Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mental Training – The Long Ride

My mind wanders on a long ride this morning; and it does on short rides, too. I am often staring at the road when I’m in the aero position on my tri bike and gaze at my bike shoes. I look at my socks, my watch, my bike gloves, and try to itch my scalp through holes in my helmet when sweat rolls down my head.

I also think of what to write on my blog and think about writing about my gear and what it all means to me.

My blue Colorado cycling socks were given to me as a gift from my Colorado cycling friend, George Davis. When I wear them I think about the thousands of miles I biked with him over many mountain passes and into Rocky Mountain National Park when I lived in Colorado.  


I’m also wearing my Triple Threat Triathlon top. I'm a member of the Triple Threat National Team. What a great group of triathletes and people. We motivate and inspire each other. And, I hope we inspire others on our Facebook page and blog. Collin Swenson has done an amazing job rounding up these triathletes from all over the country. I’m proud to be part of the team.

I am wearing my Rudy Project aero helmet and sunglasses


My Rudy Project Wingspan helmet truly is the best. It’s so light. I know I should really only race in it but I love riding in it. I cannot wait to see my bike times for Ironman Texas 2015. I also am praying for no wind and cool temps, but alas, I digress.

I’ve been wearing these Rudy Project sunglasses for three years and just love how I can adjust the nose piece so they ride high which is very important when riding in the aero dynamic position on my tribike and looking up. Not many sunglasses are great for triathletes but I love these sunglasses because of this; and I can swap out lenses.


Music
I’ve only recently listened to music while cycling. I wear one earphone on the right so I can hear traffic and other cyclists on the left. I only listen to music while biking alone and it does keep me motivated to cycle fast. I have a Rhapsody account so I pay a monthly fee to download to my mp3 - new music all the time. My current favorite songs to bike and run to:

That Girl is On Fire
Everybody stands, as she goes byCause they can see the flame that's in her eyesWatch her when she's lighting up the night



And
All I Do Is Win



Technology
I really like my Suunto GPS watch. I love how I synch it from my iPhone then log into my Daily Mile account to log miles and time.

Nutrition
On short rides I don’t need much but for the long haul I’m a Hammer Nutrition Perpetuem fan. I also love Recoverite but use it only after hard training days. Today, it’s water and Hammer Gel, Montana Huckleberry.


Sunscreen
My skin is suffering from all the years of biking and running outdoors. I’ve upped my SPF to 100 but it doesn't save me from years of sitting on the beach when I was kid. Every day, even on the rare cloudy day in Tucson, sunscreen on my face, neck, arms, and legs. Always.

Bike gloves, Pearl Izumi does it best. Always.

These are the random thoughts about gear and triathlon while cycling around Tucson and Oro Valley Arizona during a beautiful spring morning in March training for Ironman Texas. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Boulder City Nevada Trail Marathon Race Report

Blood, Sweat and Beers trail marathon in Boulder City was one of the toughest, most beautiful trail runs I have competed in to date.

The Las Vegas area has much less prickly plants in the desert than Tucson.I didn’t fall during the race which makes me deduce that either I’m in much better shape, meaning stronger legs and/or that my Pearl Isuzi N2 trail shoes are the best shoe for me. While there wasn't any blood, and the wind prevented large amounts of sweat, and I didn't drink any beer at the end, it was a great trail run.

The trail was very rocky and had several steep ascents and descents. It was incredibly beautiful throughout, with canyons, jagged rocks, winding curves that just kept me in awe of the beauty. There were views of Lake Mead, the skyscrapers of Las Vegas rising from the desert, and just miles and miles of mountains in the distance. This was my first time in Las Vegas and I didn’t think I was going to like it; but I fell in love with the mountains around the city.

The Desert Dash race series is top notch. The race was well organized, the trail was well marked, and the volunteers ….. oh the volunteers were great! At the Rocks Aid Station a woman helped me take my CamelBak off and filled it with water. I just stood there eating a peanut butter and jelly. These sandwiches were like magic beans; they kept me energized and happy. And, they were at each aid station. 



The day was very windy with gusts at about 30 m.p.h. The forecast was rain, but it never rained. The wind prevented me from listening to music so I went the entire distance music-free. The wind also prevented sweating so no worries about sweat dripping in my eyes. It really was a great temperature for a long run during the day.


I realized after the first few miles that trail running is so much more enjoyable that road running. There is more beauty and challenge during a trail run. I decided on Mile 7 that most of my remaining marathon states (45 left) will be on a trail. As I ascended a steep section with howling winds barreling toward me, that this was an adventure akin to climbing Everest and that I wanted this adventure on the trails and in the wind, much more than a road marathon with a thousand people.

So that is what I’m going to do.

The last important revelation during this run, and on this trip: that these adventures are so important to share with friends and family; particularly ones I haven’t seen in years. 


