Thursday, July 30, 2009

Musselman Photos

Mom's camera worked. Yay! Here are a select few photos that tell the story of the day.

Getting ready to race.

Time to put on the wetsuit
Not as easy as it looks

Really, Mom, can stop taking pictures now.


Ta-da! Another yellow swim cap. At least I match.
The swim start

I made it out of the water and am headed for transition.

Made it onto the bike. That's my tush.

And there's my tush again.

I was actually out on the bike course.
Finally time to run. Yes!

When I finished I got one of those. The medal looks like two bike gears. Unique!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bike Karma?

What the heck is going on with my bike these days? Did Ms. Piggy do something bad in a past life?

Last night was the team ride at McKinley (named for the elementary school at which we park). This ride alternates Tuesdays with the Conte’s ride on the team schedule. Somehow last night was my first McKinley ride in the five months since I joined the team.

The ride starts at the school and goes down a hill to get on the W&OD trail. From there we go west and it is a simple out and back. At the end you have the pleasure of riding up (and down) the very steep hill on McKinley Road.

Yesterdays workout was: Bike 45' w/u (Z2), 1 x 3' hill repeats Z5a/b, W/D. If you’ve been paying attention, you may know that this means That the first 45 minutes were in HR zone 2, followed by one three minute session on a hill (when you get your HR into the very high zones – 5a & b – almost at your maximum effort).

I got out on the trail with a small cluster of teammates who were slightly faster than I. I have had some issues with my HR monitor lately (long story/saga) so I went without any gadgets last night. Thus, I didn’t really know what zones I was working in. It didn’t really matter and it was kind of nice not paying attention to that.

I felt great out there. I was having such a good time just flying down the trail. Not hammering, just cycling. Efficiently. I was really excited that I was keeping up without too much effort. I was probably outside Z2, but oh well. And then…..

About a mile or so after the turnaround I heard a clink, and then my foot came loose from the pedal. What the…..?

I wondered if I lost a cleat. Nope.

I stopped and looked down and was shocked to see my left pedal was completely gone. (Yes, it is pink. Surprised?)

Right: the speedplay pedal.
Left: the pedal with a shoe "clipped in."
Below: the cleat which attaches to your cycling shoe.

I got off and started searching and found half of my pedal. A couple of kind teammates stopped to help and we all searched for the rest. (Thanks, guys!) Eventually I found the other half of the pedal but the hardware was no where to be seen. Who knows how far back it had fallen off.

So there you go. Another thing to buy. And I'd be willing to bet that they don't sell individual pedals so I need to pruchase a new pair. I’m getting kind of tired of this. Plus I need to buy new goggles (see my last post).

It is not just the cost – though I am just tired of spending all of my income on triathlon. It is also the time cost. Ugh.

Tonight I was supposed to spend some time with Mom (who is in town until my sister decides to take her home) but now I guess she’ll get to experience another aspect of triathlon with me – the endless draining of the bank account known as shopping.

Ordinarily I love shopping, but not when I am re-spending money on something I already owned that I shouldn’t need to be replace.

Okay, I am done complaining now.

I find the whole thing pretty funny actually. I rode the last few miles with only one foot clipped in (aka Single Leg Drills – SLD – this will come up in a later post for sure). It was uh, interesting. [Maybe that's why my right hamstring is tight this morning.] I did have to stop and walk when it was time to climb that hill. Just wasn’t happening one-legged.

So that’s my latest misadventure.

If you’re interested, here’s what is coming up on the schedule. Already did the track workout this morning (20' W/U, 3 pickups, 2 x 800 Z4 R/2', W/D), weights this afternoon. Swim tomorrow morning and bike tomorrow afternoon. “Rest day Friday” can’t come soon enough. (I’m exaggerating a little. I’m actually doing well this week. Still… who doesn’t love Friday rest days?).

This weekend has a 14 mile run and 70 mile ride on the schedule. Obviously I’ve run 14 miles before. Not too big a deal. The ride, however, will be my farthest yet (I’ll be saying this a bunch in the next few months). But here’s the deal….

This weekend I’m a going to be a sherpa. I’m supporting the knight at the Culpeper sprint triathlon. Soooo, the schedule has gotten a little messy.

I’m planning to get the ride in on Saturday, which means I don’t get to go with the team. If anyone wants to join me for a long slow ride, I’d love the company.

As for the run, I’ll try to get it done Sunday. I’m not really thrilled to have to run in the late afternoon, but such is the life of a Sherpa. :) I’d love some company for this, too, but I will probably just crank of up the iPod and make the best of it.

One more thing. No, not a fundraising plea. Anyone notice the countdown timer there on the left? See what it says? As of today, 100 days until IM Florida. Yikes!

I’m happy to say I am not freaked. I am pumped UP after reading all of my teammates Ironman Lake Placid reports from Sunday – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am SO PROUD of everyone. Great job teammates! I can’t wait to feel the joy myself.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Musselman Race Report

Wow, thanks everyone. Who knew there was such interest in my race report. I’m flattered. Here it is. [I am currently picture-less. My camera died recently. If Mom’s camera worked, which is unclear right now, I will update this post with pictures when I get them.]

I also want to thank everyone who expressed support or sent good luck wishes this weekend. That was so awesome!!! :) All weekend long messages kept popping up on facebook and via email and it made me feel like a superstar. Of course, the gift of chocolate turtles was especially appreciated. (Boy were they delicious!)

Oh, and one more thing before I get to the report. HUGE thanks to everyone who has donated to Doorways through my website. We're more than a third of the way there thanks to you. Please help me meet my goal by donating $5, $10, $20 or whatever you can.

Without further ado, here it goes.

Musselman was my first ever half Ironman. I chose the race because of its location – it the beautiful Finger Lakes of upstate New York. My mom and stepdad, and step-grandparents live near Ithaca, so this was a great choice for some familial support. Mom has never seen me race, so I was really excited for her to see what it is all about.

Saturday Mom and I arrived in Geneva for packet pickup and the pre-race briefing. The briefing was excellent, though Mom thought the race director’s (RD) attempts at humor were lame, But I appreciated it. At one point he displayed a slide with the bike course map and said “For those of you going for speed these are the spots to look out for.” As he displayed the next slide he said, “For those of you going for a scenic trip….these are the wineries along the course.” (There were 18 wineries.) It was cute.

It was good for her to observe the briefing because it gave her a good idea of what to expect. That worked well for both of us.

Anyhow, here’s the nitty gritty of the day:

Arrived at the race site bright and early. The bike rack spots were assigned. I love it when they do that. So much less stressful. At my bike spot was a label with my name and number. It also said “Catharine, you’ve got 70 more miles in you.” And then at the bottom it said “Make Earl Grey and Pepper proud.” Those are my furbabies. I remember that the registration form asked for some unsual details. Now I know why. It was so cute. After the race I peeled the label off and took it with me.

The funny of the morning happened when Mom apparently tried to break into transition. Mom doesn’t exactly look like an athlete and she has some difficulty getting around. She was dressed in a button up cotton blouse, ballet flats, etc. As she tried to enter, the volunteer was calling to her, “Are you marked? Are you marked?” She was confused. Then he asked, “Ma’am, are you racing?” She just looked at him and said, “Are you kidding?” I wasn’t there, but I am told this elicted quite a bit of laughter from everyone around her. Way to go, Mom. :)

I once again planned to set up transition and then do a warmup. Lesson learned: Get there even earlier next time. I was just entering the water and was knee deep when they announced that the water was closed and that everyone must exit. Oops.

If you know anything about me and triathlons, you know that swimming is, shall we say, not my strong sport. I haven’t had much time to post lately, but if I had I would have reported that much to my delight I am seeing some big progress on that front. I'll write more about this soon. I promise.

The water in Seneca Lake was 69 degrees, so it was wetsuit legal. It was a nice beach entry, and we walked into the water to await our start. And then we went. I calmly swam along.

There were goggle issues. I won’t go through the details, but I need to fix this. Leaky goggles are no fun (the ones I opted to wear). Neither are goggles that are too tight (the ones I wore for a recent open water swim which made me think my head would explode. Any attempt at loosening just made them leaky). I can’t seem to get either pair to fit right.

So the swim got done. Around 53 minutes. Slow, but I’m not complaining. I did it. I swam 1.2 miles without hanging onto anything…or drowning, for that matter.

Nothing really to report. I took my time here. Hey, I just swam 1.2 miles. I was tired. Plus my shorts were all bunched up around the legs and who wants to ride 56 miles with bunchy shorts.

The ride was a good one. The course was as beautiful as promised. Hilly and very breezy, but nice. Many miles riding along farms and the Finger Lakes. My plan was to stay in zone 2 and to take in sufficient nutrition. I succeeded at both.

The course wasn’t easy, but I was in a good place mentally and physically. I felt good on the ride. My biggest concern heading into this race was what I’ll refer to as saddle issues. [TMI warning!] You may recall from previous posts that I don’t have a good relationship with tri shorts. It is bad enough riding 56 miles in bike shorts – with the cushy thick pad. However, tri shorts offer virtually no protection and I was frankly terrified of what would happen when I would ride so far with the equivalent of a flour sack between me and my seat.

Well, my tricks worked. A little shaving action (thanks for the tip, Jacquie). Lots of bodyglide and lots of chamois cream (Chamois But-r). It worked. Next time I need to remember to get my butt, though. So that’s what true saddle sores feel like. Ouch.

My time wasn’t what I hoped it to be, but I am pleased. I was happy and cheerful along the way. I drank a bottle of infinit over the first third of the ride, a bottle of water and some fig newmans and a gu on the second third, and another bottle of infinit on the final third of the ride. It worked out very well and I am really satisfied.

I biked in and saw my wonderful Mom waiting patiently for me to arrive. That was so neat.

Go figure, I rocked T2. I’m doing something right here. My time was in the top third. I’ll take it. Maybe I was just excited to go run. Or maybe I was just happy to be off the bike.

Normally, running is my strength. I would say it was true here, comparatively speaking. I got no where near my expected time for the half marathon, but I did it. More importantly, as I pushed through the final two miles I asked myself if I could do a full marathon. I determined that if I had to, I could have. Of course, I was quite happy to be finished at just 13.1 miles and there was no need to go further at that point.

The course was really nice. Through neighborhoods and downtown Geneva. It was lovely. It was nutty hilly. And there was a 1.5-mile stretch of road that was gravel - all uphill. I'm telling the truth.

There were a few musicians along the way as well as lots of aid stations with everything from Heed to animal crackers and cold, wet sponges. And wonderful, friendly, cheerful volunteers.

Like I said, I am not thrilled with my time, which was about 20 minutes off my best half marathon time. It just doesn’t matter, though. I finished this race with a huge boost in confidence for IMFL. I know I can do it.

My nutrition for the run was good but needs a little tweaking. I aimed for water at each walk break (at each mile marker) and a gel every 30 minutes. I think I missed one at the end. I was so hungry as I approached the finished line. I will work on improving this at the next half.

The post race festivities and spread were top notch. There was tons of fresh fruit (cherries, apricots, watermelon, etc.), pizza, cookies, and ice cream. Of course, I didn’t have much of an appetite at that point but I did force myself to ingest a little of this and that and a lot of water. There were also free massages…my favorite.

After the race we headed back to the hotel and then out for Chinese food. I forced myself to eat as much pork lo mein as I could manage, knowing I had lots of calories to replace and that I have a history of sleeplessness due to hunger following races and hard workouts. Oh, and I definitely think the egg roll was beneficial.

An hour or so later I was pooped and decided to head to bed. Except I just laid there, exhausted as the hunger set in. Ugh. Even though I had a cooler and a bag full of food (fruit, granola bars, trail mix, peanut butter, hummus and pita chips), I was queasy and nothing appealed to me. Nothing!

It was really tough. I forced myself to eat a fig newman, which just made me even more sick to my stomach. So I took a sleeping pill and fell asleep. I woke up 2 hours later - very hungry. I ate a granola bar. Three hours later, another snack break. It was not fun.

Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling too great the next day. The queasiness persisted, which was even less enjoyable since I was driving home that day, along with my Mom who was coming back with me for the week.

The good news is that physically I felt pretty good. No injuries. Some soreness in my quads and hip flexors (Coach Ed would be so pleased to know that I obviuosly engaged the hip flexors pretty well.) Toes on the verge of blistery, but okay. Pretty cool!

So my next project is figuring out what to do about the post-race nutrition. I know I've talked about this before and Ihave incorporated some of the tips you've shared. But I fell down on this a bit after the race.

Issues to work on: A) I thought I got enough protein/carbs post race, but I know I can improve on this. I probably should have had the chocolate milk (or a recovery drink) sooner that I did. B) What do I eat when I don’t feel like eating anything? I made a list the next morning, but after getting home and the same malaise set in, nothing on my list (shredded wheat, string cheese, Doritos, broth etc.) was appealing.

In any case, the race was a huge success and I think I made Earl and Pepper proud. This was an excellent training experience for me as I head into IM Florida in only 3.5 short months.

Next up: the Luray International Tri on August 15. Following that is the next half: Bassman on October 4. The big day is November 7: Ironman Florida. Dare I say I am looking forward to the upcoming races? Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ready to Go

Up super early this morning because I am READY to conquer it. It being my first half ironman triathlon - the Musselman tri. I am in upstate NY (Geneva/Seneca Falls) with my mom who lives up here. I'm currently eating a bagel and drinking some OJ as I wrap my head around today's task.

Strangely, I am pretty calm about it all. I am most nervous about the logistics of getting there and even more concerened about the impact on the day on my mom, who doesn't get around as easily as I do. She's a trooper though. The situation does serve as a good reminder that at a minimum I should be incredibly grateful that I CAN even endeavor to do a triathlon.

So here it goes. There is no written race plan. It is all in my head. Stay calm in the water, stay in zone 2 throughout (at least to the extent that I can given I can't seem to find a working HRM), have fun, practice nutrition, and get it done.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

IM Nutrition Plan

This isn't so much an update as a question for my fellow triathletes...

For those of you who are training/have trained for Ironman, can you please share your race nutrition plan? I'm still figuring out what to eat and when and would love some ideas.

Please post in comments or send me an email. I know everyone is different, but I just need ideas on where to start.


Monday, July 13, 2009

New look

Does something seem different to you? I hope so. Announcing my new blog look...thanks to Krystyn. I hope you like it.

I know it has been a while since I posted. I've been crazy busy lately. But don't worry, all is well.

Some quick notes:

** Piggy is back in working order. (Thanks again to J.R.!)

** Next Sunday is my first half ironman. I'm headed up to the Fingers Lakes in upstate New York. My lovely mom and stepfamily live up there. After visiting them in Ithaca I will head to Geneva to compete in the Musselman Tri. I am really relaxed about the whole thing...except when I am feeling panicked about it. Craziness.

** Need a tire changed? I can help. I became a pro in a matter of a few hours. Before leaving for the Conte's ride, my tube went south and it needed to be replaced. I was pretty impressed with myself for changing the tire lickety split. When I finally got to the ride, the woman riding next to me got a flat, and while we were trying to deal with that another woman walked up with a flat. It was something else.

** Work is nuts right now. I have two cases proceeding quickly through litigation at the same time.

** More posts soon. I promise. It is just crazy right now.

** Shout out to Es, Robin and Jason who rocked IM Switzerland yesterday. I am impressed and inspired.

Til later,


PS - I am really thrilled about the progress on the Doorways fundraising drive. We're almost a third of the way there. Will you please help out? Click here.