I met up with Al in Independence IA on Thursday night and got our tents set up. Note that Kori might be the second friend I lose due to my complete inability to set up a tent - this is why I am a civil engineer who should never be allowed to actually build anything. Then we attempted to enjoy the entertainment, got rained on, ran back to our tents and spent the night listening to rain and thunder and trying to avoid the puddle in our tent. I love getting all my stuff wet on the first day!

We woke up at 6am the next day (hard to sleep in on RAGBRAI, unless perhaps you heavily partake at the beer tent), got everything packed up and left town at 7ish. We were supposed to meet up with Jessica, but things were pretty crazy, so the three of us took off on our own.

RAGBRAI is fun! Everyone talks to everyone else and is so friendly and it is so low key that 65 miles really felt pretty easy. We weren't trying to go fast, just tooling along. We stopped in the second town and ate corn for breakfast. We pedaled along through the next town and then stopped in the town after that for lunch (each town is about ten miles apart). It was all so relaxed and somehow we still managed to average almost 14 mph for the day (my 40 miles rides are usually in the low 15s). We arrived in Dyersville at 2pm and it seemed like there was no way we had gone 65 miles already!

For those not in the know, Dyersville is where Field of Dreams was filmed ("Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa!") I wanted to go do the tourist thing and go to the baseball field, but then I got lazy. Or rather I had no desire to ride my bike the few miles there as exhaustion started to set in. So we got dinner, went to a concert, and crashed.

After a fun first day, we were ready to tackle the second shorter day. Oddly, we managed to meet up with Jessica's dad in the campground (even though we had never met the man before, nor made plans to do so - he just overheard us mention Jessica's name). The first fifteen miles were hilly, but fun! Some mild climbing, but plenty of coasting to make up for it. We stopped for breakfast and I had my one and only piece of pie of the trip (coconut cream, yum!) I heard much rumors of pie on RAGBRAI, but there were pie shortages all around!

After breakfast, things went downhill. Or rather uphill. And uphill some more. The next 25 miles were miserable. I thought my legs might possibly fall off. You'd get to the top of a hill and there would be more hill! None of the hills were steep, but they just kept going. You'd climb for what felt like an eternity at 6 mph and you got to coast for a little bit, but the climbing outweighed the coasting. We stopped twice in that 25 miles and when we arrived in the last town before the end, I had never been more ecstatic. We must have stopped for 45 minutes.

There was a huge hill to climb up to get out of town. This was not fun. But once we got to the top, the coasting finally outweighed the climbing for the last 15 miles. Of course there was a headwind the rest of the way, but as long as it wasn't hills, I didn't care! There were times where I didn't have to pedal for a mile. At one point, I had to brake because I was already above 40 mph with the end of the hill still a long way off. I heart downhills.

I have never been so glad to finish a bike ride. But I figure I can probably consider that good enough for bike training for my Oly tri in two weeks! Think I can not get on my bike until then? My girly parts would love me if I stayed off the bike!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm never living that one down...

Last night on our 7 mile run, we took the CyRide back after 5.5 miles.

And of course, the rest of our running group saw us get off the bus.

There was a good reason - really! Teammate Kimberly was feeling nauseous and dizzy whenever we would start running. She tried to get me to go ahead while she walked it in, but there was no one else behind us so I didn't want to leave her if she wasn't feeling well (I am just repaying the favor here - there have been runs where I thought I was going to die that she stuck through with me). But we were still 1.5 miles from our cars. Then I saw the green bus coming and I got the bus driver to let us on with no bus pass or change (I've got talent :-)).

By the time we got to our cars, Kimberly was feeling fine again so we sheepishly crossed the street to be mocked by everyone else.

But I did take the dog out for two hours last night, and we ran the last 1.5 miles home, so I got in my 7 anyways :-)

In other news, I learned you are actually supposed to do something with your hand once you put it in the water during a stroke (like, say, actually push the water). This can only improve my swimming speed.

To make this a swim/bike/run post, on Saturday, I tripped on my bike while walking it and now have some really gnarly bruises all over my legs. This should not surprise anyone, coming from the girl who managed to spill two beers the other night, the second while cleaning up the mess from the first, and who managed to knock her computer off the counter this morning.

Oh, yes! Tomorrow, Kori and I leave for RAGBRAI! Two days, 100 miles of biking. Should be good times! Perhaps we shall see Lance as he tools along the roads of Iowa.

