Sunday, December 28, 2008

Athletic tape & Andes...

This week had it's obstacles. Some beautiful, some annoying and some painful.

(Ice on the twigs I have arranged in the decorative planter on the deck)

More snowfall lead to paths & sidewalks again being blanketed. Which, in addition to the drifting meant it was to much to run through in most places. But, that did not keep me from running. It did however effect my ambition. Knowing that I would enjoy myself once I finally took the first strides & a good group of ladies waiting to hear about my next run(s) pushed me out the door.

A sense of adventure rivaled any qualms I had about making new routes while running on the very edge (gutter, for those of us who ride) of the road. All in all the limited amount of motorists I encountered obliged my efforts & moved aside. I followed the rules, running opposite the direction of the traffic so that they could see me approaching and I them. This served me well as the huff & puff of my breathing through the neck-warmer and the layering of hat & hood tend to muffle a lot of my hearing.

Strong pains in my lower abdomen that I assume to be gas since the pain tends to travel knocked me out at mile 2 of both of my 7mile routes this week. This has happened before. Like the snowy paths it was to much to run through most of the time. Slowing to a walk for a few minutes allowed the air to shift into a more comfortable spot so that I was able to pick up the pace again. Argh.

Whenever I hit a rough spot in training I tell myself that this is the best I might feel during a portion of an Ironman and that I need to learn to work through certain types of pain so that I can be prepared. Yes, I realize how silly this could potentially sound, but I never claimed to be entirely sensible now did I?

Friday was my chance to relish the opportunity I had to shed some layers & breathe bare faced in 30 degree (above!!!) weather. It hadn't hit me just how much weight I have been carrying in clothing on those sub-zero days until I was able to run without some of it. It was so freeing. I'm curious if it will make me stronger come summer when I am able to run in much, much lighter gear.

I was encouraged each time I arrived home and hopped online to check home many miles I had gone. Turns out weaving my way through the city finding what clear paths & roadside I could amounts to more mileage. :) I found a decent way to add another 2miles to my scenic 5mile loop. Something that will come in handy when I continue upping my weekly miles in preparation for the Fargo Marathon.

Soaking in a warm bath is one of the guilty pleasures I indulge in after a long run. Especially in the winter. Staring at my feet at the end of the tub I noticed a rough patch on the top of each of my ankles. Almost like a callus. I still haven't figured out why I have them, but let me say that taking a pumice stone to them is not exactly the answer. Hence the athletic tape. Lotion is a better approach.

Our board bag for the trip to Japan (only a few weeks away) arrived last week and of course pulling Betty out to make sure she fits in the bag with my husbands board (which is taller then I am) had me longing for the slopes. Since we had a buy 1, get 1 discount & knew that getting replacement gear for anything would be incredibly difficult abroad we decided to make an impromptu trip out to Andes Tower Hills yesterday morning to make sure everything was tuned up and in working order.

The 20-30 above temperatures over the weekend actually made the roads worse. Settling fog made everything icy. After totaling our other car in a storm on our way home from Bridger Bowl last winter,road conditions like this have made us both more unsettled then they used to. So we only stayed for a few hours before returning home. Seeing several cars in the ditch confirmed that we had made the right call.

Betty is getting old, eventually she'll have to be replaced, but it's like riding a bike every time I strap the board on for the first time each year. It's comfortingly familiar.

I enjoyed the 20 or so rides I got in. Andes is home turf for me when it comes to riding & it was great to share that with My Beloved. Yesterday I realized though that all of the trips I have been spoiled with in the mountains have made me disenchanted with runs that last under 2minutes from getting off the lift to the bottom of the hill. I tried going in the trees a few times hoping for some adventure, but while the snow may have looked like powder it was as heavy as a brick due to the melting & weighed my board down so much that I eventually came to a halt.

Next week Jeremy & I will be spending a few days over new-years in Bismarck. At some point we'll make our way to the small resort nearby & hopefully help teach a friend who is new to snowboarding.

I am hoping to get at least 10miles of running in before we leave, but we'll see what happens. I just might have to bring my gear with me and enjoy some new scenery on a run up there.

So far I am at 45miles for December (woohoo!!). I'm looking to finish off at 55 for the month. No rest day tomorrow. :) Should be fun!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Well, I've learned a few things since my last post. Some of the trial and error "stuff" to sort through, but such is the territory of winter running. Thankfully I haven't had a completely miserable run yet, which is quite remarkable given the temperatures & weather we have had.

Last week was strong for training. I logged 15.5 miles and am very happy with that.

Jeremy and I joined the morning run with the group at Dick Beardsley's last Thursday. Why they call it "morning" boggles me. That early is technically still night to me. Anywho, as it turns out I am the slowest runner in the 5mile group. If I want a running buddy I either need to speed up or join another group. I know attempting to catch up makes me run faster, which is good. But I've accepted that on these nights I will be primarily running alone. It was disappointing at first though. At least starting off and gathering later with people who share the same passion and effort is it's own reward.

I've reached the point that a 5miler three times per wk. is comfortable and something I look forward to. Eventually I will make the Saturday run a long run. For now I'm more focused on getting a run in. Period.

Moving on to this week,

When temperatures fall below zero you have three choices.

1.) Snuggle up with your down blanket & cup of hot cocoa.

2.) Hop on the dreadmill.


3.) Pile on a ridiculous amount of layers. Michelin style. Stick the ipod in the sports bra so it doesn't freeze up again & leave the water bottle at home. Again because of the freezing.

Since I have this periodic curiosity of what I can handle of the elements, I of course chose the third option.(I say periodic because nothing in my body wanted to leave the apartment yesterday to do anything let alone run.)

Today I ran in -5 degree weather for nearly 5miles. Finding a clear path was difficult after the wknd's blizzard & 40+ mph winds. The aftermath was beautiful, but I definitely have compassion for those plowing and hauling away the snow.

Given the right technical gear and proper layering I'm feeling very confident about running through the winter. My only regret is not doing it last year. No I wont be making any PRs in training and yes sometimes my eye lashes freeze together, but there is something invigorating about getting out when most people wouldn't consider it. The brisk air no longer chills me, it refreshes me. I was hoping to get a before and after shot of the ice build up on my face warmer and eye lashes, but it melted by the time I grabbed the camera. So ^ that's all I've got.

Tomorrow I get my ink retouched. There are a few spots in the solid area under the camel that need more filling in. Which is normal with that much solid area. Hopefully it wont effect my running to much. There is no avoiding wearing something over the tattoo this time of the year so I will have to be brave.

Once that is all healed up I will be able to hit the pool again. Something I desparately need to do. Most of the triathlons we will do this summer will be Olympic distance with one 1/2 iron (hopefully) in there. Right now swimming 1/2 mile wears me out, that has to change by June. I'm determined to swim the 1.2mile needed for the HIM. Lots of training leading up to that though.

As we near the end of this year I'm finding myself setting goals for '09. Trying to be optimistic and realistic at the same time is challenging. Staying focused on what is truly important gets even more challenging. My passion and drive for tris & running allows me to worship my God in a uniquely powerful way, but I also don't want it to become a distraction. Living actively is a gift. I just want to be sure I use it wisely & to His glory in whatever way He should lead.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Triathlete's Wife...

Being married to a triathlete and being one myself has incurred some changes in our relationship. Let me point out that most of those changes have been positive ones. In fact the only real downside at this point is the extra load of tech-gear that piles up in our laundry room each week & budgeting for gear, but that's a necessary evil.

Today it hit me when I opened up the parcel my Beloved said would be coming in the mail with a surprise for me in it that those sweet gifts we give one another when we feel the need to spoil just aren't the same.

For most married couples the husband's idea of gifting ranges from going out to buy flowers, a box of chocolates or some time at the spa. Not my hubby. He has always been an awesome "gifter" and yes I've been spoiled with all the things I listed prior, but now his gift ideas have shifted to tech. Technical gear that is.

