Monday, February 28, 2011

When it rains it pours

Not the weather per say, but my luck.  The weather was actually great Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, progressively getting better as the days went on.  Yes only in the 50's, but light winds and sunshine.  Prepare yourself for a long post  :)
A bit of snow at the top of Zion Monday
Monday we swam at the new Washington City Community Center which is very very nice.  Then it was a 60 mile group ride from the Harley Davidson building in Hurricane out to Zion and back.  I ran the Hurricane Half Marathon several years back so recognized a lot, but there was  lot of new and nice scenery.  Was a nice sized group, 8-10 or so of mostly St George locals.  Almost 10 miles into it we were climbing up a big long hill.  I was trying to adjust something and the group took off.  I tried to catch back up, but that's hard to do without a draft and without great climbing legs (I discovered my climbing legs aren't at their peak right now).  At about 12 miles the ride started feeling a little bumpy, almost like I had suspension, but nope, that suspension feeling was a flat.  It wasn't completely flat, but probably only had 20 psi or so left.  So I pulled over, watched the group get out of sight and went to work changing the tire.  Got her done, a little upset I wasn't with the group, but just figured oh well and put the headphones in and went on with my own solo ride.  Saw them at the turnaround, I'm sure they'd been hanging out for half an hour or so.  I really had to pee (I hadn't had a break yet) so rode 20 feet up to the gas station, ran in and out, and hoped maybe they'd waited or I'd catch up.  But it's funny how mind reading really is a myth and you have to communicate.  They thought I was going to keep going or something so kept going.  Anyway, was enjoying the ride back, the sun was warmer and the wind was a little more favorable, when at about mile 40 it started getting bumpy again.  Great, awesome.  I had 1 CO2 left and no tubes (I only carry 1 tube), so when the tire was as low as I thought safe to ride on I filled it up with the last cartridge.  At this point I was pretty upset.  Upset that the group ride I was on wasn't a group ride (at least not the kind I was used to) and I had no one to rely on in a weird situation like this and in the middle of no where.  I was upset that I couldn't keep up with them.  I thought we were going out just to ride this easier, but those girls are just better I guess because they took off, they're strong riders.  And now I was upset because I was in the middle of no where, no gas stations or homes really, my phone was almost dead and I was 20 miles out of town.  So I rode a few more miles until that tube also got flat and started walking.  I walked a few miles maybe when a nice man and his daughter picked me up in their truck and took me into town where Sarah picked me up.  Yeah, I was pretty pissed off at the whole situation.  It wasn't their fault, but I was upset no one could have asked if I was ok when I was obviously not even close to in view.  Oh well, that's just how most groups ride I guess, if you get dropped you get dropped.  We ran 2 miles out and back near Sand Hollow and apparently I had us running 5:50 pace.  Running mad will do that to you  :)
So anyway, that sucked, I considered going home since I obviously couldn't keep up with my training partner(s), but my husband said to stay so I did.  Oh yeah, we also enjoyed a nice dinner over at new teammate Collen's house.  Thanks!
ETA:  How could I forget!  Sarah and I were driving over to Colleen's for dinner when I hear Sarah say "uh where's your bike Leslie??"  You see they ride on the back of Sarah's car and mine was now not there!  I was kind of dazed and she was like "well, go look!".  Right, better go check, even though I assumed it was miles down the road somewhere.  Thankfully it was just hanging by it's wheels off the end of the rack.  Could have been much worse!  The seat is ripped up a bit, and I broke Sarah's rack (sorry!), but another disaster averted somewhat unharmed.

