Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mountains Shmountains

Here was today's ride. I think this elevation profile (in large) is a pretty accurate picture of the ride. One huge mountain, up and over. A 1000 foot climb in one steady push. This should make Devil's Hill seem like a snap. This was on gravel forest service roads on the mountain bike too, so it was certainly rather effortful. Eighteen miles of pure abuse. As a side note of local trivia, this ride supposedly contains the sharpest turn in Pennsylvania, which you can see between miles 8 and 9. I can't vouch for this, except to say that the road is nearly parallel with itself after the turn, with nothing but a vertical wall separating the lanes. The way down was a typical jackhammer ride, made worse by forearms weakened by Friday's kettlebell and log-grip routines. It's so bumpy that you can't sit down for fear of being thrown from the saddle or breaking a wheel, so you have screaming quads, aching forearms, overtaxed calves, rattled teeth and smoking brakes. It's awesome.

Who's going to join me?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Okay, since it was a weekend, it was time for another long ride. I takes 'em when I can get 'em. Here is my ride from today, in case anyone wishes to get very involved in my training. This ride was also notably on purpose! It was just shy of 47 miles, through some truly gorgeous terrain. I should have known I was making in error in judgment when I started going up "Summer Mountain Road," as that moniker should have been a clue as to its course, but I knew it didn't go over the mountain because I could see on the map it stayed on my side of the ridge. Unfortunately, it went quite a ways up my side of the ridge. I stoutheartedly put that mountain under my belt like another bag of nachos and cruised down the long hill afterwards with wild abandon. I never got off the bike, except for a few drink breaks and to take in the beautiful views from the mountain tops. It was darn windy on the way back to my car, which of course was a 20 mile slog into a stiff wind while going generally uphill for a good chunk of it, but the last 7 miles or so is a very nice slide back down to ground level, making the ride end on a pleasant note. I feel pretty good about it the whole thing. People should come and join me on this ride sometime. It is really a scenic wonder. It's also part of the "Bicycle PA" route through this part of the state, and for good reason, I'd say. Also, it looks like I can do the half iron bike without feeling like I'm going to die. The run is another story. If I had the discipline to get skinny, and I mean ripped, I might actually be okay at this. I'm just not sure I have that discipline. I love food!

Where'd I put that seven-layer dip?

How's Matt's running?

Last year I had a very sore hip flexor and I ran all of 6 miles or so in the month leading up to Mooseman. Similar story this year this time it’s my knee which I tweaked back on April 1st. So I really haven’t been doing much running. As Genine mentioned in a previous post, I may have torn something or it could be tendonitis. When I was back in Warren Jim suggested go to a sports doctor to have it checked out. As only a picture of it would really tell the whole story. Well earlier this week I went to the NYC chiropractor that I like and I mentioned the knee issue to him. He said the exact same thing as Jim did. He checked out my insurance and gave me a name of a Doctor which he would recommend. I’d have to get a referral so it’s going to be a bit of a process. It’s going to have to wait until after Mooseman.
I ran maybe 3 miles last weekend with Genine, Jerry and Michelle. That went well. Thursday night I went out to run 4 miles and I decided to walk the last mile. It wasn’t because it was painful, I’m just being very cautious. I don’t see any point of pushing through a workout and having a stiff knee for 2 days. I felt great after I was half mile or so into the run. Going back up the hill from the ballpark I was feeling really strong so when I started to think that if I continued that I might cause a problem, I just walked the last mile. The first 3 miles were enough to give me the confidence I’m looking for. I feel that I should be able to run a solid 10K next weekend. I’ll just do a couple more short runs before then.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Valley Sprint

If anybody is going to do the Happy Valley Sprint Tri July 5th, then you can still get the super cheap 40 dollar entrance fee until June 1st. That is hard to beat.

Not to mention the free housing.

And food.

And excellent camaraderie and fellowship.

