Thursday, May 24, 2012

Indoor Cycling = :(

Last week I posted about my wonderful weekend biking the Casa River Century.  I loved every minute of it and I plan on doing a century every month this summer, and possibly some in the fall as well.  Today I am back to reality.

I just spent an hour and fifteen minutes on a stationary bike.  It felt 100 times longer than the century last Saturday.

I recently read that two hours on a bike trainer is equal to three hours on the road because you aren't coasting/ stopping at traffic lights etc.  I beg to differ.  My Garmin begs to differ.

I was blessed to have my little brother in town this week and he took the kids so I was able to bike to work Tuesday and Wednesday.  For kicks I wore my Garmin and heart rate monitor.  It's a 5 mile commute each way -- not an endurance ride --  but it was an excellent workout.  Lots of hills.  My heart rate hovered between 120 on flats and 150 on hills.

I haven't been using the gym much lately because quite frankly I'd much rather be outside, but Jamie wanted to run outside this afternoon so I took the kids to Lifetime (side note:  Jack is FINALLY old enough to be in the BIG KID room meaning I don't have to reserve a place in the baby room and can just drop them off whenever I feel like it. Woot woot!)  My plan was to do the bike on my own and listen to 50 Shade of Grey and do five intervals with recoveries and finish with some easy spinning.  

Well the warm up was pathetic.  My heart rate hovered at 98 - 100 beats per minute which isn't even Zone 1.  Fifteen minutes into the workout I heard "Gretchen Lynch, please report to the child center!"  Ugh.  Jack probably did a number in his diaper.  I hopped off the bike, changed him, and decided I'd try spinning class since it was starting at that time anyhow.

It was torture.  I hated every minute of it.  Don't get me wrong, the instructor was good.  But I just couldn't get into it.  The workout consisted of a warm up (heart rate hovered around 110 - still not even Zone 1), 3 endurance hill sessions that were supposed to be in Zone 3 (they weren't -- heart rate was about 125), and a couple of high cadence intervals (heart rate still 130.. Zone 2...barely.)  She kept trying to get us to visualize hills and other cyclists, but all I could see were ceiling fans, hardwood floors and a bunch of spinner bikes that weren't going anywhere. Final digits -- average beats per minute was 112 (yup, that's not even at 65%) and my max was 141 (Zone 2 -- not 4 where it should have been.)

Once school is out I'll be able to bike outside more often.  Thank goodness. Because the spinner is a new form of torture I didn't know existed until this Ironman training began.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Casa River Century

Couldn't be happier with this weekend!  What a great ride -- perfect weather, rolling hills, gorgeous scenery, great race organization, and in a quaint little getaway town.

Let's back up to Wednesday evening, though.  Susie came down with a 102.5 fever and I started to worry that our little getaway weekend wasn't going to happen. I almost kissed the doctor when she said it was strep throat.  Strep - it goes away in 24 hours!  If she's gonna be sick (and then consequently get me sick), strep I will take.  With both of us on antibiotics by Friday we were good to go.

Since Susie and Jack's babysitter had a daughter graduating from college on Friday I was home with the kids anyway.  I scheduled Jack's one year appointment (healthy!  Still 13% for weight, but doing great!) in the morning and spent the afternoon packing the car.  Quite a feat to get a suit case, bike trailer, two bikes packed with a preschooler and a toddler screaming for attention, but we got it done and almost on time.  I picked up Jamie and 3:30 and we were on our way!  Unfortunately I chose the wrong route to get there -- rather than interstate (Beltway to 270) I attempted the backgrounds.  Bad idea.  It took us 3 hours whereas it should have taken maybe 2 in the traffic (granted that included a McD stop for Susie and later a Jack snack attack.)  At any rate by the time we checked in the hotel it was close to 7.  Jamie wanted to get a run in (sidenote: I forgot to pack his clothes so he wore mine.  There is nothing like seeing your husband in size XS women's Addidas shorts.) so we skipped dinner out.  I headed to packet pickup after he returned and then found an amazing Italian place that did takeout.  Carbo loading is such a prereward.  I wanted to get to bed early but Susie was way too excited and didn't fall asleep til 11.  Poor Jamie, who was not only doing the quarter century with both kids in the bike trailer but also in charge of checking out of the hotel, would have to deal with a little girl with too little sleep.

5:30am came all to soon.  I had told the ladies I was riding with that I'd get there between 6 and 6:15.  Of course as soon as I got out of the hotel, my chain dropped. Luckily I do know how to fix this now :)  I biked the mile to the start and Karen had been waiting awhile.  I felt bad because she came all the way from Falls Church and I think left her house at 3:30am, and I'm the one who wanted to leave so early.  At any rate, Katie wasn't there yet.  She stayed overnight at a friend's and I guess the drive was longer than anticipated.  Karen and I did get to enjoy the awesome spread -- Panera coffee and bagels, muffins, bananas -- and once Katie arrived we took off.