Then we have to muscle out our missed long run on Sunday morning. Fun.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I'm going to have a baby in 2011 or early 2012. I graduate from law school in 2009 which is followed by (b/c being a lawyer rocks!) studying for the bar which I will take later in 2009. Which means I don't think I can train for anything earlier (without losing my mind or sacrificing school and work) than a 2010 ironman. After finishing the race I will get pregnant later that year or early in 2011...and have BABIES!!! I'll turn 31 in 2011. That works for me.

But as they say...the best laid plans....[no pun intended].

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Proof of Bling

So in my running group, I got called out for no proof of bling, so here it is:

Aaannnddd... I signed up for the Big Creek Olympic Tri on August 12th.

Just a tad bit freaked out by this.

I fear the swim. I know I can make my way through the 1500 m, but it could be painful. A friend who is a good biker and runner said "The Olympic distance is totally a swimmer's tri." I think I agree. At the sprint and half-IM distances, the swim is a small percentage of the race, but it is a good chunk of this distance. I signed up for another lesson with the hawt swim coach because I have actually gotten slower at swimming in the last 6 months. Kori can vouch for this.

So as not to break the chain (and because I like their blogs!), I am supposed to nominate five other rockin' chick blawgers so I nominate:

Sempre Libera

I would have nominated Audrey but she stopped writing on her main blog :-)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Joe's Theorem of Running on Hot Days

When temperature outside is greater than 95 degrees, running past a sewage treatment plant is Bad (tm).

It is at least important, if not more so, to remember which paths lead past sewage treatment plants, so that one does not find oneself at mile 3.5 of a 5 mile loop with the dawning realization of what a horrible mistake one has made.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bringin' home the bling

Okay. That was hot. Not in a Paris Hilton sorta way, but as in "am I standing next to a furnace?"

But it was a good day at the Cornman Triathlon.

To start off I have to mention that I registered in the Athena category for this race. I have to admit that I am philosophically divided about this category. Why should I be racing in a different category just because I weigh more than 145 pounds? 145 pounds is still considered within the normal BMI range for someone my height.

I decided to do it for this race since last year there were about ten women in the category, so I figured there was still quite a bit of competition (there were about 400 people at the race overall). Also, the times were such that if I pushed I could place. In my regular age group (note: I don't know if I have liking a big "30" written on my calf before my time - silly USATF rules!) there was no way I'd even come close to placing. That was a competitive age group - based on last year's times, I could possibly come in close to last even. So I registered as an Athena.

Kori and I went to pick up our packets and I found out my wave was starting last, at 9:18 in the morning. At first I was pretty bummed, since I was thinking there was a very good chance that I could be the last person out of the water, since swimming is my weak point. Then Kori and I made a list of all the good things about starting last:

1. No one will come from behind and swim over me.
2. All the bikes will be out of transition, so it will be easier to find mine.
3. I'd get to pass lots of people on the bike.

So in typical style, we got there waaaay early and set up our bikes right near a tree. When I went to go get marked up, the guy asked me how old I was and I told him 30 but that I was racing as an Athena. He thought that was a team and put a big T on my calf. Then I explained that it was a category and he said "What does that mean?" So while standing in spandex I had to make an announcement to the people around "It means I weigh more than 145 pounds!" They didn't actually mark me with anything different from the regular age groupers, which was a bit of a bummer, since I didn't know who I needed to chase down. But before the race I was chatting with another woman who said she was racing in that category, so I tried to remember her outfit.

So this was my first open water swim with a big group. I thought I was going to throw up before I started. Fortunately a friend in a different division who was starting in the same wave was there and she kept me distracted. Then it was time to go and we ran in and... ran some more. The women in front of me started swimming but me and the woman next to me were jogging at the same speed as them and there was nowhere to dive into. Eventually a hole opened and I started swimming. All those people? A bit distracting. I didn't get into a groove until we turned around at the buoy. And I was surprised at all the people that I wanted to swim over, but couldn't get by. Me? Pass someone on a swim? I did the 500 m swim and the run across the beach in about 13 minutes.