Matt's Bike

I'm only finding short windows of time to post what's up. Here is some of what's going on.

Last weekend while in Warren I took my bike to the shop there to have them true my rear wheel. When I picked it up the next day, he said that it took quite a bit of work to get it back into alignment. So I should keep an eye on it… and that the wheel might not have much life left in it. There aren’t many spokes on the wheel, so I can understand how it would be difficult to adjust. At the same time, I’m guessing he hasn’t trued many “race” wheels, so hopefully I’m better off than he thinks.
Part 2 of this story is the fact that he decided to adjust the cable length on my front derailleur. My front shifter has 3 positions. Big ring, Small Ring and a 3rd shift lower which I suppose might give the chain a bit more room when in the climbing gears in the back. (I’ve never found this position to be useful at all). Anyhow, after being at the shop. My shifting became. Big Ring, Click- still big ring. Click Small Ring. Also if I’m in the big ring. I can press the paddle all the way in to downshift and it will actually click to the 3rd position and the new home of the small ring.
So I called a bike shop last night to see if they could make a quick adjustment for me. They said maybe they would have it done tomorrow if I brought it in. Or it would be Monday. I decided it was time for me to learn how to do this myself. The shop can bail me out if I make it worse, which I thought unlikely. I had posted about my problem on trifuel earlier in the week and people had posted links as to the likely problem and links to the “how to”. I checked that out and then took a look at the cable. It looked like he had shortened it by ¼ to ½ an inch. After some messing around to figure out how it all worked, it seems I have it back to the way it was before my trip to the bike shop. The cable is a bit frayed as well. I’d never looked at it real closely before. I am concerned that when in the big ring, the chain is too close to the derailleur when on the 12 in the back. I definitely am looking to have a pro check out the indexing and such sometime soon.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Volume 12: Wednesday Yoga

Wednesday yoga is one of my favorite workouts of the week. I always look forward to it. Not only is Tiffany an amazing trainer, she has become a good friend as well. She is a wealth of knowledge and is always willing to share & educate. She truly cares about the betterment of our bodies and minds. Simply put....Tiffany ROCKS!! It's fun to hang with her, Jimmy, her kids and her super cute (and funny) dogs every week. Our discussions have covered topics from the Dali Lama to ice cream. Oh...and we usually manage to fit some yoga in there, too! That's why I love Wednesday night yoga at Tiffany's house. Here are some photos from last night:

Downward dogs:

Cobra pose:

Matt and Shania:

Toffee watching us thinking, "You call that downward dog? Really?"

Shania snoozing on the comfy chair:

Volume 11: Finding inspiration

Tuesday was our day off from training. So without any photos or tales to tell, I'll share with you some pieces of inspiration that I have stumbled across in the past few days. They have presented themselves in food labels of all places. Kinda strange, right? I consider it a sign that I must be making "wise" nutrition choices. I doubt that I would find such enlightenment on a bag of Doritos or M&M's.

The first was on the back of a bag of dried cranberries, cherries & blueberries (Mariani Enhanced Wellness Berry Thrive). It spoke to ways of enhancing the wellness of your body, mind and spirit. The part I took inspiration from is this: Help your spirit thrive by surrounding yourself with others who feed your soul with positive energy and encouragement. I immediately thought of all of you out there who have supported Matt & I through this amazing journey of the past few years (and longer in many cases!). You have been there to lift us up & pull us through the rough patches as well as celebrate the good times with us. The gift of your friendship definitely helps my spirit thrive!

The second was on the label of my Costco brand Vitamin Water (Kirkland VitaRain Tropical Mango Energy beverage). It was hiding on the side of the bottle next to the nutrition facts. It simply said, "As in life, chill for best results." I will need to remind myself of that as I stand in Newfound Lake next Saturday anxiously awaiting the start of the swim!

