Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thank you Marilyn Manson, Korn, Drowning Pool, Bullet for My Valentine...

Today lunch hour rolled around it was time for my focus bike which would be a solid hour of grueling heart rate intervals.

I was tired and really did not have a heck of a lot of motivation to do it.  Yesterday's tempo run had left my legs a little sluggish, but I got my clothes changed, grabbed the hrm and my ipod and hopped on the bike.

Oh my legs were tired already.  Throughout the 10 minute warm-up I was just not feeling it but as the REV3 countdown continues, I remain steadfast in my commitment to hold true to the training plan, if not for myself, at least for coach!

After the 10 minutes, I cranked up the volume and crushed the pedals as I found the hardest fastest songs on the ipod. HR was climbing into desired zones.  Sweat was everywhere and burning my eyes.  With each interval I was more resolved to get it done and remain tough despite the pain as I rocked out on the bike spinning the pedals with the tempo of the music.

I know if it were not for my music today I would never have got through that workout, so here's to cranking up the volume.

On a sidenote, related to this post, my HS friend, Lyndsey, was pictured yesterday in this NY Times article about Playing Music During Exercise....Clearly I agree with their findings!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Train, train, train!

This past weekend was a nice break from the hot humid summer....  Don't get me wrong, I do love the sunny warm days, I have just been melting a bit!

The weekend before last could best be described with me as a sweaty nasty disgusting mess!  Saturday I had got lucky enough to pull together a last minute group ride and we rode 62 miles with our share of bike issues (2 flats, derailer issues and broke chain...thankfully none mine) and some rain.  I kept having issues with burning eyes as it was so humid I was just having sweat pour down my face and into my eyes!  Yeeeouch! 

Then, Sunday I whinced as I hopped on the bike seat (yes, still dealing with major seat issues and back to back days kill me...another new seat coming).  That Sunday was another 72 mile group ride with some of my BAFF teammies out from Brecksville out to Grafton and back at 20mph+.  I was just melting and rather uncomfortable (seat/back) but was trying my best to suck it up while my eyes burned from more sweat again!  Then around noon, we pulled back into Breckville for what was supposed to be a 13 mile run.  Only now it was SOOOO HAWT and humid!  I switched into my shoes and knew it was going to be a toughie!  Then as usual I headed out too fast trying to keep up with ES (who is just going to have a kick a$$ day at REV3).  We were averaging 7:30 pace and I think all the heat and humidity was just trapped down there in the valley and we were in full sun.  While we were chatting, I could feel the HR drifting uncomfortably high and I was counting the minutes down as to when we would be done with the first 4 miles and I could hit the bathroom.  Wow, I was a dripping mess after the stop and encouraged ES to go on without me as I could just not keep up that pace and did not want to slow him down.  I started back out on the towpath but fizzled fast and cut the run at not even half the scheduled, tired and mentally checked out.  I ran /walked back, changed right outside my car not caring who saw what as the bathroom 150 yards away was just too far.  I got in my car and hit the gas station, so excited for cold drinks which included a chocolate milk and fountain diet pepsi over ice....oh the joy!  Later in the day, I got frustrated with myself thinking I know I could have finished the run but mentally I had been too checked out between the heat and my leg anxiety (my leg just has felt borderline with tenderness and I am paranoid about my tibia stress fracture coming back so continue to err on cautious side).

The past week was just more of the normal training regiman...included some swimming, a great tempo, some biking and work of course!  There are way more details I am intentionally leaving out but suffice it to say, I have been incredibly busy and stressed with a few things, that certain other things such as logging the workouts and blogging keep falling by the wayside.  Just trying to stay on top of the workouts and everything else as best I can!

After another long work week, reprieve came in the form of another weekend!  Friday, the husband and I headed up to Sandusky and stayed with some friends, ate some Mexican and had some beers catching up...good times!  Saturday morning came early and we headed over to Sawmill Creek for the official REV3 training day.  Again it was another great turnout of probably over 100 people, with lots of different people than the July date.

It was another whirlwind morning, helping out with CTC responsibilities, heading down to the swim with Leah and Liquid Lifestyles and taking in some pointers.  Water temp was supposedly around 76 so all REV3 people can safely assume we will have no issues with a wetsuit legal swim!  Thank goodness for me!