Then I ran to my bike and hopped on. I swear it took me a whole minute to get clipped in. Then I was off. I started the bike conservatively, since I knew the hill of death was looming. At the base of the hill, I passed by Duane who was just starting his climb. I put it into granny gear and started spinning. And the hill sucked, but it was totally my bitch by the end. I even passed people while climbing, including three or four people who were walking up the hill with their bike. One girl zipped by me near the top, breaking my streak of never having been passed by a woman on the bike. So it was on. I crested and went down that hill, hitting 40 mph and then worked it that whole ride. That route took between 56 minutes and an hour the other two times we did it and I finished that 14 mile ride up in 49 minutes, taking out the girl who passed me along the way (we yo-yoed quite a bit). One other woman also passed me and I don't think I ever caught her again, so my streak is officially broken. But I probably passed 20 people on the bike, so being passed by only one is fine by me. But my legs were shot coming off the bike.

I caught up with Kori (who had started three minutes before me) in T2 and she left transition 30 feet ahead of me. The 5k was not fun. It was 85 degrees out and the sun was just brutal and we had to run over the hill of death in addition to plenty of other hills. Most people were walking up that hill. I decided that I couldn't walk, because I might not start running again. So I hoofed it up. On the way up, I passed the aformentioned Athena that I met before the race. I spent the entire race petrified that she would start booking it once she reached the top of the hill and pass me again. I had nothing left. Kori and I also yo-yoed quite a bit, but I spent the whole time looking over my shoulder for the other girl. At mile 2, she wasn't far behind me. But then there was another hill and I managed to increase my lead and keep it to the end. I'll say it again - thank goodness I was a runner first and mentally can handle hot hilly races like this. I finished the 5k in about 32 minutes, which would be a slow 5k for me if it stood alone, but I'll take it after all that.

My total time was 1:39 with transitions. I was hoping to beat 1:37, but I am okay with that. The best part is that they will print out a little slip for you with all your times right on the spot. Somehow I managed to lose this slip (I safety pinned it to my number!), hence why I don't have exact times. But they also give you your place in your division, so when I went to get my slip, I found out I came in second! Yay for me! They only gave out trophies for the first two people in the category and the other woman came in a minute behind me. I'd take a picture of my trophy, but my camera battery is dead.

I am surprisingly not as exhausted as I thought I would be. That doesn't mean I am not going to use this morning as an excuse to sit on the couch the rest of the day!

12 seconds worth of effort

okay, i will sneak my post in here before Danielle posts her own tri race report. [see, we are versatile in that if we cannot run the GRR course we can SWIM IT. or something like that].

the background is that i did an early season sprint tri in May and placed second in my age group-but awards were only handed out to the winners of each age groups. i lost by 12 seconds. there were a multitude of reasons this occurred, and i am giving equal weight to reasons 1 and 2:

1) i didn't train enough
2) a cop who could care less it was his job to direct bikers on the race course totally watched me go the wrong way until i pedaled back and said, hey, um, excuse me, is this right??? at which point he half tilted his head in the direction i was supposed to go in and i finally got back on track.

today, the top 3 people in each age group at this sprint/olympic [the distances were in between] received awards. i was number 4. i was 12 seconds behind the third place person in my age group. however, i can only attribute today's showing to me not going fast enough and also being too lazy to put my tieless shoelaces into my shoes last night.

i can also say that i really really really deserved fourth place. in my age group i was 4th in the swim, 4th in the bike, and 4th in the run. i mean, i am REALLY 4th. now that i write this i'm actually kind of alarmed...were there more than 4 people in my age group??? i will check and get back to you. [edit: there were 8 of us]

in shocking news, it appears i'm not too bad at swimming. in huge relief news, my biking is okay. it turns out the bike course i bombed in June [Olympic] was 8 trillion times harder than today's course and i averaged a more respectable for me mph (today ~18.2 as opposed to a ~15.7 at Mooseman) . and my running was average. i got hot.

from miles 2-4 into the run i did my usual internal chant of: NEVER AGAIN. NEVER AGAIN. i considered cancelling my registration for my 1/2 IM later this season. then i finished, chippered up, met some new potential tri club teammates, and headed home to do more LAW RESEARCH!! YEAH!!!!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Scientist envy and naked triathletes

I'm not properly psyching myself up for my tri tomorrow. I'm in my 10th month of law school in a row b/c I picked summer school over an internship and I have literally spent all day researching quarantine law. Can everyone please promise to voluntarily quarantine yourselves so we don't have to worry about laws mandating such things? B/c it would really free up my weekend. Thanks in advance.