On to Meghan and the Fanciest Lady I know - I met Meghan in Sugarloaf, Maine in 1999 or around that year. She has lived in as many places I have, moved around for work, and landed in Las Vegas a few years ago. She has embraced the placed and showed me her world over the weekend.



We went to casinos and restaurants. We sampled some beauty products and chatted the days away about our good times and bad times. That’s what true friends do. Thank you, Meghan for picking me up from the airport and driving me to the race. Thank you for the tour of Las Vegas and great meals. I loved our #fancyladyproblems like martinis, shopping for bargains, and tapas.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Surf City Marathon Race Report

It was a good day in Huntington Beach, California on February 1, 2015. Perfect weather for the Surf City USA Marathon near the beach. The race started in the dark and ended in the beautiful California sun. 





Heading to the finish along the beach.
















Love the signs for the Pacific Coast Highway
 I have to admit I love this song and have wanted to drive the Pacific Coast Highway since hearing it several years ago.



But alas, I digress..... I finished.
Great finisher medal

I'm not super happy with my time because I know I have it in me to be faster. It was a good day to be in California and that is enough.

This was a great race; a big race with 19,000 runners. I love Huntington Beach and hope to get back again soon. The town seemed happy to have us with signs from restaurants welcoming runners. I always like that when cities do that for big events.
Had dinner the night before at the Huntington Beach Beer Company. Excellent burgers and beer. Highly recommend.
Recommendation for future runners: 

If you run this race, reserve a hotel room within walking distance to the start because driving around is crazy on race day. After staying at a less expensive hotel 15 miles away, I wouldn't do it again. It's worth it to pay more to reduce stress on race morning.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Running, Biking and Feeling Blessed

Last week I was in Knoxville, Tennessee on a work trip. What a great place! I was able to run two mornings and can now confidently confirm that running in a new place is the best way to see it. 

The first day I got lost running through downtown and trying to figure out where I was. The second day I ran with a colleague who brilliantly ran with her iPhone in her hand so we knew where we were. We ran along the Tennessee River and through the UT campus. We ran so early that the bridges were lit up and it was simply gorgeous.

Tennessee River in Knoxville
It’s a huge accomplishment for me to actually run while traveling. I am usually too exhausted and just want to sleep in when in a new place, but I am feeling more motivated than ever to accomplish goals and they include being consistent.

Now that I’m back in Tucson I feel happy to be living in a place where I can bike outside and run consistently in winter-warm temps with “no snow”. Yeah!

The last few days I have been feeling so grateful for all the amazing people and activities in my life. I have been feeling great on my runs and pushing the pace. I’ve been biking with my friend Missy and going on long rides. I’m healthy. My dogs are healthy. I like my work. And just feel….. blessed!

In a few days I leave for a road trip to southern California. Missy and I will bike in San Diego and then I run the Surf CityMarathon on Sunday. Road trips with a friend are so much fun. I love exploring new places and going places I’ve never been.



I am looking forward to so many things in the future: trail runningoutside Las Vegas, training for my 4th Ironman, running the Grand Canyon. But most important I get to share all the things with my friends.

There are so many things to work on though. I want to be feistier. I want to question everything and not just accept things I know to be wrong. 

She is so right-on
I want to see the world.

I want to do everything.


I’ll get there. But in the meantime… life is good.

Winnie & Daisy - love these dogs!
I hope that if you are reading this, life is good for you too. And if it’s not, so much can be cured by running; a run with someone you like or a solo trail run or a bike ride. Or a swim. I’m so thankful for the friends who show up and go on adventures with me. 
Thank you. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mississippi Blues Marathon Race Report

Mississippi Blues Marathon race was my first time in Mississippi. I decided on this race because it was a chance to spend time with my friend Rich who I know from New Hampshire. He now lives in Clinton, just a few minutes outside Jackson.



It was an uneventful flight to Dallas then to Jackson and Rich picked me up at the small airport. We spent the first night catching up over an amazing meal concocted by Rich, who while not a professional chef, might as well be. (He’s a web programmer by day)

On Friday we traveled to Vicksburg and a tour of artist galleries, museums and a view of the Mississippi River. My favorite was the HC Porter Gallery. Lunch at Rusty's and Fried Green Tomatoes:

This is me writing my Yelp review prior to eating fried green tomatoes
Then to packet pick up in Jackson.

Love to learn - the history of Mississippi is so interesting. I got a chance to learn all about the Blues. 
The goodie back contained a vest, a harmonica, and a CD of blues music. All awesome. 

At 5:00 we went to Rich’s favorite restaurant, La Finestra. I had an awesome lamb-pasta meal with a glass of wine. Yum!

The next morning it was easy to park close to the start and we walked over to the crowd. It was cold!!!! in the 20s with a bit of wind.


It was a hilly course although none of the hills were very steep or long. However, there was just a lot of them. The course winds around the city into neighborhoods and back through the heart of the city. There were some beautiful homes and a few spectators came out to cheer on runners.
The aid stations were great and volunteers were friendly and encouraging. I saw a lot of Marathon Maniacs.

The finisher medal was ginormous with beautiful blue glass-shaped guitar.




I ended up wearing my Thermoball jacket the entire time. I wasn't cold, but never really warm. The wind picked up at different times during the race and was glad for a hat, gloves, and jacket.
I ate 3 gels, a bar, and Shot Blocks. Lots of water and Gatorade.
The finish line food was great: Little Caesar’s Pizza and Chocolate Milk.

The best part of the entire race weekend was hanging out with my friend Rich and seeing Mississippi. Then he hosted a post-marathon party at his house with his family. Rich made an excellent meal of Mexican food and I drank a lot of beer. Ha.
Abita Beer
We played games and chilled out while recovering from the 26.2 miles race.

On Sunday Rich and I drove north to the Mississippi Craft Center to view local artists wares. After a leisurely stroll around the Ridgeland Reservoir and a southern-style lunch at Cock on the Rock we drove back to Clinton via the Natchez Trace highway and through downtown Jackson.


Once back at Rich’s house in Clinton we chatted for a bit then when I asked him to check the status of the flight, he yelled from the office to the living room “It’s canceled.”
90% of the time Rich is not serious and since I was having such a laid-back, no stress or anxiety weekend, I didn’t even think I’d have a hard time getting home. He was serious. The last flight out of Jackson was canceled. 

Panic set in. I called the airline and booked the earliest flight I could get - the next day leaving at 11:00 arriving in Tucson at 4:15.

The next day I got to the airport and was able to get on an earlier flight that was “booked” yesterday. I texted Rich to say I’m on the plane but fear that someone is going to come on and tell me to get off. That was a mistake because two minutes later the agent that earlier let me on the flight came on the plane and I heard him say, "she’s going to have to get off" and he couldn’t remember her name. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I just stared at the floor. Heart racing. Luckily, it was someone else and she got off the plane.

Once in Dallas I ran to the early flight to Tucson that was boarding. After a lengthy discussion with the agent and waiting until the very last minute, he let me on and I got to Tucson at 2pm.

A stressful end to a relaxing Marathon weekend in Jackson and now, one week later, I'm ready for the next one: a drive to Huntington Beach, CA for the Surf CityMarathon on Feb. 1. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cold Days in Tucson - Sponsors I Love - Making Plans

Today the temperature will not get warmer than 51 degrees. Ouch
I have to admit I’m not used to this weather since moving to Tucson almost three years ago. I had to cancel my 70 mile planned bike ride and hope to reschedule for tomorrow when the temperature is expect to be at least 60.
Today, I'm reflecting on and analyzing the last 10 years of my endurance and triathlon training life, I feel lucky that I get to train (bike) during the winter now. All summer and fall I was couldn't wait for winter, but now that it is here it’s too cold. Last winter we had two cold days and complained it wasn't a real winter. Two winters ago, my first in Tucson, was just like this winter and it was a shock to my system. 

Today, I will run and I will swim. Swimming outside at this temperature is really enjoyable because the water is much warmer than the air; getting out of the water and getting to the locker room shower is not enjoyable.

This new year is starting off pretty well in terms of triathlon and running despite the cold weather. I feel fortunate to be a part of the Triple Threat Triathlon team


My teammates live all over the country and they inspire me every day. We are an interesting mix of men and women: some super techie data nerds, laid back super athletes, intense, caring, moms, dads, who all love triathlon. We get to try new gear and nutrition, and give our 5 cents to other triathletes who read our blogs and social media posts. Fun times, for sure.
Our team has great sponsors such as Hammer, Under Armour, Rudy Project

TruSox, Roka, and TorHans

Awesome companies with great products for triathletes and endurance athletes.














From a running perspectives, I am thrilled to be accepted to the Pearl Izumi Champions team for running. I love their brand and can’t wait to represent them.

I am a North Face Local writing about my hiking and trail running adventures in Tucson. I love their products and enjoy writing about them while exploring the Tucson desert.


Let the New Year begin. I have so much to accomplish this year. 
On New Years Day I PR'd my 5K run, now I want to get faster and stronger at the marathon and Ironman distances.



I usually have my entire race schedule planned out by now but right now I just have until August 2015 planned. 

Who knows what crazy adventures will happen after that: Leadville, other marathons in the US, trail running, another Ironman. 

I feel blessed to have this great life, my health, my friends and family. Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Race Schedule

Race Schedule:
Jan 2015 – Mississippi Blues Marathon
Feb 2015 Surf City Marathon & Blood, Sweat, and Beers Trail Marathon
March 2015 – Rim to Rim – Grand Canyons
May – Ironman Texas
August – Mountain Main Half Ironman distance triathlon


That’s the plan so far. I have a feeling 2015 is going to be a great year.