Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Great Grains

I have been experimenting with some different carb sources for my go-to meal combo of protein + grain + non-starchy veggie + fat.

This week I hit a home run with pearl barley. It was well worth the effort to pre-soak, boil, and simmer because I really like the heft of the grain and its slightly nutty crunch. I combined it with some roasted asparagus, ground turkey, and Bragg's Aminos (no added fat).  YUM. Very satisfying!

Last week I picked up some sprouted green lentils. No, they are not grains, they are technically legumes which explains their higher protein content.  But I use them in the same way and I was curious to see how they stacked up against the grains (see spreadsheet below). They mixed in to various dishes better than I expected with a mild taste and no pastiness.

Quinoa is a nice dry, fluffy, nutty little grain.  I cook up a combo of red and traditional quinoa and it adds some color and variety.  Cooked, it stores well in the refrigerator for days and days.

I don't use corn meal too often but a quick dish I make that the kids enjoy is simply diced chicken, corn meal, mixed veggies, and cajun seasoning.  Add water and microwave!  It's the healthy alternative to pot pies.

From what I can tell, buckwheat cooks up kind of mushy no matter what you do and it doesn't hold its shape the way a quinoa or barley does. It's not such a great mix-in, but it's a welcome change-up for my traditional steel-cut oats breakfast. Add banana, walnuts, and cinnamon and start the day off right!

Ezekiel Sprouted Cereal is great when I crave something crunchy any time of day.  I've mixed it with chicken and diced sweet potato, into greek yogurt with some fruit, or combined with apple slices and peanut butter.

I'm not a huge amaranth fan but maybe I just haven't mastered the art of cooking it.  It's very dense and I believe was the inspiration for wall paper paste.

Brown rice is still part of my diet now and again, but it's much lower in fiber than other options.

One of the tricky things is that nutritional info is given in terms of the dry, uncooked amounts.  So I'll cook up multiples of a cup and roughly divide the cooked product up into the right number of servings.

Please comment if you have other favorite grains!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Cycling Action - Wilderness Road Ride

This is a big weekend for cyclists in the area with the Wilderness Road Ride (WRR) yesterday (options thru 78 mi) and the daunting Mountains of Misery (MoM; century or double metric century) today.  [More about these races in last year's write-up]

Tanya, Chris, and Me
I have been eagerly anticipating the WRR since doing it last year. The trickiest part turned out to be the logistics for my kids, with dear husband and mother-in-law both gone (Mexico and Russia of all places). Thankfully I worked out extended sleepovers for both kids and had the morning clear for the ride.

I rode the 58 mile option with friends Tanya and Chris, but with a small detour and a victory lap we bumped that to 60. (I'd never ridden 60 miles before and wasn't about to stop at 59.6.)
Despite a sizeable oatmeal breakfast and a Gatorade pre-ride, literally 12 minutes in (I looked at my watch) I was already famished!  Along the way I had the Larabar, Fruit and Nut Cliff bar, and a water bottle full of Perpetuem that I had on board....plus PB&J sandwiches, fig newtons, bananas, etc. from three aid stations. The last 6 miles or so all we talked about was food and cravings! I got home and had a huge chicken, avocado, spinach, salsa and tortilla salad.  If that's what it takes to get get me through 60 miles, I don't know what I'll do at this fall's half iron-distance race. I'll probably need to strap a picnic basket to my bike.

It was one of those rides where everything works out near perfectly - weather, timing, and fabulous companion riders.  It's great to be with a group where no one is over-pressured or under-challenged and we all finished safely and feeling pretty fired up about biking.

Happy Memorial Day weekend all! 
Humble thanks to all who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country free.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Versatile Pushup

I don't see a lot of pushup action in the gym. Maybe that's because it lacks the excitement of loading big loud plates or because there's no comfy padded place to sit (and no cup holder).  It's a great exercise, but very humbling; done to failure, pushups end very unglamorously, sometimes with a faceplant.  These are a staple in my chest routine and the variations are endless:
  • reproduce the effects of a flat bench, decline, or incline by changing the relative elevation of your hands and feet
  • change hand position to recruit more of the chest (wide) or tricep (narrow)
  • engage your core with an unstable contact point (or multiple) like a Bosu, stability ball, medicine ball, dynadisk, or TRX straps
  • change the height of your hands and feet and/or grip orientation by using a bench, box, lowered Smith Machine bar, dumbells, or bench. (or heck, a rock, tree stump, or set of steps for that matter).
  • increase difficulty by "catching some air" or doing a one-arm pushup (someday)
  • combine the pushup with another exercise (see renegade row or the Bosu pushup with jacknife Kurt introduced to me)
  • employ asymmetry with the one-armed medicine ball pushups below. I like these because my left side is significantly weaker and it's a good litmus test of where things are

I learned a lot of these variations from a previous trainer. The medicine ball pushups were part of today's chest and arm workout.

Incline DB presses: 20 @ 25 lbs, 15 @ 30 lbs, 10 @ 35 lbs, 5 @ 40 lbs, 6 @ 40 lbs + 5 @ 30 lbs
Pushups on MB superset with Standard Pushups: 10/side, 8/side + 10, 10
Cable-Weighted Stability ball crunches: 25 @ 45 lbs, 20 @ 50 lbs, 20 @ 50 lbs
FTS Cable Flyes: 15 @ 30 lbs/side, 15 @ 30, 12 @ 30
Parallel Bar Dips (30 reps total): 10 + 6 + 6 + 5 + 4
Close-grip bench on vertical chest press: 10 @ 70, 8 @ 75, 6 @ 80
Preacher EZ bar curls: 12 @ 30 lbs, 12 @ 40, 8 @ 50, 5 @ 50
Stability ball hand-to-foot transfer (abs): 20, 20, 20
Barbell curls (50 reps total): 15 + 12 + 11 + 12 (45 lb barbell)

The Active Household vs Electronics

As a triathlete, I try to instill a natural love of athletics, fitness, and health in my kids. I've tried to create a home environment that supports these values (see pics below). Our home is not here for show, it is lived in and lived in HARD. The walls are scuffed with tire marks (my fault clumsily carrying the bike to the trainer), footprints (I have no idea), and dents (from wayward medicine ball tosses).

Despite the environment, the yard, the basketball hoop, the neighborhood trails, the creek, and organized athletic outlets for the kids, we still fight the draw of the electronics - currently Minecraft, YouTube, iPod games. On a few occasions I've given the kids nearly a whole rainy weekend to get their fill of the electronic game du jour, thinking they would eventually burn out and see the futility of it all.  You know what?  They DON'T!  I can't think of anything I would happily do for 10, 12 hours in a row. Scary stuff, it's like crack.

On the one hand, I'm guilty of enabling this by providing them with computer, iPods, etc.  On the other hand, these kids have technical skills that surpass that of most adults (e.g. they've installed Linux Ubuntu on a laptop, created servers, can create fully automated animated PowerPoint presentations, and can manage all our household electronics).

But I can't imagine there is anything electronic out there that can surpass the feeling and confidence you get from experiences like conquering your first open water swim, setting a 5K PR, or just nailing a workout. So I have the unpleasant task of setting limits, confiscating electronics, and kicking their butts outside. I work to give them opportunities to experience the joy of pushing physical limits....and not just electronic ones. It's a daily battle.

The Bosu does get a LOT of use.
Two can bounce on the Bosu!
Take hula hooping to a whole new level

Swings, ladder, and rings from IKEA in the basement, with ample padding and a carpet underneath.

Want to play Wii?  Better get moving!!  (This setup was Grant's idea!)

Nothing beats a little manual labor (pic from 2011, not 2008)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Leg Workout

Now that I'm writing 2/3 of my own gym workouts I have no one to blame but myself when they end up being a bit much. I should have adjusted this morning's leg workout knowing I did a back and shoulder workout with Kurt just last night (single arm clean + press, close grip pulldown with PR @ 140 lbs, pronated grip cable row, cable rope rear delts, DB lateral raises with triple drop, oblique leg raises, superset of upright row and bent over row). Plus I swam and ran yesterday morning. Yup, he warned me that my training plan was a bit "ambitious" this week.

