Sunday, September 27, 2009

What a weekend

As usual, I am posting this on Sunday night after an exhausting weekend. But this time, it is after the BEST WEEKEND EVER. Ya, ya, I did some training and it was great, but this weekend was so much more than that. I don't even want to get started because I could really start crying right now just thinking about it. Emily and Josh's wedding in Hood River was amazing. The setting was breathtaking and was only out shined by our little pal Emily and her sweet husband. They were absolutely adorable and it was truly an honor to be present at their wedding. It was great to spend the evening with all our great friends and a bunch of fun new people.

I especially loved spending the entire weekend with Maritza, who flew in Thursday night and left this morning. We went for two great runs together and then today Zach and I capped off the weekend with our longest training ride ever. To quickly (I'll try) recap: Friday morning Maritza and I did a 14 mile long run along the Springwater trail. After a delicious post-run brunch at Isabel down the street, we all headed out to Hood River about noon and stopped at Multnomah Falls along the way. We arrived in Hood River and checked into the historic Hood River Hotel right downtown. A school bus picked up all the guests and drove us up to the Gorge Crest Vineyards where the wedding was held. The scenery was indescribable. See photos below. Absolutely amazing. The ceremony was perfect. Everyone cried. The dinner, the party, the donuts, the after-party, everything was incredible. The next morning, despite very little sleep and a moderate to severe hangover, Maritza and I went up to the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail and she got in 6 miles and waited for me while I ran 9. We spent the rest of the afternoon at a beautiful old farm with a view of Mt. Hood where we picked flowers and laid in the grass relaxing and talking. Then we headed to the house Emily's family had rented for a bbq and some more visiting before we headed back to Portland. I took Maritza to the airport this morning and then Zach and I went out and rode all around Clackamas County (south of Portland) and wrung every last bit of energy we had out of ourselves. In summary, best. weekend. ever.

I am really really happy and thankful for all the beauty and love in this world. I know, so cheesy. But that's what you get.

Let me recap my training week here, but I will try to keep it short. The photos of the weekend are at the end.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest
Unscheduled rest day. My legs were SORE from the trail run and I knew it would be a mistake to push it.

Wednesday: Bike
Spin class/1:00
No Alisa. :(

Wednesday: Run
4.75 miles/45:48/9:38 average pace
Deana met me after I got out of spin and we ran the waterfront loop. Great run!

Wednesday: Swim
3100 yards/1:20
Masters plus 20 minutes swim after class.

Thursday: Bike
23.8 miles/1:25:11/16.7 MPH
Same route I did last Thursday- repeated out-and-backs on the Springwater trail. Zach joined me but I refused to draft. I was a bit windy but I managed a faster pace than last week. Making this my fastest training ride ever! Ya!

Thursday: Swim
2200 yards/1:00

Friday: Run
14.0 miles/2:23:47/10:16 average pace
Long run with Maritza. :)

Saturday: Run
9.25 miles/1:24:17/9:06 average pace
Historic Highway trail in Hood River. First couple of miles with Maritza. :) Hungover from Emily's wedding, yet happy as a clam.

Sunday: Bike
70.0 miles/4:59:40/13.9 MPH
Clackamas ride. Hilly and CRAZY windy. I felt really good and stayed positive the whole time. The ride was slow but very challenging. Really fun way to spend the day with Zach. Seriously, like the entire day. With bathroom breaks and stoplights and everything we were out there for over 6 hours.

TOTALS for the week:

swim: 2:20 (5300 yards)
bike: 7:25 (93.8 miles plus spin)
run: 4:35 (28 miles)
total training time: 14:20

Right where I want to be and feeling great. Ironman Arizona is 8 weeks from today.

And now, photos. I decided to only pick a few of my very favorite ones. We took 400 pictures this weekend. Plus I have Maritza's 200 or so, plus a few dozen mobile pics to choose from. I can't get enough of them but if I started posting all the ones I like there would be hundreds. These are a few of my favorites. Enjoy! Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hardware and other validation

SUCH a great week. I had four very exciting achievements in the last several days and my confidence is peaked. Watch it crash down completely in time, but for now, we celebrate. Here's the weekly summary -the workouts of celebration are in bold and astrixeed as to not be missed. Behold!

Monday: Strength Training
Some weights with Zach at the gym. I did 200 crunches and was sooooore the next day!

Tuesday: Run
8.0 miles/1:10:30/8:49 average pace
Springwater run

Tuesday: Swim
2150 yards/1:00

Wednesday: Bike
1:00/Spin class
With Alisa! New random instructor was actually pretty good. Except he made the mistake of assuming the was the hardest-core person in the room, and that pissed me off. Ya, you teach spin class, congratulations. By the way, is this supposed to be hard? Ass.

Wednesday: Run
4.5 miles/40:10/8:55 average pace
Didn't manage to link up with Deana again so I made a point to run as easy as possible on my own (usually keep a great recovery pace when I run with Deana) and this run really did feel effortless. It was raining and I forgot how much I enjoy running in the rain. Good thing, huh?

Wednesday: Swim ****
1:20/3500 yards
Big volume day in masters including lots of fast intervals. Then I stayed 20 minutes after class and swam another 1000 yards and could have stayed until they closed the pool. This was my longest swim session ever!!

Thursday: Bike ****
23.9 miles/16.6 MPH
Springwater trail out-and-back with a nice headwind half the time. This is my fastest training ride ever!!

Friday: Run
4.0 miles/36:31/9:08 average pace
Nothing notable about this run, besides that I was slightly drunk. Went to Emily's final dress fitting and had celebratory champagne and appetizers after because it's the best week of her life. The run was a bit painful and I nearly crapped myself. It was totally worth it.

Saturday: Bike ****
62.5 miles/3:48:38/16.4 MPH
Sauvie Island ride with Zach. We waited until about 11:00 to start because it was raining and predicted to clear, which it did. We saw Alisa and her husband a few miles in, they were finishing up and looking good. This was an awesome ride. My legs were feeling it but I kept a good pace and pulled Zach along the whole day. Finished really strong and was very excited to see my time. When did I get so fast on the bike?!!?

Sunday: Run ****
14.2 miles/2:06:28/8:54 average pace
Timberline Half Marathon

Mini Race Report:

This was really just a training run for me since I'm in the middle of a high volume stretch and don't really want to spend any time recovering. Zach was excited about this race and we signed up months ago, but his knee has been bothering him so he didn't even run. He was cool about it though and drove up with me early this morning and spent the morning taking photos and cheering all the runners on.

It was shockingly cold up there- about 40 degrees at the start! I am glad I thought to check that before we left the house. I threw in my arm warmers and encouraged Zach to grab a jacket. It ended up only warming up to about 55 degrees by early afternoon. Brr! Very comfortable for running though.

The course was all singletrack and while it wasn't very hilly it was rocky and root-y and twisty and hard. Also we were at about 3500 ft elevation which I noticed a little, especially on the few short climbs.

I figured I could run about 9:00 pace pretty comfortably and based on that I projected I would finish in about 2:07. The start was interesting- they had one person start every few seconds to space us out on the trail. Everyone seemed to seed themselves appropriately and there was actually only minimal passing over the entire race.

Turns out I ran almost exactly my projected time but it was WAY harder than I anticipated! I felt like I was running half marathon pace the whole time. I was flying. It was awesome! I started off strong and kept it up for the whole race. I led a group of runners for a few miles early on- it was kind of annoying having someone literally breathing down my neck but it definitely kept me moving. The first half of the course was way more technical and my pace reflects that fact. The rest of the race was a lot smoother and faster and slightly quieter- I only got passed a couple times toward the end. I was surprised to see Zach a few times - he drove down and found me at three points in the last half of the race (pics below). I was feeling really tired but having fun.

I finished in 2:06:28 which was slightly faster than I had predicted. Yay! We stood around chatting with the other runners- it was a really friendly group of people. One guy who finished just after me had run the full marathon the day before! (it's a two-day series) Wow.

After a few minutes Zach went and checked the results and came back and told me I took 1st in my age group! So we stuck around for awards. It was cool hearing them call my name. I don't think I've ever been first before?! I got a cool medal that says "1st" !! :)

We hit up a delicious deli in Timberline for lunch before we drove home. It was the best sandwich I've had in Oregon I swear. The bad news? I got stung by a mother effing BEE! I haven't been stung by a bee since I was a kid and I forgot how freaking painful it is. I was initially scared- we had *just* heard about a guy who had to be life-flighted out from the race yesterday because he was stung and had an unknown allergy. :( But alas, I am fine. I called my parents to tell them about my race, ask if I was allergic, and listen to my dad tell me an awesome home remedy for painful stings (see final pic and caption below). They are the best parents! :)

Here are my splits from the race from the Garmin:

1- 839
2- 935
3- 923
4- 911
5- 856
6- 839
7- 854
8- 835
9- 858
10- 832
11- 842
12- 858
13- 945
14- 844
last 0.13 according to Garmin- 0:54

official finish time: 2:06:28 (8:54 pace)
1/35 age group (25-29)
10/221 females
43/318 overall

Well that's my report. Now here are my totals for this amazing week:

swim: 3:20 (7950 yards)
bike: 6:15 (87.4 miles + 1 spin class)
run: 4:30 (30.7 miles)

total training time: 14:05

Some pics from today's race:

Race morning:

Immediately after the start:

Starting area after I was already off and running:

Pic Zach took while I was running:

Mile 9.5 or so:

Mile 11.5 or so:

About a mile to go (I had just passed both those guys, fyi):

The finish:

Getting my AG Medal (I was really hoping for a podium and bouquet of flowers, but I forgive you)

Gross foot picture: This is a paste of meat tenderizer and water on my bee sting. Words of wisdom straight from my father's mouth and you don't doubt a born-and-raised Montanan on things of this nature. Especially when he's your dad.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Aluminum Man Olympic Tri Race Report

I signed up for this race just to get in another practice triathlon closer to my goal race of Ironman Arizona which is at the end of November. I thought the 3 months between Lake Stevens 70.3 and the IM would leave me feeling a little rusty so this race bridged that gap a bit. I also wanted to test out some new gear (the tri top) and just get some more race practice. So while this certainly wasn't a goal race, I was hoping a strong performance would be a confidence booster.

Unfortunately I was feeling a little "off" the last couple of days since my b-day and came down with a little cold or something. My throat was sore and I was just feeling a little run down. I rested Friday night (actually went straight to bed after work and slept for about 3 hours, then got my race stuff ready, ate dinner, and back went to bed) and figured I'd just see how I feel Saturday morning. Thankfully I felt ok, actually a bit better, so I knew I could finish the race. I decided that I would tone down the effort if I was feeling lousy, and I knew even if I felt great this wouldn't be my best performance. Plus, since it was just a "practice race" I wasn't terribly motivated. I really realized out there that if your heart isn't it in, it is difficult to push yourself and really race hard!

We headed out as planned about 6:00 for the hour and a half drive to The Dalles. The 9:00 race start was nice for this reason, I didn't have to get up ridiculously early. We arrived nice and early and I checked in and got my transition set up. It was really helpful that Zach wasn't racing and could help haul my stuff around and keep me organized. Alisa showed up a little bit after me, she was racing the Sprint Distance which started 30 minutes after the Oly that I was doing. I hung around while she set up and then we listened to the pre-race briefing and then it was time for me to start.

This race was TINY- It looks like there were 22 women doing the Olympic and about 37 men. The waves were just separated by gender. Watching the men start off I realized how shallow the water was and watched them run about 50 to 100 yards before jumping in to swim! A woman next to me told me there is a lot of seaweed once you get out there a ways, so I figured this was going to be a challenging swim. Luckily the water was very calm so at least we had that going for us.

The swim: 1000 meters

I started off to the side and when the air horn went off I ran along with the other women for quite a ways in knee-deep water. Annoying! As soon as I saw someone dive in I dove in too and started swimming. Many women continued running/wading for quite a while before we were all finally swimming. Sure enough, I immediately encountered a mess of seaweed in the shallow water and my arms were getting tangled in it. I wasn't freaking out at all but I was pretty frustrated. I altered my stroke a bit and even did some breast stroke for a while. Finally it cleared up and I made the first turn. The next stretch was a long one and it was out in the deeper water, so I was looking forward to a seaweed-free swim. Well, there were patches of it and I got tangled up again! I did some breastroke where it was very thick and then continued on. I was passing a couple of people and moving up a bit in the field (I started basically in last place). We rounded the second and final buoy and I swam hard toward the beach. I passed a couple more ladies. Then, more seaweed! Ugh! I just pushed (literally, pushing myself through the plant life) through until I could see the rocks (I didn't want to stand up in the seaweed). I stood up and ran out of the water. As I was running through the water I stepped on some large object with my left foot that really hurt!! It wasn't a pointy object but I could feel it bruised the bottom of my foot pretty good. Dammit. What a challenging swim!

Swim time: 22:57

T1: I passed a couple of men in the run up to transition (didn't pass any in the actual swim) and got my bike gear on. I felt a little flustered but tried to maintain focus. Zach was standing right there so I told him about the seaweed and he encouraged me as I took off. T1 time: 2:41

The bike: 30 miles (ish)

The race site bills the bike as 50k, which is like 32 miles. At the pre-race briefing he told us it was 30 miles on the nose. I measured it at 29 miles.

The bike course was challenging because it was a gradual climb for the first 11 miles, then a steep climb for a mile, then rolling for a couple of more miles. I checked my bike computer at 15 miles and my average speed was 13.6. Ugh! I was practically alone out there due to the small field although I did get passed by 6 women in the first 10 or so miles. After that I only saw a couple other athletes. I saw two women changing flats so I suppose technically I passed them (ha). The climb wasn't bad, and I felt good. I just had no motivation to push myself- not athletes in sight to pace off of or anything. I was just riding strong. Finally up at the top of the hills I was going pretty fast and having fun. It was totally desolate out there- brown grassy hills and some cows. There was a super creepy old abandoned/falling-down house which was neat. As we turned back toward the west I could see Mt. Hood and it was really a beautiful sight. I sped down a stretch of downhill for about 3 miles at nearly 30 MPH. The road was hardly curving at all, the surface was smooth, and there were NO cars or other bikes. Perfect for a fast decent. I was feeling very appreciative of my situation- lucky to be alive. The downhill was disappointingly short-lived and it flattened out quickly. There was some more downhill as we got back to town but I was never able to really get my average speed back up. I was feeling good except it was getting quite hot and I knew the run would be a challenge. I finished off the last of my water (I had a bottle of Perpeteum, a Hammer gel, and a bottle of water on the bike) and made it back to transition.

Bike time: 1:50:52 (15.6 MPH according to my bike computer, 16.3 according to the race site)

T2: Super fast. In and out. T2 time: 1:07

The run: 10K

The run was a flat out-and-back on a bike path along the river. The sun was high and it was hot, and the path had no shade. I meant to grab my bottle of water in transition to take with me on the run but forgot about it in the heat of the moment. I started off feeling good and passed three women right away. I saw Alisa right away, she was just finishing up her sprint race. We high-fived! I ended up occupying my mind for the entire run by counting people I passed and counting the number of women ahead of me. I took water at each aid station (4 times total) but otherwise just ran. I tried not to think too much about how hot and tired and thirsty I was and just ran. They had accurate mile markers on the path and I was running like 7:50-7:55 pace for the first 4 miles. I slowed down a bit in the last couple miles, probably also because I walked at the water stations to get as much water as possible. Finally, I was heading toward the finish and could see Zach and Alisa and Justin and heard them cheering! I passed through the finish arch and stopped my watch.

Run time: 49:42 (8:00 average pace)

Total time: 3:07:19
2/3 AG (25-29)

After the race Alisa and Justin and Zach were nice enough to wait around with me to see if I got an award (I kinda figured as much). No matter how small the field it is always fun to win something!! We finally got our stuff loaded up and headed to Hood River for lunch at the Full Sail brewery. As I may have mentioned several times, I love the Full Sail LTD and couldn't wait to get it straight from the source. I love the beer and I love the name: Live The Dream. I discovered the beer when we first moved here and honestly have felt like that is my motto here in Portland. Zach and I are so happy here and have had so much fun since we've been here. It's truly a special place and we're so blessed to have such wonderful friends in our lives and to be healthy and strong enough to participate in events like these. Even if this wasn't the best race of my life it was amazing and I'm grateful to have participated. :)

I'm taking the next couple of days off... I was hoping to get an easy training ride or something but I need to rest. Turns out I bruised my foot pretty bad when I stepped on that mystery object in the water so I've been icing it. Also, this cold or whatever is kind of hanging around. My throat doesn't hurt anymore but I"m all stuffed up. Zach's been taking care of me and doing everything around the house so I can just rest. He's the best. So today (Sunday) is a rest day and tomorrow is a planned rest day, then hopefully I'll be back at it on Tuesday.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics below. :) Have a great week!

Crossing the river out of Portland at 6:00 am:
Mt Hood at sunrise:
Mt Hood:
Sunrise in the Gorge:
Columbia River Gorge at The Dalles:
Heading into transition to set up (yes I'm practically the first person there):
Timing chip on:
Columbia River:
Alisa showed up a few minutes later (her race started 30 minutes after mine):
All ready to race:
Walking to the swim start:
Getting my feet wet. Check out how shallow the water is:
And we're off (running the first 50 meters or so in shallow water!)
This is the entire women's field, by the way.
Finally swimming (some people were still walking):
Finished the swim:
This is right about where I stepped on some large object with my left foot. Ouch!
Back on dry land:
Running up to T1:
And heading out on the bike:
Some shots while I was off on my bike ride-
This is Alisa's wave down in the water about to start:
Alisa coming out of the water:
And here I come in from the bike:
And off onto the 10k run:
Feeling good heading onto the run:
Right after Alisa finished (I saw her coming in as I was running out) getting a smooch from her husband. Too cute!
And 10 hot kilometers later:
This pic says it all:
Awards Ceremony-
I placed 2nd (out of 3!) in my AG:
Receiving my medal:
We did it!
And now, beer:
Justin and Alisa:
Me and Zach, my #1 fan (notice his IM 70.3 hat and his Hagg Lake Tri shirt, just so we don't forget he's a triathlete too! I do the same thing.)
Live the Dream: