5/30/2008

Being neighborly.

I missed biking at Hains Point last night to watch a movie with a friend. To ensure that I wouldn't be late, I decided to complete my speed work on my cycling trainer. The only problem is that my trainer & climbing block were in the trunk of my car which was parked a block away.

I nabbed my trainer, block, & Manu's foam roller out of the trunk. Quickly, I realized that I only brought 2 arms with me that day, & I didn't have enough to carry my work bag, purse, & the items from my car.

Call me stubborn, but I was not leaving anything behind.

So, I slowly made my way through the alleyway nearer to my apartment. I stopped to chat with Carl, my neighbor who sits on his porch & watches the working folk come home from work. (This is a daily occurrence if I come home on time. I like Carl. Plus, he seems to know everyone in the neighborhood.) He felt obligated to take my trainer from me & carry it to my apartment building.

I'd like to take this moment to say: Carl has a handicapped license plate on his car & is probably 60-something years old.

Allowing Carl to carry my trainer to my apartment was difficult for me, but he insisted. Then, he told me matter-of-factly that I was not to take it from him until I put everything else in my apartment. After all, I did not have enough arms for it all. I followed his advice, & he bid me a good night & walked back to his porch.

He's such a lovely man.

I hope his arms don't hurt today. That trainer is HEAVY!

5/26/2008

Mistake Whiteface Mountain

Because it didn't seem to fit with the last blog post, I decided to make the Whiteface Mountain story into its own post.

What, praytell, happened that caused me to climb Whiteface Mountain?

Well, as I said in the previous post, I had changed my nutrition strategy & was hurting a little bit because of that. Basically, I didn't have enough calories during the bike thus far. I probably also needed more electrolytes as well.

So, I wasn't feeling well when I pulled into our Mobil station rest stop. I talked with Ed about being sagged because my hip was hurting. He stated that I should drop the out & back to continue on the main drag until my hip decided it was time to call it quits. I agreed with this plan, & I started again without my riding buddies. (They were doing the out & back.)

I pushed forward to the stop sign where I was supposed to turn left. There was traffic. I got a little distracted & pushed forward. Onward, I pushed up Whiteface Mountain. When the incline started to make me feel uncomfortable, I cross-checked the cue sheet & made my 2nd mistake - I misread the cue sheet. Instead of 0.4 miles, I misread the Left turn to be in 6.6 miles. I trudged onwards.

A few times after that initial cue sheet check, I read the description of the section of the course. It reads: "HWY 86, after climb into Wilminton, next 2 miles are flat." Damn, this climb into Wilminton is pretty killer.

At one point, I looked right & saw a butterfly flying at the same speed as I was going. I laughed as I wheezed up the mountain. At some point, I thought to myself the following:

"Okay, the 2 miles of flat have got to be right ahead."
"Okay, just after this curve, the flat is coming up."
"Jeez, I'm so impressed that the Ironman people can do this twice. This is HARD!"
"I think I wouldn't be able to handle Ironman if they all include this much of an incline. Seriously."
"Where the hell is the flat?"
"Ed thinks I can do this?"
"This is really fucking hard."
"Fuck. I'm tired. Fuck. I'm hurting."
"How am I supposed to finish this?"
"No more negativity!"
"I can do this. I know I can do this!"

My heart rate was way high, & I was feeling too hot. I decided to dismount & start walking up the "hill". I trudged upwards.

At this point, I looked back downhill... err... downmountain. I didn't see anyone. File this one under Clue #1. I looked uphill (upmountain) & didn't see anyone. File this under Clue #2. I watched cars pass me & saw some woman's face look shocked at seeing me there. Clue #3.

Hrm.... Something's wrong here.

Some time during the ascent, I thought to myself, "This reminds me of Bogus Basin - that mountain climb I did in Boise with my brother-in-law." Now that I was off the bike, I remembered that & had enough red blood cells in my head to do the obvious.

I looked up. Then, I looked slowly to the right - where the mountain was supposed to be.

No Mountain. I tried peering over & around the treeline. No Mountain. I looked down where I climbed up from.

This looks like.... Shit. I'm on the Mountain. I made a wrong turn. Fudge. Double Fudge.