Then I rushed to meet up with a bunch of BAFF riding buddies to head out onto the REV3 course.  My plan was to ride 100, run 3.  We had a decent sized group of about 15-20 of us for most the first loop.  I was feeling pretty good and was just letting some of the strong guys at the front do the work, knowing most of them were riding 59 miles and I would still have another 41 to go.  This time I actually did the 1.5 mile section in Milan.  Cute town---this will be a great cheering area!  Then it was full speed ahead on 113, the ~12-13mile section of nicely paved road that we always fly down.  I should mention for those of you that want to know more about the bike course that since the July date, much of the course has been chip and sealed.  It will be important to take extra care heading into corners and clearly it seemed as tho the extra rolling resistance of chip and seal slowed things down a bit.  This course is pretty flat for the most part but there are plenty of rollers and false flats that grind on ya a bit.  Also, the roads can only get better as the fresh chip and seal settles in more, but my guess is that I would say about a third of the course is chip and seal (so prepare mentally for that!).  The REV3 gang is doing whatever they can to make it better but it is not all that bad.  For the first 48 miles or so with the larger group we had averaged 22.5 and then at the turn, our now 10 person group became 2. 

The 2 was ES and I.  ES is also training for REV3 full and was my coach's star student last year.  It has been sooo nice to have a few other people doing similiar workouts as me so that we can do them together.  (This weekend I have another 70/14 on tap and  I love that other people will be around....don't see a lot of takers wanting in on that workout!)  Not only that ES, is stronger than me and the local group is packed with lots of other talented guys and one very well rounded female that recently won Cleveland Tri, so it has been good to push myself to keep up with this gang!  I know I would not typically push myself as hard on my own as what I do with them!  As I have heard many times, train with faster people if you want to get faster!

OK back to loop two of the rev3 course....we took our first and only stop at mile 65 in Florence at the gas station.  Mmmm, cold water.  (We missed the stop accidentally in Berlin Hts ~43m and decided we did not need it the second time around (~80m).  I picked ES' mind some about pacing and it started to sprinkle a bit.  Yet, the miles just kind of went by quickly and 4hrs36min later we called it a day with 99.3 miles at a 21.6 avg.  I changed into my running shoes and took off with ES.  He was trying to get done and I was trying to hang on for dear life.  First 2 miles were sub 7 and I said I was taking the last mile easy (which still ended up 7:20 pace) and we wrapped up the 3 mile tempo at 7:07 avg.  The bike had felt so good with a nice 151 HR avg (pretty low aerobic end for me) and then that run just killed me!  I was hot, had to hit RR and was sooo glad to be done!  Then it was time for the fun at the Post Preview Day wrap up at Sawmill where I ate, drank, socialized and watched the giveaways go out!  I did get up and give a brief talk about Trakkers and gave out a bunch of visors they had sent....surprisingly quite a few guys wanted pink ones!

Sunday morning I woke up and drove out the CVNP to meet my gal ET for a 16 mile towpath run.  Planned pace was 7:45-8:15.  I was a little sore from Saturday, yet with company this good I was just lost in conversation and miles effortlessly clicked by.  Actually I had to slow myself down quite a few times to stay in the range and finished right with a 8:02 avg.  This was a fabulous run for ET who is just getting back at her long run training.  Then we headed to Fishers for some refueling and laughs with my HS friend, GT.  It was just one of those super awesome mornings in my book that I felt great, ran comfortably where I wanted to and just had a blast....friends make everything bettter!

So all and all things seem to be coming together.  Monday was swimming, yesterday was a moderate/hard 55 m bike, today was a 8 mi run including 3 at tempo (~6:40), tomorrow will be a focus bike, easy day friday with some swimming and then one more good hard weekend before the main taper.  I am excited and feel strong.  I have been watching the diet a little better and am down a bit on the scale.  I will try to cut a bit more of the BS (beer/fried foods/mexican) out the next couple of weeks....oh I am just not as behaved as I know I should be sometimes!  I have been fine tuning my nutrition and really coming to appreciate the First Endurance products and actually fueling my body more to just keep putting it altogether!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Twilight Trail Run RR

Just did one of my favorite races of the year, the Twilight Trail Run last night! This was my fourth year doing the 8K event! It is for a good cause and just tons of fun!

2007 - Teamed up with MT and we won First Overall Female Team, Time ???
2008- Teamed up with CV and we won Second Overall Female Team, Time 37:05
2009- Teamed up with GP and just short of ranking! Time 38:10
2010- Teamed up with my girl ET and we showed we could have fun (even off our mountain bikes) and took Second Overall Female Team, Time 36:10 (my garmin was just over 5mi and 7:10 pace)

So I showed up pretty early with the husband in tow. It was HOT! Nearly 90 degrees and 70% humidity!

I went out for a two mile warm up with my ladies which included 2 strides and then did 3 more strides in the parking lot with E just before race time. One quick hit to the inhaler to try to keep the asthma at bay and I was ready to go....and completely drenched already!

The course is 8k/4.9 miles, 99% of course on dirt bridle trails, crosses one stream and has one MAJOR & many minor rolling hills. The start is staggered start by age and sex. You can start at 7pm if you are 70+ female and 75+ male or you if you are a 24-34 aged male, you would start at 7:16pm. Everyone else starts in 1-2 minute increments in between. You can ‘jump up’ a stagger by a $5 donation to Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (a very worthy cause). The first runner back to the finish wins the race! There were a number of fast chicks that jumped up a wave.

My partner and I lined up right behind the fast chick in our wave and with the start, we were off. Oh I know we were running too fast...especially for that first 400 or so on the open field as we were with fast BW. We got a little boxed out a couple times on the corners as we had already caught most of the group that started a minute ahead of us. Then there was across the lil stream crossing where ET and I dusted people who were trying to keep their feet dry on the side. I planted my right foot firmly in the middle of the stream where I crossed and I swear my shoe never even got wet. Then it was more passing people and before long it was up the HUGE hill.

My partner, ET was at my side and I felt like I was pushing too hard to stay in step with her. I think she felt I was doing the same thing to her. BW, was still only about 100 yards ahead as we crested the hill. Holy crap, I had totally gassed out up that hill and I tried to back off a tad to recompose myself. Pushing along down the bridal path and thankful to have the hill done, I finally hit mile 1...seriously that was only a mile, I thought. However my garmin had beeped about 100 yards before so I knew it was at least close.

Mile 2 was rolling hills and ET fell off. We were both breathing hard and she warned me, so I put my head down and focused on continuing to catch people and seeing how long I could hold off the fast guys! Again as I crossed mile 2, it did not seem possible that I was only to mile 2. Mile 3 consisted of lots of small rollers, #1, #2 and #3 male all caught me during this mile. Oh if only I had my rope but their pace was much too quick for me. The bridal path was in good shape and surprisingly dry....I really should have just wore my road shoes as I would have been much more comfy, as my trail shoes felt heavy and a bit tight (I have moved up 1/2 a size in the running shoes I purchase over the last yr or so). I was counting down looking forward to the big downhill by Squire's Castle for some reprieve....hang on, I thought! Finally I hit the big downhill and let the feet fly and the arms come out to balance me out. I was flying so fast and working to be a tinnny bit cautious so it was not quite the reprieve I had hoped. I was still tired at the bottom, but thankfully the air seemed a little less thick. Around the castle and passing all water stops without taking any, I was happy to see some CTC cheerleaders! Thanks guys really did pick me up a bit! I missed the mile 4 marker. At 4.3 on my garmin, I checked it, b/c I was wondering where the heck it was.  I was glad that I must have just missed it and was indeed in the final mile. After passing the River Grove driveway, there was some loose gravel on the last small uphill which felt rough and I begged my legs to keep plugging along. I felt spent and was focused on the final field just up ahead. As I hopped out of the woods and ran out into the field and I glanced over to see BB (another fast CTC guy) passing me. I wanted to kick with him but I was whooped and resolved to take my place as there were no ladies close to me. Hit the finish at 36:10 on my watch. My partner ET was not too far behind and I cheered in some other friends, taking pleasure in giving ElizaBeth a hard time of course!

