Tuesday, June 29, 2010

just let me whine for a little..

I have not been in a very good mood today.

I did not sleep well at all yesterday.

I am worried to a ridiculous degree about what I am going to do for wheels at Lake Placid.

I feel like my life is going to be moving at the speed of a snail for the next month. I don't like this. I am incredibly impatient and I prefer things to happen NOW!

I am nervous about the Ironman. There are potential distractions in my life which I would welcome but they are not happening fast enough for me and it just annoys me more!

I probably just need to calm down!

Anyways, I am done whining (for the moment anyways). Sorry!

I have to go to a friend's wedding reception on Saturday (he and his wife got married already). Yesterday, I pulled the dress out of the closet that I want to wear to the reception. I am not really a dress-wearing kind of girl. I wear lots of casual skirts in the summer, but never dresses. So I hadn't put this dress on in 2 years. And now.. it's WAY too big on me. It's just a strapless sundress but when I lift my arms up (emulating my sweet drunk-girl dance moves) it falls completely down. Luckily it came with detachable straps (I prefer to not use the straps but I think I am stuck with them this time!). So even though I have lost absolutely no weight at all, even with all of the Ironman training, I am definitely leaner. Because that dress used to stay up!

So I will be wearing my too-big dress & flip-flops all while going to this wedding thing without a date, which I should be used to by now! I just got an invitation to another wedding in August. Can someone save me from these things?

I think I will feel better when I am off of this night shift. I am supposed to work evenings next week but our building is on shutdown (they shut the factory down for a week to do maintenance) so I get to work days. I will be on 3 consecutive weeks of days! YAY to getting my 9:00 pm bedtime back! Also I have Monday off for the holiday weekend!

What I need to do is focus on what is happening in my life right now and try not to worry about things that are happening in the future, things that I want to happen, things that end up stressing me out, etc.

Think positive thoughts! At least my weekend pre-Ironman suffer-fests are in the past!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tinman race report/weekend shenanigans

Warning: This is going to be long. If you are interested in Part A: Tinman race report, read on. If you are interested in Part B: weekend shenanigans, read Part A and then read Part B. :)

Tinman Race Report

I took Friday off from work, which really meant I took Thursday night into Friday morning off so I was able to sleep like a regular person and not a vampire on Thursday night. I arrived in Tupper Lake at around 1:00 maybe? Picked up my packet, ate lunch and dinner with my parents, got my bike cleaned up and my gear ready.

Saturday morning I slept in til 5:30 am (that's great for race day!). I was at the race site by 6:30 am and got situated in transition. I forgot a towel to set my stuff on so my dad came to the rescue. I had to ask a random chick in transition to bodyglide my sunburn because my tri top was chafing it like crazy! A bunch of us discussed the ghetto-ness of this triathlon (bike map drawn in crayon, sections of the run going through sand pits, etc). I thought it was funny - I hail from Redneck-land, PA so really, it's pretty typical to me. Also, Tupper Lake (the town) is pretty crappy. Sad, but true. There were lots of Canadians there, and the weather was PERFECT for race day - chilly and cloudy.

I was in the first wave for the full Tinman (there was also a sprint). It was basically everyone under 30, men and women. We were standing in the water for 10 minutes waiting for our wave to go off and it got incredibly cold. I was just ready to get going! They finally started it and it was like swimming in a crowded public pool. People were swimming in the completely wrong direction. People were breaststroking after 30 seconds! There was a very small amount of chop, nothing crazy AT ALL but apparently, this was enough to really freak some people out. It took several minutes for me to get out from amidst the denizens of my swim wave. Once I got out, I was great. I was pushing the swim harder than usual because I tend to slack off a little in the water, and it shows.

Swim: 34:05
T1: 1:37

Transition was per usual. Had some trouble getting my Garmin around my wrist. They held a bunch of us up at bike out to let traffic go by. !!!?!?!?! This annoyed me. But I'm over it. I got going on the bike and immediately there was this crazy guy riding in front of me. Actually he would sprint past me, slow down and then I would pass him back. This KEPT HAPPENING. And then he dropped his chain and came to a stop in the middle of the road. He literally ALMOST took out 3 of us (including myself). I would mock him for the chain drop but I won't, and you will see why in a second. I felt like I was going too fast because my stomach was doing flip-flops, so I eased off a little bit. I started eating/drinking after 15 minutes. I dropped my favorite water bottle about 10 miles in.. it just slipped right out of my fingers (I went back later to find it but it was gone :( ). I finally settled into a pace. I hit the first 20 miles in an hour. My thoughts were "oh god Mary is going to KILL me for riding this too fast." I think I've averaged over 20 mph in 1 race ever, and it was Finger Lakes Tri in '09 where I went nuts on the bike and blew up on the run. Didn't matter. I was in a rhythm and I couldn't back off. The course was full of rollers, which I hate, so the entire time I was going back and forth from my big chainring to my small chainring and my bike was not shifting well..... and then I dropped my chain. So apparently this was my first time on a bike. I dropped a bottle AND my chain; the 2nd required getting OFF the freaking bike to put the chain back on!

At this point I will proudly proclaim that I was finally able to PEE on the BIKE! I am iron now, bitches!

I pushed it through the rest of my bike terrified that I was going too fast. I was scared at how bad the run was going to hurt.

Bike: 2:49:05; 19.9 mph (holy shit)
T2: 1:16

I racked my bike, changed my shoes, grabbed my shit and got out of transition. I love T2! This is where Mary's pacing plan pulled me through. Mary says that I stare at my Garmin too much. I do. If my Garmin says I have a slow run, I feel yucky. If my Garmin says that my heart rate is too high or too low, I feel disappointed. Sometimes I go to look at my Garmin and I'm not even doing anything that would require a Garmin (and it is not actually on my wrist). *Insert pervy Garmin/HR monitor during sex joke here* Heh. My Garmin strap smells so bad it probably could be an extension of my flesh. I will stop here. Mary removed the Garmin-watching from the race. I was REALLY good about it on the bike (I snuck a peek occasionally at my bike computer to check distance). I went totally by feel and tried to push it but leave a little in reserve. Per Mary, I was to ride at a pace that if my mortal enemy (Voldemort??) came up next to me, I could go with them but not drop them. I interpreted this as: I will bike this like I bike an Olympic distance race, just for longer.

I started the run and checked my watch and was shocked at the time. I was calculating possible finish times in my head (which were WAY FASTER than my personal projected finish times).

I know how I mess up my run. I do it every time. I feel GREAT off the bike and I start running like crazy. I was running 7:50s. I can run 7:50s in an open 1/2 marathon. But not in a 1/2 IM (YET). This is where I do need the Garmin - because I feel like I am running easily but in reality, I'm going too fast. I slowed it down to ~8:30 pace. I wanted the first 4 miles to be my slowest ones. Every time I saw that my pace was 8:00 or faster, I jogged. I wanted to run the half marathon intelligently because I WANTED that PR. Miles 4-7 I let myself run a pace that I felt was natural to be racing at. I felt great. I started to pick it up at mile 7 and this is where I started passing people. I caught a woman that had been sucking my wheel like crazy on the bike. At mile 11.. it started to hurt, but not any sooner. 2 miles is nothing. I can manage 2 miles of pain, even if it is up a long horrible hill. I HTFUd it in. My mental calculations had me hoping for ~5:15. In reality, I finished in 5:16:24. This is a 24 MINUTE PR for me. 5:16!!!!!!! (I'll take it). Last year I finished Musselman in 5:40 flat. BIG IMPROVEMENT baby!

Run: 1:50:23; 8:15 min/mile

5/15 in my AG
18/?? women

After the race I hung out in Matt Kellman's beer tent. He passed me on the run and called me Alexis (I will let is slide haha!). He had a SMOKIN' fast time of 4:39. Mark Shaw was there with a finish time of 5:17 (Mark Shaw and I always have very similar race times - it's kind of freaky) and some guy named Gibby, and I still don't know who he is. My friend Brett passed me on the bike, and he ended up with a 5:03. I went to the bar later with Brett! I drank 2 beers! OK maybe I drank 1.5 beers. But whatever.

I guess what I need to take away from this race is to trust my abilities!

Weekend Shenanigans

Sunday I woke up early to drive to Placid and ride 1 loop of the bike course. I rode with my rear Zipp wheel in order to test out the 12-27 cassette which I plan to using during race day. I was still riding the high from my mega badass PR on Saturday.

I was having a great ride! The weather was beautiful, as was the scenery. I descended Keane and a guy caught up with me on 9N. He thanked me for leading him down the descent. We rode together and chatted. His name was Rob and he is from Louisville, KY and is doing IMLP for the first time. We were on the out-and-back section of 9N when I started to hear a funny noise coming from my bike. I shifted a bunch of times and couldn't get it to stop, so I got off to check it, and there it was - was a huge wire STICKING OUT of my rear tire. The tire that was on my Zipp. OH F*%#!!

I can't change the tires on my Zipps. Yes, I know that's lame. And yes, I can change a tire. But the Zipps are awful. I can do the entire tire changing process but I can't get the last 3 inches of the tire back onto the rim. I was worried about the solo ride in Placid with that 1 wheel all weekend for just this reason. Luckily, I had my new friend Rob. It took 2 tries (the first ended up with a pinch flat) but he changed it for me. I was ready to bag the ride and hitchhike back to Lake Placid when we got it to hold air. He went on his merry way and I turned back to try to get done before something else happened to my tire! I made it back (skipped the out and backs though), but when I got back to Rochester, the tire was flat again!! Other than that, I had a good ride of the course! My car currently smells like stinky feet.

I drove 40 mph for 43895348975 miles to Syracuse, where I stopped at Ultra Adam's house. We went to dinner and then we watched Ironman Kona 2008 which he apparently DVRed 2 years ago. Yes, this is what tri nerds do. (He also has like 10 other IMs saved in his DVR and now I want to watch ALL OF THEM!). Ultra Adam is training for Ultraman Canada which makes a regular Ironman look like a nap.

Speaking of naps, I could really have used one when I got home, however I had to come home from Syracuse, shower, and go into work from 11:00 pm - 7:12 am. So the nap had to wait!

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm a cookie MONSTER!

