Archive | August, 2011

6 more weeks…

31 Aug

Only 6 more weeks of formal training (including this week) until my 2011 race season is over! I am so looking forward to doing more of what I’ve been doing this week:

1. Drinking alcohol. I have a pretty low tolerance to begin with, but add in training, and I get tipsy and a headache from even one glass of wine. This week, however, I’ve thrown caution to the wind. 🙂 I had 2 Mike’s on Sunday night, a glass of wine and a margarita on Monday, and then a glass of wine last night. And I’ve enjoyed it so much, I’ll probably continue that trend for the rest of the week.

2. Watching TV. I usually prefer reading because it at least makes me feel productive. But right now, I really love watching Drop Dead Diva, with occasional re-runs of What Not to Wear and Say Yes to the Dress thrown in. In a couple of months, it will be back to Bones and Desperate Housewives. And Travis has found 2 new shows he likes: Bar Rescue and Downsized.

3. Baking. I made zucchini bread Monday night and am planning to make blueberry banana bread next week. Mmmm…

4. Not exercising. It’s only been a few days since the race on Sunday but I still feel slightly guilty about no workouts. I’m thinking about a bike ride or a swim tonight. But we’ll see. I may have a glass (or two) of wine instead.

5. Staying up late and sleeping in. Not exercising means I can stay up to 10 or 10:30 and get up at 6 or 6:30! Glorious! It’s even more glorious when Charlie is in her kennel and doesn’t wake me up at 5 am.

Travis and I leave butt early on Friday morning for Charlotte, NC, to visit our friends, Mark and Sarah. (So excited!) We get back on Tuesday and then I’ll start back on this haus of a training plan:

The Crescent Moon Sprint Tri is the first race, the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Relay is the second. I’m sure my actual workouts will only slightly resemble this plan due to life getting in the way but it’s nice to have a plan anyway.

What do you look forward to when you’re not training? What TV shows are you enjoying right now?

Race Recap: Steamboat Springs Olympic Triathlon

29 Aug

I did it! The race went GREAT and I had an awesome time in Steamboat. But let me start from the beginning…

Friday

I found out from the vet that nothing is seriously wrong with our dogs. They don’t have giardia or parasites. Most likely, they ate something that upset their stomachs (I’m guessing mushrooms from our backyard). So they just need to be on a bland diet for a few days, and Charlie probably needs to switch to a new regular food to help with her soft stool. After the vet, I took a nap, ordered sushi :), packed, walked the dogs, stretched, and went to bed.

Saturday

I went for a swim at the Rec in the morning. I had tried to go Friday morning but the Rec was closed. It felt good to be moving again. That is one thing that I don’t like about taper week – not having that “I just did a great workout” feeling.

Then I talked to my mom for a bit, packed the car, and took the pooches over to my friend D’s house. I chatted with her over coffee and cinnamon rolls (yum!) and left around 11 am to go back home, load my bike on the Focus, and hit the road.

Everything was going according to plan — I didn’t forget anything, the sun was shining, traffic wasn’t bad, I was belting out my favorite tunes. And then I started to feel like the Focus was struggling a little more than usual up the big mountain grades. Like a precursor to it running out of gas and dying on the side of the highway. But I had plenty of gas. It wasn’t overheating. There had been a puddle on the driveway underneath the car though. And the Check Engine light was on (even though it has been for a while). Hmmmm…

I called Travis. “Um, the Focus is kind of lurching up the steep grades. Could it be low on oil or something?”

He had checked the oil not too long ago so he didn’t think it was that. He was at a loss as well, since he was 300 miles away and trying to diagnose the car via my very non-technical description. Eisenhower Tunnel was getting closer… visions of my car dying right in the middle of it flashed through my head. That would be very bad. Not to mention that I had only driven 45 minutes of a 3.5 hour drive — if the car was struggling already, would it even make it?

“So do you think I should turn around and go home to get the truck?” I asked.

“Yeah, that’s probably the smartest thing to do.”

Blast it!

So I turned around at the Loveland Pass exit and headed all the way back to Denver, transferred my luggage and bike to the truck, and took off again… for real. Travis very kindly met me in Vail instead of just staying in Steamboat, so at least I had a companion for the last part of my trip.

The clock was ticking… at 4:15, I saw a sign that said 40 miles to Steamboat. Packet pickup ended at 5. No! We can’t be late! I floored it, doing 80 in a 65 (shhh… don’t tell the po-po) and we arrived in Steamboat at 4:30 — plenty of time! After looking for packet pickup in two wrong places, I finally found it and got all my race stuff and swag. Whew!

We headed to the hotel to unload all of my stuff and put my bike in our room. After watching TV for a bit, we decided to have dinner at the restaurant across the street called Rex’s American Bar & Grill. I had looked up restaurants online the week before and heard rave reviews about this place. And I loved that it was within walking distance!

We opted to sit outside on the patio, where we enjoyed some live music and a gorgeous view of the Steamboat ski slopes, now lush and green. I wanted a glass of wine so badly but knew I had to behave myself. I ordered Napa pizza with apples, bacon, onions and bleu cheese. It was amazing. I have discovered that I love, love, love bleu cheese on pizza. Mmmm… Travis ordered a beer and “Stuffed Bird Boob” with mashed potatoes. I couldn’t figure out what kind of meat that was until the waiter described it as chicken breast. Ahhh… now I get it. His food was also delicious.

Right before we got our food, it started to rain. Since there were plenty of umbrellas on the patio and it wasn’t raining very hard, we stuck it out. Our waiter was nice enough to bring me a fleece blanket — much appreciated!

As we finished, it started raining harder and my very chivalrous husband agreed to go get the car to come pick me up. I decided that since I couldn’t have wine, I at least needed some ice cream. So we drove over to DQ and I got a mini Brownie Batter Blizzard. It hit the spot.

By then, it was about 7:30 and we decided that since it was raining and the rodeo had ended the weekend before 😦 , the best option was just to go back to the hotel and bum. So that’s what we did.

Around 9:00, I decided it was time to sleep. And as far as nights before races go, I slept very well. I woke up a few times to panic and wonder what the heck I was thinking doing an Oly tri but was able to get back to sleep fairly quickly (I guess that’s one nice side effect of your dogs making you sleep-deprived).

Pre-Race

Race morning, I actually hit the snooze button. I finally got up at 5:30. We left the hotel by 6:05, stopped and got coffee for Travis, and got to the race site around 6:20. I thought transition opened at 6:30 but it had really opened at 6:00. It wasn’t a big deal because there were plenty of spots left. I got body marked and then set my stuff up. I chose a rack on the inside aisle, about ¼ of the way down from the swim in.

After getting my area set up, I picked up my timing chip and heard that the water wouldn’t be open for warming up until 7:15. Since it was only 6:45, I went on a little jog for a warm up, went to the bathroom, put on sunscreen (which apparently all washed off during the swim), and then headed down to the water. The temperature was announced — 68 degrees. Woohoo!

At 7:40, I got in the water. It wasn’t bad at all. I could totally do the swim without a wetsuit. I mean, the water hardly even took my breath away. It was like swimming in Minnesota! I was feeling great and doing a little swim warm up when all of a sudden, I hit a giant patch of seaweed. I hate seaweed. I refuse to swim in seaweed. EEEWWW! I panicked and swam back to shore as fast as I possibly could. As I got out, I told Travis, “Well, the water is nice but that seaweed is going to kill me.” After I stood there for a bit commiserating with a fellow athlete about how gross the seaweed was, I decided to go back in and purposefully swim through the seaweed, reminding myself they’re only plants. No little creature is going to attach itself to me or eat me. I will survive. So I swam through the seaweed and I was fine.

I got back out and we stood around for another 35 minutes, listening to the pre-race briefing and watching the four waves before me go off. I just about froze. My teeth were chattering, my legs were shaking. I couldn’t help but think, I’d probably be warm if I was wearing a wetsuit.

Finally, my wave was up. I got back in the water, positioned myself at the back of my wave, got my face used to the water and then treaded water to warm my body up while I waited.

Swim

Before I knew it, the foghorn went off and we were off! Almost immediately, my whole wave had left me in their wake. But I was just pumped that I was swimming! And feeling great! I wasn’t panicking! I kept thinking, I totally have this.

The little toe on my right foot felt weird and I thought that some of the muck from the bottom of the lake must have magically bonded to my foot. Then I wondered if it was a leech. So I reached down to feel. Nothing, not even muck, was there. I realized that my toe was frozen. So were my fingers. You know that feeling when your fingers and toes feel like they’re hollow? That’s how I felt.

By the time I reached the first sighting buoy, athletes from the last wave were passing me. I kept my pace and let them go around me. Just keep watching the buoy get closer, I reminded myself. Take it one buoy at a time. The swim will end sometime.

After I rounded the third turning buoy, I started feeling like I had to pee. I tried to pee while swimming a couple of times but that proved to be more complex than I could handle. But I knew that biking on a full bladder was absolutely miserable so I stopped swimming momentarily to pee. All better.

Finally, I passed the last sighting buoy and could see the swim exit. A couple hundred yards more and I could stand. I ran out of the swim. Yay!! I did it! The hardest part is over! Travis snapped a picture of me as I ran to transition.

Official Swim Time: 46:34

T1

While it was nice to not have a wetsuit to get off, I fumbled with my socks and shoes, and took what seemed like forever to get my helmet on. Usually, I run from the swim into transition and then out with my bike, effectively leaving me breathless between each leg. This time, I said, Screw it — I’m going to walk and catch my breath. So I did.

Official T1 Time: 2:27

Bike

For the first two or three miles of the bike, I felt like I hadn’t ridden a bike in forever. Everything felt foreign. My legs felt really weird. I realized then that I was still frozen. No wonder why my legs felt weird – they were practically numb! It took me about 5 miles to warm up.

While I was still warming up, I encountered The Bumpy Road. Some construction-working genius had decided that gravel with a thin layer of asphalt over it was just as good as an actually paved road. I beg to differ. It was miserable. And I had to pee again, which was magnified 1,000 times with each bump. I started wondering, Can I really survive 20 miles on this horrible-ness?

The course took a left turn and Hallelujah! The road was actually paved again. Oh wonderful, gentle smoothness. By about mile 9, I really had to pee. I started hoping they’d have a porta-potty at the turnaround, all the while knowing that they almost certainly didn’t. But lo and behold, the turnaround was at a baseball field. I asked the volunteer at the turnaround if there were restrooms and he said there were, but he didn’t know if they were open. I had to at least try. So I laid my bike down and ran to the door. They were open! Praise the Lord!

I was so happy on my way back — it’s so much more enjoyable to ride a bike when you don’t have to pee!

{Side note: WHY did I have to pee so much? I went twice before the race started, then during the swim, then again on the bike. I purposely didn’t drink much before the race to avoid this very problem. Argh!}

I followed my fueling strategy by eating my first 3 Shotbloks right after the turnaround (11.5 miles because of the dog leg) and 3 more right before the dog leg (22 miles). There were 4-5 steep-ish hills on the way back, the longest one being the dog leg — 1 mile of 2% grade. Lucky for me, that’s nothing compared to the crap hills on my bike to work. I cruised up the hill (being mindful to not push it too hard), back down and hit the home stretch.

Official Bike Time: 1:31:29 (16.3 mph)

T2

Once again, I walked with my bike back to my rack. I took off my helmet and grabbed my hat, race belt, and Shotbloks. I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t grab my piece of bread with peanut butter. And I was off.

Official T2 Time: 1:34

Run

I started running soon out of transition and my legs felt typical – heavy and foreign. I made the decision to walk 1 minute at every aid station (there was one every mile). By the time I got to the first aid station, drank some water, and started running after my minute was up, I had my running legs and settled into a nice pace. By mile 2, I found that I was running an 11:07 pace. Decent.

Mile 3 felt long. My left knee started to hurt with a very familiar feeling caused by a tight IT band. Because I knew what it was, though, I just ran through it. I can stretch later. Finally, there was the aid station: it was a Hawaiian luau. That picked up my spirits and I made it up the hill to the turnaround. On the way back, I grabbed some water and ate my last 3 Shotbloks. On to mile marker 4.

My stomach had started sloshing around so I stopped drinking water. By mile 5, it was getting into the 80s. My knee still hurt. I had the slightest stomach cramp. But I could see the aid station and just kept running.

Finally, it was the last mile. I ran past the lot where we parked, which they said was .5 mile away from transition. There were a lot of athletes and spectators already making their way down to their cars, so I got a lot of cheering on this last stretch. That was fun.

I crested the last hill and picked up the pace. I was SO HAPPY. I couldn’t help but smile and throw my arms up. I totally made it! And…

I ENJOYED IT!

I had pushed myself so hard during the sprint tris I did back in June that I didn’t even enjoy them. The bike was hard and the run was ruined. Why did I do that to myself? I really enjoyed this race.

I crossed the finish line, all smiles, and was handed some water and my finisher’s medal.

Official Run Time: 1:13:06 (11:48/mile)

Official Race Time: 3:35:08

Sure, I didn’t make my “goal” but I am totally excited about my performance. For me, it was huge that I didn’t panic once during the swim, I enjoyed the bike instead of going balls to the wall, and I did the whole run at a very comfortable pace.

As far as the event itself, I think Without Limits Productions puts on a very good race. My goodie bag had a lot of cool stuff in it (hello Luna bars and free socks in Travis’ size!) and the shirts were cute and great quality. I’m not thrilled about the dogtag-style finisher’s medals, but oh well. Their website was kept up-to-date with all the important information and they had plenty of bike course marshals directing us where to go and holding back traffic. My only real complaint is that there wasn’t much cold water at the finish line (or maybe they ran out before I got there?). But overall, it was a great race.

Post-Race

After the race, Travis and I stuck around because my name had been called for a raffle. After I got some more free socks (that I can wear), we grabbed my stuff and loaded up the car. Since it was about 85 by then and just an absolutely gorgeous day, we decided to tube down the Yampa River. Colorado doesn’t have a big selection of “lazy” rivers that are mild enough to tube down, so we seized the opportunity.

When we were finally changed into our suits and everything was stowed in our truck, we grabbed our tubes and river shoes (pretty sweeto) from Backdoor Sports and took off down the river. It wasn’t so much a lazy river as an always-watch-where-you’re-going-so-you-don’t-fall-off-in-the-rapids river, but it was still a blast. I love mild rapids like that! Every once in a while, we’d hit the current and rapids just right that a giant splash of cool water landed on our laps. Refreshing. The ride took about 45 minutes and we waited for the shuttle back for about 10 minutes.

We changed back into our clothes at Backdoor Sports and went to lunch at Steamboat Meat and Seafood Co. Travis had a tuna melt (with REAL tuna meat, not the canned stuff) and I had a Reuben. Both were delicious. We made a quick stop at the gas station and then headed back to Denver.

What a great weekend! I’m pumped that the race went so well and I loved being able to do something fun and out of the ordinary with my very supportive and loving husband. I’m very lucky that he comes to cheer me on at my races, even if he gets insanely bored and takes pictures of random things, like pontoon boats and buildings. 😉

Now it’s back to work, laundry and grocery shopping.

Packing and Pooping

26 Aug

Well friends, race weekend is here. In 2 hours, I will leave work to take my dog to the vet (more on that in a bit), then head home to pack up all of my triathlon gear and prepare for my trip to Steamboat Springs tomorrow.

Itinerary

I’m going to have coffee with my friend D in the morning (who is also graciously watching our pooches for the weekend) and then hit the road around 11. Due to a bike race going on near Silverthorne/Rabbit Ears Pass, I have to take the long way around, making my trip 3.5 hours, instead of 2.5.

No matter! I’ll be rocking the same mini speakers we rocked all the way to Yellowstone and back (since the radio in our Focus is still broken).

Heck yes!

Once I get to Steamboat, my plan is to head straight to packet pickup at the Ski Haus and then go check in at the hotel, where Travis will meet me on his return from counting cacti in Middle-of-Nowhere Roosevelt, UT (no joke). He’s been there all week. Apparently, this cactus is an endangered species. Meaning there aren’t a whole lot of them. They were batting .500 on seeing them during the course of a whole day.

From what I’ve heard, Steamboat has a rodeo every Saturday night. If it’s not too late, we might go check that out because I’ve never been to a rodeo. (Shocking, I know.) Otherwise, I figure we’ll just bum around downtown Steamboat, have dinner and call it an early night. Race wakeup calls come early – this one will be at 5:15 am. But usually I sleep so poorly that I’m rearing just to get up and get on with the show already.

And the other details will be saved for the Race Recap to come on Monday. 😉

Time Goals

Things this week haven’t gone *quite* as planned. Both Wednesday and Thursday, I only drank about 40 oz of water. I haven’t stretched since Monday. I couldn’t swim this morning because our gym was closed.

But regardless of all that, I do feel prepared. My time goals for this race are between 3:17:30 (stretch) and 3:32:30 (more realistic). Here’s the breakdown:

Stretch Goals

Swim 43:00

T1 1:30

Bike 1:30:00 (16 mph)

T2 1:00

Run 1:02:00 (10 min/mile)

TOTAL 3:17:30

More Realistic Goals

Swim 45:00

T1 2:00

Bike 1:35:00 (15 mph)

T2 1:30

Run 1:09:00 (11 min/mile)

TOTAL 3:32:30

Why those times?

For the swim, I practiced 825 yards (750 meters) and finished in 21:20. Double that and you have 42:40. But if I wear my wetsuit (which I’m still debating about because the race website said the water is supposed to mid-60s.. BRRR!), I’ll be slower, since the suit limits how much I can bend my legs and therefore, how well I can kick and how fast I can go.

For the bike, I have averaged 16-17 mph in the other races I did this year and I’m definitely in better biking shape now than I was then (thank you Simms!). This bike course is downhill on the way out and uphill on the way back and the elevation map looks sweet (for the first half) and nasty (for the last half).

But the good news is that the elevation gain/loss is less than 200 feet and the steepest grade is a 2%. But… then I look at my route to work and it says those hills are a 2% grade as well. Crap it.

For the run, I have been running an average pace somewhere between 11:00 and 11:30 on my runs. But for some reason, I run faster after I bike. In the Greeley Tri, I managed a 10:21 pace and in the Boulder Sunrise, I did a 11:00 pace. So in essence, I’m looking for a miracle. I guess I’m still hoping that someday, I can get back to consistently running 10 minute miles as my slowest pace instead of my fastest. I try to remind myself that last year, I was consistently running 12:30s – so I have made progress.

This triathlon will be my longest workout ever by at least 30 minutes (if you don’t include hiking). My longest workout previously was my slowest half marathon, which I finished in 2:44:44.

Fueling

I plan on fueling on race day by eating my traditional bagel with peanut butter. I’m also going to try to eat a banana before starting, since this race will be so much longer than a Sprint. On the bike, I will eat 1 whole pack (6 blocks) of Shotbloks, with 3 blocks at 45 minutes and 3 blocks very soon before I get off the bike.

I will eat 3 more blocks on the run around the halfway point. I will also have another piece of bread with peanut butter on it in transition for me to grab if I’m hungry before heading out on the run, since Shotbloks are more to replace electrolytes than to fill you up.

And then, the best part, I’ll have an Athlete’s Honey Milk waiting for me at the finish line! I tried these for the first time at the Greeley Tri and loved them. Since they’re $2.50 a bottle, I only use them for special occasions – like this race!

**Warning: Poop picture ahead**

Speaking of last night, and taking Charlie to the vet, and the pooping I mentioned in the title of this post, I had an incredibly disgusting experience when I came home last night. As I walked into the garage, I thought I smelled something funny. My first thought was Travis’ disgusting hockey gear, but no, it didn’t quite smell right. I was still wondering when I opened the laundry room door and was greeted by this:

I cannot even begin to describe how gross it was. The smell was beyond words. Poopy pawprints were on the door, the wall, the washer and dryer – everywhere.

I put the dogs outside, entered the house through the front door, and changed into old work clothes. I put my hair up, grabbed some rubber gloves, found a sheetrock mask of Trav’s, and got out the paper towels, a bucket and a sponge.

And Denver just had to set a record high of 99 degrees yesterday so I had sweat rolling down my face as I scrubbed and tried my darnedest not to gag. After I was done in the laundry room, I took the dogs one by one and gave them each a bath. Ick.

The room still stunk this morning. Once Travis gets home, we’re going to clean the crap out of it – literally.

So that’s why I’m taking Charlie to the vet. No dog in their right mind (or right bowel?) should ever do that. Poor Katy was subjected to Charlie’s poopy mess for who knows how long. And Charlie has been slinking around all night and all morning, like she’s incredibly embarrassed that I caught her deprecating in her own sleeping space. It happens, Charlie. Once. It happens once. It better not happen again…

……

I’m scared to go home.

___________________________

Anyway, have a lovely weekend readers! I’ll catch you all Monday!

Where’s the panic?

25 Aug

{source}

I’m sure this has happened to you. You’re walking through a parking lot, or sitting on a restaurant patio, or chilling in a hotel room – and all of a sudden, a car alarm starts going off.

What’s your reaction?

If you’re anything like me, your reaction is “Ok, where’s the idiot owner who will shut this blasted thing off?”

Not “Someone’s being robbed!” or “A car is being stolen!” but sheer and utter annoyance.

“Gah! Doesn’t that person know I’m trying to watch The Bachelorette here?!?”

How did this happen? 

I’m sure we’ve all observed (but certainly never done ourselves) someone accidentally hit the alarm button on their car remote (aka fob). While the obnoxious alarm cries wolf and echoes off walls, windows, and other cars, the mortified auto owner fumbles around with the remote, pressing every button they can get their fingers on, trying to get the thing to just shut off already.

We’ve also observed those overly sensitive car alarms that bark and hiss at you if you even look at their host car the wrong way. “I won’t let you get within 10 feet of me, so help me God!”

Add together those two situations, and subtract the number of times you’ve actually seen a car alarm going off because the car was being stolen (most likely zero, unless you live in North Denver), and you have the amount of times no one will panic when a car alarm goes off.

I recently observed a similar thing. I was at the grocery store on Tuesday night, buying ingredients to make Chicken Pesto Pasta and Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars. As I walked through the frozen vegetable aisle on my way to the dairy case, the fire alarm went off. The white lights were flashing, the sirens blaring. I stopped walking and looked around, unsure if it was for real or not. As I did so, I looked at my fellow shoppers.

No one cared.

They all kept shopping as if it there was not a 115 decibel sound ringing in their eardrums. The people in line at the pharmacy just stood there, waiting. Seriously? We are now desensitized even to a fire alarm?

I have to admit, once I saw no one reacted to the fire alarm, I also continued shopping. Meh, if the flames aren’t anywhere near me now, I definitely still have time to escape if the fire is real.

These two situations are prime examples of when technologies that are supposed to be helpful end up failing miserably. The thing about technologies is that they’re still being used for and by humans. Until we’re out of the picture, we just have to admit that they’re not going to function like they were intended to. We are continually messing things up, finding ways around them.

It’s too much work to panic every time a car or fire alarm goes off. So we just stop panicking altogether.

Although, I had this thought as I stood in line at the Express Lane 15-item Self-Checkout behind a guy who obviously had something more like 40 items, the fire alarm still blaring away: if the sprinklers went off in addition to the alarm, there would be a greater likelihood of people clearing out. But I’m sure there would still be that old stubborn lady, bound and determined to buy her prune juice, who would refuse to leave until the flames were licking at her feet.

Dear Lord, save us from ourselves.

(Disclaimer: I realize that standard fire protocol says that you’re not supposed to panic but to proceed to the nearest exit in a calm, controlled manner. But I think we’ve taken that advice a little too literally.)

You know you work for a big corporation when…

24 Aug

As a person with a work history mostly at small non-profits, I have noticed that things in Corporate America look a little bit different.

You know you work for a big corporation when…

  1. You wander around for 5 minutes after work trying to remember where you parked your car that morning.
  2. You don’t work in a building; you work on a campus.
  3. Your office location is 6 digits/letters long, with designations for building, floor, wing and hallway.
  4. You don’t know what 99.995% of the people do who work there.
  5. There are thousands of people working at the same company you’ll never even see, much less meet.
  6. Your campus has its own coffee shop, cafeteria, fitness room and conference center.
  7. You have co-workers in 12 different countries.
  8. There’s a person for everything. (No odd jobs here!)
  9. The marketing department actually has (and uses!) a brand manual and AP style handbook.
  10. Rebranded assets include company cars, conference rooms and hallway signage.
  11. There are indoor walkways connecting each building.
  12. You have 7 different bosses (did you get the memo?).
  13. Your company has its own softball league, no outside participants needed.
  14. You need a security badge just to go to the bathroom.

Do you work for a big corporation? Any insights you’d like to share?

A New Blog Name

23 Aug

Because it’s been a while since I lasted changed my blog name, I decided to change it again.

Just kidding.

But seriously, I did change it again.

Here’s why:

I decided on the name Joy in Being Broken back when I was really questioning my life, my relationship with God, and learning some hard lessons. 99% of my blog posts were about what I was learning and struggling through – I used this blog like a public journal, a space to put my thoughts into order.

While I’m still (obviously) a broken person in need of a Savior, I expanded the scope of my blog when I decided to stop maintaining my old triathlon blog and I just didn’t feel like the old blog name was the right fit anymore.

I have been trying to come up with a new name for the past couple of months. A few ideas I had:

From the Inside Out

My Whole Self

Healthy Inside and Out

Girl + God

But none of them screamed “This is it!” Until I had an epiphany today with this current name: Life, Really.

This name resonated with me for 2 reasons:

1) Like I mentioned last week, I am committed to being an authentic blogger. I don’t sugarcoat things, I don’t hide things and I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. This blog is about my life as it really is.

2) Jesus said in John 10, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” I didn’t know what life was really about until I knew Jesus. So my spiritual posts also reveal what life is, really.

As for the tagline, I chose:

  • “Authentic” for Reason #1 above.
  • “Journey” because, like I mentioned in my last new blog name post, life is a journey: “You grow, you shrink, you step forward, you step backward, you succeed, you fail. But through it all, those who have Christ, have ‘a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain [into the presence of the Father], where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf…’ (Hebrews 6:19-20).”
  • “Faith” because Christ the center of my life and my reason for living.
  • “Fitness” because I love being active and blogging about my athletic feats. 🙂
  • “Fun” because I believe God wants us to enjoy our time here on earth with our family and friends

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

What do you think about my new blog name?

Warrior Dash Recap

23 Aug

The idea first came from our care group leaders, Paul and Carrie – they found out about the Tough Mudder, which is the Warrior Dash on steroids. The main deterrent from that race? The hefty price tag. Once we heard about the Warrior Dash (and the more reasonable cost), there was no question.

Travis was originally going to go on a fishing trip with a couple of buddies that weekend so I signed up to go with 2 other couples. I have no problem being the fifth wheel. Once the fishing trip was off and Travis decided to do the Warrior Dash, it was sold out. Boo!

Anyway, Paul and Carrie, and Leif and Karen stayed up in the mountains Saturday night so me and Charlotte (the best spectator slash cheerleader ever!) drove up Sunday morning. We left my house at 6:30 and arrived to Copper around 7:45. After a round trip on the shuttle because I forgot my ID, we got up to packet pickup, where we found Paul and Carrie. Soon after, Karen and Leif arrived and after bathroom breaks, checking bags, and decking ourselves out in star stickers, we took a picture in front of the Warrior helmet and headed over to the start line.

In case you haven’t figured it out, I dressed up as Rainbow Brite.

Before we knew it, the start line was shooting flames and the race had started. The first approx .5 mile was an out and back dog leg on pavement.

Then we encountered our first obstacle: hanging tires. Amazingly, I emerged on the other side having not gotten hit in the head (totally something I would do). After walking up a hill and running down, we encountered the second: a 4-foot wall to jump over, then another topped with barbed wire to duck under, times 5. The walls were high enough that I had to sit on top and swing my legs over. Other people (including Paul from our group) could swing their legs over. I tried but got rejected.

We walked/jogged around the bend and there was the third, most infamous obstacle: the mud pit. As we watched athletes emerging covered head to toe in mud, we knew we were in for it. Surprisingly, I was all about the mud (I generally don’t like being dirty). As I got in, I sunk in the mud up to my knees. The first thing I noticed was that it was ridiculously hard to walk. My feet were stuck in the muck! (I saw a guy later who had lost his shoe in the pit.) I was able to unstick my feet and wade slowly through the mud. There was real barbed wire strung across the pit, so you had to either crawl on all fours or duck down. I chose to duck down, as I thought it was too deep for me to crawl on my hands. I still got plenty muddy though.

The muddy group

The next .25 mile was slippery, slimy mud. You couldn’t run so much as you could waddle, trying not to fall over. We were still slipping and sliding when we came upon our next obstacle: a spider’s web of bungees. The tricky part about this one was not stepping off the bungees too quickly and tripping the person behind you.

Up another hill and across a very muddy puddle, we came upon #5: a plastic tarp stretched across a wooden frame, which you had to go under. The clearance was about 3 feet so you had to crawl through on all fours. We were surprisingly winded when we came out.

We walked up a hill, turned the corner and there was another obstacle: the plank – 2 x 4’s with rungs set up across a frame. You had to walk up the first board on an incline, across another board, up another board, and down the other side. This was definitely a test in balance – it’s surprisingly difficult to walk the line while going up an incline. But everyone made it!

Then, we came upon the Mega Hill. We walked it. That was perhaps the most surprising thing about the race: all the people walking. This is definitely a race done by 95% of participants for fun (I’m sure there still are hard-core runners who do it) – much more so than a regular race. Oh and there were way more hills than a regular race.

We reached the top of the hill and ran down to the next obstacle: a wooden frame with ladders on both sides and a cargo net across the top. I saw one lady do the roll to get over the net. I opted, once again, for the all fours approach. Another obstacle done!

The next obstacle was soon after: a 15-foot upside-down V with a ladder on one side and then on the other, 2 rungs and a solid piece of plywood for the bottom 6 feet. I got myself over the top, got my feet to the bottom rung, and then slid down as slowly as my little arms would let me. Done!

As we ran back into the Copper Mountain village, we encountered a similar obstacle – another (taller) upside-down V covered in a cargo net. This one was a little tricky because the net moved around a lot. And the top was very high off the ground. Leif was not a fan.

We continued on through the village and came to the 2nd to last obstacle. This one was, in my opinion, the hardest – or should I say the most technically challenging. It was another upside-down V. The side facing us was solid wood with ropes strung down to the bottom. The back was a very widely spaced ladder. I was a little skeptical that my wee little arms could pull the rest of my body up the side of that steep ramp but amazingly, I did it! But then the trick was to get over the top. My strategy was to swing my left leg up and get my foot over the lip for leverage. Then I pulled the rest of my body over. And done! I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle on that one though.

Finally, we were on the home stretch: the FIRE! We ran past some condos, crossed a bridge and there it was. The flames were higher than I had expected so you definitely had to jump plenty high to ensure nothing got singed.

A few hundred yards more and we crossed the finish line to be greeted with water, bananas and a medal. We did it!

The race was definitely a blast, especially because I did it with 4 other people. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it as much doing it by myself – it was fun to talk about the difficulty of the obstacles, to watch each other complete them, and cheer after each successful one.

The race organization was some of the best I’ve seen (especially for a 5K distance) – all of the volunteers knew what they were doing, packet pickup was set up perfectly to avoid long lines and confusion, email communications were informative and timely, and they have plenty of useful information on their website. There were hot showers at the finish line (the Warrior Wash), they had lots of options for food and swag, and their music and announcements were loud enough to be heard. I have to say that I was impressed. (And I worked for a race company last year so I know a lot of what goes into an event like that!) It’s obvious that Warrior Dash organizers have gotten this race series down to a science. Case in point: their medals, while still cool, aren’t specific to the location you do – perfect for organizers because they can order 100,000 or however many racers they have and use the same medal for all races. Genius for a series like this!

So, all in all, this was a great experience and I would recommend this race series to anyone interested in doing a mud run. Can’t wait to do another!

Weekly Recap: 8/15 – 8/21

22 Aug

I’ve finally made it to taper week! While some athletes hate tapering, I love it with big puffy hearts. I mean, I’ve been waiting 3 months for an excuse to sit around and read instead of exercise! I’m definitely not complaining.

Since I ran the Warrior Dash yesterday, this past week was a kind of quasi-taper – in that, I still worked out but planned my workouts so that I wouldn’t be ridiculously tired. I took Saturday off completely and we went out for sushi, then to the Carnation Festival in Wheat Ridge for a fried Twinkie, a funnel cake and one of the best fireworks shows I’ve ever seen… seriously. Wheat Ridge does it right. And I was having so much fun that I forgot to record my workouts so I’m going purely on memory here people.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 7 mile run (1:18:15)

During this run, I tried an improvised Galloway method by running 9 minutes and walking 1. A couple of times, I got into the running zone and forgot to walk. But I remembered for the most part. It did help my pace – I ran an average 11:07/mile instead of the 11:39 pace I ran back on August 3rd. So if I feel like I have to walk during the tri next weekend, I will try to do a regular interval like this.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 750 yard open water swim

Friday: 18.5 mile bike on trainer

I discovered that the reason I hate being on my bike trainer so much is that I hate leaning over. It makes my butt hurt and my arms hurt. I don’t mind it sitting up. So I’m thinking that maybe I need a longer handlebar stem. And potentially a different seat. But those changes will have to be saved for after my tri next weekend.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Warrior Dash 5K 

Official time was 49:40.

Official costume was Rainbow Brite.

Weekly Totals:

Swim: 750 yards

Bike: 18.5 miles

Run: 10.1 miles

My focus this coming week will be:

1. Get lots of sleep – as in, go to bed at 7:30 to fall asleep by 8:30. Hehe. Travis is gone all weekend to count cacti in NE Utah so this will be a lot easier than if he were here.

2. Drink at least 64 oz of water a day (not counting water during workouts) and eat normal amount of carbs (60-70% of calories).

3. Stretch a ton.

4. Think through/practice transition again (I haven’t raced since the middle of June!) Don’t want to forget anything important!

5. Enjoy the time off! For this week, I’m planning on doing one workout of each discipline, very easy effort, for about half the race distance. Right now, I’m thinking run tomorrow, bike Thursday, swim Friday (other days off). I’ll take next week pretty easy but then it’s back at it (in a lesser degree) for a sprint tri in Sept and a 10K in October (the half marathon relay).

After the October race, I’m seriously giving myself the green light to not workout for an entire two weeks. If I feel like running, fine. If I want to do yoga, fine. But if I have no inkling whatsoever to do anything besides lay on the couch, bake chocolatey goodness, or get caught up around the house, then I won’t.

Warrior Dash recap coming up!

A Day in the Life

19 Aug

I always find it interesting to see what other people’s days look like (shoutout to SUAR!) so here’s one of mine (though not every day involves so much dog drama, clothes changing, and bean throwing. 🙂)

2:45 am — Get up to pee and decide to let the dogs out while I’m up. Charlie does not go. Go back to bed.

4:30 — Hear dogs moving around. Get up and feed them so I can leave them in the laundry room. Go back to bed.

4:45 — Hear dogs whining. Get up and let them out of the laundry room. Go back to bed.

4:50 — Realize that Charlie might have to pee now so get up to take her outside. She doesn’t go.

4:55 — Come back inside to see that Charlie didn’t go outside because she had already gone inside, right after getting out of the laundry room. Clean pee up and go back to bed.

6:00 — Alarm goes off for the first time.

7:00 — Finally get up after many, many hits to the snooze button, and eat breakfast.

“Do I look like a trouble maker?”

“Not to me.”

7:15 — Evaluate my hair in the mirror and decide to wash it. Hop in the shower.

7:25 — Do my hair and makeup.

7:40 — Get dressed in Outfit #1.

7:50 — Set up iron and ironing board for wrinkly shirt. Make lunch and snacks while waiting for iron to heat up.

From left to right: banana; Laughing Cow Sun-dried Tomato & Basil cheese; Triscuits; Colorado peach; 2 clementines; leftover Baked Mac & Cheese; spinach salad with craisins, feta, almonds and poppyseed dressing; and bing cherries. (For the record, I didn’t eat the clementines or peach and I ate the banana right before our swim.)

8:00 — Iron shirt and promptly decide to change out of the skirt.

8:03 — Get dressed in Outfit #2.

Eh. Not feelin’ it.

8:07 — Get dressed in Outfit #3. Winner. (Or I just no longer care.)

8:10 — Sit down for a short time in the Word.

8:25 — Make iced coffee while talking to the husband.

8:33 — Leave for work.

9:05 — Arrive at work. Our campus is comprised of four buildings like this one:

The desk where I will spend the next 8 mind-numbing hours being extremely bored:

At least the campus is pretty:

3:00 pm — Actually have work to do! Last 2 hours fly by.

5:05 — Time to go home! Traffic is bad but there are pretty views.

I can see Denver from my car!

5:35 — Arrive home. Let pooches out to pee while I check on our zucchini jungle garden.

Mmm… sweet cherry tomatoes.

Yes, our winter squash grew through the fence.

5:45 — Feed pooches. Travis gets home.

6:00 — Decide to do an open water swim so we change and leave.

6:35 — Get to Big Soda swimming beach.

The water’s actually not that bad once you get used to it. Decide that the water is too choppy for an extended swim (hello, water up the nose!) so do roughly 750 yards and get out.

7:10 — Drive home and take a shower to rid me of algae and stank. Eat Stacy’s Pita Chips while writing grocery store list.

7:40 — Travis takes dogs for a ride to the auto parts store and I go to the grocery and liquor stores to buy some dinner necessities.

8:15 — Get home and start making dinner (Spicy Crab Salad) while Travis grills some corn on the cob and waters the lawn.

8:20 — Crack open a glorious Mike’s Hard Black Cherry Lemonade. Hits the spot.

8:35 — Finally sit down to dinner. Delicious!

8:55 — Leave the dinner table in a huff after an intense debate on whether healthy eating involves carbs (one of those conversations where Travis and I probably agree but just can’t seem to communicate in a way that we both understand).

9:00 — Make Travis not do the dishes because he faked throwing my black beans in the garbage. (Hey – I was angry and nonsensical and didn’t want any innocent food to meet an unfortunate end.)

9:10 — Dishes done. Watch Downsized for a bit, feeling pretty good about our financial choices.

9:45 — Decide I need to go to bed so brush my teeth, make the bed (I can’t stand getting in a messy bed!), and soon after, Travis follows.

10:30 — Finally asleep, after laying awake thinking about what we’re going to do with the dogs on our upcoming trips, what my Warrior Dash outfit is going to look like, and how nervous I am to freeze my butt off during the Oly Tri in just a little over a week.

Whew!

Par for the Course

18 Aug

{source}

Travis and I joined the projection team at church recently as leader/co-leader and fellow projectioneers. (I just made that word up.) Having a responsibility on Sunday morning again (we worked in the toddler room until I took the job with Your Cause Sports in January of 2010) has brought into sharp focus how much church we will be missing over the course of the next month and a half, as well as how uncharacteristically busy we’ve been this summer. When we first moved out to Colorado, we hardly ever had weekend plans. Now, we hardly ever don’t. Since I’ve been reminiscing on everything we’ve done since June and are still planning on doing before November, I thought I’d share it with you.

June 4-5: Boulder Sunrise Sprint Tri

June 11-12: Greeley Sprint Tri (missed church)

June 18-19: Visited our friends, Jon and Chasta, in Divide, Colorado

June 25-26: OPEN WEEKEND! That’s shocking.

July 2-4: Got my butt kicked Backpacked on the Eaglesmere Trail near Silverthorne (missed church)

July 9-10: Ran 5 mile trail run in Evergreen, hosted care group BBQ

July 16-17: Birthday weekend! Dinner, bowling and ice cream Friday; Bike ride from Frisco to Breckenridge, BBQ and Rockies game Saturday

July 23-24: Arrived in Minnesota on Saturday; Day of relaxation Sunday! (missed church)

July 30-31: Cousins wedding on Saturday; Drove back to Colorado on Sunday (missed church)

August 5-7: Care Group camping trip near Twin Lakes, Colorado (missed church)

August 13-14: Helped friends move on Saturday

August 20-21: Warrior Dash at Copper Mountain (will miss church)

August 27-28: Steamboat Springs Olympic Triathlon (will miss church)

September 2-5: Going to visit our good friends, Mark and Sarah Norman, in Charlotte for the first time in FOUR years! (will hopefully go to church with them, but will miss our church)

September 10-11: OPEN WEEKEND! I am going to do NOTHING this weekend (except maybe eat). Travis will be antelope hunting.

September 17-18: Crescent Moon Sprint Tri (and potentially my parents in town)

September 24-25: OPEN WEEKEND! (I think…)

October 1-2: Cousin’s wedding in Minnesota (flying back this time! will miss church)

October 8-9: Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Relay (will miss church)

October 15-16: Travis’ family in town for elk season (will miss church)

October 27-28: OPEN WEEKEND!

Before we know it, it’ll be November! I am seriously putting my foot down on doing anything in November. I will make absolutely no plans for anything (unless it’s for my mom coming out to visit). I don’t want to go anywhere for Thanksgiving. Heck, I don’t even care if we celebrate. I am SO DONE with being busy, it’s ridiculous.

There are some people who wouldn’t bat an eye at this kind of schedule. And I have to admit that most of this was my own doing (see how many races I have on the calendar – the most I’ve done in a year ever!!) and all of it is fun stuff. But even when we only have something going on one day out of the weekend, the other day is spent catching up on laundry, dishes, cleaning, grocery shopping, fitting in workouts, and diminishing all the piles of crap that seem to magically accumulate during the week.

I have amazingly not had a meltdown through all of this (I am not a person who has historically handled busyness very well) but I can tell that I’m on the precipice because I keep daydreaming and fantasizing about laying on the couch, pretending to be sick so I don’t have to go to work, cancelling plans with friends, rejecting party invitations, having no social life, and sleeping beautiful 70 degree days away in my swamp-cooled house. The simple truth:

I need a break!!

I am counting down the days (22!!) to my open weekend on September 10-11. It will seriously be awesome.