Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Off Season - ready or not... here I am.

Was it really a month since IMFL? Where does the time go? You know you're old when you say that line. To back up just a tad I was really ready for IMFL, so ready that I didn't want to stop training. Did I really peak? Yes, I guess. But all of my other IM's I've been nursing a niggle or wanting it to be the day after so I could just hang with E or to not HAVE to workout. But not FL. Our fall was SO gorgeous I LOVED weeks of training (very refreshing after a gazillion races) and I didn't want that to come to an end. This made the following days/weeks post IM extra hard. Thanks to the recovery tent with chicken broth, IV, etc... I recovered nicely and wanted to get back in the saddle. MENTAL TALK - take YOUR down time, you physically (even tho i did't feel like it) and mentally need to take this. Accept the common lows/depression that often follows an IM. My head was all over. I wanted our MN fall back. I wanted to find a marathon to run. I feel good and need something on the radar.

To follow up on Kona (thansk RR for reminding me) top 4 qualified and it rolled to 5th. So me being 6th, just 2 min back, missed it. (sniff sniff) As much as I told myself before hand " been there, the box is checked" and it's ok if it doesn't happen, I really relized that I wanted this to happen. One reason could be that the decision is made for Goal Race 2009... but no Q, so now what? After dear friend Merilee rocked out a super solid IMAZ performance and hit a Q, I know i wanted to try again...make Kona a group trip... Let's work hard and do this. So what are the options to Q? IMCDA - lottery? IMKY? Buff springs 70.3? Tons of pros and cons to mapping out 2009, but I'm going for Buffalo springs. CY is in too and another dear friend is strongly considering it. BS, TX... here we come :)

Erik is signed up for IMWI and was accepted to race on the Penn Team in 2009. Our energies feed off eacheother. We're having fun doing workouts together and trying new challenges. Cheers to an eventful 2008!

Live, laugh, love ~ julie

Sunday, November 2, 2008

IMFL - A mixed bag of emotions

What a beautiful day it was. AM preparations went as planned and pretty soon E and I were down at the beach ready for the cannon. This yr there was a sandbar about 20 feet from shore so it made the swim start rather interesting. I stayed to the inside until the corners (totally legal). Corners were typical mayhem. elbow thrashing, wild kicks, etc. Winds were about 10mph for the start so it made for some waves and chop as you got inland. For the 2 loop swim I got toward shore and was able to maneuver right to see Erik. But soon after me.... E noticed a guy slyly (word??) take off FLIPPERS and let them float to about where he would be re-entering the swim. For those who don't know... THIS IS NOT LEGAL. So E snapps pictures of the wave runner totally catching him in the act, pleading his case and they let him continue his swim. HAHA!!! (click on photo and check out his left hand... those are big flippers!)

Soon I'm out of the water in just over 1:10:?? 26th (?) in my AG. PR swim over Kona's 1:17 and right on goal. A quick change of clothing and I'm getting on my weapon. I love the bike. We are like one. This was beautiful. First 50 miles were pretty much into the wind, but still holding 20mph or so. Around mile 30 I had a little distraction... dropped my bottle of salt tabs while trying to get out my clif bar. I was pretty solo at that point so slammed on the breaks, turned around and walked back to get it... on route dropped the clif bar too. Oh goodness... then while trying to mount the bike my right toe warmer came off. "Come on Julie" So I'm about ready to mount when this 20+grouping was coming up.... I know from time trials I can go from 0-20 fast when I need to. I tried to get out ahead and got sucked up. Oh goodness, I don't want this. I signal to try to break out and feel i did when only seconds later was caught by the pack - all men - interesting. Well this then goes on thru to about mile 50 where the special needs bags were. some of the hills dropped a few people out, but it was crazy. I dropped back some, but have to admit it kept coming back together. I had a couple guys say nice comments on my riding after they realized I was just as strong as they are and are not on for just suckin somebody's wheel. The real (finally!) breaking point was mile 75ish where there was a u-turn - finally we got the tail wind and it broke up the pack. It was a NE wind and we were going E for miles. Some pushed it some probably lightened up. Thanks to the Ynde-disk (Sweet sub-9) I was flying with a sail with mild effort... after all there is a marathon to do. well about mile 100 I start to cramp in my left aductor - not easy to stretch while biking. I tried, but continued to loose speed and get passed one by one... no packs, but recognized all of them. Tracking my progress along the way I hollared to E at 78 that I was right on track, for around a 5:05ish bike. I continued to do the math... and was elated to be coming in sub 5:15... final in time 5:09, 2nd fastest AG time. A quick change, biffy stop (I had to pee... no gut issues at all) and I was running.

Coach Jared's advice for the start of the run was 10 min at a very conservative pace - slower then planned for race pace. GPS said right around 8's and I was hoping to hold a 7:45 pace. I thought I was ok; this is what I trained to be holding. Well as those who have done an IM know, you're leg reality hits and for me it was only after a couple miles. You feel things, Pain no, discomfort YES. GREAT! No cramps but I was running what i could and would check GPS and see 8:30's. Walking the aid stations for nutrition was a must and I would watch my min/mi avg drop. E said to me at mile 3.5 that he thought I was 5th in my AG so far (had just gotten passed by some speed demon that ran a 3:20 - hhhmm drafting perhaps???) Well as it turns out I held 5th for the majority of the time. Around 22-23 I saw a gal pass from my AG and was hoping that she was on her first lap.... well no she wasn't and I ended 6th out of 141 that started.

I'll go to the Kona roll down and see if any of the top 4-5 declined their spot. Cross your fingers.

Overall, happy with the swim, ecstatic about the bike and dissappointed in the run. But I did give it all I could and even gutted out a finish line cartwheel (my signature) with no cramping, but no adreneline rush either.

I crossed the line and was immediately carried to medical as I was so out of it. I was only down 5 lbs, but had a temp of 92 and was very cold. At some points I had the attention of 5 people getting vitals, charting, etc all the details - very organized. In my 11 yrs of triathlons and 5 previous IM's I've never set foot in the medical tent. no crashes or anything. I had nothing left in me, it was all spread out over that course. That, I am proud of. BUT could I have saved 2 min somewhere to hang onto 5th??? maybe, but it is what it is and I finished in 10:32, an hour and 1 min PR over my qualifying 2005 IMWI. PR swim, bike and run - probably transitions too.

A HUGE thank you to E, for being the best most supportive hubby. He took some 400 pictures, capturing the day - thanks to getting a media pass, he was right in the thick of it all! Super fun to see him. Also THANK YOU to all of you who were thinking of me throughout the training and on race day. You mean so much to me.
Oh the doc just called.... precsciption today is pool side R&R!!!
Thanks again huge hugs to all!!! julie :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

We're ready to roll - 12 hours to cannon time!

Halloween and Erik and i are in sunny Panama city beach. We've just loved the time down here. Everything is going smooth. Oh and get this, I went to get my toes done and calluses removed on wed and found the OPI color of choice.... i look at the name (as OPI has fun themes to their colors) - ROCK ON RED! Can you believe that? too funny and great toes with to go with the ink!

All bags are checked in, bike is cleaned and tires are pumped. This is the first race that my possie (HA!) are not here - mom, dad ,sis. and mom-in law. We so miss you. Then there are my tri homies that at least a few of us are going somewhere togheter.... but here.... slim pickens of people we know. But we've been surrounded by the buzz of some first timers. Our roomie is Erin Schindler - just the sweetest gal - great conversation and fun energy!! E's got his camera git-up ready to roll. Trigger finger is tapered and well fueled. I'll post pics sunday... I reserve the right to be veggie head...

A huge thank you to all of you family and friends for the well wishes and positive vibes.

Hugs - julie

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Yes! We are here!

Hey Sorry for the delay on blogging. Let's just say that IM training and blogging with an "on the fritz" key board don't mix... oh and a type A personality... patience is being tested.

Are you on Facebook??? Well you should be. It is full of one liners that can get you up to date with friends and family. I've chatted with long lost grade school neighbors to the every day life with my best buddies.
So what have I been up to?? Oh goodness - lots of unsure, excited, nervous, etc.... let's just say emotional swings... oh and more racing and training. 9 tri's, 4 du's, 1 half iron relay, 7 biking time trials and one tough TC10 mile are all behind me. The peak race: Ironman Floida in 3 weeks.

9/21 - Irongirl (2 mi run, 22 bike, 2 mi run) was a mixed bag of tests. How do fast twitch muscles respond to distance training? Will my heart survive or will I have more issues?? It was a beautiful and gorgeous morning; Shelly and Erik and many other friends offering up cheers. I did race hard - fastest run split i've ever posted there and my bike didn't suffer. Finished a solid 2nd OA - more then a min faster that last yr. Wahooo!!!

9/27 - Next up... E was in CA for a family wedding and I had some awesome, monster training on the docket. This was 5 weeks out from IM and I'm doing my first 112 mile ride. Norm is maybe 3-4-5 century rides before an IM. But got out with Ms CY and MS and we had a wonderful ride. no flats. no crashes. no cramps. We even met another local going to IMFL. Followed the ride up with a 5.5 mile run. Legs felt incredible and avg pace was 7:15. Holy schnikeys - little fast for IM, but felt GREAT today :) Anchored the weekend with swimming and a beautiful trail run with Jmac and JL.

10/4 - Great to have E back home and back in the training saddle. We escaped for a 45 mile ride with some strong surges.

10/5 - The TC10 and Marathon! I've done the 10 miler for 4 years now and this yr was not any easier. I feel like I'm running stonger, but apparently not the hills. IMFL is a FLAT race - that's my forte. That's been what I've focused on... So needless to say TC10 mile was 2 min off goal with perfect conditions. I felt exhausted.

Cousin Shelley did her first TC10 in under goal time. Way to go Shelley!!! And her hubby Dave completed his 2nd TC marathon in a super time of 4:01 (appox45 mi PR!!!). I think I heard Shelley say that she wanted to try a TRI... and also try a half marathon. Dang this stuff is addicting ;)

10/10-10/12 - 5K swim Friday (longest swim in months!!!!!!!!!!) I survived. Sat am -another Fricken gorgeous day in mpls. I have to say for doing a late season IM I have been so blessed with weather. This is simply amazing. Fall colors are about peak around the metro and E and I made extra efforts to take it all in. Sat's workout was 2:00 interval bike and 2:20 interval run.
Today is also the day of Kona. Memories of 2006, dreams for IMFL (qualifying??) and inspiring friends who are there filled our day with energy and more emotions. We did a rocken bike over to Hastings and back. For the run we went to Lillydale/StPaul area and ran the path lining the river. Boats on the river, Maples vibrant shades red, ash's golden, sumac late changing and a almost hot pink - it was all just amazing. With sun shining and nearly 75 degrees, E and I were ready to make it thru the steady 5x20 min run segments. Amazingly enough I held 7:45's pretty solid for all 5 intevals. I'm pleased. IMFL- here I come!!!

Recovery was a quick trip to Jamba and BreadSmith (banana cc muffins!) and home we came to watch IMLIVE the rest of the night. HUGE congrats to Cathy Yndestad, Sarah Mercer, the amazing turn around of Jeremy Sartain, Jey Carlson, and Melinda Silbernick. You all are very inspiring each in your own ways. WAY TO GO!!!!

On a side note - I'm relieved and happy to report I've had several tests done for some disturbing health scares and am TOTALLY healthy. WWWHHEEEWW!!!
Go bears!- gotta go get ready - going to Majors for the game.

Live, Laugh, Love ~ Julie

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ironman Evolution Erik Style - What have I done?

1982-Watching, uh, "stuff" run down the legs of Julie Moss. Those people are nuts!!
1983-1998 - Those people are still nuts!!
1999- Watching Julie complete the "Extreme" Ironman triathlon in Lake Geneva, WI. This wife of mine is one tough lady...and she's crazy, but I support her in every way possible.
2000-2002 - I've done a few local sprints and even an oly. I would never even consider a half-iron, let alone a full.
2003-2005 - Watching Julie complete IMOO in hell-like temps, even qualifying for Kona in 05. This wife of mine is so inspiring!! Maybe I'll do a half in 06 after not doing a single race in 05.
2006 - Pigman was so tough, my butt could never sit on a seat for 112 miles though. Kona trip was unbelievable!! So many fit people, such inspiration. Boy that 5 mile run on Alii Drive was a b-otch. I can see why people would do an Ironman, but I doubt that I ever could/would.
2007 - Pigman still tough but improved. Definitely in better shape, but could I ever really...I mean really consider the full race? I'll see how 08 goes.
2008 - Well Julie's doing IMFL in November, I've now done my third Pigman Half. We'll see. I'll decide on Monday after IMOO.
09/08/08- 9:15AM-IMOO Registration Form "Congratulations on reserving your spot in the 2009 Ford Ironman Wisconsin!"

What have I done? (Coach Jared's response...I don't know, you're screwed!!) He was kidding of course, but my mind is going 100mph thinking of the training he has in store for this aging/sagging/greying bod of mine. I'm also picturing the finish line and thanking Dad and Laurie for watching over me. Okay, can't...see...screen...now. Just a sec...

The great news is that I have the worlds best training partner in Julie and a large group of friends who happen to be amazing triathletes!! To get better, train with someone better than yourself...well, I have a ton of "someones".

Julie just said, "I'll be downstairs bun (short for honey bun)." That is code for get off the computer and let's getting spinning.

I suppose I'll have to swim (ugh) and run too.

Thanks all, for your unending support (tri and non-tri related). It means the world to me!!

Gotta go now.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

We Love you and will miss you Laurie!

(Julie writing this one)

Laura Ellen Hull Creameans

April 4, 1967-August 24, 2008

The sun goddess who so loved Hawaii. Herman and Laurie's dream to move there was stemmed from our wonderful Kona/Maui trip just 2 short yrs ago.

Today will undoubtedly be one of the hardest days of my life, and no doubt many others who will be at her funeral.

She will be firmly and gently missed by the love of her life Herman and her daughter Maddison (20), Mary Ellen, Erik and I, and all her extended family and very close friends. She lived life to the fullest. We look back and with so many events she was in a position to say "I'm glad I did", instead of "I wish I would have". No regrets.
The 24th was 3 yrs and 1 day after her dad's passing. She, Erik and Mary Ellen were all bedside for that life changing yet peaceful event. Laurie died of a Massive heart attack at 12:15 am on Sunday surrounded by friends at a hospital in northern IL.

We will always love you and miss you Laurie. The memories will last a life time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A: Monday Morning Soreness

Q: What do you get a day after completing the Pigman Half-Iron Triathlon?

The thought of working from home definitely crossed my mind today, but I figured I could get my butt to the office and see if anyone notices my tender walking. No one has noticed yet…mostly because I’ve only left my chair a handful of times. Each time just as slow and labored as the first.

Well, another “successful” triathlon season is officially under my belt. For me, it was a busy season (6-tri’s and 1 du). I didn’t have the year over year improvement I had hoped for, but I’m starting to learn more about biking…mostly, that to get better, you need to put in the miles. HOTL was the first race that I would see a “target” up ahead and chase it down. Doing that gave me my best bike average and didn’t hurt my run at all.

Those that know me, know that I am averse to large doses of self-induced pain. That’s not good when you’re trying to improve any of the three disciplines. One of my goals for next year (dare I put it out there) is to worry less about the around the house stuff and really put a focus on improving at least a couple of disciplines. It will be quite an adjustment (boohoo, I know) but watching some of our friends hit another fitness level is really inspiring.

Gone are the days of hair-plugs and root-canals (aka excuses for not working out)!!
Gone are the days of worrying about missing an unimportant show on the tube of boob!!
Gone are the days of skipping a swim workout…well maybe not totally gone…

What to do now with all the spare time?

Probably continue training with Julie through IMFL. I mean, what else am I going to do? Yard work? Bah!! We are in a moderate drought here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the yard is basically straw, so yard work is down to just weeding and that is very over-rated.

Congrats to everyone on a complete or nearly complete season!! To those of you with events to come, good luck. I’ll try to snap some cool pics of you.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Family comes together

The inevitable time came for my Grandma Sundeen. I loved her laugh. I enherited bunions from her. She was on this earth for 87+ yrs.

My mom and aunt were bedside when she took her last breath. "It was an honor and Peaceful" my mom said. All 6 kids came home. My 2 cousins were here too. Group dynamics on this side of the family can be sketchy, but not this time. It was the foundation of family love that kept the fun in the air. Pool time and cranium were a couple of highlights.

It was the first time in 8 months I would see my dad. But, as hurt as I have felt over the family's breakup, these moments are reminders as to how precious life is. A healthy spirit will embrace forgiveness. I don't have to understand. I accept that. it was a beatiful sunday that we enjoyed to the fullest. My brother Doug, wife Ann and 2.5 yr old son Rowan flew in for the funeral and family gathering.

Rowan loved "air drying". He is one special and bright kid. With two gifted and wonderful parents, a darling kid is expressing great character.

Many special memories. Yes it was an unfortunate gathering, but we celebrated gradma's life to it's fullest - being with eachother.

Live, laugh and love like there is no tomorrow.

Peace, Julie

Monday, July 28, 2008

Two Highs and a Low

Has it really been 3 weeks since we "journaled". Holy schmoley. I'm on a high, but let me rewind a little.
We healed from our wounds but not without some self talk. As E wrote it took getting back in the saddle to help get over the crash. July 12th was Timberman triathlon up north in Grand Rapids hosted at Rutgers Sugar Lake Lodge. Great venue with some 500 participants between the short and the long race. We've gone the last 2 years with the main motivation as a fun getaway with friends. The race was super windy, but e and I both improved over last yr and I managed to bike and run my way to my second win of the year.

On the 17th E had his 38th b-day. His wishes... order a pizza and watch a movie. A nice low key movie "date" night at home. no s,b,r.... just low key. I think the movie of choice was There will be Blood. Good flick.

Also on the 17th, my 87 yr old Grandma had a significant change in health. It was determined thru an MRI to be a stroke. Questions arose... was this the beinning of the end? with 6 kids spread throughout north america, I was called on to send the first family email getting word out.

Sunday the 20th was Annandale, the 10th race in 11 weeks for me, not including the every other week BDTT. Was racing taking a toll? How do you ever know besides when you get a mental case of the lazies (we have another term for this but I'll keep it clean for the unknown audience). Erik and I stayed at Shelly's and she came with us to the race. She is such a fun spectator and has great eyes to watch for people. We left the doggies back at her place for this one. This race is historically hot and humid, but this year had nearly perfect conditions. Erik had a great race, posting his fastest bike split of the season followed up with a sub 7 pace on the 5.3 mle run. Supa-star. I had an ok race. Pre-race I visited the ever-so-helpful KO at the GW tent... What was causing my noise??? Soon diagnosed as a bent derailier with a crappy (way stretched out) chain. Moments later, I was off riding my super-smooth and quiet ride. What fun! I love my little silver bullet - we've been thru much together. Anyway. My race was ok - well, swim time sucked - I never swim well here. No wetsuit swim for elites. Am I that dependent on my wetsuit?? The bike I hammered, but had a hard time finding a rhythm. My time/pace was respectable, but at the time didn't feel quite "on". Time to run - I was in 2nd at the time. 1 mile in I dropped to 3rd - little becky youngberg cruised past at some blazing pace. Then mile 2 came with Marta at my side; we ran shoulder to shoulder til mile 3 when there was this slight up hill and she dropped me. Did she pick it up that much or did I fall apart? Eitherway... I finally finished and held on to 4th and still posted a faster time then last yr.

July 27th was Chisago half iron. My thoughts after annandale were "why did I sign up for this"? I had very litte depth for long training so far. The only half course I've ever done is Pigman in Palo, IA (oh and my very first tri, Tinman 1998 in menomonie). I wanted to try a new course and heard good things about this "local" half. I was totally happy when I found out that the bike course was changed from 2800+/- feet of clmbing to 800 feet of climbing- perfect test for IMFL!!! Erik and I pre-drove the bike and the run on Sat and got a visual for my predetermined transition "home". I felt confident for a solid bike, but the run had some rolling hills and a section of gravel roads. Not my strength, but let's give it a go.

We got our sorry butts out of bed by 4 am to fuel up and hit the road. Temps were going be perfect and winds calm to 8 mph. SA-WEET! I'm getting ready to swim standing with E who was pumped doing photos for the day, and Shelly comes flying down bearing hugs for luck. it worked. Swim was great - calm and good temps. goal: 33, reality 33:18. Great - let's go play on the bike. With the flat course I found a happy light rhythm and just peddled away. I see E at mile 30 and had so far avg 23mph. Super fun day - having a blast out there. Marlo came by at mile 42 and self talk was not to let her get out of sights. I started to work a little. With no real training for this I was hesitant "push". My legs were happy with a steady rhythm. T2 came and I smoked transition and was on a mission, but had to stick to a nuturtion plan if I was going to make this. My hip/IT/glute has been such a knot lately I needed to make sure I listened to my body. Thanks to Jeremy sartain (I think it was giving JM a break for some announcing) the crowd was rialed up as I was the 2nd female thru. Mile one- popping 2 IBPFN. Next stop - enduralytes, gatorade, water. I had cramps coming on... Ah crap... just stick to a plan.

The run was feeling Very steady. I was super confused that by mile 6-7 I learned that I was actually in the lead. How did this happened? Where was Marlo? Who was in first out of T2.? E was at 6.5 taking some scenic pics and I said where's Marlo. (couple aid stations mentioned first female thru- what???) We did not plan that E would be a "split" guy - but holy shit - If i was in the lead with 6 miles to go... who's back there and where? I kept focused on me and nutrition. Aid stations kept saying lead female. I looked at my watch at mile 10 and had a time of 4:15 so far... I was coherent enuf to do math and thought holy shit, I could break 4:40. Soon after, I had a guy on a bike by me and I faintly hear him phoning back to the race sight with the update. That is when I actually believed I was in the lead - roughly 2 miles to go. Running on adreneline! We turned the corner and I could see and hear the crowds and the park with the ever so entertaining Jerry McNeil. This was really going to come together! I felt awesome. I ran strong down a hill, onto the grass around the park and up a brutal hill thru the balloons. Jerry had the crowd so fired up! It was the best finish experience I've ever had. 4:37:13 then he announced it was a course record by 8 minutes, since Marlo's 2006 finish. Erik, Shelly and Jeff were there with big hugs. I wondered if I was ready .... I guess I was. Never underestimate the power of the mind.

Post race, back at his house, Jeff and Shelly made a super yummy grilled salmon that he just caught in Lake Michigan the week before -lots of grilled veggies. Oh was my tummy in such a happy place.
Back to Grandma. She has still been slipping daily, so we went from Chisago/Stacy area over to Wayzata to see her in the nursing home. Mom came up from Sioux Falls on Saturday, so we would be able to see her too. Docs say with virtually no nutitrition going down since the 17th there are only a few days left. Aunt Sue from Mexico flew in last night and will stay for nearly a month.

Wow what a mixed emotion day. I so didn't want to set my alarm clock and just let my body sleep..... so 5:00am comes, I hit the off button and continued my "recovery".

Next race, Turtleman Aug 9th.

For now, there will probably be some down time focusing on family.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Getting Back on the Horse

If at first you don't succeed (in staying on your bike), try, try, try to get back on again!!

Well Julie and I had an hour spin on Monday. What better time to overcome any mental anxieties over the mildly-traumatic crash of Sunday. We did our normal (safe) loop and even extended it to 17 miles. Great way to get the kinks (mental and physical) out.

By popular demand (okay, it was really CY) here are a few mending battle wounds. These pics were taken on Tuesday, so these are two days healed.

*****WARNING*****If raw meat makes you squeemish, you might want to quit reading/viewing right now.

It's kind of fun bandaging each other...ah wedded bliss.

Happy/Safe training!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Race, Strain, Recover, Push, Race, Celebrate, Crash!

Wow! What a week. We are in the thick of tri season and summer has arrived. I've had 8 races in 9 weeks with 5 more weekends of tri's in the next six weeks before the Ironman Florida training focused training kicks in. E has 5 down and 3 to go.

Last weekend was an emotional Waconia tri, the MN Best of the US qualifier. Going into it E and I were both gunning for some improvement. The ultimate goal for me would be to come out of T2 in first and pull off a win to claim the championship spot for MN female. The start of the day E and I were in our fleece tops and full pants. This is the end of June in MN? Temps weren't bad, but the the WINDS were the worst I've ever had (well that I can remember swimming in anyway). So basically the swim SUCKED! E said he drank about half the lake. I think most were on the swim/ breast stroke plan just to survive. 1/2 mile accurate swim and it took me just under 18 min (normally around 14), crap - I have some work to do. The bike went as planned and came into T2 in first with the 4 mile run. I pushed hard knowing what was on the line and the thick and super talented field of runners. by mile 2.5 my right hammy started to seize - CRAP! I tried to run it out, but the hills didn't help - I had to slow up a tad just start shaking the legs. Marlo passed as I continued to struggle with the leg. one more up hill past the park and down hill to the finish... could I hang on?? well the other hammy had that answer... Double crap! Double seize on the hammys with about 1 mile to go. Peg leg running.... well that was me! I stopped to stretch just to survive the last mile. Hung on to 2nd. Congrats to Marlo for being a rock-star athlete. E had a great race, despite the water log gut during the bike.

By Tuesday I was in for heavy massage work and wed skipped my first Black dog TT in years to work on recovery of the legs. We were both racing a sprint tri on Sat and kept training light for most of the week to be as healthy as possible for the long term.

Our 4th of July was pretty low key, including some R&R relaxing on the deck.... so relaxed that Erik applied sunscreen like it would naturally spread itself out. Oh and just cuz some men have hair on their legs doesn't mean that you won't burn. Unfortunately E was looking streaky red on the top half and just plain red on the legs. Bound to feel really good with the bike shorts on Sat am. Friday night we stayed at my sister Shelly's, to be a lot closer to race start. we had a little B-day celebration with her (hers is on the 6th) and some yummy dinner.

4:30 Sat am I roll over and give E a kiss as it is our 12th anniversary and we get to go to our happy place - another race with so many friends. E says to me on the way to the race...I don't think I can do this, my sun burn hurts so bad on my legs. Once we arrived, got settled and on our warm up he realized the other pains, actually we both did - our quads and gluts See on Thursday we did this great strength workout that we did for most of the winter 2x's/wk. problem was, it had been maybe 2 months since we've done the full routine and the 2 day sore effect was in full force. Our biggest killer - Jump lunges for 1 min straight followed by a 1 min squat hold. YIKES! We were so sore. We left the pain killers at Shelly's. We took it on full force and finished faster than last yrs time - me by 45 or so seconds and he by couple minutes. I finished 2nd for the 3rd tri in a row and this one had a some anniversary dinner cha-ching to go with it.

To celebrate we had a fun dinner our with some non tri friends that think were crazy to celebrate by racing and training. E and I enjoyed yummy pasta meals and cocktails/beers of choice to prepare for our group century ride Sunday AM. Our tolerance is so low that I think we were both home and crashed in front of the TV by 9 pm. Too funny!

So this morning Merilee, Jen and Marty came over for what was to be our longest ride of the yr. Objective: 100 miles. We pull out of the drive way around 8:15 with 70 degrees and partly cloudy - A perfect day for a ride. About 5 miles in and I hear this "AARRHHH!" I look back and Jen is ass over tea kettle - crashing her new bike! Yes we as triathletes seem to be so concerned about our gear. But Jen pulled off a full fledged somersault with the bike. The gymnast in her really shined and she rolled with grace. A quick mind, body and bike check and we're off and peddling again. We're rolling right along with some great tail wind sections hitting mid to upper 20 mph on the flats - way fun line riding. Great job pulling us for so long Marty. We manage to get lucky dodging a few other obstacles when at mile 56 E's front wheel gets caught in the eroding part of the black top. His quick reflexes yank his foot out and skids like Fred Flinstone would putting on the brakes. The dump for him ended with a large road rash just on his cute little butt cheek in the middle of a two lane road. I was riding right behind him and couldn't avoid the loss of control and managed to take a quality spill myself. The second I realized I'm down and in the middle of the road I see Erik saying "shit" grabbing his bike and moving to the skinny shoulder. I look back and no cars are coming over the slight rise. We do a quick body check for each of us. I took it pretty hard on my left side, no broken parts, but road rash central and a cracked helmet. We survived, fixed E's flat that he got in the process of the incident, and rode on... well for as long as we could. E's tire had skid against this ridge of the road so much that it tore right thru the side walls. A few minutes after the fix he officially blows out the tire. We call Jmac for a Sag wagon ride for E. Thank Jules for saving us!!! 4 of us rode those few miles to Julie's house, got cleaned up and I realized that I shouldn't ride anymore. E thought an urgent care trip for a scan was in order to test for concussion. We skipped that as I still had dilating pupils and just plain refused to go - I'm fine. E and I drove Julie's 4runner with bikes in back to our house and Julie joined MS, MW and JL for more riding. I'm happy to have heard there were no more crashes, and most posted their longest and more epic rides of the season!

It's been a pretty emotional roller-coaster of a week, but with today's experiences and thinking of what could have been with our crashes..... I'm so thankful for a wonderful husband, the best soul mate I could ever meet and the gift to live another day to live laugh and love.

Ride safe and keep the rubber side down.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mom's Movin' and We're "helping"

Well, after 29 years, Mom is pulling up stakes and moving...about 3 miles. While this may seem like an easy move, keep in mind that all of the prep work was done (nearly) on her own. Us kids helped with a bit of sorting, but it's hard to help pack up someone else's...treasure. Luckily, Mom aka Mary Ellen (Hairy Melon to her brothers) is what you might call a neat freak. Her house is always impeccably clean and organized, to the point of anality (not sure if that's a word, but you get the picture). I say this because if she wasn't so organized, the task would have been even more daunting. Mom really showed us her strength through the whole process. Adding to the difficulty is the fact the my Dad died nearly three years ago. She was left to pack all of the memories (pictures, clothes, knick-knacks, etc.) and grieve a bit more without his loving shoulder to cry on or listen the way only he could. In a way, I think a house is just a structure, but a home is everything else that you add to it over the years...and I don't mean the furniture. I mean all of the memories, with the good ones far outnumbering the not so good. (insert misty eyes here)

Julie and I left around 1:30PM on Thursday, June 19th and drove to the Southwestern Chicago Suburb of Oswego. We arrived at about 11:30PM. Now I realize that it doesn't take 10 hours to drive from MPLS to Oswego. Julie and I decided to make a pit stop in Verona, WI (fireman's park-part of the IMOO bike course) and join our friend Eric P. for a single loop of about 40 miles. Unfortunately, Eric's bride of 3 years (Michelle) was not able to join us. It was their anniversary, but Eric kindly made time for us.
Let me just say that bike course is awesome...at least the one loop was. I'm not a very strong biker and easily get dusted by Julie each and every time, but man this was cool. The main reason for us doing the bike loop was for me to get a glimpse of what the Ironman course was like. In years past, just watching Julie bike part of the course was intimidating as hell. Hills are generally not my friend, but to climb cowbell hill and see those people cheering (in my mind of course) was cool. It wasn't as bad as I had pictured in my head all of these years. I might even pony up for an IMOO registration this fall...nothing in stone yet!! Well, Eric had to cut the loop short so he and Michelle could have a nice anniversary evening together. Great seeing you Eric!! Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday Michelle!!

The only strange thing to happen on our ride was as we were coming back into Verona. A young punk in a little black P.O.S. car blared an air-horn right as he passed us. I swear, if I could have followed him to his house I would have...done nothing because I usually avoid confrontation at any cost. Internally, I was fuming:P Anyway, we packed up and continued down to Oswego and crashed about 10 minutes after arriving.

On Friday, our great fortune was that all of the heavy stuff was moved by...what else, movers. We helped Mom with the "last few items"(two car loads) and then it was official, Westleigh Ct. was history. Now came some unpacking of boxes, some yard work and even breaking Mom's computer. We helped her select a new 46" LCD HD TV. All was fine by the time we left, but we had to make sure that the electronic Bridge game and her email were working...it was and still is I think. We really did have a nice time with Mom and love her new (to her) townhouse. Plenty of room in a nice neighborhood and within walking distance of downtown.

On Sunday morning, we packed up some of my treasure that Mom had found and hit the road. Our drive home was uneventful and traffic pretty light.

I am continuously amazed at Mom's strength and grace, not only with the stress of moving, or even the death of Dad, but with the current phase of her life too. She is so open to new and different things...always willing to say "why not" when it might be easier to just stay the course. She'll tell you that she's not that strong but I know she is, heck, everyone who's ever met her knows that. I love you Mom and if you are able to click on the favorites BLOG link that I set up for you, you'll know it too!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

2 week catch up!! :)

It was only GW du that I wrote about learning something from every race, whether it is something to deal with mechanics, strategy, nutrition, etc. Also critical is to recognized what strengths you ahve and to capitalized on them. whether this is something that you just do for maintenance or you are just fortunate to have "mastered" it through past experiences. This will be more recognized in manitou's right up.....

Already 2 weeks ago was Pigman Sprint race in Palo, IA (now underwater). It was a great road trip with Yndestads, complete with 4 bikes, lots of road snacks and our basic gear for the first tri of the yr for all of us. For this race I was not nervous, but E was hoping for some big improvements on the bike and had enough butterflies for both of us. He has been focusing this winter on some solid biking as we got a TacX system to help measure Watts as he would push thru levels not tapped so often before. Oakdale du was the opener of the season, but he went into that bike and held back a bit to save something in the tank for a solid run. Thinking hindsight, he wondered how fast could i go if I lay everything out there. That was a question I started to ask myself 3-4 yrs ago on the bike for sprint races. It can be mentally tough to fight the lactic burn in a race knowing there are 3 or 4 miles to run yet. But you'll never get the most out of yourself if you don't give everything of yourself. This mentality works best for sprint, but there are always mental games in racing any distance. So Erik opened this up hammering the 15.5 mile course the best he could and ran very solid. oh and this was also the first time he was not racing with a watch or bike computer. By the end, all 4 of us were going home wiht slower overall times then last yr. Was it the humidity that came in that none of us have trained in yet?

For my race, I've been improving consistantly in the pool this winter and was hoping this could translate into the OW (open water). It did and I was pleased. my goal was a lofty 35-40 second improvemnt over 547y, but based on the meters and TTs in the pool I thought I could do it. came out of the water with about a 20 second improvement.... not quite where I wanted to be, but happy with the improvement. The ohter technicality I've had challenges with is swimming straight; for this race only 1 time when I sighted did I have to correct myself. Great job and onto the bike...I wore a Speedo fast skin racing (instead of previous yrs tri shorts and jog bra) and found that my legs were numb by about half way. I would shift around and stand on the hill climbs - this was wierd. I got off my bike and onto the run and finally the legs came around at mile 1.5-2ish. A little late for this short race. Meanwhile I watched a second place finish slip away to a stronger runner at mile 2 and happily finished in 3rd. :) We had a chatty 4 hour drive home discussing our peronal experiences and discoveries.

Tuesday June 3rd - A Fun training situation that E and I have created when track workouts fall on days when weather is crappy is Track on the TM (treadmill). We had a series of 20x200's on our plan and this is the 2nd one on a TM, but this time we went for more challenge. Our set up is set the TM at 5:20 pace and each person run for 40 seconds and hop off then the other runs and rotate this 20 times. The first time was to test ourselves on how we could do with continuous 20.... This time we did it we started bumping up the incline .5 starting with the 7th one and every so often would add more, by 20 we were at a 5% incline and sweating like hogs! Great teamwork and great workout!

Wed June 4 was BDTT#3, finally I started to feel my biking legs come back. Posted a 10 second improvement and went on to do 12x30 second hill repeats on the bike. It was a great midweek workout. Now it felt like a few days to taper down to the Manitou sprint tri on Sunday.

Manitou in White Bear lake has been typically a who's who race, but this yr it seemed to be a mix of some old and some new. There are a number of newer faces racing in the elite wave that add some extra fun in the heat. The MJET's (MN Jr Elite Team) all seem to be racing elite as well as a couple who started racing tris last yr and have didn't take long to discover that they had some strong podium talent. In the elite wave there were 20 females - just amazing and fun . Pigman there were 7-8 in the female elite wave, now with men included there were over 40. Could I still swim straight or was I just lucky last week? Goal was under 15min, hoping for 14 and in hte 13's would be thrilling- my watch said 14 min upon exiting and I was pleased. I had no idea where i was but typically am way back and just hammer like hell on the bike til I find the "fast swimmers" - then it's time for T2. My hammer-to-find targets were Mary Beth and Kate McCann. I felt these two were the two known tartgets that last yr were so similar to me. last yr MB was 4th, me 5th and kate 6th.... (finishers that took 1st-3rd were not at this race) Well my hammer like hell only got me to MB, Kate was still ahead at T2.

Coming out of T2 she was on the other side of the park as I was starting the park; about 30-40 seconds down. When I got her in my sights I thought too much about "the pass". Go after her now and risk her coming from a blind come-from-behind finish to take 2nd? Or run agressive but conservative and me be the one to pull out the kick for the finish line win. I really thought I could do it when it would come time to exacute. last yr I passed her (the same kate) coming into the last pass at the park home stretch. it was de ja vu - but at a faster pace with more on the line. I thought I had control. Brent loberg was coming from behind asked if that was the leader and tried to help guide/pace/pull me in for the last 400y +/-. We worked together... picked it up a lttle bit - but I couldn't hang on - mental games. I feared collapsing, the feeling of out of breath or my heart was pounding so hard (almost fluttering) that could I have a heart attack? Why do some of these worst case scenerios go thru my head? two of the guys who ran me down later told me they thought I look tight and tense while running. I look at yndecam photos and see what they're saying, but how do you push that far out of comfort and think relax. I relax and slow down. ultimately...inexperience fighting in fatigue mode?? I felt like i gave it my all, but then ask, did I have a little more? like 9 seconds more... i had to have... I know i did. I played the race aggressive conservative. what the hell? why not just plain old agressive?

I tried so hard and feel I failed... dissappointed myself with such fearful what if's. I let Brent go when he said she's within 5 seconds. I saw it as more then 5 seconds, but I don't know what a kick can do - he could see it. I encouraged him to go as it was his first race in 3 yrs... and he had the kick to pass her - I watched him run like a gazelle....I wish I could change those moments to just try that little bit harder... finished 9 seconds down. Didn't sleep well that night... just hung on to that frustration in lack of execution.

On the positive....happy with swim time, 1:35 average, bike 23.1 avg, run 6:35 avg. I look at those figures and am happy with that, plus it is a 40 second course PR. My transitions were solid and I learned alot.

Lesson learned - minimize/eliminate the conservative aggressive when it comes to taking over somebody - esp someone who I have outrun before. Practice and develope a kick. You never no when you'll need it ... so leave NOTHING out there and go for it.

Wednesday the 11th - A group of 7 ladies met for a track workout and a Pepito's dinner to celebrate Darcy's (our ring leader) birthday. This is a great group of ladies that meets every Wed... I can rarely make it as everyother wednesday is the BDTT.... So tonight was my first night to hit the track wiht a new pupose - develope a finish line kick. One of the things that made this workout great is that I was just on the phone with friend Merilee (a HS track and CC coach) and she gave me powerful coaching thougths and I was motivated to make this a great track night. Once at the track we warmed up and verbally threw out there what we were shooting for with our first mile adn I found Andrea was a very similar runner to me. Thank you Andrea for coming. Although fatigue and LT levels are high, I have to practice a finish line kick. I know I have it in me I just have ot find it. At the end of the 3.5 miles of challenging speedwork I did a PR 400 = 1:21. This was an awesome workout, but was the first time that on every effort I gave that final 100-150m a solid kick to simulate that finish line race. Mentally I learned so much - I can do it and not die. :) Whew!.

Sat June 14th - the Liberty triathlon - Erik took pictures for Yndecam and I did a the biking leg in the half iron distance. This was so much fun out there today. So many faces not seen for a while and our team had a fun time! Great job ladies!

E and I were off to go camping with the Hull cousins for a Father's day outing... Great to see all of them again.

Two weeks til Waconia so this is a solid week of training.

Yippee - we're up to date on this end. Hopefully we'll get creative enough with our next post to plug in some pictures.

Thanks for reading!!! Make it a great day!


Monday, June 9, 2008

Finally an update!!!

Hey I'm/we're back....for sake of catch up mode... I'm going to do a recap, but be brief (can expressive's be brief? - yes if you have some driver traits in you)

Wed - 5/21 - BDTT 2 of 9 in the series. took off about 10 seconds 16:33 on a 7.2 mi course. pushed hard but for some reason have not yet been able to tap into that next level... i can feel a difference - I'm not there yet. Erik was at home simulating his own 10 TT near home. His commitment to become a better athlete has meant that he miss more of these low key (boring spectator?) events. miss him being here, but love the drive and determination to want to be a stronger and faster athlete. Dear friend Cathy and i had a great post race run - strong conversational pace.

Sat - 5/24 - the Beautiful Apple Duathlon (5k run,33k bike, 5k run) in Sartell, MN - I have done this one for 3 or 4 yrs now. nice race - always really well run with great friendly volunteers and athletes. Erik was planning to take picture - but a little miscommunication on camera equipment left him cheering with Mark for the duration - but said it was probably the most exciting race he's ever watched. Payton was along for this on since E was not racing and we were road tripping for the rest of the holiday weekend.

This yr Apple Du was the regional qualifier for worlds (in Italy - no desire for me to go) so they decided to have an elite wave for those of us wanting to gun it but not be on the line for a worlds qualifier spot (that is my guess for this being the only yr for elite wave) - typically just AG waves. Well these women's and men's field were stacked - that might be an understatement. I raced my arse off and while not having a solid CC/track background just can't toe the line and expect to pull it off with my running abilities. So I think I was in about 12th coming into T1, then worked my way to 4th off the bike (behind the regional champs Marni walth, Marlo Crosby and CY) The two I just passed in the last couple miles of the bike were going to be coming on my heals, pro triathlete Heather havland and past world du champ Sarah Kolpin.... Heather, aka gazelle, ever so smoothly clipped by at mile 1 and Sarah came at mile 2... I held on to 6th. I would have been absolutely thrilled to be anywhere above this position as the talent of those in 1-5 was solid, consistent and almost predictable. Anything can happen, but you can tell that these ladies plan and always do in order to minimize the effects of the "what if's".

From Sartell - we hit up our favorite Chipotle with K and CY, then ventured on to Sioux falls. My mom and dad are in Sioux falls, and due to incredibly unfortunate circumstances are separated. E and I have been to visit my mom at the house 3-4 times since my dad's been out of the house. The mission is to get it ready to sell. This trip the focus was on the dining room and the pool. DR: prep for painting (taking off wallpaper boarder glue etc), getting it painted, and putting it back together before we left on Monday. Pool: prep for opening it up for summer. Mom's been incredibly strong - very admirable with the roller coasters she's been through. I love my mom dearly - we laugh and cry and she's so good with positive one liners that have helped define who I've become. The Golden rule and excuse rather then accuse, are a couple that come to mind - she's full of great insight and helping me see some situations from another perspective. I am left brain and she is right brain... She's been the proud mama as I've grown in this sport... so supportive, so giving of her time and energies. Mom, if you ever read this... I love you dearly!!!

E and I squeezed in some training, but mostly focused on mom and her projects....We all had a great Memorial day weekend.

That carries us thru May 31st....Next post will be a double header.... June first pigman sprint and June 8th Manitou, oh and BDTT#3. E and I both raced the tri's so I'm going to encourage him to share his perspective. Or maybe we'll each do one.

Until next time - (tomorrow??) Make it a great day!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A dry Gear West Duathlon

What a day! Spring in MN and it's been dry for a number of days leading up to this trail run duathlon. Conditions were about perfect.... the wind got old out there on the bike. I think it shifted a couple times? Ever had that? You're going one direction and you swear it is a head wind and can't wait to turn and there it is....more wind! OMG!

Alarm goes off at 5 am and Payton thinks it's another day of going to work... unfortunately she sees us packing up other goods and gets a little excited/nervous. "Am I really missing another event?" She loves the socialization and is a true kid magnet. Even tho we weren't both racing, I was and Erik was taking picture for Yndecam, Payton could not go to this one. She whimpered as we left. Poor thing! I always feel so bad not taking her - especially tri's where she can be running in shallow water and fetching sticks.

Anyway.... get to race site and there is the buzz in the air. It was almost the who's who of MN at this event. This race is part of the Very popular Midwest Multisport race series; it brings out the local Pros to newbies all to in venue. Jan, Kevin, Trent and all of the GW stores staff have always done an awesome job with this race. I've never heard a story of anybody getting lost or off course. (Love the flowers guiding the running path - what personality). Thank you to all the volunteers for making it a safe event.

Toeing the line was wave 1 "competitive wave". Umm who's not competitive? I think half the participants went in this wave. Way too congested out there. (Hint: I hope next year they do a competitive men's wave and a competitive women's wave.) For a race that has 75% of the run on a narrow mowed trail, bottle necks are frequent and challenging. A solid group of us were running about 1.5 miles into it and fellow GW elite studette Becky Youngberg was about 4-5 people in front of me when her race belt came loose and fell off. She noticed the slip a few steps later and turned around. I approached, picked it up in stride, had a quick hand off and she was back off and running really strong. It's great to have Becky back racing after taking 2006 off for starting a family. It was very fun as we kept swiftly moving thru this course still somewhat jockeying for position.... she thanked me for picking up her belt and we exchanged some kind and motivating words. I didn't think twice about the gesture and would hope that most people would do the similar.

The bike was interesting as I experienced a mechanical then mental challenge, is my rear break rubbing? the first third of the bike is against the wind, so it's really hard to tell what the heck is going on ... is it the engine, wheels or just conditions. just a couple miles in and we have our first quick out of the saddle hill climb. I eagerly pop up only to hear the first of several significant RUB.... RUB... CRAP! for real? Adorable Erik is on this hill taking beautiful photos and cheering loud. I grunt out MECHANICAL and proceed to say that my brakes are rubbing. He encouraged me to hop off at the top and get it corrected. GREAT! so I figure this short stop could help big for the rest of the way to go. there was space btwn both brakes - What was going on? so I get back on and work to get back on track. I start to realize that I only hear it on the quick out of the saddle hill climbs.

2nd run - trails historically full of character by this point -were still in tact thanks to our dry May. I leave T2 flat footed, with Gumby legs and do my best to find my lower appendeges and get this baby over with. Soon enough the roughly 3 miles are done. I felt like a slug, but gave it my all. thought I finished 4th overall, but a gal from wave 2-3 squeaked in to edge out 4th and I bumped to 5th.

One thing that is important to me when I race is to keep a positive racing spirit. I'm a true believer that attitudes are contagious and positive attitudes create positive energy. I don't want to be a race day curmudgeon (and hope I never would be) or an excuse maker. We've all either witnessed it or have been there ourselves, recognized it and corrected it knowing that releasing it in public is not in our character. Besides attitude on race day, I always take time to reflect on the race... what went right and... what went not so ideal and what was done and what could be prevented. I stopped at Gear west on my way back home and had my bike checked for a couple areas of rubbing. TK was there with top notch service (Thank you!!). He promptly came up when called from the busy basement, took my bike out for a quick spin and diagnosed a couple things. My rear hub was loose causing the rubbing when the wheel would go from side to side going up the hill. And thought my bearing between the crankset was probably dirty and rubbing. he fixed the 808 and with discussion changed out to an FSA ceramic bearing. We'll test things out at Black Dog on Wed. Wahooo!

Later that day E and I enjoyed a the great sunny day at our favorite home depot.... picked up lots of flowers to line the deck, took Payton for a walk and enjoyed some nice social time with a small gathering at Paul Phillips house (photographer extraordinaire).

Congratulations to all racers for opening up a great start to the season.

Enjoy spring!


Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Month = VO2 max x 3

I love the month of May... May flowers, longer days, people come out of their homes and we athletes are off our treadmills and trainers (most of the time). Spring is also the launch of duathlon and triathlon season. This past week was where we put the training vo2 max efforts to the test.

For the past 4 years I have done the Black Dog Time Trial series. It is every other Wednesday evening from May thru August. The course is a flat 7.2 miles filled with more pot holes every year. It is the introduction of tight lungs followed by rubber legs and the residual hacking cough for 24+ hours. It is normally a balls out effort. This yr I didn't have as much of that, don't know why. Did I not push it hard enough? Maybe my lungs were more ready then my legs. Did I give it my all? I think so. "Think".... well I remember consciously watching for pot holes instead of the constant 16 minutes of focused self talk. Erik has been there for all but 1 for all the years and more recently started taking pictures with Kerry and Yndecam. I remember coming around the corner where I knew he'd be and thinking oh fun there's Erik. From there about a 1/2 mile of pushing it up a slight incline and it's done.... Looking back.. I don't think I was mentally into it, but still posted a time that was faster then last yrs average. It was a great benchmark to start the season, fun to be out with the 100 plus racers that night and getting the dust off the race wheels.

Thursday night was the Twin City 1 mile race in downtown Mpls. The main reason I sign up for this, is that they provide the first 600 to register a guarateed entry to the Twin Cities 10 mile run...a run which I have grown to love. I'm thinking the marathon days (that is marathons outside of Ironmans) are behind me, but I love the twin cities course - especially the last 6 miles - the river run and the beauty of Summit Ave in October. Anyway....this was my 3rd yr doing the 1 mile and I'm finally happy with the results. My head says go all out even tho you just did the TT last night and you are racing the first du on Sat. The gun goes off and I'm about 6-8 people deep from the start line. The footing is always tricky as it is so congested. There are about 4 corners that you have to navigate before coming down the half mile home stretch. This is when you put mind over matter and it will be done soon. Each yearr I've approached this race with the desire of breaking 6 minutes, but I'm reminded that the logistics of potholes, corners and crowds makes this all the more difficult. At the half way point, I was at 2:57ish.... cool. But one thing that made this more challenging is that I had to really pee before this started... I looked at the biffy line after warming up and said "it's only a mile I can make it" Sure - but do you know how hard it is to use all your running-hard muscles while "holding it"? OMG! Pretty soon crossing the line I notice the clock say 6:0? and I didn't care - I just wanted a biffy! Finally I could get some relief, recover and get home. Turns out it was a 6:03, 15 seconds faster then last yr - another benchmark to start the season. Meanwhile, the hacking VO2 max cough was getting worse.

Saturday comes and Erik and I are off to do the Oakdale Duathlon, a new race for both of us. It's the 2nd largest duathlon in the state. It is a 3 mile run, 12 mile bike and a 3 mile run. Erik's first race to get the dust off and first duathlon in 3 years. I think the hard part with duathlons is finding my biking legs after running. I did tris for years before I discovered a duathlon, so I'm use to hopping on the bike fairly fresh. Well we head off to start, wish friends luck, a sweet good luck to each other and Wave 1 of 4 goes off. Erik's in 1 and I'm in 4. I had 9 minutes before my wave. Time flies and I look around and realized that the only female faces that I knew were in wave 3. We (35 and over) ladies were the last wave to go. One of the things I really liked about this du is that the environment is so low key. So many people out for their first du ever. Anyway, we get the count down and we're off - the first run was going to be intersting. This wonderful gal Angie (met her after the race) was setting a pretty tough pace. She was getting lots of cheers and was running really really well - smooth like an experienced runner. We could hear each other breathing for the whole run. She kept me going at a strong pace. T1 hits and with a minor buzz kill: where is my helmet? I had this gut feeling that it would be blown off or knocked off with all the people that would be coming thru from waves 1-3. I must have repeated it 10 times before some kind relay gal came over and pointed to one right at my feet. OMG - julie - get a grip, calm down, get on your bike and ride. The winds were picking up to about 15-20 mph with temps at around 45, but funny how adrenaline numbs those factors. Since I was in the last wave and biking is my strength, it was a key time to keep in mind safety first - "On your left" came out many times. Everyone was very gracious with a couple of "OMG you go girl". Coming into T2 I gather my thoughts for a clean dismount, transition and strategy for the start of the run. All went smoothly and only 3 miles left. I felt slower then the first run, but was just giving it whatever was in the tank. Around mile 2 I came upon a young kid (later found out the youngest one of the day, 14) and thought it was cute that he just couldn't let me pass. I'd get a foot or two in front and he'd pull up beside me. This went on for almost a minute and I'm thinking god this kid can run! Finally there was a short hill and I didn't see him again. It was just then that i was maybe a third mile away (a horseshoe style finish for the run) and I hear the announcer greet the first female across the line. Erik's already finished, sees me in the distance and yells his heart out "GO JULES!" I check out my watch and wonder if I could possibly finish in under 3 minutes (the differential of start times). I could see most of where I had to run, but could I cover the ground? I picked it up and bolted the best one can at this point of a race. I cross the line and check my watch and am thinking that I pulled off the distance in 2 minutes, but what good are math skills when I can't even stand up straight. The slim Jerry MacNeil came over and greeted me with a smile and said that's you're 2nd win. Still out of it, I say I don't know... he confirms and tells me "you did win". I definitely do not race to win, if that was the case, I would have quit years ago. The challenge of one's abilities is fun and finishing the race knowing that you gave it all you had feels so Great! Erik had a great race to kick off what I think will be an incredibly impressive season. His running has improved significantly. I can't wait for the races where I start earlier in the race and I can cheer and see him cross the finish.

Knowing that this week would be a wake up call for the racing muscles, I got Erik and me scheduled to tag-team 90 minute massages. It was a great finish to the week; the start of racing season is here. Up next weekend, the ever so competitive Gear West Duathlon. I will be racing and Erik is taking pics with Kerry for Yndecam.

Happy Spring!!


Friday, April 25, 2008

The Tri That Wasn't

Don't ya just love Spring in MN? Arggh!!

Julie and I were all packed and ready to head to West Central MN tonight to compete in the Tinman Triathlon Saturday AM. This was our first official tri of the year and we were excited to start the season out strong. Better yet, we had 6 cousins who were going to take part in relay teams 3 on 3. Not too competitive, but I'm sure there would be some mild trash-talking.

We had been keeping our eye on the approaching winter-like weather and had seen three different forecasts. As of this morning, that area would see minimal (if any) snow. Not an hour later, things had changed. The forecast was for 4-8 inches of wet snow during the day, followed by some additional snow at night. Now I don't know about you, but taking an icy corner on 22mm tires seems closer to hockey than cycling. Die Hard Julie was still eager to go, but I suggested our own personal inside triathlon (Lifetime) as the perfect alternative.

Finally at 3:15PM, we received a blast email from the RD saying that due to heavy snow the triathlon was officially cancelled. Those that pre-registered will get no refund. To give you an idea of the current conditions on the bike and run course...it 30 degrees, snowing heavily, with winds gusting to 45mph. Just 20 miles farther North, they're under an official blizzard warning. Can you believe this?!?!

Ahh, Spring in Minnesota...at least they're mailing us our $30 tri T-Shirts.

Back to the treadmill and trainer,


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First entry!!

Hi julie here - This was a little bit of initiative from both of us, but we (finally) got a blog set up... how fun. It is 11:45pm - well past my nighty-night hour and I'm still verticle with eyes open as Erik serenades with guitar in the other room. He reads so many other blogs out there daily and I squeeze it in when I can. I love the ability to catch up with people across the miles. Thanks to all of you who write and are so inspirational and may not even know it.

We had our first MN track workout last night (first outdoor one was AZ a couple weeks ago): a 5K time trial. "3x1 mile with 1 min recovery" oh this won't be too bad.... OMG - today I woke up and thought I got hit by a freight train! My glutes and quads were talking smack back. What a workout! Altho I wasn't really pleased with my times - Erik rocked. Little back ground on E... AKA EZ - he is an all-conference sprinter in track. He has the wheels of the family. I'm the brickhouse gymnast. He has run speed and I have bike power. We complement each other well in so many ways.

EZ managed to negative split each 1 mile... while i unfortunately got progressively slower. Gumby legs started to climb into my body. Breath! relax! Pretty soon - we got thru it, sun was setting and we're done with the benchmark April 5K Time Trial.

ok - it is midnight and I'm hitting the sack.

Peace - j