Well it is 7 am.. I would typically be leaving work in a few minutes however I had last night off! I am heading back up to the Adirondacks this weekend to race the Tupper Lake Tinman half-iron and then ride a loop of the Placid course on Sunday. I sent Brett (the guy who suggested riding the course in the first place) an email when I got back from training camp last weekend that said that I would definitely be riding the course. He replied back, "One of two things: the Placid course is either tame enough that you think you can tackle it after Tinman, or hard enough that you think you need it in preparation!" HAHAHA definitely #2 buddy! Anyways, I'm going, he might be going, either way - it's gonna be fun!

I got invited to Matt Kellman's beer tent after the race. I may have to accept that invite! :)

Yesterday I got all of my stuff ready. I took my bike into Park Ave BS and Alex put my Zipps on and did a derailleur adjust for me.. THANKS ALEX! I'm basically packed. I do have to go eat a pancake breakfast before I head out and unfortunately, I could not find anyone to go with me (it is Friday..) so I guess I am going alone. And actually, I don't like pancakes so it's going to be a french toast breakfast for me!

Mary sent me my race plan yesterday. Then she sent me an email 3 minutes later telling me that I could ignore the chicken in the "eat pasta with chicken for lunch" comment (I am a vegetarian). Haha! Thanks Mary, I was getting ready to dive into a bucket of KFC when I saw that 2nd email! She also sent an email out that it is good to snack on things like pretzels and fig newtons the day before a race. Oh ok, so Mary said it was ok to eat cookies? Well, they're not chocolate but at least they're COOKIES! And then I proceeded to eat half the box.. YESTERDAY. I love cookies. :(

I'd better get going. Single girl diner breakfast for 1 is waiting for me. Hahah!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

the surreal life

I have had some time to ponder about my experiences at training camp. The bike course is hard. I must admit it put some fear in me. Not fear that I can't do it (I know I can do it), but fear that I won't do as well as I would like. I think I am going to have to add some time onto my (secret) time goal in order to make it realistic.

On a positive note, I am not worried AT ALL about my 70.3 in Tupper Lake in a couple days. The entire half IM is going to take less time than 2 loops of IMLP bike course. I am going to go to Lake Placid the day after Tinman and ride a loop of the bike course again. I would do 2 loops, but I have to work Sunday night and just don't have enough time. I think I will have some company for the ride - another Rochester triathlete that is also doing Tinman. It was actually his idea, but after riding the course and discovering its challenges, I want to see it again! I want to learn everything there is to know about that course so I have no surprises on race day.

Training camp was kind of surreal. I felt like I was lifted out of my life and plunked down in the mountains where my only purpose was to train. Even though I was only there for 3 days, coming back to my job, my messy apartment, and my responsibilities kind of sucks!

Ironman is 4.5 weeks away.

I am in a weird mood today. I slept for most of the day. I was basically a zombie at work last night. Thank god we didn't have anything challenging to do. I was nauseous, exhausted, and by the morning I had the shakes and probably couldn't have told you my own name. Even so, I somehow managed to run a spectrophotometer test on a sample (which I had to do a double dilution for) and ended up with 0% error between the 2 replicates. Although last week I was well rested and working days and I tried to clean the screen of my calculator with acetone and melted the top layer of the plastic screen - so I guess I do dumb things when I shouldn't and I do quality work when I'm 75% dead.

When I finally got home at 7:30 am, I took sleeping pills (I know, bad idea). I just couldn't face the thought of ANOTHER bad sleep considering I barely slept at training camp. I basically slept from 8 - 2:30, dragged myself to DiBella's to get a really early dinner, and then slept from 6:30 - 9:00, only to have to get ready for work again.

Thinking about training camp makes me smile. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lake Placid Training Camp: Things I Learned

DISCLAIMER: I am very tired and had to go right from this training weekend (where I got very little sleep) into an overnight so please disregard any misspellings, grammatical errors, or sentences that just don't make sense.

I will rewind and get to this weekend in a second. But I arrived back in Rochester at around 7 pm on Sunday and called my dad to wish him a happy Father's Day. He then asked me about my weekend and if I learned anything good. I told him, "I didn't really learn anything, but I did ride a lot!"

But now that I think about it.. I may have learned a thing or two.

Swim: ~1.5 miles
Bike: ~140 miles
Run: ~15.5 miles

Rae and I left at 7 am. We took our sweet time (AKA missed a turn and went way out of our way) getting there. Everyone slowly arrived and I met a bunch of new people/teammates. We rode for an hour and swam for 30 minutes. I saw the infamous "cable" that people use to sight in Mirror Lake. I SWAM IN MIRROR LAKE!! Kim and I did cannonballs off of a dock. I was feeling good! We ate dinner. Mary got drunk and then I watched her lube her bike chain and demonstrate the TRX drunkenly. I saw Kim mount her bike in her underwear and a t-shirt. I learned the turns on the bike course for the next day.

For the record, there were TONS of triathletes in L.P. Everywhere you looked there were tri bikes, people in spandex, aero helmets. It was awesome!

This was the big day. This was the day where I got to test out my fitness level, nutrition plan, and general ability to NOT blow up on the bike course. I am going to give my personal perspective of the IM Lake Placid bike course (it may differ from others because my strengths/weaknesses are individual to ME!!).

