Monday, September 30, 2013

My alter ego

You know I had a cool realization this morning. After a perfect greeting of hugs from my kids after getting home from my race in Colorado, it was off to bed. I woke up and it was back to normal. My normal is staggering out of bed, getting kids up for school, finishing homework we should have last week, making breakfast which is often cereal but today was pancakes, finding someone pants and someone else their backpack, then saying prayers and kissing them goodbye and settling in with the two girls still left at home. Visited with my awesome neighbor Amy, got the baby chicks back from her, got them new food and water and freed them in the backyard from their cold weather box prison. Changed a very stinky diaper and had a puzzle plopped on my lap to do with the baby. 
Then it hit me. I went up, over, and down 4 amazing 12,000+ foot passes in Colorado barely more than a day earlier. I went from dry dirt, beautiful leaves and streams, to snow dusted trail, then snow covered trees, then a full on gusty wind snow covered alpine tundra on top, and then back down, over and over again. I ran fast with a smile on my face from aid station to aid station where my husband was ready to hurry and pit stop me if you will, with new gels and food and clothing I'd need. I'd tell the aid station my bib number so they could update the results friends at home may be watching with my progress.  I had a picture taken while running in 7th and was asked how to spell my name at an aid station so she could put it on iRunFar, a running website.  I felt like a rock star. I ran along side (well behind but not by too far) some the best runners in the world and pushed my body to it's limit. My pacer Zac and I spoke of everything while we were running the last 30 miles together, including my kids, but that time was all about seeing how well we could get me through that race. It's like I'm living a whole different life sometimes.

And then I woke up this morning and got back to what I realized today is my real life. My family. 
Sometimes I mesh racing/training and family as one, but it really isn't. I am a wife and mom first and Iove it!  I just get to have a pretty freaking cool alternate life on the side sometimes. Now if you'll excuse me I'm sure there's some mess to clean and a little voice hollering for me :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My first Xterra!

I've wanted to do Xterra (off road triathlon) for a few years now but life has come up and mostly, I was not ready for the mountain bike.  I wasn't exactly perfectly ready this year, but I took the mountain bike out a few times close to home and rode most of the course a couple times.  I have probably been on a mountain bike a dozen times, max.  I'm using a line from friend Heath Thurston who put it well.  I wanted to 'not wreck, and not cause one'.  I was worried about holding people back (the thought of needing to pass people on the bike really didn't cross my mind) or falling over or something on this mostly single track trail course.  Oh and let me tell you about my mountain bike.  All aluminum, entry level components, bike bell for leading at IMSG, cage pedals, and even a trusty kickstand.  yes, a kickstand.  I bought it used a few years ago for $100 from a teenage girl who wanted to go to dance camp instead.  So while not at all idea, it basically got the job done and that's what I trained on. It's heavy, doesn't have rear shocks which makes you feel like you're bouncing around a little, the chain was starting to rattle which worried me it was coming loose, and the normal pedals were rubbing rocks and the side of the trail sometimes.  Anyway, a friend from Park City graciously offered me his very nice full suspension carbon bike to use for the race if I wanted.  I don't like trying new things on race day, but this sounded pretty nice.  I put my speedplay pedals on it since it wasn't worthy of cages, tried it out Friday night and after much deliberation decided to go for it.  I stressed in T1 before the race that I had made the wrong decision and felt like I was cheating on my bike, but it was a sweet ride!  Oh yes, and one more sentance before this paragraph runs on way too long.  My husband is traveling this week (and most weeks this fall) so I had to take kids to a friends house close to the race.  They got home from school and just wanted to relax and play with friends for a minute but eventually I wrangled them into the car....late.  My phone said the drive would take 1:20 to get up there, I had 1:15 until registration closed.  AHHHHH!  I stressed completely the whole entire drive especially when hitting rush hour traffic several times.  I called people up in Ogden to see if they could go in to register me but everyone was busy so kids and I just crossed fingers and prayed.  I pulled into the park parking lot 5 minutes after closing and RAN to the tent and by the skin of my teeth registered, the very last person.  Whew!  The kids were so cute with their nervous faces, asking me when I came back if I made it - I threw my hands up in the air and they cheered  :)

