Monday, July 30, 2012

Championship swim meet - learning something new

Spencer and I hit the Southwest Virginia Summer League championship swim meet Saturday. We both did 100 free and 50 breast; I did 50 free too.

We got off to a rough start that morning - kid brought the wrong suit that was missing the essential string to make the suit "dive safe". Thankfully there was a swim vendor on site and we bought a suit WITH a drawstring. After all that, the goggles then proved not to be "dive safe" and he lost those off the block. He shook it off and came back to swim a solid breast stroke. I was proud of him!

I have to confess, my heart was not totally in this meet, nor were my legs. My legs were sore and tired from a great week of workouts. It was a rare but welcome feeling of the "adaptation-causing" kind of sore. Other than this meet, they'll have almost 48 hours off.

This was certainly not anywhere near an "A" race for me as evidenced by the total lack of butterflies and nervous energy, but still it was good. Most of all it's nice to share time with Spencer and to cheer each other on as teammates rather than just mom and son.

I think I am FINALLY over my paranoia of diving in with goggles (despite Spencer's mishap) and I now know what the various whistle blows mean for get ready, get on the block, etc. There's so much about swimming that I don't know.

Speaking of all I don't know, I was talking to my fellow swimmer Kristi (who was also Spencer's substitute Algebra teacher; it's a small town ;-) and the conversation led to how body roll is important because it allows you to get your shoulder/arm lower in the water where the water pressure is higher to give you more to "grab". She explained that is why taller swimmers fare better - they have better reach. I'd never thought about that before!! It probably explains why I read that you are supposed to push off the wall and streamline about 2' down rather than just under the surface, maybe so you have some better water to pull out against.

10 am - it was way too early for Spencer

The cardio room at the pool had a Vasa Trainer. Some top triathletes use this dry-land equipment so I played with it a little bit. I can see how that could be very beneficial to develop sport-specific technique, strength, and endurance. Spencer and I schemed about how to make a homemade version with a skateboard, plywood, and bungee cords. Then we joked about the all-indoor triathlon you could do on a Vasa trainer, stationary bike, and treadmill.

I posted on Facebook that I was at a "wait meet" with occasional bursts of swimming. It was then that I realized that one of the things that I love about triathlon is that it's a sustained period of "hurrying". Once you start, there is no waiting, only hurrying! That is MUCH better suited to my personality. Much. Swim meets are for training (trying) my patience.

This is why it's important that people find activities and sports to suit their personality. Swim meets are not for everyone. Triathlon is not for everyone. The Olympics are a great example of the rich diversity of sports and athletes.  So I'm sitting on my butt, resting my legs, and engaging in an Olympics-watching marathon as much as possible!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Focus amidst chaos

This was fun to get in my email box the other day. "You have now been successfully registered for this event by your National Federation." Never mind that "National Federation" probably means some college kid doing a summer internship typed my name and info into an online form. Hey, it's still cool.

We also got ordering information for Team USA trisuits and clothes.

This provided a nice little boost and renewed focus in the midst of a life that is bursting at the seams. Training volume and intensity have been fairly high. So has the general level of life chaos.

Summer is NOT leisurely. Why do I think, year after year, that it will be? The kids are busy. I have some major (but exciting) job changes going on and the hubs just took on teaching a senior level college course on top of work in the fall.  Grant is involved in an intensive drama camp that required me to order plastic asparagus. Spencer came home from camp with about 1000 bug bites. We are going full-tilt.

Somehow, in the midst of all the overwhelm, training is solid. I hit mile repeats on the track at times I could not have done even 6 months ago, took a big chunk of time out of an uphill bike time trial as compared to last year, and I'm swimming...well....I'm swimming more!

I love training (and racing)...just love it! But I have to say when things are crazy it takes a little more effort to get out the door and to find the intensity I need for the tough workouts.

Through the chaos and "busy brain," I find it reassuring that the body somehow remains faithful and delivers. For me, a bit of speed (and suffering) is the best stress-buster around.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

USAT Olympic Distance Nationals: Preview the bike course with...Cort!

This is so cool! Last year at USAT Age Group Nationals, as a newly minted member of the Endurance Films Racing Team, I had the opportunity to have the "GO cam" mounted on my bike, gathering video of the whole course. I provided some written narration about my thoughts of the course and Endurance Films worked their magic and just released it!