We all left between 7:30 and 8:00 from the hotel. I was planning on riding near Kim, but.. I got dropped very quickly. This was probably good. I needed to ride the course at my own pace and not Kim's pace. The course is super easy (navigationally speaking) - it's basically 3 left hand turns with an unknown out and back section (unknown because currently a bridge is out on the legit out and back section). 1 loop = 56 miles so the course is 2 loops. The first half of this course is ridiculously fun. There's a climb (Mary calls it Jackrabbit Hill) but since it's early on it's no big deal. There are some false flats that I honestly didn't even notice on loop 1. There is a beautiful view of a lake off to the right before you hit *the descent* into Keane. I was terrified of the descent. It's ~10K of downhill where there are curves in the road and crosswinds. It's where Travis E. crashed last year during IMLP. I was riding scared! Turns out, this descent is WICKED fun. There are 3 sections and the hill levels off after each section of downhill so a controllable speed is easily maintained if that's what you're going for (which it is - I am not going to bomb down a hill and risk dying). Then there is a sharp-ish left hand turn onto 9N which is super fun. Pretty flat with some easy rollers.. I had to remind myself here to maintain a quick cadence on this section because if you grind a heavy gear anywhere on this course, you will pay for it later.. oh yes. We added in our own out and backs to get the mileage in but who knows what will happen for race day! Then a left hand turn onto 86 began my version of hell on earth. Up to this point I was like "WOOHOO this course is AWESOME.. I LOVE MY BICYCLE AND MY LIFE!!!" ...And then I started to climb. And climb and climb and climb and climb and I NEVER got to go down a hill AGAIN!! And then I hit the one section of 86 that I DO like which starts at some gorge thing (High Peaks Gorge maybe? I can't remember the name) which is still a climb but it's a long, not as steep climb which I LOVE. So I rocketed up that and then I hit the 5 legendary hills of IMLP which are named: Little Cherry, Big Cherry, Mama Bear, Baby Bear, Papa Bear. If you don't believe me you go to LP and look on the road and they are freaking spray painted with these names. Now these hills aren't THAT bad, however you've been climbing for probably a good 45 mins by now and the legs are most likely bushed. So I was spinning my little legs off in my easiest possible gear (P.S. this course loves the small chain ring) and slowly making my way up these hills. I was cursing my 12-25 cassette and lusting after my 12-27 cassette which was at home on my Zipps. :( At this point, Ultra Adam goes zipping past me (honestly I don't know how he was going so fast up the freaking hill) and I spent the next 5 minutes trying to catch up because I had been riding alone for the entire loop. I only caught him because he got stuck at a stop sign waiting for cars to go by.

Thing learned at Lake Placid Training Camp #1: I thought I could climb hills well until I became acquainted with the last 11 miles of IMLP bike course.

So Adam and I rode into town and stopped at a Stewart's to refill bottles and found Mary, Don, and Ken there! The 5 of us set out for loop 2 (ummm.. I had to go around AGAIN?!?!?!). We lost Don (I still don't know if he was ahead of or behind us). Definitely noticed the false flat a lot more on loop 2 but my legs got a pretty good recovery on the descent and the nice stretch on 9N. Peer pressure caused Ken and I to skip the longer out and back. By the time we got done with the smaller out and back, Mary, Ken and myself were all hurting. We stopped at a gas station. Mary was pouring gallons of water on her head, dumping her nutrition, and putting Coke in her bottles. I chugged a bottle of Coke. Adam's like "I need sunscreen" because he's a freak who doesn't get tired. So we got back on our bikes and Adam took off up the hill.. and that was the last of him that we saw (and then he went around a THIRD FREAKING TIME!!).

Thing learned at Lake Placid Training Camp #2: I have witnessed a miracle - I've seen the Coca-Cola resurrection.

The Coke helped my tired legs out and I just spun my ass off up the hills. I took off at the fun part in Elba and all I could think was, "I need to make sure Mary doesn't think I suck at riding my bike" because she was behind me. So I spun spun spun! And we freaking made it! And I dragged a bunch of strangers up the hill who were riding my wheel! I thought it was Mary and Ken but it was 2 people that I had passed up the hill and they latched onto my draft!

I have never been so happy to get off a bike. Correction, my crotch has never been so happy to NOT be in contact with a bike saddle.

Thing learned at Lake Placid Training Camp #3: I need a titanium reinforced crotch.

I immediately dunked my head in the pool. Mary was standing in the pool with Rae. I dragged myself out on my 30 minute T-run with Ken and Don. Then I got into the pool fully clothed. It was so cold and it felt amazing. I got sunburned like you would not believe on the bike. My sunburn is bordered on one side by where my tank top was and on the other side by where Rae's handprints are from a failed attempt at putting sunscreen on my shoulders. It looks ridiculous! I swam for 20 mins in the lake.. I swam until I couldn't ignore the scraping of my wetsuit against my fresh sunburn any longer. I ate my face off at dinner and Ben & Jerry's. I drank a beer for the first time in god knows how long and sat around talking with everyone. I saw Jackie drink scotch with Eddy (who rode his freaking mountain bike around the Lake Placid course and then up freaking Whiteface Mountain). Nuts. We are all nuts!! It was 99 f-ing degrees out! Everyone had a hard ride. It was a tough day!

I ran 2 hrs. It was totally normal. I rode 1 hr and could barely sit on my saddle. I drove home with Rae. I did not stop at McDonald's and I did not eat fries and 2 apple pies. I REALLY did not sleep at all and then I went to work (I am currently at work trying not to die). And I have been so excited to blog about this weekend because it was fun and horrible and hot and amazing!

Thing learned at Lake Placid Training Camp #4: Urine can turn some very odd shades of yellow.

I need to stop drinking Diet Mt. Dew (I am trying to stay awake!) and drink some friggin water.

Thing learned at Lake Placid Training Camp #5: My coach, my team, and my sport are amazing.

I stole this photo from Mary but I just love it. We were the stragglers that were still in Lake Placid for lunch at 1 pm.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I may pee myself!


I am so excited for camp that I can't handle it! I have nothing to blog about because life sucks until I get to Lake Placid!

I haven't been this excited for ANYTHING since the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I don't care that my shoes smell! I don't care that the course detour adds a big hill (ok maybe I do care about that). I don't care that I still have a bazillion things to go to get ready for this trip, or that I have to work Sunday night after a brutal weekend. I am going to be in LAKE PLACID in 3 days with super awesome people!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

solo rides are the weird rides

Today's 6 hour ride was not one of my better ones. Neither of the 2 people I ride with were riding long. Ken is in Maryland (I think) for some crazy long swim and Kim is on a rest week. I got some offers to ride with people tomorrow, but I like to get my long ride done on Saturday, and I thought it would be good for me (mentally) to do at least one 6 hour ride solo.

I got started kind of late but.. I work rotating shifts and sometimes I just want to freakin sleep!!! Unfortunately I did not get home til 7 pm because of my late start!

Coach Mary mapped out a route for me on this cool website: www.bikeroutetoaster.com. It shows elevation, has cue sheets, and other neat things. It also lets you export the map to a Garmin. I own a Garmin eTrex Vista which is a small hiking Garmin, so I sent the file to the device so that I could bring it along (I am notorious for getting lost when out by myself on a new bike route). For some reason, the file kept truncating so I only had about half of the route on the Garmin. I figured "no problem" because the part that it was missing was easy to remember. Well I got to Mendon which is where I typically start my long rides and I could not figure out the stupid cue sheet. It was a simple enough loop (like 4 major roads) but the cue sheet had 2 pages worth of directions (seriously there were like 5 turns in this entire ride) so I just ditched the cue sheet and decided to wing it. Because of this, I don't even know if I did it the right way or backwards (I don't know which way Mary mapped it out for me) because I just wound up following the half-map on my Garmin.

It was like 65 degrees when I started out, and overcast. I had armwarmers on and a short sleeved jersey. Within 20 minutes I swear to god the sun came out and it was 80 degrees. I ditched the armwarmers and proceeded with 6 hours of sweating like a fat man. I headed down 15A going south. 15A sucked. It was just a huge gradual climb with one big downhill in the middle. I thought I was never going to reach flat roads. I was dying from the heat, bees were swarming me, and I was going like 13 mph. I finally made it into the town of Wayland in a little under 3 hrs. Basically small hicktown USA. I stopped at a gas station. I went inside to pee and noticed that my legs were shaking. Yikes. I bought water, gatorade, and a Coke. I texted Kim that I was not feeling so good. She gave me some words of motivation, told me to slow down my pace (if I were to slow down anymore I'd be going backwards!) and concentrate on nutrition. Thank god for Kim. She also taught me the "drink Coke on a crappy ride" trick. I drank half the bottle of Coke. I don't know what it is about soda. I have a serious addiction. The delightful combination of fizz, caffeine, and HFCS make me so happy!!! The Coke totally lifted my dejected spirits. I decided not to make the gas station my temporary home and instead headed back out. Kim had suggested I take the easier route back (I.e. back the way I came) but I could just not stomach going back up 15A. So horrible and boring! So I continued on to Naples.

Can I just say that I did not have good luck with my nutrition today. I had some Clif Shot Blocks and they are now so disgusting to me that I could barely force myself to eat them. So now I will be bringing a box of those to training camp to give away as well. Also, I brought the new Powerbar PERFORM drink with me and it BLOWS! I don't know what they did to the original Powerbar Endurance (which I LOVE) but this new stuff sucks. It tastes like someone pissed in a perfectly good bottle of PBE and then packaged it up. Yummm.. or not.

Anyways, the Coke revived me and settled my stomach a little. I got chased by a tiny dog in Naples and then I saw a personalized license plate that even a certified science nerd (=me) thought was dorky. It said: meniscus. Yup. I SERIOUSLY considered jumping in Canandaigua Lake as I rode by.. fully clothed (or naked)!!!

I climbed the giant KIMWORD hill out Naples. (Kim is a Train-This athlete with a filthy mouth who also sends the most hilarious emails I have ever read - I can't wait to meet her!). I almost got hit by a guy in a truck pulling a trailer. I stopped at the gas station with the Adirondack chairs (to get more Coke - it is an evil cycle once you start drinking it) and some guy started talking to me about Ironman. He told me that he was the "Ironman of smoking cigarettes" ..... not sure I'd be bragging about that.