ANYWAY, lets move on, sorry.  I'll try to keep the rest brief although I do want to remember a lot of details for this virgin race.  Parked at the trail a mile or two before the swim to test out the nice mountain bike one more time about 6:30am and just decided to go for it.  Dropped that bike off in T1 at Pineview Reservoir about 7am.  Drove up to T2 and the finish at Snowbasin ski resort and gathered my swim stuff for the bus and dropped off my shoes in T2 and climbed on a bus the annoying naggy announced lady kept bugging people to get on (we still had 20 more minutes to catch a bus mind you).  Got back down to the lake, got marked with Xterra's big fat black number stamps which interestingly they put on the front of your arm, not side like I'm used to.  My nice number lady also put my 30 on backwards so I was E0.  Some guy later said it was backwards because I was protesting turning 30.  I like that logic but I'm ok with it  :)  Pro's cannon went off while I was getting ready and I eventually wandered down to the water to talk with Heath's wife who was saying the swim was very long today.  Didn't bother me any, I seem to do well on the swim lately despite not training for it this summer.  So there are 3 races at this race, the National Championship for the Pro's and age groupers, the same 'olympic' distance anyone can enter without qualifying, and the 'sprint' or sport as was the name yesterday which was shorter than the longer course.  A 1000 yard-ish swim, 12 mile mtn bike, 3.6 mile run.  I chose the sport because I didn't want to get in over my head and was worried about too many mountain bikes behind me that would have to pass and I didn't want to stress about being in their way. Well my wave was standing in the water for a good 15 minutes ready to go when they finally hollered over to us it would be another 15 min or so till we started.  What??  I had to get back down and get my kids and any delay worried me.  Kind of annoying, I just wish they'd have used their chatty swim exit announcer to tell us what was going on.

Swim - 20:34 Start was choppier than usual, I guess I don't usually start with men though.  A lot that went out too fast held it longer than usual but I eventually got some space although I did swim alongside the same guy the whole time.  Water was a bit choppy/wavy which I like.  Sighting was good.  Thank goodness I brought my Sable goggles this time.  Worth the $.   Great feeling swim, finished strong, first female out.

T1 - Definately longer than usual.  Weird to put on bike gloves and a hydration vest (since I don't have much time to take a hand off the handlebars with a mtn bike.  Also never use socks but did today incase any rocks got in my shoe, can't have any blisters going into the UROC 100K this weekend.

Bike - 1:35.31 Flat first mile or so on the shoulder of the road to get to the trail.  Dropped my gel - darn it!  I like calories and don't like littering, at all!  The initial trail worried me.  It's a steeper long climb, has big rocks, and I'd had trouble with it before.  Thankfully it is wide to give people room to move around when there's more of us, but I was still worried.  And while shifting early on my chain got jammed.  Awesome.  I didn't fall over when the bike locked up though, that was nice.  Climbed off and spent a few minutes pulling on it to get it back on but it worked thankfully.  Was just behind this guy that got locked up on his bike, fell over to the side and then rolled head over hills twice down the hill to the river - ahh!  I stopped and unclipped worried about him but he got back up embarrassed it happened, and worse yet in front of a woman and didn't say much.  I had to run my bike up a bit to be able to get on it again.  Climbed off and ran one more section that I hadn't gotten up before.  Embarrassing since others could do it, but oh well.  From there I was surprised to see I was making good time and needing to pass people while going uphill which went ok, you just have to wait for a little bit of space and then zoom by quickly with an "on your right/left".  We came to a long downhill section that I had done pretty well on before, but the pressure of people behind me coming up fast got to me and I held back a little.  Got passed a lot actually but most were very gracious about it and I tried to be good too about moving over as much as I could when I could.  Was excited to finally get done with it and make the left onto the rest of the trail that would be mainly uphill.  I managed to pass all the women that passed me and I'm pretty sure most of the men.  Happy about that.  I was a wuss and walked my bike down some steps to a bridge after zooming ahead so no one would see me :)  Took my remaining gel where I planned and drained my water and finished up the last section of the bike.  It really went better than I had planned other than the downhill section.  Loved that I had good control and power going up and flat.  These ultrarunning legs are strong.  Managed 3rd woman on the bike.
T2 - Not much to speak of except it stinks to have to tie shoes.  I wore the Altra Superior 1.5 that isn't out yet and I just didn't have time to go buy new elastic laces.  Tieing them isn't a big deal, just takes time, although my left hip flexor cramped bad while I was bent over to tie them.  Glad that didn't stay.

