Missing in action.

I've been missing all of my triathlete practices lately.

Initially, I took a week off for the strange pain I was having above my knee, which coincided with my first houseguest's visit. Now, I have another houseguest. Next weekend? Another who hasn't visited in 3 years - Mom!

Soon after that, I'm heading out for an overdue vacation. (Hell, yeah!)

The plan is to start training tomorrow. I'm biking for fun while spectating the Marine Corps Marathon. That's a good start, I think.


Tri-DC, article two.

After what feels like a million days of writing, I finally finished the post-race slump article for Tri-DC. It's hard to make a "depression" article into something entertaining & peppy.

Trust me - You don't want to be forced to read the first draft. It was as humorless as a college biology essay. The fact that my family critiqued that one for me proves that they love me. Seriously.

All griping aside, I love writing for Tri-DC.


Off-season: Candy apple edition

Over the last two days of off-season, I attempted to make miniature dipped apples. Caramel? Yes. Red candied? Yes. Chocolate? Er... we'll get to that in a minute.

So, it started off well enough. I purchased some new supplies: a cheap candy thermometer, some red food paste, craft sticks, & nonpareils for kicks.

Step 1: Scoop out bon-bon shapes from apples using melon-baller.

Step 2: Combine caramel ingredients in saucepot.

Step 3: Boil ingredients until candy thermometer reads 250 degrees.

Step 4: Watch for health code violaters #1 & #2 as you've been paying too much attention to the stove.

Step 4: Poke sticks into apples, dip, & drip. This is easy peasy. Why doesn't everyone do this?

Step 5: Notice that the caramel is dripping off the apples. Also, notice that the caramel in the pot has begun to solidify.

Step 6: Reheat caramel. Dip & drip.

Step 7: Burn caramel. Frantically dart around apartment, open all windows, turn on fans to blow smoke away from touchy smoke alarm.

Step 8: Crisis averted. Eat caramel apples in relief.

Step 9: Save some caramel apples for team shindig.

Step 10: Follow steps 1-4 using ingredients for candied apples.

Step 11: Do step 7 & 8 & 9 again with red candy. (I'm not this bad normally, I swear it. My excuse is that I've never worked with sugar & a candy thermometer before.)

Step 12: Notice that the candy apples are now dripping their candy on the baking sheet. Sheeeet.

Step 13: Notice that the caramel apples have vetoed their little coats of caramel. Perhaps it is too warm in the kitchen for coats? I chill the rest of the apples without any future luck.

Step 14: Realize that the apples sans skin are doomed for failure. The apple flesh is too wet to allow the candy to adhere properly. Even the good ones are melting their candy away. I decide to eat what I want & throw out the rest.

Step 15: Decide to make brownies for team shindig. Follow recipe listed in Scharfenberger chocolate & call it a night.

& that, my friends, is how you make brownies & drive up the cost of apples in your area. Any questions?


Bassman Race Report.

You know one thing that I love about race reports? I learn from other people's mistakes. Well, today I get to return the favor... a few times.

First, I did not employ a good hydration strategy on the days before the race. I know better than this, you know better than this. Plus, it was "unseasonably warm" for the race. Hot & humid & already dehydrated? You could probably imagine how many aches & pains I was going to have after the race with that recipe.

Second, I did not eat well before the race. Friday night & Saturday were a little chaotic, & I only ate a good carbo-loading & full meal the night before the race.

Third, I wore my heart rate monitor for the first time throughout an entire race. I figured that good practices have to start somewhere. Why not now?

Without further ado, the race:

Swim - 0.6 mile/965 meter (23:05)
The water was so very clear. Seeing the bottom of the lake was extremely novel for this triathlete. I saw plant life. I saw tree trunks & root structures. The ground underneath me seemed to roll by quickly as I swam over it. It looked like I was running over the lake. How cool. I nearly forgot I was racing & just focused on how fast the ground was passing under me. This was, by far, my favorite part of this triathlon. I love swimming - especially when the water is clear.

I checked my heart rate, & it was wicked high. I'm unsure if it was due to running in the sand out of the water or just the swim.

Bike 29 mile/46.7 km (1:49:04)
You know what I missed on this triathlon? Hills. This was probably the most boring ride I've ever done. Scenic, my ass. Look! Trees. Annnnd.... More trees. In the distance, I see trees. :( Please, give me a hill. I'll appreciate the scenery of the valley as it quickly approaches.

Before the race, I had adhered to some coaching advice & disconnected my speedometer from my bike computer. I planned to watch my cadence & heart rate only. Oh, man - my heart rate was high at the start of the bike. Throughout the bike portion, I kept trying to lower my heart rate but keep my cadence around 90. It wasn't easy. I thought I did well, though.

Otherwise, I had been practicing drinking 6-8oz of fluid replacement every 15 minutes on the bike. Mission accomplished on this ride. 2 bottles down the hatch in just about 2 hours.

& I kept seeing Meredith on the bike. It was really fun. There she goes, there I go, there she goes, there I go. That & seeing the other Z'rs on the road really made my ride fun.

Who's great idea was it to let her wetsuit drip into her sneakers during the last transition?! At least, I decided to wear socks during this race. Otherwise, it'd be blister heaven.

Run 4.1 mile/6.6 km (51:50)
I'm not a fan of running, but I loathe running when my heart rate is high to start. It's painful & my motivation to continue plummets. I'm slow enough already (non-race Z2 pace? 11:17). With a heart rate already climbing out of Z2, I knew I was only going to struggle on the run.

I should have nabbed the extra water bottle at my transition station for myself. Even though it was only 4 miles, I knew that I needed more hydration with how I was feeling. I decided to push through it & rely on the water stations to get me through the rest of the race. I made it, but having my own hydration would have helped. Had this been a 10k, I would've suffered much more.

I was in mile 1 when I heard a voice behind me yell: "Keri, I'm trying to catch you!" Oh, hell yeah - familiar company! I started "running" in place so that I could be caught by Meredith. We finished the run together. Honestly, I would have walked a good chunk of the run if it wasn't for her. It turned into 4 miles of chatting with a good pace. It was definitely a great way to finish the race.

Overall (3:11:00)
Even though this race was flat, it was definitely tougher than any sprint distance I've completed. I'm tired, & I'm glad that race season is over.

Ending the race season on a longer distance will be a good motivator for my off-season. After all, next race season I jump to the 70.3 program. Throwing a few Olys under my belt before the Half is going to give me excellent nutrition/pacing/strategy training. Next pre-Mooseman Oly after a few months of training, let's see how I do with what I've learned here.

& that is my last triathlon race report of the season. Until next year!


Race schedule

I just registered for my first half-Ironman. Does this mean that I can get half of an M-dot tattoo?

70.3 miles - Here I come!