I finally made it back to my car.. to have to run 30 minutes at 8:30 pace, but no faster. HAH. I couldn't run 8:30 pace after a 6 hour ride if Bin Laden HIMSELF was chasing me with a suicide vest strapped to his chest. Honestly though, the run went pretty well.

I am kind of pissed about having a bad nutrition day. I was nauseous for almost the entire ride (headache and queasy stomach). I still ate everything but my stomach was not happy and I'm suprised that I didn't have to stop and barf along the way.

Kudos to Mendon Ponds Park for having freezing cold water spickets. I almost sat underneath the thing because the water felt so good on my legs.

And now I am home and ready to pass out.

I am sunburnt AGAIN and the left side of my body got the worst of it.. AGAIN! I look like a freak.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

big weekends coming up!

My dad tagged this photo of me on facebook. Yes, my parents use facebook! Wow, I was seriously cute (and grew up to be sooo modest!)! :)

I have come down from my race weekend high and I'm back into Ironman training reality. I am STILL SORE! My legs are just not used to anything high intensity. My Zipps are still on my bike and it's still dirty. My tri bag is laying on my kitchen floor with contents spilling out everywhere. My cycling shoes smell like DEATH. Seriously, I need tips on how to de-stank those things. It's because they get wet with lake water and then I ride in them and then I stuff them in a bag for 3 hours.. my feet don't smell!

I am getting SERIOUSLY psyched for vacation training camp! Less than 2 weeks! LESS THAN 2 WEEKS!! Rae and I have been emailing back and forth about the trek up there. She's worried about the training miles that weekend (sorry Rae, but I have no doubts that you will be FINE) but suprisingly, I am not. Seriously. I am not freaking out at all. 112 miles - all Lake Placid course? Whatever! Big hills? Who cares! I'm sure that will change when I actually lay my eyes on the hills. But please, just let me stay delusional for the time being. :)

I should be sporting some new jealousy-inducing threads while I'm there!

The other big thing I have coming up in less than 3 weeks is my 2nd 1/2 Ironman - Tupper Lake Tinman. I have not given this race too much thought. The fact is - I am so not worried about it. Last year I was freaking out before Musselman. I had no clue what I was doing, I had no clue how to race it, and I still finished in 5:40. This year I have done so much more swimming and cycling (running is probably about the same). My dear parents are going (since I am the only Train-This athlete doing this race) and they are bringing their dog who I love, AND they got me a "hotel room." By hotel room I really mean weird rental cabin from the 50s. But I don't care!

I remember when I was in awe of people who did half-IMs and now I'm nonchalant about a half and training for a full! I wouldn't have it any other way.

I still need to register for Syracuse 70.3 and the Toronto Marathon. I keep holding off because I don't want to waste money and then not be able to do these races (most likely due to post-Ironman leg amputation). But I also don't want to get closed out!

Monday, June 7, 2010

riddle me this

Today I have a rest day. Yay for that! I am SO SORE after racing yesterday! I suppose it's normal. I am not used to riding 19.4 mph. I am used to riding 17-18 mph for a long long time. I think it's the bike that hurt me. I was clenching those aerobars with a death grip (that I didn't even know I was doing until I got to the downhill).

I looked at my trainingpeaks account last night to see what this week had in store for me. It's an exact repeat of what I did 2 weeks ago (except no 5K Sunday morning). Nothing shocking. 16 hours with a big weekend (big ride Saturday with a 30 min T-run, 2 hr ride/2 hr run on Sunday). However Mary wrote a little comment under Monday (which is my rest day) that said this:

There is a secret to this week. Do you know what it is?

When you figure out what it is, what is the point of it?


Umm.. I have no clue. I feel kind of stupid!

I will have to think on this..

Yesterday I RSVPed to my friend Jon's wedding reception. While I am more than happy to go (it's only in Hamlin) I have 2 annoyances (neither have to do with him!!). Firstly, I will have to go alone.. AGAIN! I don't even KNOW anyone that is single who I could go with. And secondly, it's at 12:30 on a Saturday so I'm going to have to move some big workouts around. I can't expect to fit everything in my life neatly around my training schedule - although I do try - and this is one of those things! But I hate moving workouts and it makes me grumpy! My long ride is always on Saturday and I usually ride with my friends Kim and Ken, so I will most likely be riding on Sunday (which will be the 4th of July) by myself..

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Keuka Lake Tri race report!

Let me preface this race report by saying that TODAY WAS SO MUCH FUN!! WAY more fun than that stupid duathlon a few weeks ago!

I got up a 4 am, got to the race site at about 6 am. Racked in transition next to my friends Rae and Greg. I saw a ton of people and it was awesome! Train-This people that were racing included Alan, Matt, Mike, Eddy, Solveig, Jason, Joe, Matt K. (who I just met today) and Chris L. (who I saw but have yet to actually meet) and probably more people that I forgot! I also saw Mary (of course), Travis who was racing and Kim who was not, Mark (CRANKSKINS!), Jeremy and Glenn!! and MY DAD came!!! The one person I feel that was missing was Mary M. I have never done a tri that she wasn't at and she is super fun!

Mark said that he has a pair of Crankskins shorts for me! I hope he really does because I would totally rock them and I know Mary would be SO JEALOUS! Anyways..

It freaking POURED on the drive there. I woke up and heard the rain and debated on whether to go back to bed and just skip it. Racing anything in the rain sucks. Everything gets soaked, it's more dangerous, and it makes a huge mess. But that would be really ridiculous so I went. Luckily the rain slowed down as I got closer to Pen Yan and eventually it stopped, then started, then stopped, then started - you get the picture. I was worried about lightning because that would cancel the race. I was also worried about heavy rain on the bike because that is just scary. Luckily, the rain held off for the entire race (at least while I was out there) so that was really nice!

I did this race last year and placed out of the money so this year I was hoping for an AG award and a top 10 finish. That is generally my goal in an Olympic distance race.

Swim was good. I got kind of blocked for the first 5 mins or so.. I was on the outside and couldn't get over to swim a good line to the buoy. The swim is my weakest leg. That also means that there is lots of room for improvement. The lead women are so far ahead of me out of the water that there is just absolutely no chance for me to be competitive. I also find it difficult to pace the swim and I think I am swimming (during a race) at a slower pace than I should be, especially since I KNOW my swim IS improving this year with consistent training and swim sets. I definitely am not "pushing the pace" on the swim at all.
Swim: 29:35

Bike was also good. My sunglasses were fogged up for the first 5 mins or so. It always takes me 10 mins or so to calm down, get my HR lowered, and get into a rhythm. The Keuka bike course plays to my strengths with the climb to Skyline. It's LONG (I'd guess 4-5 miles?) but not that steep. (I changed my mantra of Just Keep Swimming slightly to Just Keep Spinning to get up the hill!). I passed a TON of men on this climb. I am small which helps, but I can't believe the amount of people that try to climb a super long hill like that in their aerobars, a big gear, or both. I saw so many people wobbling around and stomping on the pedals to get up the hill. SHIFT INTO AN EASIER GEAR!!! Your quads will thank you later! I passed a few women on the bike and a few passed me but only 1 of those finished ahead of me. I am consistently one of the faster women transitioners but am nowhere near as quick as some of the men!
T1: 1:15
Bike: 1:17:38; 19.4 mph

I dropped my race # belt running out of transition and had to go back and get it. Jeremy was cheering me on when it happened so he felt bad but it totally wasn't his fault, the number and my hands were all wet and it just slipped out! I tried to keep my run pace around 7:30. The course looks flat but there are definitely some false flats that slow you down. I felt good til the last mile and then I started to cramp up and slow down but there were 0 women close behind me (a benefit of an out and back course) so I wasn't worried about it. I got high fived by tons of teammates/friends and it was awesome! Anyone who has ever been on any kind of team must be able to relate to the camaraderie. I was on my HS XC team and it was so much fun and I have missed it ever since, but now I am part of a team again!! It makes me so happy to see everyone out there being so enthusiastic and having fun at these races! I am so glad that I have all of these new tri friends! :) Also, Mary announced and it was fun to hear that!
T2: 0:58
Run: 49:20; 7:57 min/mile

I ended up in 7th place OA and 2nd place in my AG with a finish time of 2:38:46. I'm happy with that! (Although now that I think about it, this was less than 15 seconds faster than my time from last year and I was in terrible shape for this race last year and am much more fit this year.. GOODBYE SPEED). Travis won the men's race which is awesome because he had a really bad crash in Placid less than a year ago. Matt rode the last 5+ miles of the bike course on a FLAT TIRE!

I am very happy with my 7th OA finish. I'm proud that I have the ability to finish top 10 at a tri. (Although I can't do it at a sprint tri - too fast!). But I have to say that the ladies that place 1-4 (I can't remember where #5 was) are WAY out of my league. First place was over 20 mins ahead of me. I know that it doesn't matter because Olympic distance is not my focus. Even if it was my focus, I doubt I could take 20 mins off my time. My best finish ever was at A Tri in the Buff last summer where I was 3rd OA. Once again, I was WAY behind #1 (Kathleen Hayden). And I'm not going to deny that it was freakin AWESOME to be on the podium for the first time ever, but it was a small tri with a really small field. I think there were less than 30 women. So really, 3rd wasn't even top 10%. But I will get better. I am young and I only have 2 full years of triathlon under my belt. I am sure that more speed will come! :)

So now I am home and wearing my HUGE sweatpants and prepping for some serious couch time. I already unpacked all of my stuff because it's all wet! My wetsuit is nasty and covered in seaweed. This is why I hate rainy races! Ugh I think I also pulled a groin muscle during the run.. ouch :(

Saturday, June 5, 2010

lamest post ever

I don't have too much to say.. I went to team breakfast and only 5 of us were there, but it was still fun!

Breakfast made me excited to race tomorrow. I'm just hoping that the rain holds off! I'm glad that the excitement came because I was feeling pretty apathetic about the race until today. At least it's an olympic distance race.. because right now - the longer, the better!

It's really weird having a Saturday with no training. I ran a bunch of errands and now I'm doing laundry! I still have to get everything ready for the race tomorrow. It's going to be an early morning for sure. I try to make sure absolutely EVERYTHING is ready the night before so that all I have to do in the AM is shower, get dressed, eat, and leave. And of course I JUST realized that I have no bananas.. so now I must go back to Wegmans.

Wow this is super lame.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

crisis over!

I am ok today. I had a bit of an emotional crisis yesterday but I am better now. Maybe I'm a little bit dramatic? I got a text from Kim making sure I was ok because I think she was worried I was going to jump off a bridge. My parents offered to take me on vacation with them. Mary just thought it was funny! This is just how I work. I freak out and then I get over it. So I don't hate Ironman, or triathlons, or my bike, and I'm not going to shoot myself or anything.

Apparently, everyone's (at least everyone doing Keuka) swim tests this week were supposed to go crappily. We are all at a "high training stress level" and Mary wanted us to see how this stress level affected performance. I still think I'm the only one who cried. She also wanted to see how we reacted to not nailing a workout. Um, I think I failed that one!


So I am feeling better, but thank you everyone for kind words!

I got my race plan for Keuka Lake Tri. It's pretty non-specific. There is absolutely nothing in there about what pace to hold at any point in the race. I'm actually supposed to cover up all gadgets that show data with electrical tape (like my Garmin and bike computer) and go by feel. My only instructions are to go "Balls to the wall." I think this is hilarious and I love it!

Train-This athletes are doing a carbo-load breakfast on Saturday morning at I-Hop. We were supposed to go to Cracker Barrel but Don is grossed out by the fat people who go there (this is him, not me!) and wanted to go to I-Hop! Ummmm.. probably just as much obesity at I-Hop Don! Hahah.. I don't care either way!

I just want to add something nice that a Train-This alum., Jeremy, said to me today! (Well he's on triathlon hiatus at the moment). I met him a few years ago at an off-road duathlon. I was racing and he was volunteering on the bike course. He saw me drop my chain and then fix it (at lightning-speed I might add - he was impressed)! And somehow I started talking to him after the race and we were talking about Ironman. This is before I had even thought about doing one. Turns out, he is coached by Mary also and he's on the google group that everyone gets to email on. Anyways, today I told him that I thought I had met him before and he responded with this:

"I remember now Alexa!!! YES! That was me and at the time I loved your personality (my kinda humor) and now that it's coming through on the e-mails, I love it even more! Great stuff. Look forward to seeing you again."

I just thought that it was a really nice thing to say, and after having such a crappy week, it made me smile! :)

Hedwig is all ready for her race on Sunday.

I have new sneakers, just have to put the Yankx in! I've never run in Asics before.. usually I use New Balance but these fit better.

I may not be mentally ready to race yet but at least all my gear is ready!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

boiling point

I am starting to get discouraged. Sunday and beyond I have had several craptastic workouts. Today I stunk it up really bad at my swim test; I almost gave up after the first 400 yd time trial. I swam as hard as I could and I was sure that it would be faster than last time, and it was 7 seconds slower. I forced myself to do the 2nd one which was even slower than the first, and then I cried in the shower because I was so disappointed in myself.

This Ironman is my entire life right now. All of my friends are teammates or other triathletes with the exception of maybe 2 people (at least my local friends). I don't have a boyfriend. My family is 3 hours away. I have no escape from it.

I want to get away from it for a day. I want to not think about stupid Ironman for ONE DAY. I would like to actually look nice and not like someone dragged me behind a bus. I would like to not smell like chlorine, sunscreen, sweat, Gatorade, or some horrible combination of them. I would like to eat real food and drink a margarita!!!

What do normal 26 year old girls do anyways? I don't even know!

Is it possible to hate something and love something at the same time? I hate that this is making me certifiably insane but I cannot imagine not doing it. Sometimes I just think I need a break. And not a break where I collapse on my couch for a day because I'm too tired to move. I need a vacation. I need to go somewhere where I don't have to see my bike, just for a little while.

I wanted to go to Peru this spring and hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Of course I didn't do it because no one wants to do stuff like that with me. Training camp in Lake Placid is the closest thing I'm going to get to a vacation this year (along with my other 2 trips to the ADKs for races). Howabout a vacation sans tri bike? Or a vacation period!!!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I hate the heat.

Dear Diary (hahaha).

I feel like poo. I think I may have suffered from some heat exhaustion over the weekend. I have all of the symptoms (thanks google) which are dizziness, headaches, being tired, nausea, weakness, and thirst.

I'm not trying to make excuses for bad training days. I really feel like garbage. I am at work trying not to pass out. I didn't think it was appropriate to call in sick on my first official day as a J&J employee. And I have a lovely 10 hr day today due to New Hire Orientation before my shift.

I keep thinking about this natural swimming pool in Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY. It's freezing cold and there's a waterfall and all I want to do is go sit underneath the waterfall and let it cool me down! We swam there once as kids and I camped there once when I was in college. I love Ithaca and all of the gorges and hiking trails, plus it's full of hippies and I freakin' love hippies! Also there is a famous vegetarian restaurant (Moosewood) there that I want to go to, but it's always closed when I'm there. :(

Even swimming in Canandaigua Lake didn't sufficiently cool me down. Yes, my hands, feet, and face were cold but the rest of me was kept warm by my wetsuit! I should have gone in naked.