This morning's 36-set leg workout took me 90+ minutes. I admit, a bit of extra talking might have been an issue :-)

Squats with medicine ball vertical wall toss: 3 sets x 15 reps @ 12 lb MB
Sumo deadlifts: 20 @ 90 lbs, 15 @ 135 lbs, 10 @ 165 lbs, 8 @ 185 lbs, 5 @ 205 lbs, 5 @ 225 lbs, 12 @ 185 lbs
Bear Squat
Bear Squats: 20 @ 110 lbs, 20 @ 140 lbs, 20 @ 170 lbs, 12/12/12 @ 190, 140, 90 lbs (double drop)
Jacknives with hands on Bosu, feet on stability ball: 3 sets x 20 reps
Bicycles on Bosu: 3 sets x 20
Lunges: 4 sets x 40 steps @ 50 lb barbell
Leg Extension: 15 @ 85 lbs, 15 @ 90 lbs, 15 @ 95 lbs
Leg Curl: 15 @ 55 lbs, 15 @ 60 lbs, 15 @ 65 lbs
Single leg stiff legged deadlifts (see Joob's demo - 2nd video on this post) - 3 sets x 10 reps per leg @ 20 lb DBs
Hyperextensions - 3 sets x 15 reps.

I forgot my belt, which I usually use for deadlifts over about 195, but I did fine at 225 without so I may just start using it at or over 225. (It was the pink argyle knee socks that made the difference.) I haven't pushed deadlifts in a while and although I am getting the urge, I will wait until after my June races.

The single-legged SLDLs show me how much work the stabilizers in my lower legs need. Good thing I don't get embarrassed easily because I am pretty much the opposite of graceful and balanced doing these.

I am now officially...TOAST. Time to refuel before this afternoon's (easy) bike ride.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Notebook

I keep a 3-ring binder with all my training plans from Coach Jim -- one from every single week since I started almost two years ago (we use Training Peaks).  Today I added a new stack to the archive and as I flipped back through, I was reminded of the power of consistent training.  I've come along way from the days of a big-deal "8-minute continuous swim" my first summer!

There are a lot of training variables beyond our locus of control, so it's nice that consistency and effort are very much up to us. I'm not the fastest or strongest, but I will lay claim to being consistently consistent (!?) and hard working.

As I browsed through the notebook, it dawned on me that the flipside, the negative to having this OCD need for consistency is a reluctance to slow down, take unscheduled recovery if needed, and to back off at the sign of injury.

So I could boast about how few workouts I have missed over the last two years, but it only reminds me of the school kids who are going after a perfect attendance record and show up regardless of flu, strep, bleeding from the eyeballs, whatever.  Who does that serve and what does that prove?

Yes, consistency is an important part of balanced, healthy training.  But so is backing off as needed. I've got the consistency part nailed, backing off is so much harder and will take some work.

After this morning's 1:15 trainer ride... purple face
and Rod Stewart hair.
My very cute Trixie dog watching me organize my papers.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Apple-Carrot-Raisin Salad

Lunch today was a mix of:
  • diced apples (pink ladies are my favs)
  • shredded organic carrots
  • fresh spinach, chopped
  • a few raisins
  • diced roasted chicken breast (made ahead and pulled from the freezer)
  • spicy hummus

It was a healthy and I think far tastier twist on the popular mayonnaise-based apple-carrot-raisin salad. Plus, no guilt and good fuel!

Last week my fellow One-on-One Endurance mom-triathletes, Tanya and Jennifer, shared some thoughts on fueling, managing appetite, and race weight. We all need a simple approach that works with the crazy logistics of our lives.

The approach I use is to keep a stash of basic foods around that I can mix-and match to try to meet my energy needs throughout the day.  These include proteins (chicken, ground turkey, some lean grass-fed ground beef, tuna, cottage cheese, greek yogurt), fats (flax, nut butters, hummus), veggies (fresh, roasted, or frozen), fruits, and grains (Ezekiel bread, Flatout bread, quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat).

Veggies, protein, and fat are the things that keep me satiated so I keep that in mind when planning my meals. (I seriously plan everything, if it's not on a list, a calendar, or a plan, I just can't do it.) I have a lot of basic combos I rely on, but every once in a while I hit on a new one that is a keeper, like today's yummy salad.