And the last piece of inspiration, or maybe I should say, aspiration I found in a magazine. It is now displayed on our refrigerator. No explanation needed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mini-Camp, Central PA style

Okay, I decided to try to knock out a few workouts this weekend too. It started off with a bang. Not the bang of a flat tire, like Craig's, but with a wonderful bike ride. I set out to do a 32-mile ride that I have done before. It was a beautiful sunny day. This ride normally takes me about 2 hours. I prepared my bottle of water and took one Powergel, just in case. Well, about 90 minutes in, I ran out of water, which would have been fine, except right about then I took a wrong turn. I realized eventually that I had done that, but I wasn't sure what the quickest way back was. I knew where I was, but I had never ridden on most of these roads before, so I kept making misguided attempts at heading toward home that always brought me back to the main road I had started from. Suffice it to say this bike ride ended up being 4 hours long and covered quite a bit more than 32 miles. I also got a good feeling of what dehydration is like, and discovered that I would like to avoid that in any race, if possible. After getting home and drinking about a gallon of various liquids, I felt pretty good. That was enough for Friday.

Saturday I got in a pretty good swim at the Y for about an hour. Sunday the community pool opened, so I got to try out the outdoor swimming after a long respite. That went well too, but was only about half an hour long.

Monday, I only got a leisurely bike ride in with Greg, who came up for part of the weekend. It was about a 45 minute ride of pretty low intensity, though it was fun and the scenery was gorgeous. I did get a bit sweaty, so it wasn't a total breeze. There were plenty of hills and some challenging singletrack out there.

It doesn't seem like I'm quite getting the type of duration I need here, although the 4-hour bike ride was nice. I guess I just need more of those. We'll see what I can do in the coming two weeks.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Volume 10: Memorial Day Bike

Back in NJ! After a brief night's sleep, I awoke at 6:00am Monday morning to get ready to go to work...sigh. Working in retail really stinks at times. I go upstairs to tell Matt that I am leaving. He is still asleep...extra big SIGH. At least there was no traffic, so the commute was quick (50mins) and easy. I only had to work until 2:00pm, so the day went easily by. It was a gorgeous day and I was eager to get outside and enjoy it.

While I was working, Matt walked to downtown to watch the bike races. We have lived in Somerville almost 10 years and have never seen them. So, he decided to check it out. He didn't stay for all of them, but it was fun to watch for awhile. there were a couple good crashes. I can't imagine riding in those close packs of bikes. One wrong move and down they all go! Ouch!

Med tent

I arrived back home at 3:00. Matt loaded the bikes on the car while I changed my clothes & grabbed a quick bite to eat. Then we headed to Maija's house for a bike ride. We rode about 1 hour 43mins. It was a moderate course with a few manageable hills. We did 5X 6min intervals with 2min rest. I am enjoying these bike workouts very much. I like feeling strong and fast. I have been working on a faster cadence and seem to be picking it up a bit. I still probably spend too much time on the big ring, but that's were I feel powerful and like I am able to really kick it in when needed. I'll get there, I suppose....still so much to learn. We rode past a farm that raises buffalo. Kinda funny to look over and see buffalo in the field. Are we in Kansas or New Jersey? (Is there even buffalo in Kansas? One of those square states, right?) Although it was warm, the humidity was still low, so the temperature was quite enjoyable. Good times!!
Check out the buffalo!

Post ride self portrait

We finished up and visited with the dogs. Maija & I ate ice cream, Cooper & Frito had Frosty Paws, while Matt drank his chocolate protein drink. Then we went back home to relax and get to bed early.

I have to tell you that I had some ominous dreams last night. We had the fan in the window by
the bed as it was hot upstairs. As we predicted, the temperature dropped in the night and the breeze from the fan became cool. I suspect that is why I kept waking up. Each time, right before I woke up, I could see myself in my wetsuit standing in the water up to my waist in Newfound Lake. I guess it was the start of the swim, but I was completely alone. It was dark and I was shivering in the cold wind. Then I would wake up. Kinda creepy, right?? No worries, though. I know that the morning of June 6th is going to be bright and matter what the weather is!

Mini-camp semi success

My memorial day weekend mini-camp was only semi successful.  I did get in seven workouts, but it lacked a swim and one of the workouts was non-aerobic, which wasn't the goal.  Had to ride my mountain bike on the bike rides because I had a flat on the road bike and didn't take time to change it.  Went to two baseball games (Levi's).  Mowed the lawn, washed and waxed both vehicles, scrubbed all patio furniture, hung trim work and played with the kids.   

I did realize my cardio is way off where it was last year.  Not getting the distances in I did last year.  Hope with this little soiree boosts me forward.

Levi's ball game last night 15 to 15 tie.  The games have a two hour time limit.  Our pitching was awful.  15 runs, no hits.  Levi's team did have about 4 hits and a couple fielder choices.  This was the first painful game we had to sit thru.  Levi's team is now 7 - 0 - 1.  Still undeated, just not all wins.  Friday night it was 16-6.  Levi did not get a hit in either game but scored three runs between the two games.  The fun of kid's organized sports.

Most succesful part of the weekend:  NACHOS!  Had a serving at the ball game Friday.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Volume 9: Is there a doctor in the House?

Today started with an 8:00am bike ride with Jim. Matt & I rode up to meet him in North Warren.

I could feel my hips and hamstrings yelling at me from all of the workouts from the past 2 days. We took the pace nice & easy with a high cadence to warm up. We met up with Jim, rode down State St and then started up to Russell on Rt 62. Unfortunately, the road was being repaved, so the birm was extremely narrow and the road surface was rough. It was going to be too risky, so we turned around and……back up Hatch Run we went! Oh my aching hips! Actually, I caught a break because Jim had to be home by 9:00. So, we only made it partially up the hill before having to turn around to head back. So sad….not really! It was still a good ride all in all and great to catch up with Jim. He gave Matt some insight on his knee issue. He doesn’t feel it is tendonitis, but rather a possible micro muscle tear based upon the fact that he can visibly see the raised muscle and Matt’s description of the pain. Jim suggested some rehab exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles to help support the injured one.

After we got back home and fueled our engines with some of Scotty’s delicious waffles (Matt only ate 1 square), we all headed to the river. My mom & Kryste went for a walk while Ian splashed around in the water with Scotty. Matt and I got on our wetsuits and headed in for a swim.
I tried out Maija’s suggestion of letting some water in the front of my wetsuit prior to starting to swim. That water warms up against the skin adding an additional layer of insulation vs. the cold water. Hopefully this will make it easier for me to breath when I begin. Brrrrrrr!! Wow, it’s cold! And here we go…start swimming!

We are aiming for the “endless pool” by the island. The water is very clear and VERY cold. After a minute or two I have to bring my head up out of the water….ice cream headache in my face. Whew….ok, back in the water and swim. After 1 more short break, I adjusted to the temperature. I couldn’t help but wonder…what is the benefit of wearing a neoprene cap if it doesn’t cover the face? It seems to me that what would be really effective is a neoprene ski mask. Anyway…I was able to swim smoothly and easily using bi-lateral breathing. My sighting technique is non-existent, but at least I am swimming. It was fun swimming in the clear water, watching my hands go into the water with each stroke and seeing the mossy rocks. (There was a water snake sighting back on shore. Luckily I didn’t run into any of those…although I wonder how fast I could swim if I did! I would rather not find out!) I made it up to the end of the island. Time to swim in the endless pool. I kept trying to stop & stand up to see if I had caught up to Matt. The current was so powerful that I had trouble keeping my balance. I eventually made it to him and we swam in place for a bit. When we decided to head back down stream, all I had to do was lift my feet and I took off like a rocket in current. With the wetsuit on, I felt like a leaf on the rolling river. Very fun…too bad the swim during races can’t start (or better yet end) that way! On my way back to the cottage I swam next to a small motorboat of fishermen who happened to start their engine as I was passing. Ugh! I really think I choked on the fumes under the water. Talk about ruining our swim in the beautiful Allegheny River!

We got back to shore, changed into dry clothes and headed back into town. We met up with Jerry to help move his sofa from Scandia down to the house on Monroe St. (BTW- Jerry sold his house.) Glad we were able to help him out. With some maneuvering, we were just barely able to get it out of his house and into Michelle’s….but we figured it out.

Then it was time to pack the car and head for NJ….sigh. Although we got a later start back than we intended, the timing worked to our benefit. As we were pulling into our usual stop on Rt 80 at the Panera Bread in Buckhorn, they were getting ready to lock the doors. 8:00pm and it was closing time. The manager was kind enough to let us in to place our order. On the way out, he also hooked us up with 2 free loaves of their French baguettes. Sweet!! Thank you very much, mister! That stuff makes the best French toast ever! The other cool thing about Panera is that they donate all of their leftover bread and bagels each day to a local food pantry. Very nice.

We had a great weekend filled with family, friends and good workouts. Another successful week of Mooseman preparation in the books! Wahoo! Can’t wait to see what this week has in store for us!

Volume 8: Moose and Tango Training

We got Matt’s bike back at 9:00 Saturday morning, picked up Michelle and Jerry and then drove up to the cottage.

Michelle & I got in some valuable KB2 canoe practice while Jerry & Matt tested out Jon’s new kayak in the river.

Michelle has definitely benefited from her brother’s canoe instruction and was able to give me some pointers to get the most out of my stroke. She is going to make a much better “driver” than I did last year…thank goodness! We took 2 trips up river from the cottage. The second time we were able to power our way thru what Matt & I have deemed “nature’s endless pool” (more to come on that), so I can already see our practice time paying off. Hoping to get another shot in July prior to the Tango.

Matt also did some swimming in the river. The water is quite chilly. I’m sure comparable to what Newfound will be in 2 weeks. He swam up to the island right below the dam. The current in that section is exactly like an endless pool. You can literally swim in one spot and not move forward. What a great way to practice technique!

There were also tons of frogs in the inlet/boat launch by the cottage. They were so funny to watch and listen to them singing. We had to be careful not to step on them!

After the aqua activities, the 4 of us donned our running apparel and did a quick run up to the fish hatchery. I think it was 3.75miles round trip on my polar watch. Matt and Jerry ran well ahead of Michelle and I. But, we all made it there & back. The hills were a good practice for me as I don’t do any in NJ….and will have to tackle a few in NH in 2 weeks. I was slow, but steady. That seems to be my pace recently and I am all right with that. I am confident the speed will pick up as the season continues, as well as my continued ART therapy. For now, I do my best with what my body will allow. Matt’s knee is still troubling him with anything over 3 or so miles. But he is being careful and doing a little at a time.

With the run completed, it was time to golf. Well, at least for Matt and Michelle. They went to Blueberry with Jon and Scotty for a 2:20 tee time.

I went home, showered and hung out with my favorite little dude….Ian.
Kryste and I took him to Beaty playground for some sliding and climbing. Then we went to visit my godmother and dear family friend, Marie Mathis. She turned 90 years old this past Friday. It is always so good to see her. While arthritis has claimed her ability to knit and she now uses a walker all the time, she is still quite agile both physically and mentally. She maintains her own house and cares for her trusted companion, Shadow the cat. I have always admired Marie. She is a woman who speaks her mind, gives freely of herself, and cares for children and those in need. I can only hope to be as sharp minded and full of gratitude when I am her age. What a fine example she has set with her life.

Post 18 holes, dinner was at Chido’s with Jon & Joyce, my parents, Scotty, Kryste and Ian. It was nice to have a chance to visit with everyone. With full bellies, we came home, relaxed and sorted thru pictures from the day.

Next up Volume 9: More Riding and River Adventures

Volume 7: Road trip to Warren

After making a stop at Starbuck’s for the car trip, we got ourselves out of the house and on our way to Warren by 8:30 Friday morning. It was an easy ride with no traffic and beautiful weather. I kept myself entertained in the car with the camera taking random photos.

We got to Warren around 2:30pm and got things settled at the house. Matt took his bike up to Bike World to see about getting his rear wheel trued up. They said that they could take it in later, so we decided to meet up with Jerry for a bike ride and then drop it off that evening.

We rode down to pick up Jerry and left from Monroe St., rode the bike path thru North Warren for a warm up and then headed out Market St Ext. Since we need to get some more hills in, we decided to go up to the top of Hatch Run. We didn’t keep track of time or distance, but I can say it seemed to be much more manageable than last August. Matt passed me about 1/3 of the way up, but I kept him in my view the whole way. My legs felt strong and cardio and cadence were good.

I was able to maintain a speed of 13-11mph for the majority of the hill. Only when I got to the last push out of the saddle did my speed or cadence drop. It was encouraging to be able to gauge my improvement over the past 9 months.
The down hill was fun also. I think my max speed was 36mph. Props go to Jerry for pushing his way to the top on his mountain bike, especially after running 2 miles that morning and strength training.

No surprise there. He would make a formidable competitor on a road bike for sure. We finished up back at Monroe (I took an extra quick climb up the back road to the high school) and made plans to meet up with them after Michelle was back from golf league. Matt dropped his bike off at bike World to be picked up the next morning. Then it was clean up and then dinner time. For the record, I think this was the first time that we did not have Old Grand Dads at the Cornerstone. Oh! And Matt is totally committed to the Mooseman prep diet. He didn’t have a single beer!

Stay tuned for volume 8…..Canoes, kayaks and running – Oh my!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bang, started the Mini-camp

Got the bike down to do a 10 mile ride.  Front tire flat.  Pumped it up.  Crap, good leak.  Well 7:30, can I fix it and get the ride in before dark. . . . .  "Tamara!  I am going for a run!"  Of course I had to change shorts and shoes.  Went sock less.  Anything under 4 miles, sock less.  One down, six to go.

Got back, I got hungry so I measured out 4 servings of nacho chips and only had salsa with them (we were out of sour cream).  They were guiltless gourmet chips (Black Bean), baked not fried.  I also had half of a beer.  Tamara had started it and said if she drank the whole thing she would be a sleep too early, so I finished it.  It was called Land Shark Lager.  Pretty good.  I think it is Jimmy Buffet's beer.  I saw a six pack in the local store and bought it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Volume 6: Swimmin'

Thursday Day 6: Another 6AM swim. I was on the lookout for Maija. I had the camera on the deck ready to take her picture in font of the clock to show her arrival time. No pictures were taken. She was a no show. The result of that is I didn’t swim much distance. I worked on drills and balance, which for me is probably more important.
I have a bad arm recovery on my left side and a funky kick as well. I’m fairly certain the two are related. Here’s what I think is happening. I’m not driving my right hip down to rotate to that side. Instead I’m trying to rotate using my kick. Thus the funky kick. Once I kick oddly, my balance is off, so my arm recovery swings wide to get the momentum moving the other direction again.
Now to fix it, I start out thinking drive with the hip and keep the feet tight. Which after about 10 strokes turned into only being able to focus on the feet, so much for the rotation, not to mention the arms. Whatever, nobody said you had to fix all 3 at once. I think the feet/kick is the root of the problem so I’m starting there.
It didn’t take long for my brain to feel like it was cooked from trying to concentrate. My speed and all that was just feeling miserable as well. So I decided to shift to the arm recovery and balance. I attempted a couple laps of shark fin drills. The result was an ability to carry more of my momentum moving forward with my arms. I was still trying to do too much at once though and I was tired. So I broke out the pull buoy and simplified things by just working on my arms and rotation.
Sorry, I haven't been boring with an explanation like that in awhile...