Run - 31:52 The first half of this run was very uphill, as in enough I redlined where I ran, and resorted to powerhiking some - on a 5k.  I passed a few ladies by mile 1, not sure which race they were all in.  We turned at where the 5k and 10k split and I saw one more lady up in front of me, so she must have been in my race.  It was hard to have to powerhike a little knowing that doesn't make up much time, but eventually right before we connected again to the 10k to go downhill on singletrack, I made the pass.  From there I ran fast, no holding back on that twisty switchbacky downhill.  I never looked back, I don't like to, but I figured if I run my fastest downhill, it would take a lot to catch me.  Fatigue didn't show up until the last 1/4 mile when I could feel my legs give more on the technical downhill but I still ran strong.  Felt great to open up the stride long.  The run was really hot, did I mention that?  That first half up up up in the exposed heat was rough.  The finish line is very downhill and that's a little hard, but I made it in HAPPY!  Fastest women's run by 4 minutes, only a few men faster.
Sorry buddy, it's just business  :)
I had SO much fun (while redlining) on the run!
2:27.57 for a sprint.  Yeah.  Welcome to Xterra  :)  I was shocked and excited to have WON!  Yes it was the shorter race, not the championship, but I did not at all come in looking to do so, I just wanted to survive the bike and experience Xterra.  And experience I did!  It was hard, I was breathing hard the whole time, required so much more, almost constant, mental focus, the technical skills need it are great and I've definitely got room to improve, but I am so happy with how my body did!
I can't say with certainty right now that this is the direction of tris I'll go in, but I will definitely do more and would love to see if I could qualify to race in the championship race next year.  All the races require travel out of state except one in Moab which is tough, but we'll see what we can do.  Loved the experience and all it's challenges!   

Didn't love the hours it took to get my T1 bag and wait around for awards though when I needed to get my kids.  They didn't
do overall awards which was a bummer but I got an un-engraved generic age group medal (that wasn't specific to the event) and a small bag of Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner.... I'm always grateful for anything and it wasn't about the prizes, I raced an awesome race, but when I'm hours late getting my kids because they start and delay awards and won't mail them, I kind of expect them to be something worth waiting for.  Done complaining now that I look like a spoiled brat.  I promise I'm not, was just surprised certain parts of a championship event weren't managed better.  I mean between getting there early, starting late, and waiting through the award delays, I spent 9 hours on site for a 2.5 hour event.  Done complaining, I don't want this post to end negative, I had a great time and the race itself was very well organized and fun!
1st Xterra was hard, fun, and done!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Xterra! Highlight video

A highlight video of the pros yesterday, gives you an idea of the fun I had!

2013 XTERRA USA Championship from XTERRA TV on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm published! Pregnancy fitness

I wrote an article about pregnancy fitness for a mothering website, What to Expect 

I will post a more in depth version of it in the future.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Katchina Mosa 100k gear

They aren't stuff per say, but I really liked this picture my friend Jen took I just came upon 
Man I need to catch up.  This summer has been full of fun cool things.  But I want to finish the Katchina posts.  Here's all the stuff involved

I had 3 drop bags, used fabric string backpacks, and packed various 'stuff' in each, but put all the nutrition I knew had to come out for sure to replenish my pack, in a quart size zip lock bag.  I liked that, not fishing through clothing and other maybe gear to get to the stuff I had to have.   Also decided to pack any liquids like sunscreen in zip locks.  So here's the run down

New shorts from Ross, $12.  Pink, polka dots, roomy liner felt like I had nothing on.  Deal
White Altra shirt.  Don't normally wear sleeves to race and had an extra tank packed, but never decided to go with it, kind of liked having my shoulders covered from the sun and any pack chafing for a race that long though
New Moving Comfort Urban X-Over sports bra I got now that the girls are they're at their most deflated smallest, so cute, no chafing, had only worn it for 3 miles previously.  Awesome.
North Face hat.  Don't normally wear hats, haven't worn visors consistanly really because I don't like feeling the bad on my ear so went with a hat since it can't slide down.  I did buckle it against my chest under my pack a lot when I wanted sunglasses only which looked funny but worked better than pulling my pack on and off
Had sunglasses on the whole time, but don't remember what brand, nothing fancy.  I have been trying to wear sunglasses all the time though, I have bad squint/frown lines at too young an age
Wore these cool new SLStri pretty purple compression socks.  Usually wear CEP.  Really liked these new ones I'm testing.  No chafing, foot issues, leg issues and they're just really cute.  My calves never did get very tired.
Altra Lone Peak 1.5 trail shoes from the beginning to mile 54 I believe when I changed into my Torins hoping the extra cushion would help my throbbing feet.  It helped a little but I think it was just all the uneven big cobblestone style rock that worked my feet over.

Wore my Nathan Vaporshape pack the whole race.  Packed and considered my Ultraspire, but liked the side pockets of the Nathan to hold my 2 bags of pills.  No issues with the pack.  Like it a lot

ViFuel Gel.  Consumed about 16, 1 every 40 minutes with a Gu every couple hours in between.  They work great and I love them a lot.  Peach cobbler is the best flavor followed by vanilla in my opinion.  They are thin so go down well and have about 10mg of caffeine which is a great amount for steady energy and digestion.
Gu Rocktane or other caffeinated Gu.  I don't love Gu brand, it's thick and can be tricky with my stomach, but I can tolerate them in moderation.  I had 1 Gu every 2:00-2:40 for the caffeine.
EFS Liquid Shot, vanilla - felt like I might want a change and the added electrolytes so picked this up at Little Valley around mile 38 and had it until 54.
Coke - love coke.  In races, I hardly drink it out of races.  Filled my soft flask with it starting at Windy Pass which was almost half way at around 28 miles.  I'd drink a cup at aid stations and sip on my flask.  I like the stomach settling and caffeine.
Honestly didn't do a ton of solid food.  I had bars in my pack and has 2 Kashi chocolate coconut bars I guess, a couple Honey Stinger Waffles, ate a couple small cooked potatoes, some watermelon and a half a PB&J, but don't recall eating much food food.  I did and do well on gel.  I tried some Honey Stinger chews and they may have made me nauseous, it could have not been them though and just that time in the race.  I've never had issues with them before.

Metasalt electrolytes.  Probably consumed 18 pills?  Would take 1 on the hour every hour, sometimes more if needed and once or twice I opened one into my mouth for faster absorption.  Tastes horrible that way!
Sport Legs.  To combat lactic acid accumulation. True my lack of anaerobic pace doesn't yield lactic acid, but I still think they work.  Funny website.  Took about 18 also.  2 one hour before then 2 every 2 hours on the even hours.
Tissue Rejuvenator.  In an effort to keep inflammation down I've been taking these pills in big doses morning and night when my knees start complaining, but heard you can take them slowly during long runs/races.  I took 1 every other hour on the odd hours when I wasn't taking Sport Legs.
Ibuprofen.  Took 1 (200mg) around half way I think, and 2 (400mg) about 5 hours later, with about 3 hours to go in the race.
Packed Tums for cramping, Pepto pills for stomach issues and blister stuff and first aid but thankfully needed none

Used a spray sunscreen that was nice so I didn't have to get my hands sticky, used a sunscreen stick for my face and spf chapstick when times got tough :)