On the other side of the equation, I have a one Diet Coke a day habit, I use stevia, I eat pizza, I indulge in the occasional glass of wine or beer, I go out to dinner (and sometimes order dessert), I "tax" the candy from the kids' holiday hauls, I snack here and there, etc.

Not perfect, but pretty good!  My new mantra for the kids is that eating should take some effort, not alot necessarily, but some at least.  Nearly anything you can grab-and-eat (and that has a wrapper) is suspect.

Final confession: if the world really was going to end today, I'd probably eat my entire jar of homemade honey-roasted peanut butter (my major weakness). But since I'm pretty sure the sun will come up tomorrow and I'll be hitting the bike, that's probably not a good gamble.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tire Flippin'

When my friend Joob suggested yesterday let's try flipping that tractor tire at the gym I immediately said yes because I tend to agree to things before my brain has a chance to weigh in with more reasonable arguments. Then reality hit and I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

I did suggest she first find out the weight so I could do some quick engineer math, 650 lbs, tipped up on edge, divided by two....not out of the realm of possibility.

It turned out to be pretty fun and empowering and the cool thing is this video of it was take one, OF one.  We didn't plan, practice, synchronize, or organize, it just worked out.

Girl power :-)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Reflections on Training, Racing, and Nutrition

I started to write a training update and it bored even me. So here it is in random stream-of-consciousness style. I was shooting for ten, but it got way too long, and you know...boring.

1. I miss the 4 swims a week I did during my winter swim block/injury timeout but there are only so many days in the week and hours in the day.  I'm down to 2 or maybe 3 swims a week and it feels like an eternity between. Our outdoor pool opens in 2 weeks and I'll go on summer work schedule so the frequency will go back up.  PLUS, just today I just got the waterproof iPod shuffle from H20 Friendly!!!  Just waiting on the waterproof earbuds to come and I'll be back to groovin' in the pool.  My old waterproof system finally gave out so I've been tuneless for a while. 

2.  Gone are the days when I can ignore (nearly) every pain and strain.  Given my ridiculous injury history, and my over-40-ness, anything from the knees down gets TWO red flags.  Thanks to my triathlete/physical therapist friend TJ for seeing me today and reassuring me that I can work through my most current nagging issue. (Bummed to find out my orthopedic doc is moving out of state....Now I'll have to stay healthy!)
I'm not embarrassed
of bad food in
my fridge anymore!

3.  Since fall I have been fueling and eating better and more consistently.  But I am also now like a crazed vegetable hoarder and my Sunday ritual is to roast up tons of veggies (spag squash, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, kale, broc, cauli are my favs). Even the family is coming around to it. Sort of. (Thanks to Joob for good nutrition inspiration.) 

4. I'm now getting strength training guidance from renowned trainer/pro bodybuilder Kurt Weidner, who fortunately is based at the Weight Club where I also work out. He designed a program that enables me to get what I need out of three trips to the gym a week (down from my OCD four a week) with a streamlined approach that stresses effectiveness and efficiency - the most bang for my buck. Good stuff and I'm having fun and learning alot.

5. I have three sprint tris in June, mainly because two are new races that are nearly on my doorstep.  How can I not do a race where I get to sleep in my own bed the night before?  They are pool swims though which I have never done and frankly am not that jazzed about.  For me half the fun of a race is the drama of the open water swim!

6. Coach Jim continues to do a great job of disguising my training sessions so they look doable and innocent enough as I read them. He turns the screws ever-so-subtly so I'm unaware of changes in pace, reductions in rest intervals, or that extra repeat (my not-so-good memory for that stuff has an upside).  Then I suddenly notice that I'm a little stronger or a little faster and wonder how that happened!  That's a great coach.

Crystal, Me, Tanya, Coach Jim, Jen, Sam, Edwin at the May 7 race

7. I love LOVE my dear retrofitted road bike but sometimes I do wonder if a tri bike would make any difference. I dropped the hint to the hubster that it I have a good season (and a few thousand $$ fall out of the sky) maaaaybe it could be considered for next year?  (Of course, the 11-year-old goes to the orthodontist for an eval next month, hubby's truck is at 260,000 miles, and my van is nearing 160,000 miles, so the odds are low. Never hurts to ask.)

8. Every morning I pop the following: fish oil, chondroiton/glucosamine/MSM, calcium with Magnesium, D3, and a multi. It's scary how many pills I can swallow in one go when I am late to get the kids to school. I really wonder if some of these are just like (or literally) flushing money down the toilet.  Probably. And a coworker just dropped the bombshell that spinach, which I eat every day, interferes with calcium absorption.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

An Engineer Schedules Her Workouts

Today I sat down with the various family schedules and the 10-day weather forecast, as I do every weekend, to figure out how to fit my training into the nooks and crannies of life to interfere as little as possible with family and work.  I have the weekly triathlon training sessions (about 8) plus three sessions at the gym. There really is a process needed to schedule efficiently!

Truth be told I needed some downtime this afternoon, but I can't just sit and do nothing, so this flowchart seemed like something fun to do (I know what you are thinking....NERD!)

Click to view!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hill Climbing Legs

The legs on the left put the legs on the right through a workout yesterday.
Bear squats and calf raises, sumo deadlifts, barbell lunges, leg press, leg extensions, leg curls.....
With that came the leg burn, leg shakes, and lots of sweat. Suffice it to say there's a hitch in my giddy-up today.

Well worth it to build me some better hill climbing legs!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Go Ahead, Clap for Yourself

In my post, Why Do You Race, I claimed that fun was not among my reasons for racing.  That might not be entirely true. I got the professional photos today and had to splurge because these remind me that just maaaaaybe I do have fun.

There's the picture of my fellow runner Mike Morris, who I chatted up. He spontaneously put his arm around me to mug for the camera (and this is in the final half mile); my beloved bike "Ace" who makes me happy; and then me clapping....for myself!  What a dork! Turns out they sort of "forgot" the overall master's awards until the very end.  I was literally the last person. So why not clap for myself?

So get ready....hold on....it's the big leap into the philosophical!!   We can't look to others for affirmation.  Finished that tough workout? Dragged yourself out of bed to hit the pool?  Bypassed the brownies and ate the sprouts?

Go ahead, clap for yourself!  (oh, and have fun out there!)


Smith Mountain Lake Sprint Triathlon Race Report

This weekend could not have gone much better, both in terms of the race and fun times away with the fam. I am still flying high (even as I unpack, do laundry, and make a grocery list….Mother’s Day or not!)

This is my race report, written more for personal reflection and to learn from the race than anything so if it seems really ME oriented that's because of the purpose for which it is written.

I finished as the 4th female overall (out of 109) and I shaved a minute off my time from last year, with slight improvements on the bike and run and a significant improvement on the swim, knocking 49s off my 2010 time. (I would have been 54th out of 245 men – I like to see how I compare to the boys!) [full results]  After just about 10 weeks back in training, I'm beyond pleased.

The BIG win though, is that I felt positive, happy, healthy, and strong from start to finish.

This was a great confidence boost for me as I carried doubts into this race after the winter injury training interruption. Would I still have “it”? Were last year’s race results just an anomaly? Was I physically healthy and mentally strong? I told myself (and others) this was just an early-season benchmark and would not make or break us. But I am certainly grateful that it worked out, and I am fired up and ready for more training and racing.

=== Pre-race ===

Friday was cool and drizzly, and as I checked out the race venue, bundled up in my jeans, fleece, and jacket, it was hard to imagine swimming the next morning and then biking in a wet trisuit. Brrr! I had my same bike spot in transition as the previous year, the very closest one to the bike start. Yay!! (They do it alphabetically; sometimes it pays to be an “M”)

See....worth the horsetrading!
One funny thing was the girls discovered our race shirts were a women's cut which meant my size small could fit my 9 year-old.  So with very few spare women's shirts remaining there was some serious horse trading when registration closed at 8:30.  I got lucky and sized up to something that I can now wear in public.  Note to race directors: we LIKE the women's cut shirts, just warn us when we are picking a size!

Race morning I was very relaxed, which always makes me nervous, then I tell my coach who reminds me I am always that way, and then I relax about it!! I just don’t get that big surge of adrenalin like I used to. Pre-race I feel more pre-nap than anything.

=== 750m Swim ===

I was cold even in my wetsuit and debated skipping a warmup swim, which Coach vetoed. So in I went, thankful for my full suit. The race was a wave start from the beach and the first 100 yards were uglier than usual with bodies, feet, and neoprene everywhere. I stayed chill and things broke up. I hit my rhythm and I knew pretty quickly that the work at the pool this winter had indeed paid off. Along the way I accidentally swam over a few slow-pokes from the previous wave. Oops. Speed bumps. My swim was 14:41, 25th among women. The top swimmer is from my town, Lorena de la Garza. She logged a smokin’ 10:31. I don’t know how that is humanly possible. One weird thing – I saw someone using a snorkel in the swim. Is that even legal?

Kinda funny this is how the adults dress to swim....

...this is the same lake and how my kids dress to swim!

Grrr!  Thinking "RUN" and "one down, two to go"

=== T1 ===

I try not to waste an opportunity to pick folks off (I mean that in the nicest way) and the run up from the swim is no exception. I know I have a time deficit to make up from the swim. When I hit my transition area, I discovered I was pretty dizzy which did not help in my struggle to extract my big feet from my wetsuit. I knew that I was wasting precious time. Somehow it was still the 3rd ranked T1 time.

=== 20K Bike ===

The dizziness was quickly forgotten. What’s to say here…pedal hard, pass the next person. I ignored the Garmin and just made sure I stayed in the mental/physical “suffering” zone. 38:54, 6th female. 19.7 mph. (Time for that number to go up.)

My heart rate monitor decided to work flawlessly for this race, go figure. My average HR on the bike was 162, whereas I maintained 165-166 on the 10 mile Computrainer TT a few weeks back. There’s clearly room to dial up this effort.

One major bad thing here – there were two bike wrecks at the race, one apparently serious. From what I understand some deer ran across the street taking a male master’s biker out pretty bad. I heard his helmet went flying and he was medevaced out. Update 5/9 - he's having surgery to relieve pressure in the brain. Please keep Rodney and his family in your prayers.

=== T2 ===

Smooth! 6th for T2.
TMI Trivia: I’m sockless on the bike, socked on the run.

=== 5K Run ===

22:14!! I'll take it. 4th best run time among the women. I chose to ignore the watch and ignore the pace data and focus only on cadence and rhythm. I monitored effort, pushing up against my “wall” without crossing over into the danger/negativity zone. This was where I really got to work passing folks, including a few master’s women. I like to wait till I can “pounce” and pass clearly and decisively. Gotta have some fun out there!

Look at my hands! I look like I'm revving a motorcycle to pop some wheelies. Gotta work on that.

This is my best 5K tri time on a rolling course like this. If the Garmin is to be believed, the first two miles were a consistent 7:25-ish and my last mile was 6:40. I probably don’t want quite such a huge disparity, but at least I finished strong.

In the last half mile I came up on a big guy in his 50’s. As I was passing him, I pointed out that the camera was up ahead and to look sharp, and at that moment, he put his arm around me and I saw the camera lens go. That should be an interesting picture! 

=== Lessons Learned ===

I missed top three by a mere six seconds and there are plenty of talented women nippping at my heels. This season it's time to start looking for all the small opportunities to shave time and really get my head in the game. Then it's a question of building speed, power, and confidence while allowing for the rest and recovery needed to stay healthy and in this sport long-term (like Betsy Henderson, see below).

=== Epilogue ===

Technically I won the master’s division but that’s because the 2nd and 3rd overall winners were master’s too and were pulled into the overall category. The 3rd place winner, Betsy Henderson, is 58 years old (!!!), and has been a fierce competitor for years, including on the international scene. She’s the real deal. I’m glad to have folks like her to keep me pushing harder.

The athletes of One-on-One Endurance did very well. Edie Nault won the women’s overall, me in 4th, Crystal Witte was 7th, Jennifer MacDougall was 9th, and Tanya Leroith was 11th. Coach Jim was 9th among men and won the men’s master’s division. Edwin Garita was 8th. Ryan Day, who swims with us, won the men's division. Go team!

I can't say enough about our amazing Coach Jim, who just has that magical coach "way" about him that challenges us, inspires us, and gives us confidence to try.... and the tools to succeed.

I am also grateful for the community of triathletes and trusting friendships I have made through the sport.

Last but NOT at all least, I have to give a big shout-out to my family, who I think had a pretty nice weekend at the lake.  You can read about that part of the weekend here!  Thanks, Spencer, Grant, and Robert!  This would not be possible without your love and support.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Family Race Weekend

We are nearly packed and ready to go to Smith Mountain Lake for our weekend stay in the waterfront cabin at the State Park. This is the amount of "stuff" that is apparently necessary to feed, hydrate, clothe, and entertain four people for...ohhhh....roughly 40 hours. Not shown: kids bikes and a few other things that went in hubby's truck.

Oh did I mention I had a race?

Not much resting and relaxing leading up to it trying to get us all packed and food made for all of our meals. On the other hand, the distraction is good.  The first race of the season is always a little unnerving, not knowing quite whatcha got and how the training will manifest when it counts.

Regardless of how it works out I have some homemade chicken salad, croissants, fruit salad, a cold Rolling Rock beer, a chair by the lake, and the family waiting for me afterward. 

Off we go!!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

GPS Funkiness

Hmmm....two laps around the 'hood. On the same TWO streets.  What's wrong with THIS picture?

Oh, technology, why...WHY must you annoy me so?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pre-Race Thoughts: Smith Mountain Lake Sprint Tri

I am six days out from my first race of the season – a sprint triathlon at Smith Mountain Lake here in Virginia. We get a lakeside cabin for the weekend and make a little family trip out of it. So in addition to me getting ready, I’m planning, packing, and prepping food for the whole weekend because there are few nearby dining out options.  I have a lot of friends racing so I'm glad for that.

Before I plummet head-first into the busy-ness of the week, I thought I’d take a moment and gather my pre-race thoughts. I probably need to re-read my own post on Why Do You Race?

===== Swim =====

Last year this race was my first in a wetsuit (second race ever - here's that race report). I had a bit of a freak-out then probably from the cold water temp (which wasn’t THAT cold really) and the weirdness of the wetsuit. I broke into some breaststroke/backstroke and was really mad at myself.

I’ve made some significant progress in my swim in the last year thanks to lots of help from Coach and consistent work. Plus that was nearly all I could do for 10 of those weeks. I have to expect that will carry through at the race and take that confidence with me.

Today I went with two friends to a nearby quarry and we took our wetsuits for a test run. It was 55 degrees. And raining. So we felt like tough girls after a few laps through the cool water!

Tanya and Me....tough girls!

Tell myself: Stay relaxed, focus on my stroke, draft when possible, and swim straight!

===== T1 =====

Ooh, I need to brush up on my mount. I do the shoes-already-clipped-in, feet-on-top method. Remember to have it in the right gear.

Tell myself: Move quickly but carefully, be safe.

===== Bike =====

I am not where I was a year ago, and I don’t expect to be, thanks to my layoff and only being back on the bike for 8 or 9 weeks. The hills are a little tougher and the quads burn a little hotter. But I still feel smooth, the bike is running smooth, and I know what I need to do here. Put the pedal to the metal and GO baby! Sprint distance, no letup, just GO.

Tell myself: Suffer. The race goes to he who suffers most.

===== T2 =====

Yup, I need to brush up on my flying dismount too. I love doing those!! Then put on shoes, grab the hat, watch, and race belt, and finish the job!

===== Run =====

I’ve had some issues with getting negative on the run even though I have often been one of the stronger female runners. This seems to happen when I get a predetermined pace in mind and I see I am falling short. I need to remember that race day conditions, my own physical and mental state, energy expenditures on the bike, and terrain can all have a significant impact on run pace. I need to be smart, go out conservatively, and finish strong. I also need to better manage the negative thoughts and run within my own capabilities. No fear!

Tell myself: Focus on cadence, relax, and save the afterburners for the final mile. Stay positive!!

===== Finish =====

Smile at the finish line so you don’t look the way you feel (suffering) when the race photographer snaps your picture.

Tell myself: You did it, girl!

Hug family.
Hug coach.
Praise God.

===== T3 =====

Transition back from triathlete to mom.
Make lunches, clean up, play, serve…..

Tell myself: You are blessed.