On my way home from work, I call Genine. She tells me Maija called and invited her to run and swim with her. Genine took the camera to the pool. I forgot to tell her to have Maija pose in front of the clock. An all time late record of 14+ hours.

Genine's feet at the pool. Look at the floor. Now you know why she's wearing the flip flops.

I got to fill out a survey for the YMCA today. I wish I could have included this photo.

Here are the pictures of the core workout in the evening.

Not to be left behind with the Nacho thread going on here... Visit this site. This is why you're fat

Volume 5: What to do Wednesday, when there's no Yoga.

Wed Day 5: Early wakeup, Get into the pool at 6 and drill for 30 minutes. Then it was a pyramid. 100, 200, 300, 400m and I was plenty slow but I’m not going to complain. It’s nice to be back in the water.

As I was walking to work from Penn Station in the city, I could really feel the fatigue in my legs. They don’t hurt, they are just tired. They felt much better when I went out at lunch.

The evening workout. Some Weights and Core Training. This really needs to get back to being a 5 days a week thing. It was amazing to feel the difference after just 3 weeks. I want to feel like that at Mooseman.

Holy 1980, Batman!

Mini Camp - Memorial Day Weekend

Starting tonight, I am doing a five day mini-camp.  I have determined to do at least 7 workouts in the five day period from today to Monday.  At least one open water swim workout.  

I figure one tonight, one tomorrow, two Saturday, two Sunday,  and one Monday (two depending on fatigue and barbeque schedule), then a big old plate of these:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Volume 4 - Tuesday night bike

After the past month of insanity, Matt was able to leave work early yesterday so that we could meet up with Maija and Bob for a bike ride after work. It was a beautiful evening for riding...warm sun, no humidity and clear skies...ahhh. We met started the ride from Maija's place at 6:00pm. We got in 25miles in about 1hr30min. It was my first true bike workout (since we were technically joining Maija for her Coach Jen scheduled bike) with timed intervals, rest and climbs. I loved it! Even the VERY steep and VERY long Stanton Mt. that we rode up. Devil's Hill will seem like a breeze and I am officially over my fear of standing up in the saddle after that hill! Whew, it was a tough go, but we made it! The ride made me keenly aware that I am a very novice cyclist, but I'm excited to learn and improve. I was smoked by everyone on the first speed interval, but I was able to hang on to Matt for the second interval. I'm sure it was only because he was tired, but I'll take it. No matter...I love riding my bike regardless. You know, it's funny...when I get left in the dust while swimming my immediate reaction is, "screw sucks. I don't stand a chance." I tend to get deflated and give up easily. On the bike, however, it is, "Oh no you don't! I know I can catch you. Maybe not today, but someday I will be able to stick with you!" It totally fires me up. Go figure!

It was almost 8:00pm by the time we were headed home...very hungry hippos! We stopped at Wegmans and got some lean ground beef to make burgers. MMmmm....sometimes a burger hits the spot. We stayed up too late watching American Idol (go Adam!) and didn't get to sleep until after 11:00pm. Matt was to get up for a 6am swim with Bob......stay tuned for Volume 4.

Self portrait prior to start

Bob and Genine

Helmet head or bad decide.

New shorts

Huge news people. I got new shorts. Yes, yes, you can pick your jaws up off the floor and clean up the milk you just spit out. It's true. I bought some Louis Garneau tri specific shorts. I had to try them out immediately, so I went for an 80 minute bike ride tonight. Two things were immediately apparent. Maybe three. First, my hands did not go numb. Isn't that weird? You don't have to answer. Yes, it's weird. Second, my back didn't hurt. That is not quite as weird. Matt and Genine heard me propose that the tie on my jammers was creating my back pain on the bike, and I now believe that hypothesis was correct. Looking further, I think the constriction of blood flow at my waist was preventing my arms from getting all the blood they needed, causing my hands to go numb, which reminds me of some Chi flow issue. Whatever the case, these shorts may save me. The third thing is that the little tri chamois in the nether regions -- the "bike pad" part of the shorts -- is simply delightful.