My one triathlon-related moment today dealt with shopping for a new tri outfit. I was shocked at how short tri shorts are. I asked the store employee if the shorts were even effective for things like...I don't know...I just threw BIKING out there. He said yes, and that some women do tris in bathing suits with some padding or just bun hugger type outfits. He's right. I've seen those outfits-theoretically-but who would really do the triathlon essentially NAKED!?!? I mean, it would be good for tan lines (bad for skin cancer) but I can't see me competing in a sporting event in a trendy sports bra and bikini briefs. Um no. That type of outfit is actually the exact opposite of the one piece tri outfits (also not flattering) the store has. I went with what I had before-shorts (yes, the short ones, b/c of tan lines) and the one women's tri shirt in the store that didn't have a built in bra. B/c I like me the sports bra I already have instead of the fake ones they put in women's shirts.

Danielle, your research is at least OUTSIDE and you get to interact with other people. Who knew law was all about...reading laws. Le sigh.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

When it rains, it pours...

(Although in reality I wish it would rain as I can't tolerate this weather - it is too hot! Whine Whine Whine!)

The last week has been crazy.

Last weekend I did a 30 mile bike ride friday night. On Saturday, I did a 7 mile trail run in the morning, followed by a trip out to the Cornman course to do the 14 mile loop there. The hill of death was actually conquered on the first try. Don't get me wrong. It sucked the whole way. AndI kept thinking I wouldn't make it, but I spun it out in granny gear and made it up, swearing the whole way. Then we swam the course. There was lots of floaties, which I think might be goose poop. Yum! Then Sunday we did a 30 mile ride as well.

My legs were trashed after this weekend.

So I took three days off. It was nice. Although after partaking of July 4th grilling at WWR teammate Pete's house, I gained five pounds.

So I went for a 5 mile run this morning. I was going to test the no sock running for the last mile, but I thought I could feel the inside of the arch rubbing through my sock and decided that would not be a good place to get a blister three days before a race.

Now I have officially commenced freaking out about this race. There is a 9 am start. At 9am today, it is already 78 degrees out. And the high is supposed to be 94 on Sunday. Those last three miles of running hills somewhere between 10 and 11 am are not going to be fun. I think one benefit of being primarily a runner though is that I know how to tough it out for three miles. I have made it through hot horrible 3 mile runs. I have made it through hot horrible 10 mile runs. So mentally, I know how to deal, but that still won't make it fun.

Of course, I am also now freaking out about research stuff since we have to get something big done before Wednesday. So I worked yesterday and I may need to work this weekend, on top of 10 hour days this week. When I am not lying at bed at night thinking about how hot it will be on Sunday, I am thinking "How the hell am I going to deploy a 300 pound anchor from a 12 foot inflatable boat? Preferably in a manner that doesn't kill one of my undergrads?"

I also managed to almost destroy our meteorological station on Tuesday when some battery wires got caught in the lip of the canister where the data is recorded when we were closing it. We couldn't get data out of it and we opened up the canister again and this horrid burning smell emerged (yay for burning plastic). I came within inches of sabotaging my own research for summer and possibly delaying graduation.

But it was all good and the damages were only superficial.


Because I already broke another one of my instruments my first year in grad school and my advisor has me on klutz probation.

So I have been forced into an extreme taper this week, but it's all good.

Hoping for a cold front to come through before Sunday!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Greetings from the sidelines

While not able to run in any of the relays this summer due to injury and my stupid job, I am finally able to run distances greater than 2.5 miles without my knee hurting, so I guess when I say sidelines, I mean of the summer's races, not of running.

Work this summer is ridiculously stressful, as we're working on a proposal that is basically causing me to work 10-12 hours a day, nights, weekends, crap like that. I have found that the only thing that can clean the badness of work off of me is to simply run myself into the ground. I have taken up running until I hurt -- side stitch I can't get rid of, headache, dying of thirst, whatever. My only concern is if my knee starts to hurt, at which point I'd stop immediately, but luckily that hasn't happened yet.

I was talking about it with a girl that I have been dating for the last month, and she can't seem to wrap her head around why I need to "cleanse" myself with this pain. She's a runner, but hates to feel discomfort while out there. I am wondering if she thinks I'm using running in some impure way, but frankly, I have never gotten as much from running as I have in the last couple of weeks.