Monday, March 23, 2009

First outdoor ride of the year!

This weekend the weather finally warmed up enough so that I, the biggest cold weenie in the world, ventured out onto the roads. Having suffered enough on early Spring rides, I had learned my, here I am (in the middle) safely clad in darn near every stitch of cycling clothing I own.

(l to r) Dave, Tiffany, Jen, Me, Kathy, Steve, Josh. Not pictured: Jessi and Roger

Roger took pity on me the first half of the ride by not pushing the pace on his sweet new ride, and I actually felt pretty good for the first hour. I have been tweaking with my position recently, in an effort to get more aero and hide my chest from the wind. My latest "tweak" actually turned out to be a major drop in my handlebars, and while on the trainer I "looked" really aero, I was curious to see what riding outside would feel like. It took some getting used to and some pushing through the discomfort in my arms/shoulders/neck, but all in all it wasn't too bad. Steve even said at one point that he could tell I looked better. But the first downhill while in this new aero was, uh, a bit scary and unstable. I was hanging on for dear life! After that little wake up call, I decided that I needed to pay more attention to my handling. I also spent some time playing games with myself to see how long I could stay down in aero, just to try and speed up the adjustment period. My 5 min goal was easily met, so then it was on to 10, 15, and then even 20! Yipee!

As we left Riverside, I knew the inevitable "drop" was coming, and somehow, being mentally prepared for it seemed to make it easier to take. I didn't get into a negative space when I did get dropped, I just put my head down and continued to ride my own ride. Felt pretty good! I also knew that we were going into a bit of a headwind and climbing somewhat, so I just tried to make it up to the turnaround.

After a brief CHOMPS stop at the turn, I set a silent goal to hang with the group no matter what until we hit Riverside. Once off, the hammer went down and we were flying! It was tough, but I made it into Riverside without losing a wheel, and it brought back all the awesome memories of pace-lining and working my butt off with my awesome training partners.

Leaving Riverside again, I let the group go and settled in for what I knew was going to be a long, hard hour-ish of solo suffering. I think I would have probably made it, but it definitely would not have been pretty or fun. Fortunately, Dave also decided to take pity on me and wait to ride in with me. We shared the work and pulled eachother in over the last 10 miles, which really would have sucked solo. So thanks to Dave! Fun ridin' with ya, and looking forward to the next time where we will stay on the wheels just a bit longer.

Came in feeling tired and ready to get outta the saddle, but overall, pretty darn happy with my effort. First ride outside and I got close to 47 miles! Nice!! I'll take that any day. Oh yeah, and while it did sprinkle a few times, the weather was pretty darn nice. And the roads were mostly clear, but SOMEHOW, all of my wheel-sucking resulted in a pretty muddy bike and Tim.

Not as bad as in the past, but still a look of "I was out doing some good, hard work"

Now THAT is some sweet mud!! No wonder I thought I felt like something was rubbing my tire! Ha ha ha ha!

My new "paint job" :)

That's what you get for sitting on!

Unfortunately I didn't finish my ride so far behind the group to allow them time enough to go out and do their transition, I was talked into a short run. Ugh. Just like old times, Steve dragged my slow butt through the first 2.5 miles before he decided he'd had enough of slow running and took off.

All in all, it was an awesome day. My first real brick in who knows how long. And, yes, I still remember how to ride a bike! Woo hoo!

So.......I decided I deserved a nice reward once I got home. Ahhhhhhh, a bit of my own concoction, in the IM glass, of course!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Its (baby) game time!

Well, the days remaining until our due date are rapidly dwindling, and things are starting to happen.  We can see very clearly from looking at Andy that Elise has "dropped", and Andy is starting to feel some new things that indicate that labor is most likely imminent.

Elise's room is pretty much ready to go, with all the essentials in place.  Andy has done a great job over the last few weeks doing lots of laundry and organizing things in preparation for our baby's first trip home.  We have said a number of times lately that we are ready to go, and all we need now is a baby!

We had a doctor appointment yesterday, and have another one in a week.  As we were leaving yesterday, we said "ok, see you in a week".  To which the doctor said "or tomorrow...she could decide to come any time now."  Yikes!!

So.....with all that said, its time for all of you to get the competitive juices flowing and start thinking about your guesses as to when we will get to meet Baby Elise!  We have set up an online game (see link below), where you can go to enter your guesses (birthday, length, weight), or you can just post a comment to this blog post.  We are all pretty confident that she's a girl, but hey, if you are feeling daring and want to try and outfox the competition to earn some extra points, I suppose you are free to guess that she's actually gonna be a "he"  :)  Please note, however, that if you go this route, you will send Andy and I into a nervous fit which may take years to recover from, so choose carefully!  :)

Wanna know what you're playing for?  Cause really, what would a good game be without prizes!!  The winner of this awesome game will receive a) bragging rights throughout the entire world, b) a $25 gift certificate to the ice cream joint of your choice, and c) the first invitation to view a special, private on-line photo album where we will post the first pictures of Elise!  Worth playing for?

Okie dokie, let the games begin!  Good luck to all!  Especially us!!  :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Shifting priorities

Hmmm, 2 months, no blogging. Guess I've been a bit preoccupied. Between the holidays (8 people in our house), the feet and feet of snow (I think I actually developed a mild case of wrist tendinitis from all the shoveling), and the little freight train bearing down on our lives (56 days to go as of this writing), blogging has dropped way off the to-do list.

I had a fairly successful string of December workouts, getting in a few 2hr + rides in the sweaty, smelly Thompson basement, and a few decent long swims. Running hasn't been all that consistent, which I find odd because running has always been "my thing" that I always go back to.

Still having fun.... :)

As predicted, once 2009 hit, the impending arrival of our baby girl quickly assumed a position in the forefront of my conscience. I find it funny how one day (Dec 31) it can seem so far off by saying "next year", and mere hours later its like I'm in full-on crisis mode. Waaaaaaa!!!! Baby arriving THIS YEAR!!!

After a few weeks of trying to balance my weekly schedule of workouts with baby preparations, I finally had had enough. On Jan 15, as I stood in my daughter's nursery, I was paralyzed with feelings of dread and being overwhemed and underprepared. It literally looked like a cyclone had ripped thru the room, the result of random attempts to try and organize it. Lets just say that it was in no shape to be a first home to a newborn. I think it looked kind of like a college freshman's dorm room.

As a result, I made the tough, but right, decision to pull back significantly from my group workouts and focus on the home front. Taking my bike out of its cozy home in the Thompson's basement was difficult and a bit sad, but I knew that I needed it. While I sorely miss my training partners and the many great memories made while sweating for hours on end, the progress we have made at home on the nursery and house in general have been awesome. I feel so much better prepared to bring this kid home, and it has lifted an enormous weight off of my shoulders.

Of course, I still get the occasional good-natured "where you at's???" from my crew, but I think (hope) they understand. I feel much more grounded and at peace by making good decisions on which workouts to get to, and which to skip. I am thankful for the workouts I can make, and I have finally learned to stop dwelling on and regretting the ones I don't make. I knew that this triathlon year would be different for me with no Ironman, and now I'm finally in the execution stage of this "change". It has been hard, and I know that the next 8 months will be harder, but I continue to be super-excited to get to this next great adventure!
Still working out....just maybe not as much.

What will tomorrow hold? Who knows.....but I bet it will be pink! :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

That's what friends are for...

....friends know you well enough to give you space when you need it, and push you to do things that you know you should be doing, even when you don't really feel like it.

I am fortunate enough to have 3 of these kinds of people in my life:


Now, I know the last time I was in the water, but it was so long ago, I am too embarrased to say. Needless to say, my team had noticed my extended absence from the pool, and finally got fed up with hearing my myriad excuses (trip to Europe, tattoo, lazy, fat, slow, etc). So, they staged a sort of "triathlete's intervention". Rather than saying "hey lets all get together to swim!", it was more of "hey, the 4 of us are swimming this tell us when". No escape this time!

Uh, what exactly is this mysterious blue thing???

We decided on Wednesday morning at 5:30. Ugh. Fear kept me from asking if we were going to do a formal workout. You see, while I have been spending many glorious months forgetting how to swim (an actual fear I have had), all three of my psychologists have been working their butts off in the pool and getting wicked fast. I don't have any verifiable evidence of this fact (probably because I forgot just where the pool is located), but knowing these 3, I am sure they are.

Fortunately, they took some pity on me and we mostly played around and laughed our butts off trying to get Tiffany's sweet new underwater camera to work. Highlights were the 4 x person synchronized breaststroke (we are damn good) and Steve trying to talk his way out of being beaten by a girl! And was I in any mood to stop the fun and games?? HECK NO!! In true hard core A+ style, Jessi did make us do a small pyramid. Probably just to teach me the hard lesson of why I shouldn't have taken so much time off. I struggled to get thru one freaking 150. Not good! But, I guess when you are at rock bottom in the pool, ya gotta start somewhere, right?!

So, why do I love my team??
- Because sometimes it is nice to be missed.
- Because it really says something when they will get up damn early on a Wednesday to come swim with me, even when I know good and well that they would rather be sleeping.
- Because they know just the right ways to motivate me.
- Because they give me just the right amount of guilt for missing a workout (or 100 workouts).
- Because without them, I would be nowhere near the athlete and person I am today.

The best team ever! Thanks for the push guys! :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Struggling to keep it going

After a weekend of two zeros (but one damn fun party!), I spent Monday in a negative funk and was resigned to a lazy, pissed off, early to bed with no workout kind of night.
Fortunately, my team once again came to my rescue. Jessi and Natalie were scheduled to do a 90 min ride, and I was motivated just enough to go. Then Steve-o joined in, and voila! Instant weekday ride! With my crappy Monday, I was sort of expecting a blah ride, but I was hoping that maybe a good sweat session might snap me out of the funk. Not sure if it solved all my ills, but I did end up having a great ride. That's big for me, cause usually trainer rides aren't all that productive. I even succeeded in working up to a Zone 3 average heart rate, so that was a bonus. I suspect it was the presence of 3 awesome training buddies. So, thanks guys! I am glad I came.

Me, vertigo-less Jessi, headband rockin' Steve, and basketball goddess Natalie pound out the miles in the basement.

So, with an anti-zero Monday, it was off to the gym Tuesday night for another butt kicking by Steve. It made it easier to go when Andy agreed to go and do some cardio, so off into the night we went. Imagine my suprise and delight when Natalie came back for another hour of pain. And then, Trish stepped up and joined the party! Nice!! We did an intense 40 min of arm pounding, during which I quickly became frustrated at how I seem to be getting weaker with every strength training session. Uh, isn't strength training supposed to make me capable of doing more pushups rather than less??? Anyway, I made it thru ok, though my body didn't seem to have much to throw at this workout. Oh well. Something is better than nothing, right? Then we all went to get ice cream. Sweet! At least there was one good thing from the workout. :)

Fast forward a mere 8.25 hours, and I am up again, headed to the gym for more "pain with Steve". Hmmmmm, how many catchy names can I come up with for these workouts? :)
The weird thing this morning though, is that I am not really all that sore in specific places from yesterday. Rather, its just a general lack of energy throughout my body.

In fact, I feel kind of like this:

A big pile of useless bricks

My only hope is that I am somehow moving thru the stages of strength training, and I will soon arrive at the "feel awesome, feel stronger, can actually see muscles getting more defined" stage. Faith. Patience. I know that's what it will take to get to this stage. Two things I don't have alot of when it comes to this kind of stuff. Which makes Steve's job that much harder. If he can somehow convince me to keep doing this, I will count that as a major victory for him. Good luck, buddy! :) Right now the count is at 4 sessions. Which is 3 more than any other strength training routine I have ever embarked on. So far, so good. I just hope it pays off next season. And actually "seeing" some results would be nice too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This changes everything....

Well, we had our first ultrasound yesterday, and here she is!

Yes, the first time I heard our baby's heartbeat, it was cool and it helped make the pregancy a little more "real". But yesterday took the cake. I guess maybe I am a visual learner, but seeing our baby on the screen, in real time, moving around, well, that somehow :) changed everything. For the good.

In the short span of about 20 minutes, a few major, life changing things happened:

1. I became a big, sappy, softy of a (almost) parent.
2. I have a new favorite song: John Mayer's "Daughters".
3. I think I could very easily cry tears of joy at any moment. In the past, it took me 140.3 miles of racing to get to that point.
4. I believe that an unborn hand can be wrapped firmly around my finger.
5. I understand the term "Daddy's little girl".
6. I am having visions. Like visions of some of this kid's major life events. Like first steps, first word, first run, walking her down the aisle, etc.

And yeah, we only have 10 or so pictures of this kid, but I already have a favorite:

Our little daughter is tired in this picture. How do I know? You might think it could be because during the entire ultrasound she was moving around and doing flips like crazy (uh, a product of 2 very active people maybe???). But no, you'd be wrong. If you have ever seen ME when I get tired, I rub my eyes. Whoa, this little one really is her daddy's girl! :)

Damn. This is all pretty cool!

And finally a shout out to the other third of our little (but growing) family. Andy is doing a great job keeping our baby warm, and fed, and safe. Considering that she's never done this before, and her body undergoing some pretty major changes, she is doing amazingly well. And I wouldn't want anyone else in the world to hang out with my baby than Andy. Love you, AP! :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


So, the tattoo thing turned out to be the easiest, least painful part of my weekend.
After watching the Beavs beat the snot out of the poor Cal Bears on Saturday...
...I stupidly coordinated with Steve to being my journey to strength training nirvana on Sunday morning. And I thought the tattoo was uncomfortable!

I had seen these things around the gym before, but every time I approached them, I got scared and ran away....
But Steve offered to kick my butt sufficiently so that I would look like this by the end of the winter. Cause that is supposed to make me go faster in races?
In reality, I knew that some sort of winter strength training regimen probably wouldn't be all that bad, and might indeed improve my speed next season.
Steve proceeded to spend almost 90 minutes with this, beating me senseless.
We did more stuff than I care to remember, and when I woke up on Monday morning, I felt like this:
Uh, the CAR, not the tank, by the way.
I was sore in places I never have been sore before. I am writing this on Tuesday. And I am still way sore. We are supposed to lift again tomorrow. Fear and dread fills my body. I hope that maybe we can back it off just a tad for awhile, to give my body a chance to adjust to this new crap.
To quote Dire Straits: "Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger, sometimes you're the ball."
Today, I am the ball.

I just hope that Steve has enough motivational power to keep me going. That will no doubt be HIS toughest test this off season. :)