Then it was afterparty time! Pizza and a keg....helllz ya! Then we hit a bar/grill after to complete the super fun night! ET and I ranked 2nd overall female team behind my friends, speedstars EH and NC!

All in all, I was quite pleased with the run. I have not been doing too much running relative to other years and very limited speed work. I had not run an open running race in awhile and I was not sure how I would fare. While my pace was not that fast, in that heat and humidity on that course, it was not too shabby! One of the biggest concerns I had about going long this year was that it might slow me down some. Everyone talks about lots of long slow training and often getting slower. However, I think this was my fastest run on the course yet and have been feeling pretty good about my paces in general so perhaps the hard work and focused pacing on my bikes and runs is working out alright for me! Now if I can just keep my legs (ok specifically my forever worrisome tibia) happy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Greater Cleveland Tri Race Report

So I made my return to the Greater Cleveland Tri this weekend after missing last year.  Only this time, it would be my first time doing the Olympic Tri Race!  (In '07 and '08, I did the half which is no longer offered).  Now this course is definitely the race course I have rode more than any other.  For several years now, many training sessions have included riding and running this course, so I was fully prepared for the course!

Saturday morning I went for a nice 2000 meter swim at Lifetime and headed over to work the expo for the Cleveland Tri Club.  I had carted a ton of club stuff in and after working my shift I managed to forget my packet on the table behind me so I was thankful my friend Brandon could bring me my stuff race morning!  Idiot move on my part as I like to have everything ready to go ahead of time.  Oh well...this resulted in multiple trips in an out of transition as I got organized.

It was no big deal tho as I did have plenty of time.  Race morning I had woke up at 4:30 and drug the husband and I out of the house by 5:10 to arrive at Mentor at 5:45.    Race morning, I ate a bagel with some PBJ and had one of my normal coffee mugs for the road.  Then about an hour out I started drinking my FE PreRace drink concoction!  I went out for about a 1 mile warmup run but started running pretty quickly on my way back afraid transition would close and I would not have my shoes in there!  However, I still had plenty of time and then made my way back for the pre-race meeting that I could not hear.

I made the long walk with DM and JC on the path to the swim start.  I had a chance to get in the water and get in a nice lil warm up which always makes me feel more comfy!  Unfortunately the wind had changed and we were going to be swimming against the current with some good waves.  TG I breathe to my left!  The Oly Tri Men and Women 30-39 started together and were the second wave.  As I ran into the water and tried my best dolphin dive, I stopped a couple times as my goggles were leaking.  I got the goggles fixed and settled into a rhythm.  We swam out to the buoy and then had a long one way swim back.  Sometimes I would sight but had trouble as I could not see over the waves but all in all, I think I was doing alright and surprisingly I felt pretty relaxed and focused on making sure I stayed that way!  A couple times I did catch myself swimming a little out of the way but made it out of the water in 29.12 (8th of 42 females and already 5+ min behind #1).  My transition was slow.  The timing chip was digging in my ankle and I could not get my wetsuit over it and then I wasted time trying to get my garmin going.  ( It is just to much of a pain I think for me to deal with that when I am trying to be fast!)  T1:  1:26

I hopped on my bike and headed out onto the bike course into the headwind.  My hamstrings felt really tight and I was trying to ease into the bike so they could have a chance to loosen up.  I was lucky to have borrowed race wheels and I was just trying to use the hills to my advantage on the freeway overpasses to stretch out a bit.  About 3 miles on the bike, I took some electrolytes and gel #1 with some water.  I always break this course into 3 sections.  The first 1/3, which is boring Heisley  has lots of traffic, then the hilly section with the one big hill and plenty of uphill grade and then the long downhill to the finish.  As we turned off Heisley, I was looking forward to getting into the hills and trying to use them to my advantage.  I worked keep momentum into the corners and accelerate out of them and was passing riders along the way.  I felt pretty good and climbed the big hill without too much difficulty as I have practiced that hill plenty of times.  As I hit the final 1/3 which kicks off with the big downhill I tucked in super tight and absolutely flew forever and was saving energy.  There was a nice tail wind on the way back and took gel #2.  As the sprint course merged back in I was trying to pass as many as possible as not to have them hold me up on my way into the park.  The park road was just a little less than a mile and we are not supposed to pass or risk penalty.  As I pulled into the park a moderately paced guy passed the slow paced guy in front of me (which is not legally permitted in this race).  I thought about it too as this guy in front of us was going SO SLOW.  He was going at least 1/2 the speed I was going but I did not want to risk penalty but this really did cost a fair amount of time.  I sat up and rode with one hand and tried to affix my garmin in my wrist.  To be honest, this huge chunk of lost time bothered me a bit as if it was a close race, it could make the difference and it just seemed like it would have been no big deal to safely pass.  (2nd fastest female Bike split 1:10:53 at 21.0mph avg, #1 was 1:09:49 so perhaps we could have been even if I could have passed in the not bad but definitely not making up anytime from that swim!)

Anyways I hopped off the bike and heard Beth say #1 was about 6 minutes in front. I am not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.  Problem was at this point it seemed #1 was out of reach.   I started running on the path by the lake which was nice and shaded and then we turned out onto the hot open industrial parkway. Mile 1- 6:50,  I was happy to see the Fleet Feet Aid Station and waved and kept on going. Mile 2-7:11.  Mile 3 had some hills and I kept trying to tell myself even effort up and down.  Mile 3- 7:56(too slow!)  I think it was around mile 3 where I saw #1 heading back and as someone on my team I was happy to see she was looking strong but I also knew my chances were not optimistic in catching her!  As I started to countdown the miles I just decided to run a nice steady pace...missed mile 4, but 4&;5 were 14:42.  I had also passed #3 and it seemed pretty clear the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall females were not going to change much this run as we were all spread out a fair amount.  I finished the run at 46:14 (a 7:28 pace, second fastest split behind #1 at 7:18 pace).  This is not a pace I am particularly satisfied with but I suppose it was just more or less I settled as my rank was not going to change.  Next time I need to run for myself!

I was happy to see the finish line as I was super thirsty and proceeded to down water like it was my job.  Finish time was 2:28:36.  (#1 was 2:20:39, #3 was 2:38:27 so we were all pretty spread out!) When I got done I particularly happy that BAFF girls went 1,2 and 3rd overall.  The results had some issues but I am sure they will get fixed here and nonetheless, we know what they are!

As I always look back at the results and see where I am coming up short, it always comes back to the swim.  I lost 5+ min there, and everything else was marginal and could probably go either way (although truth be told #1 beat me by a bit on everything this day including transitions).  I was not displeased with my swim but I really just need to continue to work there if I want to be more competitive.

As always, I appreciate all of the efforts that went into the race by the many spirited volunteers like the pirate track team, Fleet Feet, SnakeBite, CTC members and all the people who gave up sooo much time making it possible!  Thank you, thank you!  Many of these people were my friends and it does seem like such a shame when I see racers getting upset with these volunteers who have donated their time and most often the volunteers that racers are complaining to are typically not the ones responsible for whatever issue people are complaining please be respectful!

Last week was an easy week leading up to the race and now it is back to work as the big day is less than 5 weeks out now!!!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Right Side Tour

So tons has been going on but it seems appropriate to dedicate a post to the ride I did over the weekend, The Right Side "New Road" Tour.  Every now and then I take a lot of pleasure in doing some of the local bike tours such as Sunday in June, Sweet Corn Ride, Stomp and now this one.  There really are not too many tours locally so it is nice to have this newer option.  The ride was in its third year now.  People had the option to register for 10, 25, 50 OR 100 miles and could just pay the registration fee or pay the registration fee and also set up a donation page for a cause of your choice including-

“Dougs Wild Riders”, Parkinson’s
“Bright Side of the Road”, ALS
“Susan G. Komen”, Breast Cancer
“Flashes of Hope", Childhood cancer

Now a couple years ago, I had the opportunity to help co-direct Cleveland Touring Club's Sunday in June Ride.  Let me tell you that I walked away from that with a new found respect for event and race organizers.  It really is such a huge undertaking and requires so much time & planning and there are forever tons of little details to think about. So when just a few people working together pull it off, I think it is good to give credit where credit is due and these folks deserve a nice round of applause!

When I looked at my schedule for the week I had a 90/3 brick on tap and I knew that this tour was going on so it seemed like a perfect way to get in the mileage.  I had spoke with one of my riding friends early on in the week and he had agreed to head there early and head out for the 100 with me!  Company makes everything better!  That and the fact that certain people make good riding partners in terms of comparable ability and riding style so I thought that I would be in good shape.

The day before I had met my friend, CV and the SW group for a 62 mile bike ride out to Spencer.  That day was my first day with the new seat, the Terry Damselfly that I had ordered from Trakkers sponsor, All3Sports.  My old seat, the Terry Butterfly, was just plain totally wore out and not go into the gory details but suffice it to say, I have been quite miserable in  the girly area.  I really used to like this seat so I decided to stick with the brand but go with a more stretched out version thinking it was more conducive to riding aero.  Jury is still out.  After Saturday's ride, my seat bones felt very bruised (it is Tuesday now and they still hurt).  

So Sunday morning just after 6:40, BL and I headed out to start the 100 mile bike tour from the Polo Fields and the minute I sit down on the seat, I sigh and know this is going to be a long day as it hurts from the get go!  HTFU!  

It was cool early, while it was still humid and we pedaled up Chagrin River Road.  There was a bunch of climbing early on over by Holden Arboretum as we weaved our way towards Chardon area and into Burton.  We climbed the hill into Burton and hit the aid station at about mile 35 to see NT working the aid station with his cutie pie, Diamond (his golden).  We were not feeling too rushed and were the first riders to come through.  I had not ate breakfast so I had half a cookie, a mini nutritition bar and an awesome apple.  I hit the bathroom and we headed out north of Burton for another 20 mile loop (out Burton Windsor to Clay to 608 to Chardon Windsor to Claridon Troy) and then back up the hills again into Burton.  This time we were not alone at the aid station.  Lots of the 50 milers were there and it was nice to see some familiar faces!  Many thanks to Nick and Jacob for your efforts in volunteering and all you did to make this event great!

I was feeling pretty good, just a sore lower back and sore butt as we headed out on the final stretch.  The roads were all marked well and these roads are all very nice and ones I have rode many times before (which makes it nice as I knew where I was going and what to expect for the most part!).  We were riding at a moderate pace for the most part that day and we had a nice tail wind for most of the second half which was nice.  The day was a nice mix of us both taking some pulls (while truth be told I think he pulled more than me!) and just riding next to each other to chat some.  As we headed back the final stretch there were a couple good climbs (which I usually ride the opposite direction on Music Road on the Tuesday night Tavern Ride) and I actually barely minded them as any chance to be out of my saddle, which was fine by me!  

We were getting near the finish as we rode down 87 and we saw that the course was supposed to take us up Caves to Dines to County Line and back to 87.  We decided to skip that part and just continue on down 87 which probably cut off 3-4 miles but I was sort of indifferent on it as my bruised bones ached and I just wanted to get in my 90/3 and the rest was just bonus anyways.

We pulled into the parking lot with 93 miles and changed into our running shoes and headed out onto the bridal path.  It was now very hot and I was happy when we were in shady areas.  We were averaging just under 8 min mile pace passing walkers and horses.  As a side note, we had 2 pairs of horse back riders on the way out coming at us.  On the way back when coming up from behind, we were thanked as we had warned coming up on your left as we eased off a bit as not to startle the horses.  The horseback rider was very appreciative and said we were first people all day to do that.  Just always a good thing to do and hard to believe everyone does not think to do it.

Upon our return, I was now pouring with sweat but feeling good about getting in another big weekend and feeling pretty good!  Now it was time for the good part, food & drink!  Brio was a sponsor and they had brought in this friggin awesome tasting pasta and there was hotdogs and more!  I think my food was gone in like 2 seconds as I chugged water.  The guy who was singing and playing guitar was super awesome and it was just such a nice atmosphere!  I really enjoyed the day and would highly recommend this ride to other people.  They also had a lot of people that had came out for the yoga session that they had put on out there too!  Mad props to Carina and Jill, the boys at MRC and everyone else involved and thanks for the great day!