So, I crossed the street as quickly as possible, saddled up, & breezed down the mountain. I saw a sign part of the way down that notified trucks that it would be steep for the next mile. Great. I climbed about 1.5 miles of a Mountain next to the Ironman course.

None of the remaining hills seemed so hard after that. The 11-mile ascent that included Little Cherry, Big Cherry, Mama Bear, & Baby Bear were almost a breeze. Papa Bear hit me because I was out of fluids, but that's in another story.

I texted Ed after the ride & said, "Thought the IM course was too easy. So I threw in 1.5 miles of Whiteface."

Lake Placid Ironman training camp.

First, let me just say: Ironman training camp was an excellent way for me to get more comfortable with the idea of completing an Ironman. The course was difficult, the town was adorable, & the scenery was gorgeous.

Second, how the hell did people in my house manage to rally every night? Seriously, these Ironman people can drink, run, drink, bike, drink, drink, drink.

Third, you should see my farmer's tan. It's not so much as being sunkissed as being sunmadeoutwith or sunslobberedallovermyvisibleparts. I am currently wearing one (ONE!) red thigh-high, two red arm warmers (one has a cutout for my watch), two red gloves, & two pinker cheeks. How can my hands be sunburnt? I don't know.

So, on to the Training Camp.

My Saturday run was a little over two hours, which I believe was a 9-mile run. I didn't exactly keep to my 12-minute mile pace as I had to walk the hills. I still have a lot to work in relation to running. More distance, more speed, more hills. Yes, yes, yes. Thankfully, I just want to finish the Mooseman half-marathon portion of the Half Ironman.

My Sunday ride was really brutal. It wasn't the actual bike ride that killed me. I thought the bike ride would've been fine for me if I A) wore sunscreen or a light jacket, B) had more than 2 water bottles with me, C) didn't change my nutrition strategy, D) brought something along to eat, & E) didn't miss a turn & head up Whiteface Mountain all gung-ho for 1.5 miles. Prior to climbing part of Whiteface, Jill saved my ass by handing me another bottle of water at the rest stop. I still needed more, but it was enough to get me to mile 40.2, the turn for Northwood Road.

WHICH! Let me just say - Northwood Road? I was DYING while looking for Northwood Road. I actually yelled out, "Where the FUCK is Northwood Road?" when an anonymous cyclist passed me & asked if I was okay. He sorta shocked me. So, I mumbled that I was fine (which I really wasn't) instead of asking where the fuck Northwood Road was. I had one more swig of fluid left, but I was so close to finishing. It had to be super close. I hadn't seen anyone since I made the mistake of turning up Mt. Whiteface, & I just wanted to ride into town as quickly & safely as possible.

The next cyclist that passed me? I asked him if he knew where Northwood was, & he chatted me up a little & slowed down a bit to make an obvious turn onto Northwood. Plus, he was super positive, which lifted my spirits. Thank heavens.

In addition to the training, the time with the team was great. I had a lot of fun. I even have pictures to prove it.



This week's agenda is to hit the bike shop & get a rear water cage for extra bottles. I'm not making that mistake again. My bike will now become a 4-bottle holder. We're moving up in the world!!

****************

Also, my cats greeted me at the door after a long weekend away & were really happy. Then, one tried to shit in my gym bag. Welcome home, indeed. I missed you too, buddy.

5/19/2008

Only 2 years ago.

2 years doesn't seem like a long time ago. Two years ago, I couldn't run 3 miles. Two years ago, I struggled to do 30 miles on bike. Two years ago, I thought I was disappointing if I didn't race during the entire race.

A month ago, I was literally crying that I couldn't compete in the full half Ironman & needed consolation. What a difference a few years make.

Now, I'm scheduled to do a 1.2 mile swim, take a short rest, & then complete a half marathon. & I'm not even blinking an eye. Sure, it'll be a test of my endurance, but I'm not very worried. I know I can complete it, & I know how to complete it.

Only 3 weeks until Mooseman!!

5/17/2008

Away from Tri Team: Master Baker Edition.