Somewhere before the first rest stop we missed a turn and added over a mile to the bike computer.  Of course.  A century is never a century. I wasn't sure if Karen had missed the turn or not so I waited for her and Katie went on.  Apparently she did NOT miss the turn because I was the last one to turn up to the rest stop.  I ate cookies.  Chocolate chip cookies. I was not paying any attention to my nutrition.  I guess eventually I should fuel my rides with whatever I will be riding with on race day.  For now though - I'll stick with Chips Ahoy.

Somewhere between the first and second rest stop Karen had some mishap with her back and said she wasn't sure she'd finish the second loop. Now I felt terrible - not that I can control her back - but she got up at 2:30am, waited for me, and now was injured.  :(

I chose this event because the terrain is very similar to the Louisville course and I'm happy to say I did okay with the climbing.  In fact, the three of us kept chicking guys on the climbs.  Guys do not like to be chicked. Every time Karen and I  passed them (Katie had gone ahead) , they had a comment for us.  Whatever.  I'm stealing this from someone else's blog, but we are FEMALE!  Fe= Iron and MALE= Man.  We are Ironmans.  Er something.

We made it through the first loop (and my bike computer said 52 miles.. Grr.....) and Karen decided not to risk her back getting worse since she had a race coming up in two weeks so she took off.  Bummer.  :(

About ten minutes into the lower loop we passed Jamie.  Susie and Jack were fast asleep in the bike trailer.  But... wait a second.  I was not supposed to pass Jamie.  There were two quarter century routes -- one that was part of our route and therefore extremely hilly, and one that was along the C&O towpath and therefore free of motor vehicles, generally flat, and advertised as "great for rides with children." That was the one I had signed Jamie up for.  Leave it to him to grab the wrong cue sheet.  I have NO idea how he was doing those hills with a mountain bike and 55 pounds of kid in a trailer.  I also don't even want to know how dangerous the downhills were.  I was flying down them at 30 miles an hour without pedaling.  Susie and Jack must have been getting quite the roller coaster ride.  At any rate... Kudos to him.  His new name is Superdad.

I spent the next 30 miles trying to keep up with Katie. I hadn't gone over 56 miles since.... the last century I did with Katie, which was about 21 months ago.  I believe she told me she hated me somewhere along the 60ish mark and the umpteenth hill.  So we were both definitely doing much better and I was killing myself to keep up -- I wasn't ever able to get close enough to get any draft but that's fine since you can't draft in triathlons anyhow.  Some guy kept drafting off me and thanking me for breaking his wind.  My pleasure.

Around 80 miles it got really ridiculous.  Crazy hills.  I had to walk my bike off one of them for fear I was going to fall off if I kept on pedaling.  At this point I completely lost Katie and everyone else.  Then a few miles later I realized I hadn't seen any arrows for a quite some time and I was convinced I'd gone the wrong way and instead of a century it was going to end up being a Total 200.  I pulled over and looked at my cue sheet but I still seemed to be going the right direction.  I started pedaling much more slowly and wondering what happened to Mr. Draftman and praying he would show up again.  He did.  He was also concerned that we were lost but we both looked at the cue sheet and decided to keep on going.  And eventually we saw another arrow. Woot woot!  Katie was waiting for me.  We had 8 more miles.  I think I lost her again after the first two back to the finish.

Why do the last 8 miles of a century feel like 50?  I wasn't too tired, it was no longer all that hilly, but every mile felt like eternity.Ugh, an Ironman has 112 miles.  Does this mean the last 20 are going to be torturous?

Finally I made it to the finish.  And what a great finish it was.  Susie, Jamie and Jack had been there a couple of hours.  It was ultra impressive.  They had all these tents set up with different activities including a coloring book station and a hackey sack station.  And the food was amazing -- brats, pie, pasta, cookies.

Could I have run after this?  Yes.  Could I have run a marathon?  Maybe.  Probably not run the whole thing.    Oh and today my Ironman countdown hit two rather than three digits.  We're getting close to 3 month away.

In summary:  What. A. Great. Day.  That is all.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

Last week was music teacher insanity week.  I had my spring concert on Monday and took my choir to an all day choral festival at an amusement park on Saturday.  As much as I would love to say I managed to stick to my training plan, I didn't... some weeks I think in order to achieve family, work and fitness balance, something has to give.  Still... didn't do too badly.  Here's a recap:

Monday - Got up and did Masters Swimming.  Jamie took the kids to daycare so I could get to work super early to prep for the school day concert at 9:30 a.m.  Monday is early dismissal day and while I've never had a concert on a Monday before I quite liked having the extra time in the afternoon to make sure everything was set for the evening concert.  I ran for an hour at about 4:30, stopping at Subway to buy a six inch tuna salad on wheat for my dinner.  I must have looked a little silly for the last half mile running with my sandwich.  At any rate -- I got it in and the run calmed my nerves for sure!

Tuesday - Got up and cycled an hour while watching Desperate Housewives before the kids woke up.

Wednesday - Masters Swimming at 5:30am, then a 3 mile trail run before picking up the kids at daycare.  Love that I can park in front of the nanny's house and head straight to a trail in the woods.  Then I did 45 minutes of cycling intervals in the basement while Susanna watched Strawberry Shortcake on Netflix.  I also managed to answer parent emails during the recovery spins and even got in 10 minutes of The Daily Show on my iphone.  Multitasking at its finest.

Thursday-  Tried to do a tempo run at 5:30am but it was an utter disaster.  After the race on Sunday and the intervals the previous night, my legs were fried.  So.... 5.25 miles at a 10:30 pace. Ah well....  Got in a 45 minute easy spin while Susie watched TV that evening as well.

Friday-  Masters Swimming at 5:30 a.m. and FANTASTIC long run right after work.   The weather was gorgeous.

Saturday - Nothing.  But I went on a lot of scary roller coasters with the group I took around the amusement park.  I'm sure that got my heart rate up... does that count?

Sunday - My Ironman plan said to bike 3:30 and run :30.  It was Mothers Day.  I went on a 6 mile very very very slow bike ride WITH my kiddos in the trailer, and ran 30 minutes while my husband made dinner.  So I probbaly was supposed to ride about 50 miles more than 6, but whatever.  I probably would have bagged the run too, except Susie fell when we were out shopping and ended up in an ambulance and I needed to burn off some steam after that encounter.

Total Miles:
Swimming: 3
Cycling: 42.5
Running: 27

ON ANOTHER NOTE:  I did get my results from the triathlon last weekend and they make no sense.  My swim time makes sense.  My run and bike times do not.  For example it says my bike time was slower than my friend's bike time but she was out of the water before me and finished the bike after me so that isn't possible.  Then it says she had a slower run time than me which also isn't possible because her finish time was 2 minutes before mine and she started running after me.  So... maybe the bike time is really the run time?  So either I ran an 9:16 pace (slower than marathon pace?  Really?) and biked close to 20mph, OR the splits were mixed up and I biked about 17mph and ran about 8:10s.  Or I just foggeddabouddit.  :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

High Cloud Peasantman Olympic PLUS Triathlon - "We Go The Extra Mile! (or 2.4)"

It's Sunday morning and the sun isn't yet up, but I am.  Though I sometimes wish I had a hobby that doesn't involve rising middle of the night most days of the week, Jack's 4:50 a.m. wake up call is pretty consistent so I might as well get up anyhow, right?  Fed him, handed him to my sleeping husband, then got up and packed the car. Coffee perking, Clif Bars ready to eat, tri bag (which I am so glad I packed the night before because the brain wasn't quite on yet), diaper bag and a backpack with the kids clothes in the backseat.  I woke up the family, and we were off at 6:10.  Only 10 minutes later than planned time of departure  (which, by the way, never happens.   Planned time of departure must be planned at least 30 minutes before panic time of departure.)

Jamie graciously drove and we made great time.  We had time to stop and get breakfast for him  and the kiddos (I stuck to my Clif Bar ritual) and we pulled into Lake Anna before 8 a.m.  I changed into my tri gear, set up in transition, and actually had time to just relax with my kids before I made my way down to the beach for the 9 a.m. start.

The weather was I guess not ideal for most people (lots of whining -- "it was supposed to be sunny!") but it didn't bother me.  Drizzly and high 60s.  Personally I prefer that to hot and blazing sun.  And please, you're going to get wet the second the gun goes off.  It's a triathlon, people, and it starts with a swim.  

I was in the first wave -- the "confident but not necessarily fast swimmers doing the Olympic Distance triathlon" wave, along with my friend/ fellow mother of a three year old and about one year old,  Andie (the one who got me started with this whole triathlon business when I broke my foot in 2010.... totally her fault I am doing this Ironman in August.)  One of the race planners was trying to explain the swim course.  It was a triangle.  There was something about going counterclockwise around a set of buoys, doing two loops, and then heading through a  finish buoy chute at the end.  As usual my spacial learning disability (yes I have one -- it was actually diagnosed) did not compute and I figured I would just follow people.

I wasn't really sure how fast I should push myself on the swim.  Though I do swim over a mile every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, there is a lot of stopping at the wall.  I decided to just take it easy for the first loop and possibly pick up the pace on the second.  The water temperature was perfect (though my full suit was a bit of overkill and I was a little hot by the middle of the swim) and I love lake swimming, having learned how to swim in one.  It had been quite some time since I had to do any sighting and that first buoy looked pretty far away.  There is quite a difference between swimming 1500 meters without touching a wall and swimming more than that but knowing that wall is only a few feet a way if need be.  For the first loop I had people around me and I just followed them.  I'm not sure what happened on the second loop -- if some of the Olympic folks wimped out and decided to do the sprint instead, or if I was just extremely slow -- but the last triangle was pretty desolate. I finally made it back to shore... not sure if anyone was behind me as I didn't look back!   Susie, Jamie and Jack were cheering for me as I headed to Transition 1.

As usual, T1 was ridiculously slow.  I am always shaking when I go from swim to bike, can't get my wet suit off properly, totally disoriented, can't get my socks on, can't figure out what direction I'm supposed to run (thankfully a DSG buddy was patrolling the bike racks and pointed me in the right direction.)  Apparently I was not quite as disoriented as the girl in front of me, who toppled over the second she mounted her bike.  (Sidenote:  When I did the Half Iron in 2010, I crashed into a sand dune about .2 miles after exiting T1.  Conclusion:  The act of going from floating in water to balancing on two wheels is unnatural and inherently dangerous.)

The bike section, which was something like 22 miles, or maybe 24, went pretty well considering how hilly it was.  According to someone I met post-race, it was comparable to the rolling hills in Ironman Louisville and my bike computer (Thank you to the Revolution Cycle booth for fixing my bike computer just before the race!)  said I did the climbs between 14-16 mph and the descents between 22-26 mph.  I was pretty proud of the climbing considering I've only been on the bike since the marathon in March.   I had packed jelly beans, which I love on my long training rides, but I couldn't figure out how to eat them without falling over so I had Clif shots instead.  I also was very thankful for my aerobar bottle since I have yet to master the art of holding a water bottle without losing my balance.  Aerobar bottle = just lean over and drink = awesome invention for klutzes like me (except for when you manage to fall over anyhow, like I did during the Reston Century, in which case you wish you had a regular water bottle because the aerobar bottle just falls over with the bike and is empty for the next 20 miles.)

I felt great for Transition 2.  After dismounting I carried bike over my head and ran to the bike rack, ripped off my shoes, slipped on my Nikes (whomever invented lace locks deserves a medal, by the way... $5 and I don't have to tie my shoes.  Brilliant.), strapped on my race belt, grabbed some Clif Shots, and started running... the wrong direction (thankfully that same DSG buddy was still patrolling the bike racks and pointed me in the RIGHT direction... again.)

I felt pretty good on the run, but had absolutely no idea what my pace was and since there were no mile markers on the course, I had no clue how far I was going.  A ways into the first loop, Andie passed me and since she had a Garmin I yelled "How far have we gone?"  She looked down and said "About 2 and a half miles."  Alright, so only about  half mile until the second loop.  I began to pick up the pace.  I ran for awhile, and the end of the loop seemed like it should have already happened.  As I turned a corner, one of the volunteers said "If you're doing the Olympic, be aware that the loop is 4.3 miles, so pace yourself."  So did that mean I was basically done, or did I have another 4.3 miles to go after the loop finished?  Totally confused, I headed towards the lake. "Olympic, go down the hill.  You've got one more loop."  Seriously?   I saw Tuan (race director, friend, and apparently also a sadist) (and also hard to miss wearing his huge bamboo Vietnamese peasant hat) at the finish line and I yelled "Tuan!  A 10K has 6.2 miles, not 8 and a half!"  "It's a Vietnamese 10K!" he yelled back.  Whatever.  He let me in the race for free.  And yesterday on a training ride, and on his 40th birthday, he crashed his six thousand dollar bike, sprained his arm, got some serious road rash and spent 5 hours in the ER.  I guess I can forgive him.  Hey, all the more cupcakes I can eat at the finish.

The final loop was fine though very lonely.  Where were the rest of these Olympians?   The finish was a straight shot downhill for three quarters of a miles so I booked it and passed a whole bunch of people on the way.  Booyah!  Take THAT, extra 2.4 miles!  Susie was waiting for me at the finish line with my friend/ the race paramedic Michelle.  "Mommy good job but now can I have my cupcake?!?!?"  Georgetown Cupcake -- yes THE famous Georgetown Cupcake that is on TLC -- is one of the race sponsors and their coveted desserts are the finish line prize.  For participants only.  "She's been waiting for you... she really wants a cupcake" Michelle said.   I guess my cupcake was going to Susie.  I took a bite and handed it over.

I have no idea what my time was.  For any of the legs.  Apparently the times will be up in a couple days once they work out the course distance snafoo.

At any rate, it was fun.  And I ran into Tuan on the way to the car, and he gave me three more cupcakes.  Booyah!

Iron Andie and I post-race

Apparently none of us know how to look at a camera