These were in the box.... :) Don't pay any mind to how white my legs are. Please. Thanks.

They will last longer then flowers or chocolates. Especially chocolates. And I absolutely love them!

I haven't run in them yet. That should happen tomorrow, but so far just walking around the house has been very comfy in the Injinji socks. Adjusting to actual toe socks is a little weird, but I think I'll like it. If nothing else it will creep some people out. Can't beat NuWool either.

Other then that, yesterdays run was a bit difficult in areas. Most of the paths I ran on were covered in at least 2-3" with 6" in spots where the plow or drifting had piled up the snow. It takes a lot more leg work to keep sure footing and not hurt an ankle on the uneven surfaces. I am a little stiff today, but not to bad. Will definitely be using my new route again. It is away from the road & more scenic for about 3 miles of a 5.3 mile run.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Round two of the plague monkey battle has seemingly come to an end. I am no longer taking the Devil's Ju-ju to stop coughing long enough to get & stay asleep. All of the kleenex in the house has been used up and for now I don't feel the need to go out shopping to replace it.

Despite feeling incredibly lazy for doing so, I took advantage of every possible hour of sleep I could grasp. Judging by how I've felt the last few days it looks to have cured me. For the most part.

While I may have been sick that didn't keep my mind from longing for a run, pool-time, bike training, something. In addition to watching "Spirit of the Marathon" I at times this week found myself following the you-tube rabbit trail of Ironman clips. This is a dangerous trail for me. It makes my heart beat faster and has me tip-toeing the fine line of moderation.

In my more idleness physically, mentally it was a toss-up of trying to fit the training puzzle pieces together of how to make the best use of the winter months & still giving my body a recovery season. There is commitment and then there's having a sport become like a job. I know reaching the fitness level for the full marathon & Ironman will take a lot of commitment, time & sacrifice, but I'm hoping to train smart enough to avoid it becoming a drudgerous (That might be a word.) job.

This afternoon I put on what I felt would be the necessary amount of layers for a run in 5degree weather. It's still a test of trial and error, but today my gear was close to perfect.

I would like to introduce a new ( but needed) member to my already copious amount of jackets. No, it is not my desire to have my winter apparel be a cornucopia of Burton prints, but for a fleece-lined, wind-breaking jacket at only $20 I'm pretty "stoked". I was worried the houndstooth print would bug my astigmatism when running. Fortunately it didn't and as far as the technical aspect, it performed even better then I hoped. :)

My running performance however was in one word: Challenging. Breathing through a face warmer is kinda tricky and when my breathing rhythm is out of sync it really messes with my pacing. I wasn't so much concerned about time, I didn't wear a watch this run, but the time it took for the run to become comfortable could've been better. Once I reached that point it was a joy run though. Great views of the setting sun reflecting across the crystal frozen ponds in our neighborhood & the perfect instrumental techno flowing out of my ipod. Until the battery got to cold and it shut off. That was only a few yards from the end of my run though so I can't complain.

I will have to fill my water bottle ahead of time with warmer water so that the nozzle doesn't freeze up and probably put the ipod (if I use it, zen running is good too) in the pocket of my jacket for anything over 3 miles.

Hopefully I'll be back to 3 runs a week routine starting Monday. We shall see.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Ju-Ju...

This week can be summed up in the above image. View Large. (Yes, I play in photoshop when I'm sick & have free-time.)

Beautiful snowfall today has me excited to be able to run again, I might try tomorrow. Depends on how I'm feeling.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

General Cho...

Roughly a week and a half since the plague monkey first took hold of my body I have finally beat the battle against it. I think. Well, I hope. If I don't see another kleenex for a while, I am entirely okay with that. I've also decided that if satan had a flavor he would taste like cherry Nyquil. *bleck*


My new Mizunos arrived this week and all I can say is that I still love the colour of burnt orange & that I hadn't realized just how much my old pair of running shoes had been broken in. I guess several hundred miles will do that to a shoe. :)

Of course I spent every chance I had wearing the new arrivals in order to start the breaking-in process. So far so good. However breaking a running shoe in by means of walking isn't exactly what I had in mind. But when work has you tied down & a plague monkey topping it all off, you make due with what you can.

Today the Turkey Trot came and went without my participating in it. I did listen to common sense this time around. Despite an exciting PR at the Full Moon 5k I can't help but think that in the long run (no pun intended) it may have made my cold a little worse. I decided if I were going to run this weekend I would be smart & run at a comfortable pace with walk breaks if needed rather then hauling like my red hair is on fire throwing caution into the wind.

The increase in work has meant an increase in the budget for things like running gear. Thankfully I have a husband that is wholly understanding of the need for proper gear which meant a trip to DB's to get the insulated tights I mentioned needing earlier.

Growing up I thought the reasonable price for a pair of pants was anything under $40 and the once every two yr. or so $80 for replacement snowboarding pants (I had a tendency of catching them on barbed wire fences when snowboarding around the farm). Tonight I bought the most expensive pair of pants I own/ have ever owned and it didn't make me feel guilty. Somehow purchasing the necessary equipment to pursue this passion that brings me so much joy, keeps me healthy & strengthens my walk with the Lord isn't a meaningless indulgence. It's just what you have to do. Especially this far north when running outdoors gets chilly.

Now upon arriving home after our trip to DB's & dinner out with some friends I realized I had a problem(s).

1.) Way to much energy this late in the evening. (Thanks to two glasses of coke. Yes, I should've known better.)

2.) A shiny pair of new Mizunos & Brooks tights that hadn't been christened properly.

Hmmmm, what to do. The thought of going for a run seemed like the only logical thing to do and once such thoughts/anticipations of the run that awaits me come into mind there isn't much turning back. Unfortunately a good portion of my tech-gear was in the wash. Like my habbitual orange hat, wool socks, green fleece, black running top with built in mittens & the base layer I got on sale for $0.95 which I'm still not sure is meant for what I use it for, but hey it works.

While it was unfortunate not to run in my usual gear this didn't keep me from my aspirations of at least a 5k tonight. Monday seemed like a long time to wait. So I scrounged around in my closet and came out resembling a less then sleek ninja. Overall the gear wasn't bad considering. The new tights are very nice.

The first mile or two of my run felt like I was flying. All this week I've wanted to be out there & tonight I finally was. There is also something about seeing my running shadow that makes me feel faster. It also lets me know how wide my gate is and how the rest of my form looks, but that's beside the point.

Eventually I reached the 2.5 mark on my route which is where I need to make the decision of whether or not to continue onto the 5mile loop or call it quits at 3. The weather was beautiful, everything was still & only a gentle mist was falling so I chose to continue on. I'm still glad I did, but I had the same issue I've had on several evening runs of only partially digesting my most recent meal & feeling it. General Cho's chicken is phenominal, however not something I would like to taste twice so I did walk a section here and there to allow things to settle before picking up the pace again.

I maintained a 10:50 pace which I am content with. Every run does not need to be a PR. I was out there tonight to enjoy myself & test out the new gear. Both of which I did. It was a good 5miles. :)

Looking forward...for some odd reason the thought popped into my mind of trying to run 1,000 miles in 2009. That would mean running roughly 20miles a week which I'm not sure is doable in addition to tri training. That and I typically need a little over 5days after a race to recover well. It's something to think about anyway. Reaching the first 100 miles logged was a pretty big deal to me and I would like to set a goal for this upcoming year. Not so much as a resolution, but as another building block.

Monday, November 17, 2008


The results just came up on... for last Thursday's race and after a day of feeling partially miserable due to the lingering viral crud this made my day.

I've finally come under the 30 minute mark for a 5k!!!!!!!! My time for this race (with the plague monkey even) was...

