Thursday, August 26, 2010

Riding and Riding and Riding..

My first Olympic is rapidly approaching!  3 days and counting!!  A couple weeks ago I decided that it was just too late to deal with my lack of running training, so I would try to amp up my Bike and Swim.  After a few mile swimming workouts, I conceded that I have 'one speed' right now.  So, considering dropping time in the swim  was also a lost cause this late in the game, the only way for me to really gain some time on this race was the bike!
I've had the pleasure of riding with some really strong riders these past couple of weeks.  I really feel bad when this happens, because I know I hold them back, but it also is something we all NEED to do!  I pushed myself to a limit I didn't know I had!  With John and Kevin, no sleep, and terrible fueling, I was able to push out the best time ever on my normal bike loop!

I know I will always make it a point to ride some of my rides with people can push so I can pay it forward!  Thanks guys!  And to the rest of you (you know who you are), I will be ready to ride with you soon!  I promise!

I had my bike re-fit, and it made a tremendous difference and has helped me push myself!  I got my first fit when I purchased the bike. Not only have I changed as a rider, I've quite literally changed in shape, plus I think the first fitting was done with a tape-measure and a protractor!  I spent three hours with Landry's in Westboro, MA and it was worth EVERY PENNY!  They record you, and use a laser  for measurements then you can watch yourself on the monitor with before and after pictures.  She noticed that my seat was too big, (no people I did not buy a big cushy seat, I just had the one that came with the bike)!   Man, I was all over the place, waggling back and fourth!

New seat - waggling gone! - energy conserved!

Next was the placement of my cleats.  She noticed that one of my knees was turning at an awkward angle, so she moved it so my foot was slightly turned in.  It was weird at first, and I'm still having trouble clipping in the first shot, but no more knee pain!!!

She made several other adjustments including changing the way I sit, and set me up to get closer to my aero position. Since I'm hypermobile, she mentioned that I will be much more comfortable bent in half (and I can bend in half)!  I cannot wait to get the new tri-bike!

If all goes well, I will hit 1000 mile mark on my bike DURING the race!  - Then I may be able to retire her from Triathlons in peace!

I had an awesome ride with Ali and Jay in RI last Saturday!  The weather couldn't have been more perfect.  We had intended on 33 miles around Tiverton and Compton, however the directions were incorrect and lead us to a couple of dead ends. 

We drove around through these amazing sights! - That I can't believe I dared to TAKE PICTURES while riding :).

Thanks to everyone that's been riding with me!  I can't do it without you!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Long Strange Summer

It's been a long strange summer!  Six races down and one to go! I thought by this time I would be in tip-top shape, would be ready to run a half-marathon and would be so ready to do my Olympic next weekend!  HAHA!

I still can't run and I'm doing OK on the bike.  I wish I was faster on my swim (don't we all)? but  I'm good with it.  Some day I'm just going to swim until I can't swim anymore to see just how far I can go.  Boredom always gets me first!

This week has been my strongest week so far, I rode with some very strong riders < Thanks Kevin and John D>.  Kevin really is a natural, I can't believe he just started cycling!  They pushed me out of my comfort zone and even though they had a leisure stroll, I had the best time ever on my normal bike loop!    I am also enjoying my new 'fit'- unbelievable what a difference some small adjustments to the bike can make!  I can actually climb a little now!

This week has been crazy, trying to manage getting home, and onto my bike or into the lake before the lifeguards leave, or the sun goes down.  I've turned by bedroom into a transition area, and have now added "put contacts in, change out of work clothes" as part of T1 :).

I plan to ride a nice 33 mile ride tomorrow through some beach towns in RI, then a Bike/Swim on Sunday.  Then I'm onto the taper-week.  It's sad that I'm approaching the last race of the year, but I'm ready to get back to the gym and ready to start getting stronger!  I have a lot more work to do than I thought!

I will be over 4 hours on the Olympic, the run is going to kill me and will probably be half of my time, but I will finish!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Can!

I've been thinking  a ton lately about how crazy I am to think that I can do an Ironman!  This sport is so addicting, and it just makes you want to push yourself to new limits.  I am not fast, I am not an elite athlete, I just like to do it!  Plus I have this 'need' to go to the n-th degree of everything I try!  I have  2 hr sprint and I'm probably going  to have a 4 hr Olympic at the end of the month, I'll probably have a 16:59:59 Ironman (if I'm lucky).  In my mind this is pretty sad since I've been working on this all year.  I've thought a TON about giving up and just keeping with the sprints and keeping with my " I'm last" phenomenon.

I'm very motivated by sports in general, things like the movie Rudy make me cry!  I love sports, I love seeing people overcome obstacles, and just plain managing to "do it."  I've had a tough couple of months, battling my hyper-mobility and most recently I discovered I'm allergic to something and I think its whey!  The whey (if it is that) allergy is lovely considering I'm trying to eat better and fuel properly for the longer races.  The attack put me in a ball on the couch/floor for four days!  FOUR DAYS!  This is in a critical period before my first Olympic tri!  UGH! is all I have to say.  Again, I was ready to give up, and just say "F -it." 

So Sunday rolls around, a friend came over and we were supposed to bike, instead we went shopping.... on a good note, after eating a bunch of crap (chicken fingers, spinach and artichoke dip) I actually felt pretty good!  While stuffing my face, another friend texted me to remind me that KONA was re-airing, so I asked John to record it for me.  Even though I've seen it, I knew I needed the motivation.

For those that don't know, Kona is the Ironman championships, you have to come in top 3 in select OTHER Ironman races during the year in your age group to even qualify for Kona.  - These are the best of the best!  Now there are some others that participate, I'm not quite sure how they get in there, but for the  most part it's the best!

They start out with the athlete stories, first is the woman who had a stroke 2 years ago and was told she would most likely not walk- so what's she do? 2 years later, completes an Ironman!     Next, this man who was born with birth defects that rendered his legs useless and he had them amputated, he completed the swim and the bike but missed the cutoff by 7 seconds.  A 75 year old man who has completed Ironman Kona for 20 years straight.. a Cancer patient, A man who has lost 300 lbs, etc.

Then I think about Rick and Dick Hoyt, I've had the honor of watching them compete in triathlons, I am dumbfounded knowing that  they do IRONMAN too!  Dick is amazing, what I struggle to do as a 36 year old, he does as a 70+ year old PUSHING his son!!!  I have to think, seriously? what is my problem?

I sit and watch these stories and wonder, what the hell am I thinking, I'm just a regular Joe with no excuses, get off my butt and DO IT! 


Because I CAN!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

My First Close Call

Ok, to be honest, it wasn't really my FIRST close call, but it was the one where I thought I might actually get clobbered by a truck. 

I have RoadID on my facebook and they keep posting the terrible accidents that bikers are having and how "roadID" has helped them.  GREAT, but I dont want to read about this daily, nor do I want these things stuck in my head!

I've been lucky until this point.  You can read about one close call earlier in the blog, I broke my arm because I was scared of a truck coming near me.  The truck was doing nothing wrong, nor was he near me, thus it was MY OWN STUPIDITY!    Then once, I had a dog chase me.  I pulled my foot out of the cleat thinking I might have to kick him in the face before he ripped off my leg; luckily he ran out of steam.

Yesterday's incident was closer than those two, and it pissed me off more than scared me! 

I have a 14 mile loop that I ride all the time.  The first 4 miles are pretty dangerous, lots of cars, two interstate on-ramps, a state highway with no breakdown lane, etc.  If I'm going to get hit or have a close call anywhere, I expect it to be in these 4 miles.  Then the rest of it is on  nice rolling hills, through back roads and usually limited traffic (it's the Webster, Danskin Tri course for anyone that knows that).

I left the scary area unscathed, and started up 'the hill' - I was pleasantly surprised at my ability to climb the hill too!  I had my bike re-fitted on Wednesday, then went for a 28 mile ride on Sat.  The re-fitting and new saddle make for a sore ride, especially on day 2.  The ride on Sat was very flat so I had no idea what the affect would be on the climb on Sunday.  It was amazing, I was at least 2x faster!   It's crazy what you can do when your body is in the right position and you're actually USING the muscles!  So I got to the top of the hill, said hello to Cutter, (the horse that lives at the top), then started the descent.  I was on quite the high, I might actually be able to beat my time today, even with the sore rear!

At the bottom of the hill there's a hard right turn, then from here I can really crank it.  There are lots of road, usually no cars, and you can see a good distance ahead.  I can usually go the speed limit (or faster).  I came to the crest of this little hill and was approaching about 25mph, and I saw this large box truck on the left sticking out of a driveway.  He looked RIGHT AT ME!  now, I have an ORANGE BIKE, I was wearing HOT-PINK, AND I was going OVER the speed limit!  He hesitated, twice, then proceeded to pull out!  Of course he doesn't know how to drive either and pulls out that he takes up the ENTIRE road and basically STOPS in the middle.  Luckily I saw him, and anticipated what he was going to do, so I put on the brakes before I got to him.  There really was no where for me to go either, he was covering the entire road, and the side of the road was a brick wall! 

His wife or someone else was behind him in another car (same driveway).  Man did I curse him, it's been a long time since I rode one handed for that long ;).. I know he heard me too!  I turned to the wife, (who saw the whole thing) and proceeded to scream what a Jackass the man in the truck was..   I hope she tore him a new one when they got to wherever they were going.

So the rest of the ride, I was just fuming, then kept thinking of the RoadID accident reports where people are REALLY getting clobbered by trucks!  I know I'm lucky, but really, how do we get people to not be so stupid? (not in my lifetime, I know)...