Tuesday was a new day.  We took our time getting ready then headed out on a 2 loop 90 mile ride on the Veyo/IMSG loop.  I was excited to get on it since this was the first time since Ironman.  We got rolling and oh crap, SADDLE SORE!!  It caught me by surprise since yesterday was just fine and I was fine walking, but oh baby sitting on that saddle hurt bad.  Luckily it got bearable by about mile 20.  Again, got dropped by the group 25 or so miles in, was mad at myself, but figured I'd just enjoy the ride alone.  Was unsure of a second loop, but really didn't want to waste my time down here courtesy of my husband, children, and our great host Sylvia.  The climbs were tough, as I said I just don't think my climbing muscles are as strong as I'd thought, but the downhills were fun and I really tried to work them.  Got near our cars and just kept going into the 2nd loop figuring if I stopped I'd never get started.  I knew the others who were refueling at the cars would catch up, it was only a matter of time.  Did well on the second loop, a little better than the first mentally, just saying that I was riding this as my ride, it didn't matter if I kept up with them or not.  They're a lot more trained that I am right now.  It was reassuring to keep Sarah more in my view this time though.  Near one of the steepest hills a girl training for IMSG this year Missy was struggling a bit, so I waited for her and we rode together.  It was nice to at least feel some endurance from having done the race on that second loop.  We were halfway between Veyo and Snow Canyon along the highway cruising with a headwind along a flat at about 16mph or so when out of no where my wheels and crank locked up.  I started sliding and was able to control the bike and stop, but Missy who was drafting behind couldn't.  She ran into me fell over with her bike.  Luckily she was ok, just some scrapes and bruises, and her bike was ok.  After being sure she was fine I checked my bike.
This was the carnage
Don't ask me how it happened.  I wasn't shifting, climbing, didn't have anything get jammed in the wheel or chain ring.  Just wammo.  The frame seems ok, could need a new spoke, probably a new deraileur, maybe a new cassette in back, probably a new chain.  Fun and fun!  I wasn't really upset about it, just kind of laughed like "really?  are you kidding?  more bad luck?".  It could have been much worse had be been 3 miles down the road going down some steep hills at a much higher speed, I'll count my blessings.
So anyway, Missy and I carried my bike, rolled hers, down the highway about a mile to get better reception, then just stood there waiting for our ride (who we confused and couldn't find us the first time).  We ended up waiting an hour in the setting sun, it was chilly, and again, we weren't near civilization.  Get this.  In the HOUR we stood there waiting 1, ONE car stopped to ask if two girls carrying their bikes standing on the side of the highway clearly not for kicks and giggles needed any help.  I was floored.  We had so much traffic passing us and were in plenty good view, and ONE car stopped.  Wow.

So Wednesday came and Sarah and I planned a good 2 hour trail run on the trails at Chuckawalla, an excellent and super close to the city trail head.  I love it there!  I was plenty nervous (not really, but a little) about my luck so just told Sarah we better stay away from cliffs.  Fortunately nothing went wrong and we had a great 10 mile run.  We ran though all kinds of terrain from rolling packed red dirt to loose sand, some slick rock, and did a bit of fast hiking over some of the tricky stuff.  Man my butt got a workout from having to lift my feet up high enough to keep running up these rock stairs!  Ironically though, the next day the outsides of my calves were the most sore for sure, think IT band outside, but between the ankle and knee, it was weird.

I had a great time down there despite all my bad mechanical luck.  I had some hard mental moments for sure when I thought I was in decent to pretty good shape, but then couldn't keep up with anyone on the bike.  Had to reach in and just say "these workouts are for me, it doesn't matter where I fare against others", but if you know me you know that's not the easiest thing in the world.  I haven't been training like Sarah and Shaun and even Missy, they've been going strong since October, when I took a 2 month break.  I still had a good time on the bike (my 1 loop time was actually the same as it was this time last year), just wanted to feel stronger, but I did have really great runs down there that I'm happy with.  The weather was decent for us those last few days, and I got to spend some really fun time training with, eating with, rolling endlessly on foam roller with, watching movies with, and just talking with Sarah.  She's such a great friend and I'm so glad my husband was able to hold down the fort as well as he did so I could get away!
 All that said, the point of this trip was to give me an idea if I was capable of doing Ironman St George again this year, with less training.  Now am I capable of it?  You bet, I could finish it today (humbly said, I know), but I don't want to just finish.  It's too much time and money and hard work for me personally to go there and 'just finish'.  I want to do better than I did and know that I can, but I just don't think I'm where I need to be right now to be where I want to be May 7th.  So I think I'll go with my original plan of going down to volunteer and cheer on all the great athletes down there.  Will it be hard to not wish I was with them?  Yes, for sure.  But as anal or weird as it is, I just have a certain respect for the distance and if I can't give it my personal all, I'll save it for another time.  Ironman isn't everything. I sure had a great time down there last year, even the training!  But it isn't everything and there are a lot of smaller road and tri races that I've wanted to do but haven't been able to because of Ironman training, so I think that'll be my route this year.  Just have fun.  That's what this is all about right?  Having fun!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Welcome to Sunny St George!

I had the opportunity to come down to St George for a bit to train with my good friend Sarah Jarvis, just like I did last year around this time (March of 2010 if you want to see the posts)

. She's coming from Flagstaff Arizona now, so I don't see her much which makes this trip even better. We're staying at our great friend Sylvia's beautiful home about 5 miles north of St George in Winchester Hills. It's perfect. We have our own little mother in law apartment so plenty of space, but we still get to see their fun family.

So rolled into town Friday night after a fun drive down with Mahogani Thurston and Missy Payne. Saturday morning we woke up ready to ride, all day long! This is also what we woke up to
Rain rain go away come again any other day!
So the plan got changed to a run on the Ironman St George run course. I wasn't thrilled to be out in the 40's and at times pouring rain, but luckily it only sprinkled while we were running and I wasn't cold. So Sarah and I and another great athlete

Anne Heiner ran in a group and man, I wasn't sure I could hang on. These girls were running 7:15's from the get go. I didn't want to get dropped so I just pushed out of my comfort zone for that early in a run and luckily by mile 4 or 5 I was feeling good. It was fun to be back on the course, very familiar at times, humbling at times, and fun to answer their questions about the course. So any of you familiar with the course know that it's full of hills, no more than maybe 1/2 mile of flat, big hills too. We ended up running our 13 miles in 1:42, holy smokes! Now that's not a half mary PR or anything, but that's hauling for that course, so while I wasn't sure if i could hang on early on, it was nice to finish strong and feel good. Anne went on to run like a crazy woman for 2 or 3 more miles, that girl is FAST and a workhorse!

So with crappy weather still around, Sarah and I went to our new friend Collen's house to ride on the trainers. She has a whole big room as a dedicated gym, I'm so jealous! We rode for about two hours and I was about ready to be done, bored more than anything. It was a good time though.
Me, Colleen, Brianna, Sarah
We stayed up late watching movies, went to Church this morning after waking to Sunny St George

So much for the sunny part :) We got about 3 more inches in the next few hours.  Big days to come in the next few days though, will blog more when I get home Wednesday. Train happy and safe!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

SLTC 10k

So the SLTC Winter Series 10k was yesterday.  I was crossing my fingers for a better race than than 5k 2 weeks ago, that  wasn't pretty.  And I was pretty sure I'd get it since I wasn't sick the week prior or during it and the air was much cleaner.  The family came this time which is always fun, just means we were a little later than I'd like. Showed up 20 minutes before the race start, ran in to get my bib, ran about 8 minutes of warm up, grabbed some gel and lined up.
Love this pic of my friend Chuck and I, no idea what I'm telling him here. 
The race is at Saltair, an old (and current I guess) part/rave/concert building thing out on the Great Salt Lake.  The kids went down the beach to play after the start.  Thank heavens they stayed out of the really yucky mud
A pic I'm happy with - yay!  This was only 2 miles into the race so my face looks normal. I'd post the mile 4 and mile 6 as my form still looks good, but my face looks more strained  :)

I love this pic.  You can't really see me (look for the pink socks in front), but I love that the kids were all watching for their mama.  Love to have them there.
Love my post race hugs.  We didn't get a pic, but our almost 3 year old Kait greeted me in the trailer with this huge grin and her pretty blue eyes.  Love it

So overall this race went much better than 2 weeks ago.  I've been healthy and putting in some good training and just felt steady and strong.  I ran with Chuck most of the race which was nice, nice to have someone to pace with.  There were a few points where I had to keep pushing, but for the most part it wasn't too bad.  We talked a lot of the way which probably means I could have gone faster, but oh well, just wanted to run strong.  Beat 2 weeks ago's 5k time at the half way point in the 10k which was good.  I felt good and strong the last half mile so pulled away from the boys behind me and just opened up the stride and enjoyed every second of it.  Ohhh so nice to feel that way instead of begging for the finish line to come to me!  Wanted to get under 44:00 (it's a completely flat course, so now downhill advantage), saw the clock at about 43:47 and ran for it, but finished in 44:02 and that's fine by me.

Don't know how I did in my age group, didn't stay for awards, think I was 7th again overall in what I think was a bit more competitive field than the 5k.  Rode 20 miles home with another friend Jared.  Felt great, well the first 5 miles anyway, then the next 10 took us 30 minutes and were all uphill with a head wind.  A nice friendly reminder that I just ran a strong 10k.  Good to be out though and nice to see spring on it's way!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gettin' back in the sadde

I tell ya, Ironman was the best day of my athletic life, but it sure can do a number on the mind.  Seemed like life after Ironman felt like I wasn't training at all, and I'd get down on myself about it.  The fact is that Ironman is SO MUCH training and I became accustomed to it.  Those 16-20 mile runs, 70-100 mile bike weekends were just a part of life, so when the need wasn't there to train like that I let myself think I wasn't doing anything at all.  But I did still train, as disorganized as it may have been (and that's ok, life doesn't always have to be all training), and enjoyed a great full season of racing.  I really wasn't super dedicated to training though, didn't even keep a log after Ironman.  Anyway, did the Hobblecreek Half Marathon and Utah Half Ironman and got kind of lazy  :)  I did race the sprint at Kokopelli in September, but that wasn't a big deal.  Also ran the Halloween Half Marathon with my hubby, but again, not a huge deal.  So knowing we wanted to get pregnant, that I had no intentions of racing in 2011, and the fact that I was taking physiology at school and was just plain busy, I hardly trained at all from September on through the end of the year.  Now I advocate taking a break, I didn't get on myself about it, I was busy and pregnant and it was ok to step back.  But then after we miscarried and I recouped a little I got the itch to get moving again, but man, it's hard!  I don't really have a problem doing hour long workouts, but much more than that and I was getting pooped.  Still, I decided several weeks ago to start following my IMSG training plan just for fun, just for something to follow, until we get life figured out around here.

During the week it's doable, 60-75 minute workouts, I can do that, but then looking at my log and my plan and seeing what miles I was already putting in at this point last year?!  I felt a wee bit inadequate.  So I've changed the long runs for the next 6 weeks or so so that I can ease back into them without getting hurt, and did the same with the bike although I'd like to see myself get back to those 50-80 mile rides sooner than later.
I'm enjoying following a plan again and yes it's bugging me not being able to answer people when they ask "so what are you doing this year?" race wise, but I'm hoping by the end of the month of so I might have an answer.  I have had a few humbling moments, and a few good ones this last month.

Good - ran the 5k at BASH, an all snow run.  The fog was super heavy and I led the race so it was a huge challenge navigating a windy course when you can't see more than a few feet in front of you and all that's around you is white.  It was easily the hardest 5k I've ever done with the hills and the snow, but it was fun!  Even that time I fell flat on my face after post-holing  :)
Bad....and kind of good - did a 2 hour test ride on the Computrainer at work this week.  It wasn't at a hard wattage/power, just a long ride to see what my heart rate would do.  I felt like I'd been going a while and looked at the clock...8 minutes.  Are you kidding me??  I used to do 2, 3, even a 4 hour trainer ride last year this time!  Oh man I wanted to die, the hardest part was just telling my mind to keep going...that and I wore my thinnest tri shorts and not bike shorts like I should have.  But I made it through the ride and even felt pretty strong mentally and physically that last 45 minutes or so.  Unfortunately for me the computer didn't save my test so I get to do it again....yay.
Good - my husband has been getting out every weekend at least, to be active through runs or snowshoeing.  That's great.  I'm glad he's healthy now.  His hot bod isn't bad either  ;)
Bad - ran a 5k last Saturday after myself and the family being sick all week  (I know, I know, not the smartest, but I was feeling better that day and being so poor I just can't waste any entry fee I ever pay no matter how cheap, neurotic, I know).  Felt HORRIBLE!  Seriously, the first mile was fine, was holding like 6:15 avg, but those last 2 miles were just not fun at all.  I settled into a just-finish-it pace but it took forever, and even got beat by a short plump girl - dang it!  I know I haven't trained much at all, but it was just a 5k!  I raced several shorter races like that in the fall 'under trained' or so I thought, but this was bad.  Part of it was being sick that week, but part of it I think was just my body saying "look hot shot, you don't train me, I'm not performing, period".  The race series has a 10k next Saturday, and a 15k two weeks later.  I sure hope they go better because that 5k made me not want to race again at all.  yuck.
Good - ran 10 miles today, 10 pleasant miles.  I'll being honest here, I haven't run more than 6 miles at any one time since that Halloween Half October 31st.  So I ran 8 miles last week, ended with a sharp brain pain that I get from time to time and it worries me, but an MRI 3 years ago says I'm fine.  This week though was great.  I wasn't looking to push it hard, just run to get the miles, averaged 8:45 or so, and never had those, "are we there yet" thoughts or brain pains.  Felt strong at the end too.  Gave me a nice boost of "maybe you can do this again", which I know is silly to think I can't, I go through an off season every year, but I still struggle with it.

So there you go, whew!  Long post.  Sorry, but good for me to document stuff, even if it isn't all that impressive lately.  Hope your winter training is going well, that you're healthy, and looking forward to the spring!