Rewatching this, I get totally FIRED UP to return to Burlington in a few weeks to swim, bike, and run with the best. I look forward to meeting up with the returning and new members of the racing team, and see the great folks from the EFRT sponsor Jack Kane Custom Bicycles who take good care of our bikes!! Thanks to team sponsors Champion System, Training Peaks, Aqua Sphere, Sweat Vac, and Eco Sports Bottles.

I'm humbly thankful for my sponsors Solar Connexion, Hyperion Consulting LLC, Endurance Films, and my friends, family, and supporters!

I can hardly sit still now just thinking about it all! YEEHAW!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Ride with the Roanoke Crew

I got off my well-traveled, well-known bike routes this weekend as I joined a crew from the Roanoke Tri Club for a new-to-me 58+ mile ride through Catawba, Daleville, Hollins, and Salem (Garmin/map). Technically you could say I invited myself. I threw out a "who wants to ride" post and Mark, Scott, Joe, Mark, and Tim responded and planned the route since they know the area. (It only took about 55 posts for that to happen and I stayed out of it!)

I took this picture at the start -- everyone was looking extra fit this time of year.

I had been informed that there was a no hammering rule in place for the ride which was good since it was supposed to be an "aerobic/tempo climbs" training ride and I'd already been called out for "not following instructions" on another workout this week.

My only slip up came when Scott (who has an intensity that is palpable) sat up and lifted his hand to kindly point out the swim club I had asked about, and then without hesitation (or conscious thought) I took total advantage and blew by him, briefly. Heehee. I told him I was practicing my race tactics!

These are some of the nicest folks you could ever know. When the main loop came up shy of my needed mileage, Tim and Mark L. extended the ride and did the planning/navigating, since I had no idea where I was most of the time (big surprise there).

Here's Mark as we waited and waited and waited for a looooonnnnng train to cross.

It was a great ride with a super group of folks. I've said it before, but one of the best gifts of triathlon is the friends I've made as a result. Thanks, all, for a morning of beautiful cycling!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Open Water!

For all my complaining about my slow swimming, I do truly enjoy it -- mainly the open water experiences. I am grateful for all the gorgeous places triathlon has allowed me to swim!

When I look out before a race, I have a nervous feeling as I point to the buoys in turn and think, "am I really going to swim from there to there to there...?" As I stand at a new swim site, the water is a stranger. After I swim in it once, there is a familiarity, an ease. I get to know the water and it's fun to return and swim in it again.

Every body of water is unique - by color, feel, and yes, taste. There's sandy bottoms, foot-sucking muck, big weed beds, cute fish, big fish, algae, debris, chop, current, salt, piers, docks....

Prior to the sport, "swimming" was confined mainly to playing in the waves at the ocean and wading through waist-deep rivers but I didn't really swim to go from point A to point B. Now I get to explore new waters, swimming some distance and going someplace!

Here are some of the amazing places I've been swimming:

Lake Norman, NC (2009)
first open water swim in a race!
Lake Arrowhead (Luray, VA, 2010-11)
Lake Champlain, Burlington, VT (2011)
James River, Jamestown, VA (2011)
Smith Mountain Lake, Moneta, VA (2010-12)
Lake Moomau, Warm Springs, VA (2010-12)
Lake Anna, Bumpass, VA (2011)
Potomac River, Colonial Beach, VA (2012)
    And I've had practice swims in nearby Claytor Lake and the New River.

    New River

    These aren't open water, but somewhat notable. I swam in a rooftop pool in San Diego and then also on a whim did a 1-hour continuous swim in a resort-style pool in Phoenix just to prove to myself that I didn't need lane lines and that I could survive the tedium of a tiny pool (of course I did!)

    San Diego (2011)
    Phoenix (2011)

    I also swam in one small lake in North Carolina where I was pulled out by two Park Rangers and questioned at length for swimming illegally. Ooops.

    Before nearly getting busted in
    unknown "No Swimming" Lake in NC (2009)

    I swam in the Atlantic Ocean, briefly, just past the breakers, and that DID and still does terrify me because I was sure something would eat me.

    There is something uniquely empowering about swimming in a big untamed body of water. I was not a swimmer prior to the sport and I did not grow up near water so I find it highly exciting and rewarding.

    If you shy away from triathlon or open water swims, I just want to share that with a bit of help (and a good pair of goggles!) anyone can learn to swim and enjoy the freedom of open water. There's nothing quite like it, whatever your swim speed :-)

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Race Report: Third at Colonial Beach International Triathlon

    This was my first time racing the Pohanka Honda YMCA Colonial Beach International Triathlon in the Virginia Triathlon Series. It is my 19th triathlon and my 5th at the Olympic/International distance. It's my 4th race of the year.

    I had only a vague idea where Colonial Beach was; geography is not my strong suit. It’s along the Potomac just east of and midway between DC and Richmond. It turns out it is NOT very close to Fredericksburg, which was where I had my hotel reservation. (on my iPhone screen they "looked" close.)

    As I drove up on Saturday and passed through Fredericksburg, I realized it would be about a 50 minute drive from the hotel to the race site. I began to work backwards to figure out how early I would have to get up to drive for the 6:50 am race start. Ugh!! But I was about to get a lucky break. The hotel that is literally adjacent to transition was in “receivership” but had reopened. I stopped in to discover a vacancy. I even had a nice water view, it was affordable, and the coffee was ready at 5 am. The photo below shows transition and the hotel. How sweet is that?

    The weekend started well and finished even better with a third-place overall finish among the women and my best Olympic distance race to date. It was my fastest 10K run by 1:51, beating my 45:30 time from Nationals last year. It was my best bike too, averaging 22.7 mph according to Garmin (course seemed a little shy of the 40k).
    • Swim (1500m) – 34:10 (24/86 women; would have been 54/150 men) 
    • T1 – 1:14 (2/86 women; 11/150men) 
    • Bike (40k) – 1:00:55 (2/86; 16/150 men) - 22.7 mph 
    • T2 – 1:15 (10/86 women; 41/150 men) 
    • Run (10k) – 43:39 (4/86 women; 26/150 men) – 7:01 pace 
    • Total – 2:21:10 (3/86; 27/150 men) 
    The woman who won, Molly Roohi, also won the sprint distance race the day before...and she beat all the men! Go Molly! Molly was almost 7 minutes faster than me, and my compatriot Edie Nault, who came in second, was  5-1/2 minutes faster than me. Fourth place was 5 minutes after me so there was quite a spread among the top women. Here are the women's results.
    The night before, I had my typical pre-race dinner, waterfront, where shoes were NOT required. I enjoyed steak with roasted sweet and red potatoes and a bit of Stubb's spicy BBQ sauce.

    Afterward I strolled along the riverfront and took in a nice cover the fence containing the paying patrons.

    Race morning
    I slept really well and was up before my 4:30 alarm, caffeinated, oatmeal-ed, and at transition at 5:15 am. I was not THE first one there. But close.

    i'm such a nerd

    sunrise over the Potomac. I love this picture.

    This was my first 1500m open water swim since Nationals last year. I think I am starting to get used to the distance as it didn't look daunting (i.e. terrifying, impossibly long, or vomit-inspiring) like it has in the past. The tide had the current flowing down river so after watching the first three waves of swimmers end up too far right as they got pushed along, I knew to adjust for it. The first long side of the swim rectangle was with the current and fast. Coming back though we paid for that with a slog upriver to the final turn buoy.

    I like swimming. I just wish there were not so many people around (or on, under, over, next to) me when I am trying to do it.

    I felt strong, confident, fairly straight, and I did my thing in the brackish water. It's too bad my "thing" seems to be slower than nearly 1/3 of the other women. I'm working on it...patience.

    This was an out-and-back course, mainly flatish but with some rollers mid-way. The road surface was about the nicest I've seen at a race and I was able to just FLY. Thinking back, I didn't see anyone sidelined with a flat either! (No Tour de France thumbtack nonsense either.)

    One little bummer is there was NO cone at the turnaround, and no one ahead to watch to see where they made the turn, just a sign. I was worried about turning too soon then I overshot it by about 15'. I kindly made the cone suggestion as I rode by. 

    It was so humid my glasses were covered in a hazy film from the salt air. A few times we were so spread out that I couldn't see anyone ahead and I had a few moments of brief panic wondering if in my la-la-land race focus state I'd gone off course. Fortunately, I hadn't.

    I had Perpetuem in my aero bottle and took one gel midway on the ride. That seemed about right.

    I got my heart rate up about 5 bpm higher than the last triathlon and was rewarded with my fastest average pace on the bike for any race at about 22.7 mph. HOO-ray! I love the bike leg. It went by so quickly and like always I was a little sad when it was over.

    The out-and-back run course was really cute. Yes cute! It was on a small water-front road that encircled the peninsula between the river and a small bay. There were charming beach cottages all along and residents set up sprinklers and fans and yelled encouragement. 

    I opted for socks. I had them in transition for a "game-time" decision and noted some hot spots on the feet during the bike. It wasn't worth taking a chance in such muggy conditions so on they went. I grabbed a gel and never ended up using it on the run. In hindsight, I think I should have.

    I was excited to test out my running. I've had a few recent PRs in training and hoped they would carry over to the race. I saw three women ahead of me at the turnaround including Molly and Edie. My swim wave was 6 minutes back from theirs (less than a mile of running time) and I knew they were probably two miles ahead. The number three girl I figured I had a chance to get but I knew I was about at my max pace. My goal was to maintain.

    My heart rate was in the mid-160's to low 170's (redline!) but mentally I felt positive. The last mile got hard, but I thought about how it didn't even compare to the pain of the final miles of a marathon. So I pushed on. Suck it up, Buttercup. I was rewarded with the 10k run PR shaving 1:51 off my previous best.

    One great thing about having a fast friend who finishes 5+ minutes ahead of you, is it means she can come back around and be there to YELL you to the finish. Yes, Edie YELLED me to the finish. And I'll tell you what, my legs listened! LOL! 

    Post Race
    A perk to staying in the hotel by transition is that I knew I'd have time to take a shower and pack up before awards. WRONG! The "word" was that awards would be at 11:00. Well, as I moseyed down at 10:45, Edie sent me a text. I had missed the awards. DOH! Lesson learned, lesson learned. I felt really bad. Not because I have some need for accolades but because it just seems quite rude to skip without a reason. Awards are an opportunity to show appreciation for the organizers, volunteers, and community. A shower, which was actually a shower plus Facebook and chit-chat with random people and texting and yes...eating a chocolate pop-tart grabbed from the hotel breakfast bar,  isn't really a very good reason. I felt extra bad because I won $75 and a yoga mat too!! 

    I really am sorry :-(
    That won't happen again.

    This is my only Olympic-distance race before Nationals and I'm pretty happy with how it went. There's not a lot I would change, other than not missing the awards ceremony and maybe swimming faster. I have five weeks left to train with one little sprint tri in the mix there. My season is about half over. How did that happen? The kids will be back in school in a month. I'm not ready! I still have to sort through their school stuff from last year!

    Huge thanks go to the family and to Robert for holding down the fort and delivering one child to camp so I could race. Thanks go also to Coach Jim, Kurt Weidner, my Endurance Films sponsors and teammates, Solar Connexion, Hyperion Consulting, Just the Right Gear, my "equipment coach", and my individual sponsors. It really does help to race with the support of so many wonderful and encouraging folks!

    I'm grateful to the communities such as Colonial Beach that invite us in and disrupt their lives so we can swim, bike and run in beautiful venues! Thanks Virginia Triathlon Series and Setup for putting on top-quality events.

    Rest day is nearly over, it's back at it tomorrow! Wishing you all a great week of training, racing, and adventure....

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    Ideas for change....what are you waiting for?

    I made a new friend recently who had been an active athlete in her youth, gotten away from that lifestyle, was clearly ready and eager to make a change, but not sure how. Sound familiar? That was my story four years ago, and maybe yours?

    Anyway, she was quizzing me about triathlon and I could just tell the way she lit up that she was on the verge of change. She asked for some help and some ideas to get started so I said I would put together a few. I suggested she just pick one fitness and one nutrition related change, then gradually build and add to that.

    I would preface this by saying change is not quick or easy. But neither should it be about deprivation, white-knuckle willpower, or loss. Done right, it is about achievement, freedom, and gain. It just takes that first step and a little patience and faith.

    Five ideas for fitness change

    1. Go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Get your workout in first thing in the morning if at all possible. It sets your day off on the right foot and will help you keep your nutrition dialed in better if you've started the day with a good choice! (The picture up top? That was me headed to swim at 6:30 am two days ago. GREAT start to the day!)
    2. Schedule it in. Most of us use a calendar. Look at what you have going on and schedule your fitness time in at the start of the week. Every Sunday I look at my training schedule and map it to my real life schedule. There is always a way to make it all fit, even if it means starting a long run at 4:30 am with a headlamp!
    3. Start off doing something every OTHER day. That'll give you enough time to get excited to do it again two days later. Early on, the key is to stay excited about it and overdoing can crush enthusiasm. Then gradually ramp up to 6 days a week and commit!
    4. If you don't have a sports passion, try lots of different things as you get going - spin classes, run/walk, hiking, biking, swimming. As long as you are getting your heart rate up, the activity doesn't matter. It's important to find that "thing" that will keep you coming back for more.
    5. Set a goal that is within the next three months. It might be a 5k, learning a backhand, kayaking across a lake, or doing 20 pushups. A common mistake is to set a goal that is way too far out. No one needs six months to train for a 5K. Six weeks, sure.

    Five ideas for nutrition change

    1. Ditch all the soda, yes, diet too. If you want something besides water, try the non-sweetened, naturally flavored sparkling waters.
    2. Go to bed earlier and at a regular time. Not only does good sleep help with hormones that are important for weight management, but you'll be sleeping instead of eating in those late-night hours that tempt us to eat and make poor choices.
    3. Learn to love green veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach. Then eat a heap of them TWICE a day, without fail. And stop thinking veggies are only for dinner!! I often get my first batch in at 10 am because the green stuff keeps me full and healthy.
      I like my broccoli and sprouts roasted and spinach either raw or lightly nuked, then a bit of salt or hot sauce is all I need.
    4. Don't go out of your way to add carbs (rice, potatoes, grains) to your meals. You'll get plenty. Pick and choose when you have these, earlier in the day is better. For instance, I start my day with Ezekiel bread and almond butter, mid-day I'll have some granola and fruit with greek yogurt, then by dinner it's just veggies and protein.
    5. Have protein and healthy fats in every meal. These will keep you sated longer. And fat does not make you fat.
    The bottom line is, change does not "just happen". Inertia is huge. If you WANT change, you'd better be prepared to make some changes. Diet and fitness go hand-in-hand so attack it from both sides. One is not enough.

    Change can be really exciting and it sure beats sitting around thinking about how stuck we might be. Pick one fitness change and one nutrition change and start the process now! Let me know how it goes :-)

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    I wore the yellow-ish jersey

    I wore the yellow-ish jersey on my very own Tour de Foggy Ellett Valley.

    Rider count = 1.

    I led from the start and despite the peloton of roadside rabbits giving chase, it was not to be their day. I emerged victorious, as I crossed the finish line to (no) cheering at the entrance to Luster's Mill.

    I would post the elevation profile, but oddly enough, it's nearly identical to what the Tour riders are doing today!!

    I was pretty much Bradley Wiggins out there this morning. Only a little bit slower. And with less swearing.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Mid-year training update

    My Endurance Films Racing teammate Nick did a mid-year training volume report and it got me a bit curious. Here's what my numbers look like for the first six months of 2012:

    1536 miles
    89 hours

    402 miles
    56 hours

    44 hours

    50 hours

    That's a total of 239 hours, an average of 9.2 hours per week. I'm not saying this is good or bad, high or low.  It's such an individual thing, but this is what works for me, my goals, and my circumstances.

    That said, it looks like each week I bike about 59 miles and run about 20 (I took 6 weeks off) plus swim about 4500-7000 yards (I don't record exact yardages but probably should). 

    For the same time period in 2011, I biked 842 miles and ran 238 but I started the year off injured and not doing either of those things for much of January and February.

    I/we don't set yearly volume/mileage goals, but if I got to December 31 saw I was at 2,952 miles of biking, you'd better believe I'd head out for a 48 mile bike ride or sit on the trainer for three hours to get to a nice round number!!

    That pretty much tells you why I/we don't set specific volume/mileage goals, lol.

    Training Peaks is fabulous for so many things including their reporting features. The data junkie in me appreciates this stuff :-)

    It's racetime again on Sunday at Colonial Beach, Virginia with a swim in the Potomac. It's my first Olympic of the year, and with Nationals five (yikes!) weeks off, I need it!

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    I'm different now.

    Two of my now-graduated students, Bryce and Steven, were in town this week and they joined me and the family to watch the fireworks on the 4th. They were in our pilot Earth Sustainability program here at VT that required a 2-year commitment so I saw this group of students a LOT, we really got to know each other well, and we stay in contact.

    As we caught up, Bryce turned to me and said, "You've changed a LOT in 6 years." Wait...wasn't I supposed to say that to them? He's a mover and shaker in the Sierra Club, and Steven is in pharmacy school. I'm a grown adult (at least according to my birth certificate haha) still here doing my thing.

    He said I seemed more mellow. Different somehow.

    Yeah, I would say I am. I think triathlon, probably any sport/passion, can change a person, at any age! It's taught me a lot of lessons in a different way, that's for sure.

    Perseverance. Resiliency. Trust. Work. Courage. Humility.

    The rewards have far exceeded anything I could have imagined. I don't mean race "bling" and hardware. I mean self-discovery.

    I have learned that I love to spend hours in the brain-quieting solitude of training. I discovered my capacity to work and the happiness that comes from pushing myself physically. I am grounded by the structure and challenges that training provides. I am competitive :-) Who knew?  How else would I have known?

    I AM different now. I'm pretty sure my brain is even biochemically different than four years ago, and not just because my eating has done a 180, but from four years of being bathed in endorphins that leave me feeling happier than I have ever been.

    I think sport changes us, alters the course of our development and personality. Maybe it's not always for the better but I think/hope for the most part it is.

    I shudder to think of where I would be, of who I would be, had I not taken that first step over four years ago.

    This change is a big reason that I blog and share openly. I don't think we are done growing up and finding ourselves at 20, or 30, or 40, or 50, or beyond. It's an ongoing developmental process....if you don't shut yourself off to it. Sport is one avenue for continual self-discovery and a great antidote to personal stagnation.

    No matter your age, step away from the status quo. 
    Take a chance. Shake things up. Discover.

    Bryce is and has been doing that since I have known him. I do have one piece of advice for Bryce though -- just don't grow up ALL the way ;-)  Always leave a little room there for the kid in you!

    Bryce and I three years ago when he won a major service learning award!!

    Saturday, July 7, 2012

    Back on the grid!

    Power was finally restored on Thursday so the kids and I rushed home and did some quick unpacking before Spencer and I headed off to a swim meet. I set up at my little "station" where I got to do my favorite volunteer job of averaging the data from the two timers in each lane. I don't get enough opportunities for mental math like this. I watched Spencer swim 50 butterfly and 100 free and he watched me do 100 free and then we went home and simply enjoyed being home.

    Life is returning to normal. Look...the light comes on in the refrigerator again! 

    I dropped almost $300 at Kroger yesterday and the refrigerator is beginning to fill again. My mom and I always joke that there are two kinds of people - those who like to see their refrigerator full, and those who like it empty. I tend more toward empty - simple, clean, fewer choices, minimal waste. But this is extreme even for me. Trust me, it's filling again. Take mustard. We had a family discussion about our individual mustard "needs" after I tossed at least five kinds of it last week. It seems we cannot get by on any fewer than three kinds - yellow, spicy brown, and stone-ground.

    Today is a day off for me, and much needed. I've been hard at it. Despite the chaos of the last week, I achieved some new firsts in the swim and bike and met one long-standing goal I have had on the run. I'm feeling good!!

    I'd better be feeling good -- we are 6 weeks out from Nationals, I can't believe that!! I am signed up for both races in Burlington, plus I have two races between now and then. That's four races in six weeks and next weekend is my first Olympic distance race of the year. I'm headed to Colonial Beach to swim in the Potomac. That will be my first time at that venue.

    Have a great weekend!

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Home: Family "Transition" area

    Happy almost 4th of July!! This is our flag in front of our house...our house which has been relegated to a "transition area"

    Day four of no power. Or water.

    We are among the 10,000 households in the county still without and now "they" (Appalachian Power) are saying it could be Friday before we are back up. I have yet to see an Ap Co truck anywhere and am still driving over fallen lines in the street.

    Fortunately, the main parts of town (and our pool) have power and water now. So, other than the fact that the kids and I are not currently living at our house (only the hubs; I think it's a "guy" thing), life is fairly normal. This is a community that knows how to come together and support one another in challenging times.

    I've made my peace by thinking of the house as our "transition" area. The bike comes in, the guitar goes out. The mail comes in, the karate uniform goes out. We don't stay there long. It's our storage unit. With a guard dog and cats! We have moved in with Oma. Thank you Oma!

    Training is providing much needed structure and focus. Today I had a brick ride-run and a swim on the schedule and knocked them all out in a row first thing. It was nearly two hours of quality workouts. Coach Jim is turning the screws so I had to step up and dig a bit deeper than usual on the bike and swim. I was happy to oblige :-)

    After the morning's workouts, I was thinking about writing a blog post called "You CAN get faster after 40". Then I came home to find that Joanna Zeiger who blogs at Fast at Forty had written a post called "Age related declines in performance". LOL! It's a good read, and my favorite part is the quote about fitness being like a ladder and how even though we lose the top-most rungs as we age, most of us are still far below the top of our own ladder and have plenty of room to improve! I say, even if VO2 Max is in decline, we can still get smarter, tougher, and more tactical.

    Another good read today was Tony Gentilcore's Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss post. The classic line from that one? "You can't out train a poor diet."

    I will conclude by saying thanks/sorry to whoever has unwittingly let me hop on their WiFi connection here from Oma's.....desperate times call for desperate measures.

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

    Tri training: no electricity or running water required!

    As my father likes to say, it's "hotter than the hubs of he**" around here.  On day two of no power or running water the house has become our storage unit and the kids and I are sleeping at my mother-in-law's house or friend's houses in town and Robert stayed home with the dog. We are hearing it could be as late as Saturday before we have power again. Our swim club is without power and closed so my swim workouts will move to open water. Coach Jim is in the same situation and coming into town to find Internet and keep tabs on all his athletes.

    No excuses....just do what you have to.

    I came home this morning to get the bike and head out on a long (50 mile) bike ride but did not start early enough to beat the heat. With no body-temp-lowering shower option at the house afterward, the cool concrete of the garage was the next best thing -- right there by the chainsaw and gas can, yes, it is a glamorous life! Trixie thought it was a good idea and joined me.

    Heading out, I was a little concerned about road debris and although I saw SO many downed trees and power lines, most things were at least pushed off the road. My Clif bar and 2nd Surge Gel ended up being not enough nutrition, so I kept my eyes out for wineberries that grow wild around here and are just about at their delicious peak. Twice I stopped and ate my fill!

    You never know what you will see on these rural rides. I turned around to snap this photo -- 3.1 bathrooms?! LOL!

    Mostly what I saw were horses, cows, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, some deer, a vulture, very few cars, and ZERO traffic lights from my doorstep to the turnaround and back. This area offers great riding.

    After I cooled down, we cleaned OUT the fridge and freezer. I "outsourced" some stuff yesterday (see Solar Connexion below), but much of it got the heave-ho. It was very sad. I do not like waste.

    Despite this being a super-weird week, training wise it was pretty hefty - 13 total hours:
    • 3:05 swim (4x)
    • 5:15 bike (3x - 98 miles total)
    • 2:28 run (3x - 19 miles total)
    • 2:15 gym (2x)
    That's all from here. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!!

    Thanks to Bryan Walsh of Solar Connexion for storing a bunch of my freezer stuff since his solar arrays and battery bank allow he and his family to function pretty normally even with the power company down. They still have hot and cold running (well) water, A/C, freezer, refrigerator, Internet, etc. (see recent video of his house) For anyone thinking of it! I suspect power disruptions will only become more common and widespread. We need to work toward energy independence through efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy options like solar.  After this experience, you'd better believe I will be.....