Full Moon 5k- 28:54.63 ( that's roughly a 9:21 pace)

I gave the race all I had considering I was sick and now I can't help but be curious just how fast I will be able to run my next 5k healthy. Guess I'll know after the Turkey Trot. :)

That's all for tonight. Now I'm really looking forward to getting over this cold and starting training up again.

I'm off to kill the plague monkey with some Zzzs.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Full Moon 5k - Running with the Plague Monkey

After noticing a few white speckles on the back of my throat I decided to head to the Dr. Wednesday night. Two hours of waiting amounted to a negative test result for strep and the conclusion that there is nothing they can prescribe to cure the plague monkey illness.

I was then left to my own devices and tactics to battle said plague monkey which I must admit was a bit discouraging. There is something comforting about an antibiotic when you are ill. Perhaps it's the knowing that in a week or so everything should be fine instead of the viral crud that can linger on & on with no obvious end.

Being sick irritates me. Not that anyone enjoys being sick, but it actually makes me kind of mad. In my mind my body should work properly all the time and when it doesn't, argh. Thankfully I have a husband who can help urge me to do what is healthy. Like take a nap & stay hydrated rather then staying up looking grumpy.

Once my angst of being under the weather and fretting about the up coming race had subsided a tad I headed to bed at 9p.m. (stupid early for me.)

Some solid rest did my body a lot of good. I woke up feeling better, no great, but better. Good enough to race I thought & so I did.

Pulling in at Dick Beardsley's Thursday night was a little surprising. I assumed since the race was held during the week and in the evening that the turn-out would be limited. A full parking lot and glow-stick adorned runners pacing about everywhere proved me wrong. Seeing the anticipation of them all made me excited even though I may have looked less then enthusiastic outwardly.

Since my Beloved was busy I went to this race alone. It's a rare day that I participate in a race Jeremy doesn't so it was a tish lonely those 30min after packet pick-up before the race started. I visited with a few of the "Regulars" (people who we see at most of the races we attend.) and that helped make the time pass relatively quickly.

The start of the race was on familiar territory. I had the pleasure of running with the ladies group @ DB last summer & they use a section of this route. Despite feeling worn from being sick running actually felt good and I felt like going fast.

Common sense told me to play it safe and not make myself more ill by overdoing it, but since when do I heed to that? ;) Actually I behaved, for the first mile. After that I slipped into my tri-breathing rhythm and the haze the plague monkey has cast on me had me in an almost mindless running state. Imagine the slow motion first person eye-view of someone running that they depict in movies and that's about how I felt. The pace seemed a slight push above what I usually aim for, but I was okay with that.

White parchment bags with lit tea lights marked the finish line and as I rounded the final corner I could see them not so far off in the distance. A pair of runners around me said "lets hit it" and they did, but I held back knowing what distance I can cover in a sprint. Once I reached that point I gave it all I had left passing about six runners, including the pair that "hit it". :) Yay.

Unfortunately I neglected to check the clock to see what my time was when I finished. It's possible I may have come in under the 30min. mark, but I don't know for sure. Only after a few stretches and catching my breath did I think to peer around the corner and check. At that point the clock read 33minutes.

As I mentioned before race swag has high appeal to me. Especially when there is a raffle & great gear to be had. Much to my disappointment somewhere along the line I either wasn't informed or was unable to hear that attached to the bottom section of the race # bib was a tab you were to tear off and place into the raffle box.

It hadn't occurred to me to check what each of those tabs were for until I realize that the numbers they were pulling out of the box once the prize winners were being announced looked a lot like those on the bottom of my bib. Sigh. I blame the plague monkey.

So if you saw the only person in the packed DB Running store leaving during the raffle, that was me.

As it turned out the best prize was waiting for me at home. There is nothing better after an evening run in the cold with the plague monkey then to crawl into an already warm bed, snuggle up with your sleeping Beloved and to catch some much needed rest yourself.

There are a few lessons learned about running with the plague monkey. Such as...

1.) When putting kleenex in the pocket of your running fleece remember to place (not fold) them in. Otherwise you end up pulling out a handful of them all jumbled together instead of one.

2.) Hearing anything on the loud speaker when surrounded by chattering runners and congested sinuses is impossible. Look for the person with the microphone & try to read lips.

3.) It's really difficult to cheer other participants on when you sound like Gonzo & clapping is mute with your gloves on.

Overall not bad sacrifices to be made in order to participate. It's certainly a different mindset to approach a race with, but I would consider racing when under the weather again if the need arose.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pre-registering & Post Nasal Drip

Last night I decided to drop off my registration form with fee at the running store before my Beloved and I went out on our date.

The free sock incentive (in addition to the tech-shirt) for the first 100 pre-registered participants had me hooked. I'm a sucker for race gear I don't have to pay for, but when I woke up this morning with a sore throat & a copious amount of sinus drainage a degree of regret settled in.

It seems there is some sort of correlation between pre-registering for a race and my being bit by the plague monkey. This is not the first time this has happened.

I'm hoping that taking tactical measures in beating it will work. Tea, Colloidal Silver and Kleenex have come to my aid. If I'm not totally knocked out I still plan on racing. It's only a 5k I should be able to handle it. Even if it involves snot breaks. Eww, I know.

As a side note, blowing your nose takes a little more thinking when it's pierced. I forgot this morning and almost tore it out. Ouchie.

I'll keep you posted on the plague monkey progress or lack there of.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Temps & Tights

After a dismal start to some sort of training regime this month I finally pushed myself out the door for a short 3mile run yesterday. Continuous rain, piles of work, a healing tattoo that even tech shirts stuck to and a handful of other excuses had been hindering me prior.

Thus there was no gentle transition from the 50+ degree weather to the 20s. Two weeks of laziness on my part equaled 30 degrees of acclimation. Sigh.

Since I spent the better part of last fall and winter on a dreadmill (as the TE ladies refer to it) I am determined to acclimate myself to the cooler temps this year in an effort to avoid hamsterity. As much as I enjoy running towards a wall while watching interior design & remodeling shows, there's no comparison to hitting the pavement or trail.

I knew becoming comfortable with the cold would take some time, but after the first mile I had adjusted to it and to the fact that someone other then my husband & fellow runners had seen me in my running tights.

There are certain things you accept when you become a runner or triathlete. One of those things is the performance of your tech gear coming before your vanity. There are athletes out there that can make these articles of spandex look elegant. I am pretty confident I am not one of those people. And that's okay because running well, unhindered by slapping pant legs, is more important to me.

If I can continue to drum up the ambition to get outside and run I think training this winter will be a lot more enjoyable. It may take a few additional pieces of cold-gear for it to be comfortable, but such as it is.

Thursday I will be running in the "Full Moon 5k" put on by The Dick Beardsley Running Co. Finally race that is in the evening. I'm looking forward to it! There's a chance to win some of the cold-gear I need so we'll see what happens. Maybe I'll win something other then a tacky coaster this time. ;)

As to the remainder of this week: My new Mizunos are on their way and I'm excited to get them.

I have a pair with speed laces on them already which I love. To think of all the time I lost tying shoe laces part way through races. Going back to traditional laces for anything, but the Filthy 5k (when I wear my yucky shoes anyway) just isn't much of an option. Now I just need to decide which type to use on this pair. It's another case of function before fashion. :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Genesis 24:58

Today I did something I've been thinking about and designing for roughly two years. My first tattoo. It is an honor to mark a piece of the Lord's work in my life on my body.

Did it hurt? Sometimes. Overall it was more irritating than painful. No near tears. It was worth it.

The reason behind the design comes from Genesis 24, the story of Rebekah and how she came to be with Isaac. The man leading Rebekah on the camel is an example of the Holy Spirit. In verse 58 Rebekah is asked a pivotal question that would change her life forever. "Will you go with this man?".

This question has transcended into my own life in a very real way. There are many times in my walk with God where I am asked will I continue to follow His leading or not. I pray I always have Rebekah's answer, "I will go."

Now for how it applies in a physical sense... most people who don't run marathons or do triathlons say "I could never do that." For most of us it's not a question of can, it's a question of "will you". That is where the inspiration for the gears came from.

I plan on going as far as the Lord has set out for me, in spirit and in body. :) This tattoo is a symbol of that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What came first?

Saturday night I went to bed chilled. The special kind of chill that tends to stick with me most of the winter months.

After a beautiful autumn ride that morning the thought of snow hadn't really occurred to me. To be honest I was more excited about my running tights fitting over my bike shorts and
contemplating the warmer gear I'd need for the next trips out on Tangerine.

Come 4 a.m. Sunday morning I had different thoughts. 50-60 mph gusts were thrashing against our apartment hard enough to wake both Jeremy and I up. Uhg.

We checked the bedroom windows to make sure they were completely closed and locked.Sometimes they whistle like it's more windy outside than it actually is, but such was not the case. It truly was that windy. The sleep following that initial stir was fitful.

What we didn't see on our window panes when we checked them earlier is what we woke up to later that morning. *Snow*

The sight neither excited nor disappointed me. Which is odd. The prospect of strapping on my board and wanting more time on my road bike collided. Usually snowboarding rivals quite a lot, but this year it is different. I realize now that I have a problem, which isn't actually a problem at all: Too many passions.

By noon the dusting of snow we received had melted. More time to ride, my bicycle. For now.

With snow already having fallen you'd think that the trees here would be barren and the grass a dull shade of green, but the cool weather seems to have brought out the color.

Here are a few photos from the path I typically run on (taken today).

As to the start of this week, Yesterday was another attempt at Pilates. It gave me a headache again. Which either means I'm forgetting to breathe or not doing the exercises right. I'll find out soon enough. Classes are three times a week so that gives me plenty of opportunity to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

Other then that, Jeremy and I have been feeling run down so far this week. Unfortunately that's not from running, but more than likely some bug going around. We are doing our best to take it easy. I shoot a wedding on Saturday and need to be healthy.

Again another conflict of passions. Sometimes work trumps training. No complaints. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Architectural "Art" Meets Boulder Holders

Today I had the chance to shoot some engagement photos downtown. While I driving around looking for spots I was surprised to see the array of bras strung together draping from rooftop-to-awning of the Hotel Donaldson. It was both hilarious and in an odd way beautiful.

Just thought I'd share the shot. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Red River Run - Race Report

Yesterday Jeremy and I participated in the Red River Run. (He did awesome!)

Last year it was a beautiful race course along the river with autumn colored leaves scattered everywhere. So, when I found out that the course had to be moved due to flooding this year, I was a bit bummed.

Winter is undoubtedly on it's way and I'm cherishing what is left of fall. Fortunately, the new race course was just as lovely. Unfortunately, the camera battery went dead before I could capture it. But, here are a few shots we got before then...

Why do I look like a bandit/convict?

1.) Because I can.

2.) Because there is a costume contest at this race.

3.) This is the only reasonably priced costume I thought made sense to run in.

Did I win the contest? No. But I did get a tacky coaster with a road-runner painted on it. :)

Obviously my toes continued to heal throughout the week enough for me to run. To my knowledge this is the last longer distance race of the year in this area so I was really happy to be able to run the full 15k.

In comparison to the other races this season the attendance was sparse. Decent turn-out with 222 runners, but when you spread them out over a 5k course and a 15k there aren't many racers around you.

It was a quiet 9.3 miles which meant a lot of time alone (good prayer times) with only my internal dialog urging me onward. I don't mind races like this, but from the beginning I was somewhat worried that I may not be able to find a fellow runner to pace myself with & that my time would be poor because of it.

Much to my surprise I actually ran faster averaging a pace of 10:07. Giving me a total time of:

Red River Run 15k


I guess my mental stamina and physical determination are stronger then I realize. I certainly wore myself out, but it's an awesome feeling finishing the race to the sound of your husband cheering you on & knowing that you held nothing back. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tougher than nails, well toenails...

Thanks to the lively crew at Beyond Running here in Fargo I have some fun video from last weekend's Filthy 5k. This clip is at the last and most slick mud hill on the course just before the finish. I'm (in the orange jacket) at about minute 7 on the video if you'd like to watch me claw my way up, but it's just as entertaining to watch everyone else try too. :)

At the start of the race they instruct you to just enjoy yourself (which I did) and not expect a PR because of the terrain. Judging by the standing water in the grassy areas, I knew that the ground on the woodsy part of the course wasn't going to be pretty. I was right, but they were wrong about the PR...

2nd Annual Filthy 5k 30:01:74

One of these days (hopefully this fall/winter) I will drop under the 30 minute mark for a 5k, but for now I'm just excited that with each foot-race I've done so far this year my pacing has become faster and faster.

Anywho, The Filthy 5k lived up to it's name this year. So much so that they had to cancel the water truck they had scheduled to spray down the course (see I knew they had been scheming). As it turns out the continuous rain showers we had all week did the trick.

Jeremy and I arrived early giving us some time to scope out the new course route and visit with other racers as they arrived before the race began. For some reason a few of the ladies there missed the memo about it being a "filthy" 5k and you could see the apprehension on their faces as they contemplated getting their nice white shoes and pretty tech-gear all muddied up. As for me I was ready in my ever so sexy (HAHAHA!) running tights and old shoes that are 1/2 sz. too small.

After the Mustache contest had taken place we all lined up at the start for what would indeed be an interesting race. (What racing and mustaches have in common, I still haven't quite figured out, but it was a laugh anyway. I was tempted to compete.)

Most of the trail ended up being single file with a few wider sections for we faster runners to make our way around those running at a slower pace. Overall it wasn't as crowded as I worried it may be considering the race numbers went from 42 last year to 125 this.

What felt true to me last year held true this year. I absolutely love trail running! Even when it's so wet along the trail that your shoes make lovely farting noises from stride to stride. It was difficult to keep my pace and not walk any portion of it, but I managed to hang on until the final mud slicked hill that involved some crawling. My heart-rate maxed out at the top. After a few deep breaths I was able enough to slowly & feebly sprint the final 500ft. Whew!

At the finish I was awarded with the best medal I've gotten yet. Soap on a rope! :)

Like Jeremy said in his blog post, this is a race that we will mark in our calendar a year in advance so that we are sure to be around for it. It's a blast.

Thanks again to Beyond Running for putting together another fantastic race this year!

In other news:

I was able to fix what was broken successfully. My camera and memory cards are now functioning properly thanks to a new card-reader. Please note *If your compact flash cards come up as DCII instead of DCIM on your computer and all the files are corrupted/unreadable then the card no longer works in your camera, it's probably something wrong with the card-reader. Such as bent pins or something along those lines. Unfortunately getting back those images might not be possible ( Such was the crud in my wknd) but at least it doesn't mean buying a new camera body.

And: The pain that I woke up to at 4am Sunday morning from an ingrown toenail on my left foot has subsided enough to allow me to continue running. Finally! I was able to get a 6mile training run in yesterday and while there were twinges of pain here & there it was manageable. I probably wont get a pedicure when on vacation again. I can't help but think that it was because of that, that I got the ingrown toenail to begin with. Since I have started to feel the same pains starting in my right big toe it makes me suspicious. Epsom salts, rubbing alcohol, tweezers and a good nail trimmer are so very nice.

We'll see how the rest of this week turns out. Hopefully/Prayfully my toes will continue to heal so that I can still run the 15k on Saturday. If I ended up only running the 5k or shooting the event that's *okay*, but certainly not my preference.

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Filthy 5k Race Report (preview)

The Filthy 5k on Saturday was without a doubt, Filthy, not to mention a blast. My weekend however went from mud to crud. More about that later, but for now I'll post some "dirty" photos of Jeremy and I. Enjoy!

Now I'm off to try to fix what's broken. Hopefully with success.

And here is today's art project. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Preparing to get filthy...

One (of many things) I appreciate about Fargo is that regardless of the season and/or weather there is always some devoted athlete out there running.

Before I started running I never noticed them, but like one who is on the hunt for a new car or camper, once I started looking I see them everywhere. Even when I'm not making a conscious effort to do so.

A good friend asked me this week where I derive my desire to keep lacing up the Mizunos' and get out there.

I'm fortunate enough to run for no other reason than that I love to. This does not, however, mean that I am immune to the struggle most of us runners face. Mornings are the weakest portion of my day, 15-30 mph winds aren't something I bask in and some days it's physically uncomfortable if not painful for me to run. I still need inspiration and a nudge to get moving too.

For now, I doubt that, that need will dissipate. And for now, more than likely for always, I appreciate the encouragement of my Beloved and the other runners I see in this city day-to-day inspiring me to keep going. Thank you!

Yesterday I made a stop downtown to drop off our registration forms for The Filthy 5k at Beyond Running (Great shoe/gear shop if you haven't been there yet). They were excited we would be there. How could we not? Last year was a riot.

Something did cause me some concern though. I was told to bring an extra change of clothes to switch into post-race. This sent my imagination into over-drive contemplating what sorts of mud puddles and booby-traps await me on Saturday. Yes it is supposed to rain, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the crew has been brainstorming up a plethora of dirty ideas.

What did I expect? This is a race that hands out awards to the runner who ends up the filthiest.I'm entirely too atwitter about this. :) Not to distracted to get a long run in, in preparation for the 15k I found out the Red River Run (Next Saturday) has in addition to the 5k though.

The half-marathon/triathlon base I have been able to build this spring/summer has come to my aid more then I expected it to. I know I can cover the 9.32 miles, but after scaling back the distances of my training runs since the Dick Beardsley 1/2 would it still be enjoyable?

Much to my jubilation after hammering out 6.12 miles in 15mph wind & 25ish mph gusts yesterday I am confident it is well within reach. It was a great training run despite a slight stomach ache from running mid-day shortly after eating lunch and a stiff headwind on a portion of the course.

It looks to be a promising start to the fall race season for me. :) w00t!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Beach Blisters & Returning to Autumn

Since returning from the two weeks I spent in Florida I have been low on ambition. Readjusting to the normal routine of housework and training has been difficult. I left 80-90 degree temps with high humidity to come back to 60 degree highs and falling leaves. Harsh transition, my lungs are still acclimating to it all. But I'm starting to regain my drive again. Thankfully looking forward to upcoming races (one this Saturday and another next wknd).

Before I get to that, here's a recap of what I neglected to write about while on my trip...

The thought of giving up precious space in my suitcase for running gear was a bit of a new concept to me. My how my mindset has changed since a year ago. Now I must admit that I am somewhat proud of the fact that what I am most jazzed about when future vacations arise is the opportunity to train in a new exciting location.

These are just a few of the views I was blessed with in my time along the golf.

As I mentioned earlier running in Tallahassee was a challenge, but after four runs through the neighborhood with steady improvements I was happy.

My 5th and final run was by far the highlight. However the scenery was different.

The sunset and sand fence shots are from the beach along St. George's Island where I had the delight of running Sunday morning at sunrise. It was stunning. Running barefoot along the shore with the surf brushing over my feet, listening to Third Day playing in the one ear not pointed toward the ocean and listening to the waves crashing in the other was surreal. I pray the Lord's creation never ceases to amaze and give me joy like it did at that moment.

Half way through the run I realized that my index-toes were hurting. I reasoned that away figuring perhaps they had gotten a bit beat up by the fist sized seashell that got kicked around between them a mile back. When I returned to the Inn I realized that when untrained running barefoot and on sand leads to one thing(well technically two)....


Ouch! After draining both and super-gluing one shut (hurt way worse then getting my nose pierced) I was, okay. That didn't keep me from fretting about the sub 10minute "lay-overs" I had on my flights returning home the next morning. Walking on them caused twinges of pain, I wasn't in a hurry to experience the pain of running through the terminal from gate to gate. Fortunately a good nights rest and open air did a lot of good and as you can tell I made it home just fine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lost In Tallahassee...

T-minus 7days until I am reunited with my wonderful husband. I miss him for many reasons one of which is being able to share our training adventures with one another at the end of the day.

Today was the second 3-4 mile run I set out on since I've been in Florida and the first time I've ever been officially lost during one. Tallahassee is a lot more "hilly" than I'm used to. Already knowing how the hills around the neighborhood felt, I decided to do my route in reverse today hoping that it would be a bit easier.

A few miles in I somehow managed to make a wrong turn and didn't notice until I encountered something unfamiliar... speed-bumps. Apparently Spanish moss covered trees and brick houses all look the same to me when I'm focused on form. At that moment I wished I had gotten myself a Garmin Forerunner when Jeremy got his so I'd know for sure that I wouldn't have to retrace my steps up the hill I had just speedily come down. To stubborn to turn back I pressed onward. A good choice, but my journey did lead me to a Hwy. Some time in the ditch due to a lack of wide shoulder on the road was involved. Eventually I made my way back only adding 10 extra minutes to what I had allotted. Not bad.

Next time I'll pay better attention to where I'm going. Running faster to get to an area where you can sort out where you are just messes with your pace. hehe.

In an effort to combat bad eating habits and to become more healthy I have started to cut all refined sugar and corn-syrup out of my diet. 5days and counting. It's been tough.

I picked a difficult time to start. Everything in the south is delightfully sweet and I want cake. What isn't southern has corn-syrup. Fruit & nuts and 100% juices are the closest thing I get to candy and pop. I think the longer I am able to hold out the easier it will become. A good dose of self-discipline has been really helpful and the encouragement of my Beloved who is in the same boat.

Other than the oily skin and occasional headache, I feel healthier, not sure how much of that is mental, but time will tell. Perhaps the next time I have a hammer gel at a race it will give me a buzz. :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Just a quick photo before I go for those of you waiting to see my nose piercing. See mom, it's not that scary. Most people don't even notice. :)

Tomorrow I set off for a two week trip to Florida to help out my Beloved's family while his aunt has open-heart surgery. Not a fun circumstance for the travel, but I am looking forward to running in a different state and spending time getting to know that side of the family. I will let you know how it goes, maybe in blog from Tallahassee.

Kind of wish I could bring the Tangerine. I was able to get a 20mile ride in Friday though to make up for our time apart.

Anywho, I'm off! Time is fleeting.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Going Back to Where it All Started- Dick Beardsley 1/2 Race Report

While the fall is technically the start of our running season, 1/2 marathons aren't easy to find in our area so this Saturday I found myself in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota racing my final half for this season. How fitting that it was on this very same territory that I ran my first road-race ever last year.

Last year I could not run the entire 5k, yes I completed the race, but I needed to walk certain sections. I remember when I finished hearing a small kid ask his mother when dad would be crossing the finish-line and mom responded "Your daddy is running more than 3x this distance.". The thought may not have sunk in for the boy, for me however, it did. The idea of completing a 1/2 marathon seemed impossible then.

Fast-Forward twelve months and here we are. The Fargo 1/2 proved for me that it is indeed possible not only to complete 13.1 but to do so without walking. Saturday proved for me that it's possible to push myself to go even faster.

Dick Beardsley 13.1 Total Time: 2:17:10

I was blessed enough to share the car-ride out to the race with My Beloved's family. Jeremy's Dad, Grammy & Grandpa decided to give up part of their weekend to be part of my cheering squad. :) Thank you guys!

We arrived at the pavilion with plenty of time to spare. I hadn't pre-registered so I wanted to be sure to allow myself some wiggle room. Turns out I stood in a shorter line than those who had pre-registered. Kind of felt guilty about that.

A quick visit with my friend Heather who was also running the 1/2, some applying of sport shield (the best thing ever) and a trip to a porta-john then we lined up for the start. It was a little tight with a lot more people this year. I'm not sure on the exact numbers, but it seemed like the number of runners doubled.

Everyone finally quieted down for the pre-race National Anthem before the gun went off. It was a bit nostalgic. Good to see so many people show respect for our country though.

The start of the race was about what I expected. A challenge in balancing my adrenaline and finding a pace to lock in at. Since the 5k, relay and 1/2 marathoners all start at the same time I looked for the blue bibs we 1/2 marathon runners had to help give me an idea for pacing. This worked. I knew I was running faster then the 11:20 per mile I did for the Fargo 1/2, but it felt maintainable so I just kept with it.

Eventually the 5k people split off and I found myself evenly paced with two kind college-aged men, a vibrant woman and a first time 1/2 marathoner. These people would become my comrades for the remainder of the race. I was so thankful to have them there when I started hitting walls.

Mile 6ish was one of those walls. The previous miles felt fantastic. My body was doing everything as it should. After tackling one of the largest uphills on the course I was starting to feel the pace having it's toll on my body. One thing about doing triathlons is that you realize what it is possible to run through. Coming off of a bicycle my legs usually feel like crap until I get the kinks worked out. Figuring this part of the race was similar to that I took my hammer to the wall and started chipping away. Successfully.

A friend called me on my cell around mile 8. Yes I carry a cell-phone when I run, just in case I need help and it isn't readily available. It's a tiny phone and fits well in my tri-top. In a very breathy voice I told her I was running a 1/2 and would have to call her back. She responded, "I know! We are here to cheer for you!". What a boost! They met me at the finish. :)

Come mile 10 I encountered another wall. Everything in my body wanted to slow, but I knew I was ahead of schedule by what one of the Garmin wearer's in the group had mentioned so I started to really fight to hold my pace. Cheering on other people takes the focus off of myself, so that's what I did. It distracts me and encourages them. We appreciate each other's effort and continue on.

The group spread out after that. The two ladies and one of the men progressively made their way ahead over the course of the last few miles & I found myself alone after a water stop (I didn't take) put me ahead of the remaining guy. From then on it was focus on finishing strong and completely my own race. It was tough, but I knew I'd be all smiles with my final time.

Considering my legs were mush the last three miles I'm pretty stoked with the sprint I managed to pull off at the finish. My cheering squad and seeing a woman gaining on me as she sprinted in my peripheral vision inspired me. Alas I was done and I was fast, for me!!!!!

Sprinting my buns off! Ugly expression, but I'm not there to be pretty.

Crossing the finish! Two good friends just under the red balloons. :)

Heather and Me.

What I thought would be a laid-back race with a slower pace than Fargo's ended up being one of this year's highlights and by far one of my best. I learned a lot about myself during it by embracing the fatigue and holding it close until I passed the final timing pad. Knowing I am gaining mental and physical "toughness" really makes me feel like I'm building well for a future Ironman.

My legs are stiff today, stairs hurt and so does getting up from my chair, but it was worth it. I dropped my overall pace from the previous half's 11:20 to 10:28!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Trail runs and Toddlers....

Since my last post I have had the joy of going back to my old "stomping grounds" and savoring a few training runs in preparation for this wknd's half-marathon.

It had been a while since I had run anything over 4-5 miles so I decided to get a long run in early just to make sure I was still conditioned enough to make it the full 13.1 come race-day.

I picked a familiar route that I used to think was a long way, on a bike. Seeing that it is merely a 7mi. loop I laugh at that logic now. The terrain was a mix of pavement and loose gravel with a lot of rolling hills. A challenge, but one I was excited to embrace.

A thunderstorm the night before had brought the balmy temperatures down which I was glad about. I usually keep a $1 tucked into the small pocket of my running skirt just in case I get low on water during a long run. Unfortunately being that the only nearby store is 7miles opposite the direction I was running, my only remaining option would be filling up my water bottle in a pond or lake. As much as I would like to think myself the "woodsy" type I'm not sure I'd do it. Maybe fill the bottle and pour it over my head in hopes to cool my core body temp. Anywho, cool temps = less to worry about & no opportunity for beaver-fever.

At the start of the run I tried not to react as our somewhat red-neck neighbors watched me pass, following with their eyes every stride I took with this look of pure confusion on their face. I know running out in the country isn't as commonplace as it is in the city, but enough to constitute this? I think not. Maybe it was the skirt.

As the miles passed I settled into my distance pace. It was comfortable, I was uncomfortable because of chaffing (first timer, now I understand why the rest of you hate it so much!), and other then the slight headwind with at times the sweet aroma (blek) of cow dung accompanying it I really enjoyed the run. Loose gravel was a bit of a hassle though.

A few days break and I was headed to Maplewood State Park to meet my sis & bro-in-law along with the kiddos for some swimming and a picnic. Seeing this sweet face....

made it hard to head off for a short trail-run before unloading the car and meeting them at the beach. I have the cutest niece ever!

The top photo is a snap-shot of the trail I followed for the first 1.5miles. It eventually narrowed to a single track endowed with a fair bit of horse poo, but overall the scenery made it well worth the occasional awkward footwork to avoid it. I love trail running, it feels so much faster than running on roads. Perhaps it's the lack of cars passing at 30+ Mph. Not knowing where the trail was headed and wanting to get back to the lake (it was 90+ degrees at this point, thankfully with 35mph gusts to cool me off) I ran across a grassy field to the road I entered the park on. The asphalt was hot, but I did my best to cling to the edge where there was some shade. Little over a mile later and I was back.

Windy days tend to annoy me, my hair even when "secured" flies all over and it's hard to get a still shot with the camera, but this was an exception. The breeze off the lake was awesome. So was the time with family. :) Thanks for putting up with my training regime!

I took one last short run on Wed. managed a really good pace which I was pretty excited about. Some concern over my ankle was undue. It was a bit sore, more than likely due to uneven terrain on the previous runs, but it didn't bother me on this run at all. w00t! Dickbeardsley 1/2 I'm ready for ya!!!

A few more noteworthy things I must mention...

1.) The bed I slept in as a kid isn't nearly as comfy as I remembered it being.
2.) Ibuprofen may cause me some cramping if taken close to the start of a run.
3.) & most importantly, I love my husband and am looking forward to his return from the sailing trip tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lakes Country Triathlon- Race Report

Confession: before breaking down the data I was feeling somewhat pouty/discouraged upon first viewing my times from this race which made me less ambitious about sharing them with you all. Now that I've gotten over that....

Swim- 21:45 (1/2mile)
T1- 2:02
Bike- 1:06:13 (17 Miles)
T2- 00:42
Run- 40:55 (3.9Miles)
Total- 2:11:37

Getting to Baxter, MN in time for packet pick-up and body marking meant being on the road at 4:30 a.m. Ouch. Thankfully what sleep I did get was solid. The drive there was beautiful. Cold morning temperatures lead to stunning fog lifting off of the lakes that seemed to blanket everything around us. Other than the risk of being hit by a motorist due to reduced visibility, I would love to bicycle in fog like that. Maybe sometime this fall.

Once we arrived it was readily apparent that this race was larger in attendance than any of the other triathlons we took part in this year. That only added to the excitement & opportunities to drool over more pretty tri-bikes.

Jeremy's dad helped us unload and took pictures as we went through our ritual of laying out transition gear and checking tire pressure. After that we headed across to the beach for the usual pre-race meeting in which we used the time to "test" the water and visit with a few of the guys we've gotten to know from other races.

Swim- My Beloved was in one of the beginning heats so I stood on shore shivering and trying not to worry about how far the buoys were out there until the ladies 35 & under wave was ready to go. As the minutes passed I started to realize I was hungry. Bummer, I had made the mistake of eating breakfast too early on the trip over. At least I had shot-bloks waiting for me on the bike.

The gun went off and I positioned myself in the best spot I could find. Closer to the middle then I would have preferred,but it was okay. For about the first 1/8 of a mile I was struggling to find a breathing pattern and getting focused. Feeling the weeds that had been churned up by the other heats getting caught around my neck as I swam didn't help. On the upside being in the water and actually swimming made the distance of the buoys seem a lot more attainable.

The swim was tiring, the ladies almost petting me as they passed was weird & the weeds were annoying, but alas I made it. Woohoo!!! I can swim 1/2 mile in open water. :)

T1- The pirate flag Jeremy got for us was perfect for helping me spot our transition site. As I headed over I could tell that I wasn't going to transition as fast as last race, but that was to be expected given the distance of the swim. The idea of shot-bloks never seemed so appealing. I popped one in my mouth and headed out for the ride.

Bike- Within the first few pedals outside of T1 my shot-bloks went flying. I hadn't placed them as securely in my trip-top as I thought. Hearing the packet hit the ground made my stomach cry and freak out the riders around me.

After that the ride felt decent and I was able to keep at a good clip until the soreness I had felt in my hip earlier last week started to nag me and send a few sharp pings down my thigh. Between needing fuel and the muscle cramping I knew my hopes to hold to the 17.5 average I had kept last weekend just wasn't possible this time around. It was disappointing to see so many people pass, but I didn't leave anything on the table and still managed to pass a handful of people
on the uphills.

T2- On the way into T2 Papa Rick was there shooting pics with his spiffy Nikon and cheering me on. This lifted me up. All I can say is a huge thank-you to Hammer Nutrition for donating the raspberry gels (the backup fuel I almost didn't set out) to this tri. Another great t2 and I was off to the run.

Run- It was a bit of a slog at first. Always is until your body decides that, yes, those muscles truly do exist and you can use them now.
A 1/2 mile in I met up with Jeremy and we cheered each other on. :) Once I reached the firstmile mark I took the gel figuring it would settle best then. It tasted awesome and helped energize me. Eventually I locked into what I felt was a maintainable pace and despite my right toes thinking they needed to curl their way under my foot (Yeah, that was a wee bit painful) I was able to hold to it. Toward the end of the run two deer came out of the woods and ran beside me for a few yards. That was unexpected and delightful.

Finish- I didn't kill myself sprinting like a mad-woman this finish as I typically do. Honestly, I didn't have the energy. I definitely picked up the pace though and was able to finish strong.

As I said earlier, I had hoped to have a stronger race to end this tri-season. That being said I'm still thrilled that I was able to accomplish as much as I have in my first year of participating in triathlons. They were three great races and I enjoyed them all. Each one for different reasons.

What's next? Well, foot races are just starting for us now. I head to my hometown tonight and plan to do a 7mile training run tomorrow morning in prep. for the Dick Beardlsey 1/2 marathon on the 6th of Sept.

As a side note: I'm sure there will be some fun photos of this race to share once my hubby and father-in-law get back from sailing and I'm able to upload them from his camera. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Young Life Triathlon - Race Report

This Saturday Jeremy and I competed in the Young Life Triathlon.
After several solid training runs & a few great swim sessions last week I was feeling pretty confident going into it. Some self doubt began to settle in later Friday night when I started to over-think the open water swim. I did what I could to distract myself by focusing on other things like making sure we had all of our gear ready to go. That seemed to work. Once everything was laid out &/or loaded we crawled into bed savoring what sleep we could before the alarm went off.

I woke up to the sound of my alarm, the backup alarm, going off. On race-day my alarm means two things, #1. Jeremy set his on the m-f setting again & #2 We still have enough time, just not as much time as we would've liked to get everything situated. No big deal.

We arrived at the race pavilion only 15minutes later than planned, not bad. I got in line right away for packet pick-up and body marking then headed over to the transition area which was already getting crowded. To be expected with both the sprint & olympic distances sold-out I guess. I picked a spot as close to my Beloved's as I could and got everything laid out in it's proper spot before heading down to the beach for the pre-race meeting. Lots of spandex there.

Swim- 14:58

Seeing the buoys laid out ahead of me in a straight line wasn't as intimidating as I thought it would be. Watching the elite & men's heats go off before me was helpful. It definitely seemed doable. Once the gun finally went off for my heat, I was ready. Knowing that I am a slow swimmer I stuck to the back so that I wouldn't end up kicked and punched by other more fish-like swimmers trying to make their way around me. I did my best at sighting to avoid collisions, but after watching two women ahead of me collide pretty badly I started alternating from free-style to breast-stroke depending on how crowded the area was and how tired I felt. Overall the swim went really well. I only got kicked once and I never felt over-exerted.

T1- 1:37

Running out of the water I knew I was in for a bit of a rude awakening. My legs felt like lead, but I tried to brush it off figuring it was just the transition from the body positioning I had in the water to that of standing up. A few squirts from the water bottle to clear the sand from my feet enough to slide into my shoes, then snapping on the race # belt and my helmet and I was off on the bike course.

Bike- 36:28

Anxious to see just how much I could gain on the bike I hammered it from the start. Probably not the wisest of ideas, but being a sloth in the water only makes me want to go fast once I get out of it. The first few miles my legs continued to be less than cooperative which slowed me down a bit. I shifted from the drops to the hoods several times trying to adjust/find a more comfortable position. By mile 5-6 I was starting to feel revived again and locked my focus onto another woman I wanted to catch up to and keep pace with. I knew how to climb the uphills and take the most advantage of the downhills which allowed me to pass several groups of people and catch up with my intended "target".

I managed to maintain a 17.4 mph average. Woohoo! Yes, my road-bike rocks.

T2- 0:32 (Yes, really)

Practicing how to get off my bike & run into transition efficiently really helped this time around. It was smooth and effortless. After removing my helmet, racking my bike and grabbing my bottle of Gatorade I was off on the run. (In hind sight Gatorade is a post-race drink for me. It's just way way to sweet during a race but, I wasn't able to fuel much during the bike so I took it anyway.)

Run- 30:28

The start of the run was what I expected. My quads weren't there, but that's just how it is. I kept telling myself that now is the time, the finish is near and that if I let myself take a walking break it would be hard to find my stride again. So I kept on, trying to push myself to keep running and go faster. As it turns out that worked remarkably well.

I eventually found myself gaining on a woman who I could tell was running low on ambition /energy. Being that I'm a cheering fool, I told her to keep it up and that she was doing well. As I passed I could hear her whining about wanting to quit, but I knew when she slowed then hurried to catch up to me repeatedly that she was to stubborn to actually do it. It made me smile. We traded racing banter for a while until I rounded the corner and saw/heard my sister, bro-in-law and the kiddos there supporting me. Beyond them was the finish. I felt strong so I hammered it yet again sprinting faster and faster until I crossed the line. It's crazy how much people cheer when they see someone sprinting across the finish-line. I'm usually pretty tapped out for energy by the time I reach a finish, but there's something about that line only a few hundred feet away that instantly energizes me enough to sprint like a mad woman. It was a great finish.

Finish- 1:24:01

Overall my body felt a lot less in tune as it was back in May when I did my first race. I had hoped to feel more physically fit this race as I had trained so much more for it, but it didn't work out that way. I did my best to hide how much that discouraged me until I got home and could actually take a look at the results. Upon seeing those I knew why. In every area I was faster than I felt. :)

It was indeed an awesome race for me. I'm looking forward to this Sunday (The Lakes Country Triathlon in Baxter, MN) where I can test myself yet again. This time with longer distances. w00t!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I'm Not Fat, Just Hard to Kidnap.

Despite a busy schedule this week I managed to get some good training sessions in. More would've been nice, but such as it is.


I had hoped to pound out a 4mile run. From the start I ran the fastest mile I've knowingly ran since grade school. That's right, a smokin' 9 minutes. It was difficult & exciting. Feeling like I wanted to toss my breakfast and stomach cramping afterward is what cut my mileage down to 2.25 miles, one of which was walking. My suspicions are that I ended up taking the Hammer gel at the wrong time and without enough water when rushing out the door. The annoying part about fueling is that it can be trial & error and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between your body rebelling against what you put it in or just you.

When I arrived at the I.P. pool later that day I was met with a swarm of young boys. With that many people in the pool they weren't going to rope off lanes for lap swim. I was not amused yet decided to still pay my $2.65 and give it a shot. Having to dodge families that drift into my lane is one thing, but over 100 adolescent boys with very little adult wrangling is another. Upon observing them I knew two things instantly...

1.) Picking a lane away from the wall to avoid being jumped on was a necessity. Boys have less regard for personal space (their own and those around them) and self preservation than the rest of us.

2.) They are delightfully odd at ages 6-10. Especially in groups.

None of them complained when they got kicked or struck by my down stroke & they never really moved out of my way to let me pass either. Overall no complaints decent practice for what it will feel like being surrounded, kicked and struck by other swimmers during the Tri next weekend.

Thursday & Friday

Work and rain put a damper on those two days. Not the end of the world because I knew Saturday's ride was coming up and that I would have rested muscles going into it.


up at 5am has never come easily for me. Saturday morning was no exception. My eyelids protested yet my stubborn will persevered. There are indeed times when being stubborn is a good thing. Just not many.

Seeing the sun rising to illuminate the hill- side and the fog that hovers over the lakes usually wakes me up enough to put me in a proper riding mood by the time we reach the starting point of the loop. The route has become known as "Around the block" in the cycling community
. Ironic, but surprisingly accurate given that this is rural Minnesota.

The beginning of the ride was a bit of a struggle. It had rained Friday night and some of the road shoulders weren't completely dry yet which caused wet gravel to be kicked up by my tires into the spout of my water bottle and onto my spandex clad rear. Uhg.

Road kill and rumble strips are not my friend. Braking to let Jeremy pass before swerving around them myself causes confusion and kills his momentum ( a precious commodity on this route). Lets just say learning to communicate with my Beloved in the context of cycling is a learning process.

Once those quirks were worked out I was able to lock into the rhythm of the ride.

That initial monster of a climb was still a monster, but I made it up what is this month's "Everest". Some summoning of every once of will I had and my heart trying to beat it's way through my sternum was involved. Successfully though, which made the rest of the ride seem less arduous. It was a marked improvement from last weekend. I'm proud of that.

A vagabond holding a cardboard sign at one of the street lights on our way home made my day. Which says a lot given that I'm pretty focused on two things (a nap and food) when we are nearing home after a hard training session. His sign was brilliantly witty and he appeared joyful just in making people laugh. The first fold explained his situation. A vet, not lazy, just needing help. Will take any work. And the next fold "What's the best part about dating a homeless woman?...You can drop her off anywhere." and the next, "I'm not fat, just hard to kidnap."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Run, The Ride & The Radiator...

The latter part of last week was a bit more eventful then planned.  Allow me to elaborate.

Thursday morning's run felt smooth & fast despite the heat. Listening to sermons while I run helps the miles pass and keeps me fueled in other ways.  I have been trying to build my base back up so that I'm able to do the Dick Beardsley 1/2 Marathon in September.  It's been a slow process as of late. Since the Fargo 1/2 I admit I've been slacking off when it comes to running  and  focusing more on swimming & biking. It's still a challenge  finding a balance in training between the three sports.

I decided to forego my swim on Friday as I was helping a couple paint their new apartment and figured it was better not to go into Saturday's long ride with a stiff neck from turning to breathe like I typically get. Skipping a swim session was a tough decision, but a wise one I think.

Saturday is when all the excitement happened.  The alarm clock went off at 5:15ish bright and early giving us just enough time to fill our water bottles & jersey pockets  full of what we would need for the ride.  We still ended up forgetting a few important things like the camera & the "Oh Crap" kit, but overall not bad considering how early it was.  After loading the bikes we were off to Pelican Rapids.

Upon arriving via Toyota to our designated starting point, Jeremy noticed that the heat gage on the car was way up and upon popping the hood we noticed that the radiator had formed a hairline crack (steam billowing up/out) & the coolant was completely gone. Bummer. Being as it was only 6:30 a.m. at this point we knew that there wasn't much we could do. Repairs shops hadn't opened yet and nobody sane would be up at this hour on a Saturday.  So what does one do until then? Flog themself up one hill and down the other over & over again until the 20mile loop is complete.  Of course. :)  It was awesome!

Fargo's only "hills" are the incline after an underpass and the dike by the river I used to sled down as a kid. Needless to say not much hill training here. For many years I have somewhat loathed the athletic legs some would swear I was born with, but the more I train the more I appreciate what they can do. Such was the case here. Other then the first monster ridge I noobishly (sp?) geared up at the start of the ride I was able to climb much better then I had anticipated.  It was a tough, but very enjoyable ride one I'm looking forward to tackling again this Saturday. Hopefully with no more car troubles.

Three things I learned this ride...

1.) Some roadkill can't be identified, but it's always fun to guess. 

2.) My husband smokes me on the downhills not to mention looks fantastic in his bike shorts.

3.) Bladed spokes really are bladed.  See...

And to finish it up, so far this week I have biked 18miles and swam 800yards. Swim went pretty well yesterday and the commute downtown to Salon Why to get my hair cut today felt great. Almost wiping out after my tire slid into the weed filled crack in the street, not so great.  

Before & after pics of the hair to follow.  My tripod is in the car & I can't get a decent picture of the back without help.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Commuting & Bib "Art"

This morning while my orange flavored Hammer Gel settled I was debating whether to do a short run or ride. Knowing that I would be swimming this evening and that I had errands to do I opted for a ride on The Tangerine. It was a short 4.25mile jaunt to and from the bank with a stop to drop off my Beloved's lunch at the office and another to pick up the makings for dinner tonight (Chicken salad, Mmm). Surprisingly it was actually easier getting to my bank via bicycle then it is in my car and the strange looks I received from the Tellers as I rolled up to the drive-thru made the errand much less ho-hum then usual. :) I love commuting.

Yesterday's "Digging" for race results left a pile of bibs sitting on my kitchen table. As a neat freak I knew I couldn't let them stay there for long. Which brought to mind the idea Jeremy and I had thrown around last year of connecting our race bibs and hanging them as "art". I'm not sure what to think of it yet, but I am guessing that seeing the bibs will encourage me to get out there and keep training.

It is super simple to do and you've already got the safety pins to attach the bibs together should you decide you want your very own "bib art". I just attached the top two bibs to the wall with push pins, it was easy and the land-lord wont have a fit.

Here is how it turned out...

As for the rest of my day, the IP pool is calling my name. Upon putting together a log of the training I have been able to do this month I was disappointed most of all with the amount of swimming I hadn't done. It's no wonder I'm so slow.

After an intimidating first real open water swim (last month) I've felt the weight of needing to push myself harder and harder in the pool. No more stopping at the wall for breaks. The remaining triathlons for this season all have OWS so I will need to learn how to do without the crutches I have gotten used to propping myself up on. Polyester, Spandex, Silicone & Chlorine... here I come!

If only a decent lake were closer then 30+miles away.