Sunday, March 25, 2007


I looked ahead in my MAO program last week and saw that this week was going to be tough. Not only was I coming off a race but beginning speed work and power work in the weight room. We decided to try to do bike speedwork in Fort Desoto (instead of the trainer), site of many races and beautiful park to just spend time in. Did that onTuesday which was windy, almost as much as the race on Sat! Got going around 6:15 pm and rode hard speedwork for about an hour total then went for sushi after which was a nice treat. Did run speedwork on Weds PM which, for some reason, I found quite tough. I pushed myself probably too hard, which, normally, is not an issue. Went to the gym afterwards for weights and had a stiff/sore neck. Didn't really think too much of it since Advil relieved it. Actually, comparing to last summer when I did the same speed session gearing for IM Hawaii, I was running faster this time but suffered to do it! Got up on Thursday 4:30 for 1:15 run in the quiet of the early morning and felt not too terrible, just slow to keep the HR down. I started to notice my body not feeling right, neck sore and some blemishes on my face and knew I was getting some recurrence of the shingles I had the same time last year. I don't know why but I must be pushing things a bit and work has been a bit of stress, but I never use that as an excuse. So, we decided not to go to the hills Sat and rode here instead. Luckily, it was quite breezy for our ride so it was a good 3.5 hr effort with nice brick afterwards. Our long run today, 2 hours, felt quite special but we actually knocked it out better than the last one we did. This week proved to be quite tough and one that, if we recover well, will definitely elevate our fitness. I remarked to the Dane as we embarked on our 2 hour, 14.6 mile aerobic run this morning that, I never used to train this much for an Ironman, much less a half Ironman (before last summer and the MAO progam)! So, things are rolling along. My health is a bit on the razor's edge but that's training as working age-grouper. I'm feeling a bit better and expect to be quite well for the upcoming week. My Jayhawks are out, but the Gators are still in so Final Four is one to watch again this year. Go Gators!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Well, the first tri of the '07 season was interesting to say the least. I signed up elite because there was prize money and you never know who will/won't show up to contest it. I also wanted to get a chance to race out front in this new race (international distance tri at Ft Desoto) and, since I made the qualifying time to do this, why not? Anyhow, the weather was the story of the day. We had a front come through on Friday which made Saturday morning quite windy (20-25mph) which is always worse at the Fort. It was also quite chilly, around 62* at home. The good thing was that the water temp was near 70*! The race directors were trying to decide whether to cancel the swim and make everyone do a duathlon which is not what I wanted to do and I sure whined about it! The problem was the water was quite rough with serious current. The powers that be decided to cut it to 1/2 mile (from .9 mile) and just walked us up the beach so we could swim back with the current which I was happy with. So, we finally got going in the "swim". There wasn't much actual swimming for me as I was just getting clobbered by waves then trying to dolphin-dive back out into deep enough water to try and swim some more; this was killing my legs! Got out of the water, happily, with numb feet to take on the wind on the bike. I was happy that the Dane suggested using my Zipp 303 on the front because I was able to spend more time in the aerobars being able to control the bike in the cross winds. Out of the water behind 3 other girls, I had a sluggish start on the bike for some reason but rode the second loop much stronger, into T2 in second. I charged out of T2 with still numb feet in attempt to catch the next competitor. I was able to catch her just after the first mile split and didn't look back. I was able to catch up to the Dane on the second loop ( he passed me on the bike with an awesome ride) and we ran together for a bit. I tried to press on not wanting to be caught by anyone and was elated to cross the finish line as the first woman. The Dane was very gracious not to try and outsprint me at the end which was wonderful of him! We did hear from someone who GPS'd the run that it was closer to 7 miles than the scheduled 6.2 which explains the slow run splits. I was really happy to win this race and feel my fitness is in a good place with a lot of room for improvement still having not begun speedwork yet. I didn't get to see where my swim was too much because of the conditions but it was good enough. We start speed work this week in the build up towards Florida 70.3 and hopefully this will give a further boost to the run and bike fitness. I feel stronger than I did at this time last year and have the MarkAllenOnline program to thank, it's paying off already! We were able to celebrate a bit with friends for St Paddy's Day and slept in today which rarely happens! Thanks to everyone who gave me words of encouragement it all helps! Next race is Escape from Fort Desoto on 4/15 which is the traditional "beginning" of the tri season and one of the funnest races of the year. Hope everyone had a fun St Paddy's day, we sure did.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Seems like the weeks are just flying by. Pushing the clock ahead one hour doesn't help this perception! Anyway, last weekend we did a ride to Fort Destructo (also know more commonly as Fort Desoto). We enjoy this ride because we can get in some true solo TT (Time Trial) work in the Fort without fearing being run over or stopping for lights! The TT loop is about 10 miles, flat and always windy. Not much "true" TT work due to my HR restrictions as I am abiding to my Mark Allen Online HR zones, but still some good work into the wind. When I finished the TT loop, I stated to the Dane and Marky Mark that that was the most enjoyable loop I've ever done there! I can say that only because I'm usually only racing (and in pain) there and it isn't pleasant. We have done other training there as well but I haven't been back since seriously following the HR ceilings in my program. I will say that I felt a bit stronger and didn't mind the wind as much and, consequently, had a much more positive experience as a result. I would call that progress, mentally if nothing else. We'll see this weekend as we have a race at the Fort on St Paddy's day. It's an "almost" Olympic distance race (the bike is 23 miles, not the standard 25). I am looking forward to racing in my new 2XU wetsuit which I just got; did an short open water swim on Monday with it and loved it. So far, so good. Water's cold but not too bad, 67* now. We do have a front coming through the next couple days so the weather could be interesting. It'll be windy, always is. The water may be rough but it's rough for everyone. I'm looking forward to racing and leaving my HR monitor at home! Happy St Paddy's Day.....and GO JAYHAWKS & SEMO (in womens NCAA Tourney (and Gators)!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE.....blah, blah, blah

Last weekend (I'm getting lazy with this blog thing), we went back to the hills for 3 hour scheduled ride. It was finally not too cold so decided no time is too early to start riding out in the sticks, plus we are getting sick of our local sites, or lack thereof. Anyhow, haven't been to the hills since probably September of last year so this was going to be difficult, for me anyway. We had a nice, small, sane group (I know, hard to believe) so that was nice. I didn't obey my MAHR because this is truly impossible for me going uphill with any speed. I also don't know my way around and it's easy to get lost so getting dropped from the others was not an option. We took a different way back to add on about an hour after about 30-something miles and it was really fun. The wind was howling and the hills were solid with some steady climbs. I was jacked because it reminded me so much of Kona, without the heat. Here, I dropped back from the main group to have, invite if you will, the wind into my face and actually enjoyed it. Riding into the wind is a skill and attitude has everyting to do with how you approach it. It can be very defeating if you let it get into your psyche and taunt you, however, it can be powerful to look at it in a different light and embrace the fact that you are getting stronger just for the wind being there. This will only really make sense (or not) to those who ride and especially to those who have ridden in Hawaii. 20-30 MPH winds here are a "nonwindy" day in Hawaii, in my experience. So, I've gotten into a new place in my psyche (scary) and plan to work on that and embrace the wind with this newfound joy. Wonder how long this will last! I truly feel my experience in Kona last October will strengthen me in many ways. I look forward to our trip to the hills this weekend, weather permitting. Like the Dane says "the wind is your friend".....unless it's in the form of a hurricane, tornado, blizzard, etc!