Thursday, my friend Clara notified me of a little dilemma of hers. The husband of the baker for her friend's baby shower had accidentally burned their kitchen down. Therefore, Clara needed someone to bake the baby shower cake. We chatted for a bit, & I decided to go ahead & try. It would be my first paid baking gig.

I thought of making a tier cake - after all, those are "like" classical cakes only on top of each other. Easy peasy. The only drawback was that there would be only 6 ladies in attendance at this baby shower. Hrmmm... a tier cake is a little overboard.

Clara & I chatted some more, & we decided that creative was what they wanted. So, I perused the internet for ideas & found a little onesie cake. It didn't seem too complicated - a little carving, a little manipulation, & a whole lot of decorating. All of these I didn't think were that difficult, but in which I have very little experience.

(Have you thought to yourself "uh-oh" yet? You should've.)

Thursday, I had to work late & spend some time with Bryan & Mark (his coworker) who were visiting from out of town. Friday, I picked Bryan up from the Dulles Alamo car rental. After sitting in traffic for 1.5 hours on the way out, we hit the grocery store, the Italian Store, & Starbucks for all necessary ingredients. Then, we returned back to Dupont to find parking near my apartment.

Time passes.

I get into my apartment around 930p & start assembling The Most Delicious Chocolate Cake that I've Ever Made™. I realize that we have forgotten wax paper, & we head to the nearby Safeway Townhouse (i.e. The Most Outrageously Priced Food Market in the City Next to Dupont Market™), which has just closed at 10p. We hustle to the Rite-Aid where we obtain the goods.

The cake is then assembled & poured into the now properly prepared pan. Oven 350, then down to 300. During this downtime, I make rice krispy blocks & a ducky for detail. Also, I make a rice krispy pie for the Columbia triathlon. Cake comes out, & both Bryan & I are beat. We decide to rise early & finish the cake.

I make the top of the cake flat & create the onesie through my handy knife skills. Then, I fixed what I thought my handy knife skills were doing fabulous (but not so much). I start frosting the cake which turned into a light purple & not a bright blue as suspected. It doesn't want to become smooth. So, I chill the cake with the crumb coat on it. After breakfast, I frost again & try to smooth it out.

Officially, I hate this cake now.

Bryan leaves to meet Josh & Toby. I smooth, smooth, smooth out the frosting. I decide to give up & start decorating. I pipe bright blue details over the onesie to give details.

Officially, I hate this cake. again & more so.

I decide to not put stripes on the onesie as I hate piping. Officially. I write the word "GIRL?" on the onesie. I use my little candied stars & make details. It looks better.

Officially, I hate this cake. Only less now.

I give up on the onesie & start eying the rice krispy blocks. I cut them to make them more blockish & start on the details. Eventually, I give up & throw some stars on them & call it done. The ducky, however, I love.

Repeat: Love the duck.

I call Clara & say that I'm done. She arranges to have her husband pick up the cake (HURRAY!). I'm relieved that I don't have to do anything more with this damn cake.

Here's what the damn cake looks like.


& the whole shindig. With ducky. Love the duck.




Now that that's done, I can finally go for my long run for today. *phew*!

5/04/2008

The first ride. All over again...

I took my Cannondale out for a 35-mile spin today. The fit was great - I have yet to gain the "killer ab" strength that Jason says I need in order to support my body properly when in the correct position. So, I had a little upper body stress/pain. Also, I wasn't rotating my hips properly - Therefore, I couldn't feel my sit bones on the seat as much. & my hoohah hurt because of the improper hip rotation.

Seriously, I need to work on that.

Otherwise, the ride was great. My hip didn't hurt, & my leg alignment was good. Considering that this was a hilly ride, I think I'm nearly healed!

Manu & I had a good time. When I saw her at swim tonight, we laughed because we're sporting the same damn farmer's tan. Hello, shirt sleeves!

5/02/2008

I don't even know you anymore.

I left work early today & had a real bike fit. What didn't survive was my stem, my saddle, my pedals, my shoes, my handlebar's angle, my seat height, & my stamina.

She's lighter, she looks faster, & she promises to be faster.

Look. Look at my newly reincarnated bike.