Now it's back to losing weight! Better get going...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


This was on the back of our receipt from Wegman's tonight. Of course I thought of you Shawn. Just say no to nachos and show the pistachios some love. :-)

Busy Times

I can’t seem to keep up with comments and such at the moment and the only time I seem to be writing posts is if I’m on a train. Which is often but I need to be awake. I actually set my cell phone alarm to wake me up at the right time as I no longer trust myself to wake up on my own at the right stop.

Columbia: I didn’t go. Between masters swimming last night, and my 5K test run on Sunday, I know I made the right decision. I still have tendonitis after about 3 miles of running and my arms felt like lead weights as I was swimming. Not to mention it was hailing on them during the bike at Columbia…

Fall Tri-Fest: Jim you mentioned you were looking for a shorter swim event. I’m not sure if I mentioned relay teams. I’m guessing that we could find you a swimmer if you would rather just Bike Run. Maybe that swimmer would be me.

Tango: I spoke with Craig the other day I was reminded that Morgantown Triathlon is the following weekend. He said he could do as much as last year, but less would also be acceptable. I’m guessing biking and orienteering would be his 2 events of choice.
I’m concerned that I’m not going to be able to do much running. Initially I was thinking the half marathon and the swim. At the moment, I feel like the swim is the only thing I could be ready to do. So I think Craig and I might need some teammates.

The 3 weeks to Mooseman photo journal: As I said earlier, I know skipping Columbia was the right decision. It’s still kind of a bummer though. 6 weeks ago, I was on track and ready to go. Now I’m fighting to regain fitness. So I figured the photo journal could be a fun way to get me back on track and add some accountability. I suppose if I really wanted to add motivation, I’d take a picture of the scale every morning and use that as my daily cover photo. Or actually take a picture of everything I eat in a day. There just can’t be any junk in there for the next 3 weeks. That’s going to be hard to do over Memorial Day weekend!

Volume 3 - Monday Night Masters

Last night was our first full masters swim class in 3 weeks. As usual, we headed off to the pool feeling tired from a long day trying to psych ourselves up to swim from 8:15 - 9:45. It's always a crap shoot for me as to how I will feel as the class progresses. Sometimes good, usually...just fair. I have to say that last night turned out to be pretty good all in all for me.

Bob and Matt before class:

Maija, Genine and Matt before class:

The 5X100 kick drills (streamline on your back fly kick) were challenging to say the least. Be sure to ask Matt how his abs felt after class! Mine were screaming, too.

Kicking drills...ugh!

Then we had 5 X 200 free. I was slow, but felt smooth. Coach Elana actually said that she could see an improvement. Next up 2x 50 of finger tip drag and 2x 50 of almost catchup. Catchup drill always makes me think of hamburgers and hot dogs. :-) Then it was 2 x 50 all out sprints. For some reason, I actually can do well with sprints (provided there is ample rest intervals!). I finished middle of the pack on both, instead of last as usual. Then it was vertical kicking intervals (10sec kick/ 10sec rest). This is always funny....bobbing heads trying to stay above water. We all agreed that doing this at the end of class, especially after all the fly kicking made us want to barf! Luckily, no one did.

Bobbing heads....

Genine vertical kicking:

Then 200 cool down. Whew! Class over and we survived. Thanks to Coach Elana taking over behind the week we break out the "movie mode masters"!

Matt post swim:

Matt and Coach Elana with Matt's favorite pool toy....not.

Oh! I almost I forgot! In case you were wondering how Matt powers through the rigors of masters swim......the secret is out: