Monday, August 31, 2009

Michelle says...the good, the bad, and the broken!

My Dear Jutin has a stress fracture! He's limping around the house like a drunk horse. He is absolutely distraught about the whole matter. The Doc said it was caused to "overuse, which is common in runners." Yeah for him. He should be back in the saddle 3-6 weeks. We do have a B race coming up in 3 weeks (Daybreak Olympic triathlon) that he will hopefully be able to do. It has been bitter-sweet for me. I have been doing enough training for the both of us. This past Saturday I completed a 20 miler, followed by a 23 mile bike ride with a friend and then went hiking with the family (4 miles) on Sunday. Ohhh and did I mention that I get to do most of the running around the house, chasing kids, fetching this and that, and so on? I know I would not trade places with Justin for anything. It sucks to be side-lined. This will be a test for both of us.

Happy healing Honey,


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Michelle says.... its good to be back!

My first week back into training! It feels great. I have missed my track workouts and swimming intervals. I'm getting so excited for St. George! I need to figure out my nutrition strategy. This weekends 20 miler should help. I am going to meticulously plan every mile! When I eat, what I eat, what I drink etc.

Never puke again,


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Michelle says...

Ahhhh...... my legs still work! Well after 4 days of sleeping 10 hours, eating everything in sight, and sitting on my you-know-what, I am ready to get back in the pool, saddle and pound the pavement. Like taper week, the week after a race is the same-rest, rest rest. I am really bad at rest (just ask Justin). I love to train constantly. The only thing that gets me to rest is knowing that I could get faster by doing so. I will be ready to hit-it-hard come Monday! I can't wait.

St. George Marathon here I come!

Happy training (and resting)

Monday, August 17, 2009

We did it!! But not without some drama...

The Utah Half Triathlon Entry Fee's = $280

Wetsuit Purchase/Rental = $200

Gym membership fee's = $1000

Getting our asses kicked by mother nature for 70 miles = PRICELESS!

You've gotta love this picture of Michelle. It sums up how I assume everybody felt after finishing this race...and I quote, "Holy sh&*, am I done yet? Excuse me, where is the bathroom, so I can puke my guts out?" Man oh man, what a race...

We've all heard those stories that seem just a little to dramatic to be true. You know, the one where your grandparents had to walk ten miles to school with no shoes. Up hill both ways in six inches of snow...blah blah blah. Yeah whatever, I was born at night, but not last night. Well, we now have our own version of this story! You decide how much of it to believe...

Let me begin by telling you that Michelle and I are a couple of tough cookies. Rain, sleet, snow, does not deter us from our training. (That or we're on the verge of going postal...forgive the pun.) Seriously though, we do 99% of our cardio training outdoors. It doesn't matter if there is 6 inches of snow on the ground and a 20 mile training run awaits, we're out there trudging along. Well I thought we were tough, until this Saturday.

It all started so peacefully. Awake at 4:45 AM, on the road by 5:15. Weather was calm and clear. It looked like a beautiful day for a race. Living in Utah though, if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes and it'll change. Had we only known then we could have faked an injury, called in sick, called in dead, whatever.

After setting up our transition area, getting the body markings (which we both still have days later), and standing in line for the porta potties, we were pumped and ready for the swim. (By the way, let me mention, there is nothing worse than a pre-race porta potty. I'm so glad I'm a guy, yuck!) As we begin to walk to the swim area, not even 10 seconds after leaving transition, the wind starts to pick up. Not too big of a deal, at least there is no lightening, right? Still pumped for the swim....whimper! By the time we get to the swim start, the wind is howling, at least 80 MPH. Okay maybe only 20-30 MPH, but bad enough to wreak havoc on the swim buoys. So much so that we couldn't start the swim. The wait begins...second whimper.

15 minutes...oh boy. Watching the wind blowing, white caps start showing in the swim course. With my swim skills it was like showing a little kid a horror movie, and then asking them to sleep in the basement alone that same night. Ain't happening...

30 minutes...are you kidding me. I had totally pumped myself up for this 1.2 mile swim, and now waiting 30 minutes in the cold wind was more than I could take....double whimper.

The swim begins...

Finally, after a 40 minute wait, we are instructed that there is enough time for 1 loop of the two mile course. In total maybe 3/4 of a mile. I mustered up enough of my strength to convince myself it wouldn't be that bad. Big mistake. About three minutes into the swim, I'm going strong. Front middle of the pack swimming strong. I go to take a breath right at the same time one of the waves decides to crash down on my head. I know, I'm not a strong swimmer, but I'm not dumb enough to breathe while my head is still least not usually. Oops...that hurt. Okay, time to regroup, I can do this. Just need to get my composure, flop onto my back for a little regroup. wave smashes me. Now I'm ticked...can't swim in this crappy water, can't float on my back, how the he$% am I going to survive this swim? Ahh...I realize we're in Utah Lake. Shallow enough in certain spots to walk. Must find shallow water. Much to my relief, I find a small shallow spot. I know what you're thinking...sorry to disappoint, but no I'm not too proud to walk during a swim. Anything to survive. Yet another strong swim...outta the water in 223rd place, out of 258 participants. But at least I'm alive. On to T1.

Pull the wetsuit off, socks, shoes, and helmet on. Grab the bike, and look who it is...Michelle. She started 10 minutes after me, and she's almost passed me already...brutal. Oh well, at least I'm not floating like that dead carp near the swim entrance. Grab the bike and I'm off...wait a second, my right calf is completely cramped up, the da%$ swim strikes again. Ugh!

No time to waste, 56 miles of peaceful asphalt ahead. Peaceful? I guess if you were one of those people who chase tornado's for a living you might have considered this bike peaceful. Forty mile an hour winds the entire time. Of course, riding into the wind the entire time. C'mon - what do you mean you don't believe that? Okay, fine...we did have that little stretch into the side wind. In all seriousness, the wind was whipping the entire ride. Although shorter than the Tour De Park City, this ride was 10 times tougher. I remember laughing to myself several times during the ride..."What the he$% am I doing? This is craziness." To top things off, as we turned North to head back to the race hub, we caught a glimpse of the "Storm of the Century" that was causing all this havoc. I'm talking about the biggest, blackest, nastiest looking storm I've seen in a long time. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that we were riding our bikes right into the teeth of this sucker. I can only imagine this is how the soldiers in the Civil War felt as they were heading into battle. You can see the enemy and you basically just run right into the middle of the scrum. Sounds appealing, huh?

Well, of course this race wouldn't have been complete without the rain. With about 10 miles to go, we finally hit the rain. By this time, everybody looked absolutely drained. Fighting the wind had just sucked the life out of us. On a scale of 1 to 10, had I been asked to rate myself, I would have given myself a 2. Not good considering I wasn't off the bike yet and still had a half marathon to run. Things were looking bleak, not to mention I was completely out of food, water, and gatorade. Big mistake...and on top of it all, I was soaked to the bone, and cold. Yes, cold in Utah. Oh well, at least I can put on a nice pair of dry shoes for the run. Oh sh*%, my shoes are in the transition area, completely exposed! They're drenched too...

Somehow I managed to limp my way in on the a little burst of energy seeing some family at the transition area. Grabbed some food for the run and was off. For all you seasoned racers, you've all heard the warnings...DO NOT TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY!!! Well, that's exactly what I did...and it was great! Of course, nobody has said I'm the sharpest knive in the drawer. Plus, I'm getting older and my hearing isn't that good anymore, just ask Michelle. What was that? Did someone say something? Huh, oh well...back to the story.

The run for me was actually the most enjoyable part of the race. I ate a 12 course meal...bananas, pretzels, Nilla wafers, gummy bears, M&M's, granola bars, it was great. After having been wiped on the bike, my body responded well to the fuel and I ran a strong race 1 hr 41 minutes. Not a PR, but a good run regardless. The run course was say the least. Someone described it as a spider. Run out for a leg, come back to the middle, run out to another leg, come back to the middle for two loops. It was actually refreshing, as we were able to see friends and family several times and that is HUGE for moral. The highlight of the run though, came about 5 miles in. A guy was about 200 hundred yards in front of me, but I was closing fast. Suddenly, I see a stream of water shooting to the right...what the he&*? This dude is peeing mid-run. He didn't even slow down! Amazing...I'm just glad I was still behind him. Yikes.

All in all, after a shaky swim, I was able to ride and run strongly and finish in 27th place overall. Breaking the 5 hour mark by 45 seconds. Although the swim was cut short, I think the wind and rain made up for it. The race director made an attempt at humor before the swim began, and I quote, "The two lap swim isn't important, you're going to get more wet on the bike and run." HA HA HA...shut up! Boy was he right.

Michelle was strong as usual. 19th female overall, 5 hours 30 minutes...and looking stunning as she came across the finish line. She's one sexy triathlete. Nice job babe!

So there you have it. Our first 70.3...or or 69.8, whatever! I'll leave you with this...I've now done four triathlons this year. The first had rain and temps in the forty's, the second had rain and wind, the third was unseasonably HOT, and the Utah Half...see above for weather description. MOTHER NATURE HATES TRIATHLON. least the ones I choose to do!

Tri and Run a little this week. You'll feel much better, don't let the above scare you. We can't wait for our next race.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The dreaded taper! Michelle says....

Justin in the kitchen. Look closely those are garden tomatoes which he used to make homemade pizza sauce! Very healthy, immune-boosting and delicious! Love the apron Honey!

I really have a hard time tapering for a big race. I feel lazy and a little sluggish. I heard somewhere that during a taper you are more likely to get a cold (knock on wood). I've been lucky this season to not have contracted any colds or the flu (knock on wood again). I attribute it all to training and eating right. During training your immune system is working very efficiently. I also believe that you are constantly "flushing" toxins out of your body during a hard sessions. Combine that with taking in a ton of fluid (h20) and its no wonder why athletes are less likely to get sick (K on W). So there you have it. I hate to taper for the above listed reasons. Two days to go!! I'll try not to worry myself sick!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tour de Park City- Michelle says...

Here we are after the ride. A trip on a gondola to a concert to celebrate 7 years together!

Ages and ages hence three roads diverged into Jeremy Ranch and cyclists took the one with the dead end. Although the tour took...well... a detour to start, it did turn out to be an enjoyable ride. We had perfect weather. The morning was a little chilly but once you started riding you warmed right up. We are so lucky to live minutes away from absolute stunning scenery. After our first 10 miles we headed out of town and towards the Jordanelle reservoir overlook which was a slight climb to our first refuel station. After that we headed into Francis. Talk about farm country! Cows, horses, barns and fields everywhere. Absolutely gorgeous! We then began our slight climb toward Wolfe Creek Pass. The scenery turned into a small, winding road with a creek bubbling next to us. We could see large pines in the background and an occasional cabin sprinkled about the greenery. Now this tour is considered one of the toughest because of the elevation change. Up (no pun intended) until this point it was an easy ride. We began our accent up Mount Everest ooops... I mean Wolfe Creek Pass. This was a 12 mile climb with the last 6 at 90 degree vertical. We made it to the second aid station with the feeling of an Olympian crossing the finish line. Only, we were at 50 miles which meant 50 more to go.

After refueling we sped down the canyon at 35mph with bugs hitting us with such force that I now know what a windshield feels like. It leveled off and now we enjoyed some flat roads and more farm country. I just love small towns. Kamas is one of them. They have cute little diners, and dairy freezes. It took me back in time to when life was more simple. Before Blackberrys, I-Phones and video games. We saw kids out playing baseball and riding their bikes. It was kind of weird. We approached our final fuel stop and loaded up on more power bars, PB an Js, rice crispy treats and topped off our water bottles. (Since we are mainly runners it is very odd to us that you get to stop for 5-10 minutes and stuff your face. You would never do this in a marathon. If you did it would take you 10 hours to finish and you would poop your pants.)

Anyways, we left our all-you-can-eat buffet and headed out onto a flat road with our climbs behind us or so we thought. A piece of advice for new riders: never talk to another rider who has done this same ride before. I did just that and found out that we had another mountain to climb with not one but two peaks!! Yahoo! I really wasn't too sore at this point but we were approaching 6 hours in the saddle and my butt bones were a little achy and I was tired of sitting. This is where you need that mental strength they talk about. We just kept plugging along. Then the wind came to make out climb even more challenging.

When my cyclometer read 90 miles. I was done. Where was the finish!? We were now climbing on the highway! Did we take a wrong turn (again)? We were being passed by those crazy peleton groups who were completing the 170 mile tour. I tried to join them but they were going 25mph and I felt like a champion at 12mph. The finish came in a very unclimatic manner. Unlike marathons where you get a finishers metal, free food, more grab-bag goodies and such, we were welcomed by food, bikes, and jerseys all...... for purchase! O'well. What an experience! We needed to get used to 100 miles in the saddle if and when we conquer an Ironman.

Happy Anniversary Jus!