Friday, August 29, 2008

Weather Check

It's about that time; to start checking the weather for race day compusively for the next 9 days. So far so good! Here's what it's looking like now:

The possible thunderstorms on Wednesday and Thursday make me a little nervous. As long as they don't creep up any closer to Sunday, we're good to go. The Weather Gods are smiling on us if the high for the day stays at 72. Don't worry...I'll keep you updated throughout the next week, Scout's Honor.

Happy long weekending!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thumbs Down

Strawberry Stinger gels get a thumbs down, but purely based on their taste. They are not scrumtrulecent. I couldn't get past how not good they tasted in my mouth that I didn't even care what they could do for my performance. Thumbs down.

Orange Burst GU, on the other hand, gets two thumbs and two big toes up. They are delicious and taste like Orange Hi-C. Power Bar Gel Blasts also get a huge thumbs up. Power Bar markets them as "Liquid-filled energy chews. Devour the power." So, I did as they commanded and devoured the power during my run on Sunday. I felt the power so much that I extended my run by 30 min. I just kept running....and running...

I stocked up on all my nutrition stuff for the race at REI. They're having their Labor Day Sale and all the nutritional items were 25% off or more. I went a little crazy, but at least I don't need to worry about having enough GU, Luna Moons or Gel Blasts for the race. I'm all set if it rains too because I got my new bike jacket in the mail I ordered from Chain Love. I love gear so much...

My workouts this weekend were spectacular. Captain Cartwheel, Dr. B and I went out to Woodbury and did the Woodbury Days Bike Ride. We rode the 60 mile course and it was a lot of fun to cap off the long training days with this organized ride. The course actually met up with the Ragnar Relay course so we got to see some very sleep deprived runners along the way. Poor things had to run up the big hill in Afton. That part of the course must have been a beast to get through. Note to self: Do not run that leg of the course next year.

Oh, yes, this weekend I also decided I'm doing Ragnar next year. If anyone is interested, please let me know! I've wanted to do this race for a few years and have always had other races going on. Next year is going to be pure fun racing: Minneman, Ragnar, Twin Cities Marathon....a SPRINT tri! Oh man, I haven't done a sprint distance in far too long! I'm just going to do all the races that I have wanted to do but haven't.

My run this past weekend, as mentioned earlier, was fantastic! I went out with some friends the night before and three beers later I was practically under the table. I figured I wasn't going to have a good run at all considering the shape I was in when I went to bed, but my body never fails me. I must metabolise everything so fast that I had my hang over when I was sleeping because I woke up feeling like a champ. My run was no different. I attribute most of that to the fantabulous orange flavored GU and how much power I devoured.

The Fury and I didn't make it to the State Fair though. Sad Face. I did something to my shin muscle (yes I'm that muscular), and it hurt to walk a lot. Passing on the fair was probably the right thing to do, but I don't have to be happy about it! My mouth is salivating just thinking about mini-donuts and Sweet Martha's Cookies. Ah crap, now I'm hungry again.

On a less food related note, I'm looking forward to this weekend. The Fury and I are going up to the cabin to hang with the family. I only have a 2:30 bike on Saturday and a short run. I'm going to have so much time left over, I'm not going to know what to do with myself. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to it! Maybe I'll even sleep in a little bit...

I hope ya'll have a great three day weekend!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Check this out...

I'm hooked. Steve, you have me hooked! Thank you for being so entertaining!

Check this out, you will not regret it! Steve in a Speedo?! Gross!

Pure entertainment.

On another note: I figured that two weeks out from my biggest race to date (and probably ever) is the perfect time to mess around with my race nutrition plan. Insert nervous laugh here. I'm going to try these new gels for the run. Has anyone tried these or know anything about them?

I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I just want to breathe!

I don't know what's going on at work today with the air quality, but I have had a horrible time breathing. I got to work, and I was fine, but my throat started to feel a little irritated. By 10am, I had to take my inhaler and was having a panic attack because I was having such a hard time. I think I'm going to live, but wow! I have never had trouble like this before last week when the air quality seemed to start going downhill. Something fishy is going on around here...

Anywho, enough of that because I'm not going to suffocate today. Training is going well and I think it's because I know I only have a few more days of hard training until the official taper begins. I'm going to celebrate my last day of hard training by going to the Great Minnesota Get Together. Nothing says taper like deep fried food on a stick! Oh man, I can't wait to get my hands on a corn dog, some mini donuts, and don't you think for a second that I'm going to share my Sweet Martha's Cookies with you!

I also attribute the recent goodness to my training to the massive beat down I got from Strong Hands Terri on Monday night. Holy buckets, that woman spelled P-A-I-N all over my body for 90 of the longest minutes of my life. I told her halfway through the massage that I can survive Ironman if I can survive her. She was laughing so hard that she had to pause from beating me.

After the collassal karate chop from Strong Hands, I went to a family/friend get-together. My mom saw me drive up to the house and greeted me at the end of the driveway. She got a good laugh when I hobbled out of my car and said ever so sweetly, "Was Terri hard on you? You poor baby..." Thanks for the sympathy mom, can I have an ice pack...advil...a beer....or all three please? Ok, so I didn't get any of the requested, but I did get a nice cold glass of water and a mound of food. I know I'm eating a lot when my older brother says, "Geez Rach, that's more than I ate." I promptly laughed, smiled, stuffed my face and then went back for seconds. Yum.

That is for sure one thing I will not miss about IM training. I have become a bottomless pit, and I cannot wait to feel full again. I heart eating, but I'm really starting to get sick of it. ::GASP:: I know. I said it. I am sick of eating. My jaw hurts just thinking about it. Ah crap. Talking about food has made me hungry again. Ugh.

Happy eating...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Almost there....or am I?

The past couple of weeks I have started to feel antsy and the anticipation of the race is really starting to get to me. It's like I'm 8 years old again and I'm waiting for Santa Claus to come and deliver presents.

Today marks 25 days until race day, and after 8+ months of training so far, I'm starting to feel like it's so close, but yet so far away. Captain Cartwheel emailed me today and said that she's feeling a lack of motivation, and I understand that feeling. I realize that at this point in my training, I'm not going to gain too much more from long training rides or runs, but basically maintain what I have accumulated to this point. This leaves me what's the point?? I could go do this race tomorrow if I had to, right?

I know I have to keep going so I don't lose any fitness from now until race day, but the couch is calling me especially now that the Olympics are on every night. Order me up a slice of Olympic pie and a side of Michael Phelps please... Tasty.

Just like this little guy, I have a few more stairs to climb until I get to the top.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

2 Meals and 100 miles

I made it, and I did a little jig to celebrate! Captain Cartwheel and I rode the bike course this weekend, and I am going to say we may have even had fun doing it. Mr. Fury was our driver and sag wagon for the weekend which was much appreciated.

Our driver drove us out to Fireman's Park in/near Verona to start the double loop on Saturday morning. It took a little while for me to get situated because I was trying out a friend's Zipp wheels and Power Tap. It's borderline hilarious when you see them on my tiny 49cm bike frame and the front wheel says: Zipp 404 Clydesdale. HA! Tiny little me on a clydesdale Zipp wheel. Oh, it still makes me chuckle. Needless to say, my friend has a little larger body frame than me. After we got our bikes and bodies loaded down with fluids and food for the ride, we were off.

We spent the whole first loop just figuring out the course, where we needed to turn, the terrain, and just trying to enjoy the sights of the countryside. What really struck me was how beautiful the scenery is along the course. Wow! If you're doing IMWI, stop to enjoy the countryside because it's not all cornfields and cows. Although, when you are by a cow pasture, there is incentive to peddle faster to get away from the smell...

The Captain and I have heard nightmare stories about the hills on this course. We kept waiting to see Tour de France-like 3 mile grinders, but they never came. Granted, this course wasn't easy as pie, but it was not what we expected based on what we have heard. It was tough, but do-able. There were about four hard hills throughout the loop and the rest were "rolling" hills or gentle-ish inclines.

About a 1/4 of the way through the first loop, I was going down a hill and trying to gain speed but it never came. I couldn't help but think, "Geez, these wheels are crap! Talk about false advertising!" When I was climbing up the next hill, I thought I either have a flat or the tire is rubbing on my frame. As it turned out, the latter was true and I am now the proud owner of major skid marks. Not that kind of skid mark, sheesh! Get your head out of the gutter! My poor frame has black marks all over my silver paint job. Insert big frowny face here. Our sag wagon extraordinaire came to the rescue and we just switched out my wheels, and all was right in world. Ahhhh.

We met up with Mr. Fury again at the two Kwik stops along the course to re-fuel and check-in, and before we knew it, we were done with our first loop. It really did not seem so bad. I was surprised. Captain Cartwheel and I decided another loop was in order, and that is exactly what we did. The hills seemed a little bit harder, the quads started to scream a little bit, but all-in-all I was impressed with how well we did. We met up with Mr. Fury at the second Kwik Trip on the course and told him we were going to finish the loop and head back to Madison.

There is one more tough hill on the way back to Madison, and when we got to it, we were neither expecting it nor did we know that it was the last hill. From a prior race, spectators spray painted on the hill, "Last Hill!" and all I could think was, "If they're lying, someone will pay for this!". Who they are and the someone that would pay is still a mystery to me, but that is the level of rationale when you are riding up what seemed like the 100th hill of the day. The last thing you want to hear is that you are on the last hill and then come to find out that it indeed was not. About 1/2 way up this last hill they also spray painted, "Now Run!". Thanks for the reminder...

Captain Cartwheel and I hit John Nolen Dr. and just about celebrated. We saw the lake, the Capitol and the Terrace. It was like the clouds parted on downtown Madison and I could hear the angels singing the Hallelujah chorus, or maybe that was fatigue I heard ringing in my ears. We were getting closer to the Mecca better known as Monona Terrace, and I did a little jig when we got to the base of the parking ramp. It was then that Captain Cartwheel ruined my high and said, "And if this were the race, we would have to ride up the 3 levels of that helix to transition." Ugh. Thanks for the reminder...again.

Even though my high was crushed, I still felt pretty good about the day. We rode a total of 100 miles in about 6:30 + stops. We finally got back to the hotel, showered up and shuffled to the local Irish Pub across from the Capitol. It was delicious and the first real meal of the day. Turns out it was a cheap trip for us. We ate GUs, bananas, Accelerade, Luna Moons and potatoes all day on our ride and only had to buy dinner. The next day we had to get our long run in which consisted of about the same diet, stopped for lunch, and then we were on our way back home.

It was weird when we left Madison knowing we would be back in a little over a month's time. The feeling I was left with is hard to describe which is another reason why this Ironman journey has been so difficult. I have had nine months of training for the biggest event of my life and I have found so few words to describe it. It is hard to shut me up sometimes so you can imagine my frustration. Maybe when this journey has culminated I will have more words, but maybe I won't. My best guess at this point is that you will just have to try an IM on for size to fully understand.

Happy Trails!

Friday, August 1, 2008


I feel more nervous for this weekend than I did for the 1/2 Iron last weekend. Why, you may ask? Captain Cartwheel and I are going out to Madison to ride the bike course, and for some reason that makes butterflies flutter around my tummy. Oh, my poor tummy, it has taken such a beating these past few weeks...

I think I'm mostly axious about what the course is going to be like. Anyone that knows anything about this bike course talks about it like it's the Armegeddon of hilly bike courses. Ok, come on. It can not be that bad! I looked at the elevation chart for IM Canada, and that is way worse than Wisconsin! ::enter stage left:: Relief that I'm not doing IM Canada.

I'll let you all know how it goes, and if I don't survive, I'll have Mr. Fury post something here with all the details of my demise.

Happy Weekending!