adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Archive for the ‘Vail Valley’ Category

are we there yet?

This will inevitably come out of one of the children’s mouths tomorrow on our way to my last race of the season in Fruita.  Of course, they will be talking about the pumpkin patch in Grand Junction that is a planned side trip of the weekend, not the actual Desert’s Edge Triathlon.  Even when you are traveling for a personal event, you know, such as the one you have worked toward all season, it’s never about you when you have kiddos.  And that’s OK.  Most of the time.  Except for the time when you are a little nervous and constipated and trying to explain to your 5 year-old why you just snapped at her about her missing blanket before bed.  Mostly because you’re constipated, but also because you’re organizing a group of 4 people to a triathlon which includes camping.  The process becomes a bit cumbersome.  Especially if you can’t print out your checklists because your printer has died.  Which is just so typical, since earlier this week, your heart rate monitor decided to call it quits, and your shoes feel like their last run might have been about 4 runs ago.

Not that any of that is happening tonight at this house.  No way.

But you know what?  These are all things I can’t control.  And all I can focus on is what I can control.  Like which of the delicious gels I have never tasted before will I use during my race, since nowhere in the Vail Valley have they continued carrying the ones I like?  Gel taste testing.  Yum.  (BTW, I don’t know why people feel chocolate tastes good in a gel.  Barf.  Heartburn City, people.)

Other things I can control include preparing all my stuff for the race and eating well.  Oh, and my attitude.  I almost forgot that one until the 5 year-old pointed at the goal time for this race that I have lipsticked on my bathroom mirror while she was having her hair dried tonight.  She said, “That’s the race we going to this weekend, isn’t it?”  To which I said yes.  And she said, “Well, I hope you have a really nice time during your race.”  At which point I planted a kiss on her lips and thanked her.  I am going to do my best to have a really nice time this weekend.  And of course, in the words of Coach Evil Genius, “Make yourself proud.”  I know I will.

Stay tuned for the race report!



evil genius…

(Credit: Swim Bike Mom)

Yeah, yeah, I haven’t posted much in the last month or so here on treadmillconfessional.  I have been super busy, blah, blah, excuse, but one of my main problems has been how to explain via the blog everything that has happened in the last couple of months.  So I will spare you the details and sift through it as necessary.  I have 2 weeks left until my first Olympic triathlon, and I am super excited excited like, can we get this rolling yet?  I feel like I have been in a holding pattern waiting to race.  And I feel good and ready to race.  And one of the reasons I feel so ready to race is because I have a new wingwoman on my side.  Her new name, as of 2 hours and 57 minutes into my workout today, is Coach Evil Genius.  As I am huffing and puffing toward home on my 3 hour (3! hours!) brick workout today, I was thinking, “Oh. My. God. This is so evil.  She is so evil.”  But then I acknowledged all these improvements I have made in the last month or so, and I realized that even though she is evil, she must also be a genius.

I mean, who can figure out just from reading my online reports of workouts that I could run faster?  Coach Evil Genius.  She puts little comments in my workout plans like “think cadence, cadence, cadence!” like she must know that without those repeated, exclamated phrases, I will run like I have all the time in the world.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?  Nope.  Not in evil genius world.  Did I mention the track workouts?  I think I have to reserve a whole post to talk smack about track workouts, so that will come.  It’s my new least favorite thing- pretty much far surpassing that time during TRX classes when you have to put your feet in the stirrups like you’re at the gynecologist’s office.  But, just like TRX (or my annual pap smear), I realize I need it.  And sometimes, just sometimes, for like a minute or two, I absolutely love it.  Not the pap smear… the track workout.

I am super excited about all the evil genius work I have been doing.  I really hope I get to see the payoff when I race in a couple of weeks.  And even though I don’t want to get ahead of myself, I am thrilled about the prospect of working with Coach Evil Genius to prepare for next season and work on some off-season goals too.  It’s gonna be awesome!

close encounters of the bear kind

Anyone who feels that road biking isn’t close enough to nature because say, it’s on a road, has probably never biked much.  I find that my road biking nature encounters trump all the other activities I do combined.  There was my squirrel encounter in Sacramento, the bird pecking incident a month ago or so, and today, the pièce de resistance…baby bear encounter.

Yep, out of some tributary creek comes little baby bear, all wet and adorable looking.  It’s loping up to the side of the road, ostensibly to cross to the other side.  Here I come, all sweaty and loud, rolling along on my road bike.  I look up, we lock eyes, I scream.  I think the bear actually jumped, kind of like my dog Rocky leaps up when the kids scare the shit out of him.  I must have scared the living daylights out of the baby bear because it took off- fortunately in the other direction.

I took off too.  If there is one thing I (think I) know, the momma bear is usually not far behind the baby bear.  So I stand up and start sprinting, thinking: Well, I know I can’t outrun a bear.  Can I out-bike a running bear?  I didn’t even turn around to find out until about 100 yards away.  No momma.  Maybe mommas are done raising babies at this time of year, but I sure did not stick around to find out.  I glanced down at my heart rate monitor as I could feel my most vital organ about to rip out of my chest- 168.  I was probably in the mid 140s when I first rolled up to the baby.

Fortunately, the rest of the ride was uneventful.  But I have to say that these kind of encounters, despite freaking me out, make me so thankful for the beautiful place in which I live.  However, I am drawing the line at moose encounter.  If that happens, I might be forced to initiate a hobby with less wildlife contact- like, say, hiking.

date night…redux

Does anyone remember date night?  If you are in the trenches with young kids like us, you probably don’t get out much.  Or at least not together.  You might even have friends who would pass your spouse on the street and not know him or her.  We do a lot of “relay team” parenting in our house to make it all work, passing the baton to each other as one heads out the door for work, play, or workout, and one stays home with the kids.  It works for us, most of the time, and when we are together, our time is usually of the quality variety.

Monday night we did a relay team of a different kind.  Instead of blowing dough on a fancy dinner and a lot of drinks, we spent a little less for a race registration…and then a lot of drinks.  We signed up for Avon’s Dunk-n-Dash at Nottingham Lake for our date night.  This kind of race plays to our strengths, since it’s a swim and run event.  We did it as a relay for fun, since there are no awards or anything for relay teams.  Well, that, and you don’t want to get too sweaty on date night.

It was also nice for me to preview the course for Saturday’s Xterra Mountain Championship relay team that I thought was such a good idea all those months ago.  As I was swimming the second lap around the lake, I began thinking, “Why did I think this would be really fun?”.  When I got out, I realized that a relay is pretty fun because once you’re done with your leg, you’re all done!  No panicked transition and no disorientation as you begin the next leg of a race.  Just a high-five, and Taylor was off.  He was giddy upon return, since he almost never does any speed racing.  He liked the event a lot.

Afterward, as we were stuffing Taco Bell in our face as a sponge for the beer we were about to consume, I said, “You know? I don’t think I have ever loved you more than I do right now.”  And he said he felt the same way.  I am so glad that our relay team just keeps getting better.

race recap: LG Splash/Grind/Sprint 2012

There is nothing better than getting to do a triathlon that you can bike to from your house, is there?  Probably not.  You get to drink your own coffee, sleep in your own bed, check facebook before you leave…what?  I got up really early.

I rolled by Christine’s to pick up a race belt on the way to the pool, where the swimming and transition would take place.  I did have a race belt at some point but have since lost it, prompting Mr. Prepared (the husband) to get frustrated.  “How can you not have everything you need?” he shouted in exasperation when I pulled out the handle from an old CD case to create a makeshift belt.  And the answer truly is that it seems like every race requires different things, but all the races require A LOT of things.  Triathlon just requires so much…stuff.

I arrived at the pool where the parking lot was filling up right at 6 as transition opened.  Now this is a cool, little hometown race done in honor of a local woman who passed away from cancer.  It’s run by volunteers, and every dollar goes back to helping other locals in medical crisis, which is why I do it.  Well, that, and since it isn’t a USA Triathlon-sanctioned event, I figured there was a chance Lance Armstrong might show up (many thanks to my friend Rob for that joke…).

The swim is in the pool, so it takes quite a long time to get everyone through the swim leg.  I gotta be honest, I didn’t like this part.  There were people finished with the race by the time I started swimming (almost 3 hours after I got there), and I tried to warm up like 3 times before I swam by running around the block, but I got in the water cold from sitting.  I unknowingly got in the lane with top-notch swimmer, former Mayor Ed Woodland.  He lapped me during the swim.  It was pretty demoralizing, and my swimming feel like a struggle. And unfortunately, due to a counting error (ours), we both swam an extra lap, which I didn’t know at the time.  Thank goodness, because that would have made me feel worse.

Anyways, I couldn’t have been happier to be out of the pool (I know, it doesn’t even sound like me!) and on my bike.  This bike course is like home turf.  I ride it all the time, so it was great!  Christine had made me ride on my new aero bars all the way back from the turnaround on Wednesday, so I felt ready to use them.  Trainer Guy had showed up before I started and gave me some last-minute tips.  I would summarize his bike advice as “don’t panic about the burning feeling of death creeping into your lungs as you start biking, it will go away”.  Which was true, and since I didn’t panic about it, I felt SO much better when it went away!  The bike section was awesome – I saw all my usual horses and my little pony.  I used my aero bars all the way back from the turnaround, and I was flying! It was an amazing feeling.

bike leg!

The run was…well, running.  You know how sometimes running feels amazing and you feel free and powerful, and sometimes it feels like…running?  This run was one of the latter, but I did feel better at the end than I did at the beginning of it.  While I ran, I thought about when I first started running a couple of summers ago, and how that run used to be SO hard for me to do all by itself, and it made me smile to think of how far I have come.

I was looking at my watch towards the end of the run, and I thought I had started at 8:32, and I was thinking I missed my goal of doing it in 1:20 or less.  I figured I was close, so I still had to be happy about how I did.  However, I was wrong about my start time, and I actually ended up doing the race in 1:13!  (Now here you might ask why I didn’t use the stopwatch feature on my watch and the answer is…well, this is me we are talking about)

me and sarah. love.

My time was good enough for 3rd place overall in women, which was really awesome!  I got a goody bag of organic hair products and sunglasses, which was super cool.  And I am happy with how I did on the transitions and the bike leg especially.  It was a good way to start a Saturday, and the hubby, the kids, and I all biked home together, which is pretty special.

mere mortal with momentum

BAM. Done.

Yup.  It’s done.  I rode up to the top of Vail Pass from Vail Village yesterday.  Just about 35 miles round trip.  It’s a perk of being underemployed for the summer.  But not only did I survive this little number, I pretty much owned it.  And by owned it, I mean that in my head I thought I did really good.  Pay no mind to all the superheroes getting after it on their lunch hour and passing me.  I held my own.  I think.

So…here’s my little dig on those bike shop guys who took a look at me when I bought my bike a couple of years ago and said…

“You’re gonna need a triple crank if you plan to ride the Pass.”– actually, no I didn’t.  I did just fine with my compact, thank you.  Mostly because I have legs of steel now.

“What do you need a triple crank for?  Are you gonna even ride Vail Pass? You’re probably just gonna ride Brush Creek and Highway 6.”  Why?  Because I am too fat and out of shape to ride up the Pass?  Well, not anymore, sweetheart.

I gotta say that it felt really good, especially near the top on the way up, despite the fact that I could have used an extra water bottle, some gel, and a dose of sunscreen (whoops!).  And it was fun to read all the encouragement and jokes people wrote on the path for last year’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge time trial.  Plus, my friend Nancy provided plenty of good conversation and navigational assistance, without which I would have been pretty lost despite living in this valley for over a decade.

Oh? And did I mention I had already knocked out my training session with Trainer Guy at 6 AM?  Yeah, I just did.

So, even though riding to the top of Vail Pass is probably just a lunch workout for half this Valley, I maintain that it was still a difficult task and not EVERYONE does it.  If they did, it would be a lot more crowded at the top.  If you’re a mere mortal like me, you gotta use your momentum to push yourself every day.  Keep DOING and keep GOING.  It’s bound to take you to the top of something!

(almost) better than coffee

Something that has fundamentally changed in my worldview while losing weight and getting fit and finding myself has been my absolute rule of Carpe Diem (referred to as “carpe the diem” in my house because it makes my Latin-major husband giggle, which is all too rare) in regards to trying new things.  Kale? Sure, I’ll try it.  Spin class?  Why not?  Going back to school in math?  Absolutely.

I find that each of these experiences has been delightful, with some degree of variance (spin class delight is not exactly the same as kale chips, let’s just say).  New stuff is FUN.  Almost always.  And last week Trainer Guy suggested we do something new and try mountain biking, and I just had to say yes, even though my brain was like, “Are you insane?  You will fall and break your face and never be able to work out again, plus you will look like an idiot and you probably can’t do it anyways…and you always bag on mountain bikers, so now who will your husband make fun of if you become one of THEM?”

Fortunately, I chose to ignore my brain, get over my nerves, and get on to the important decisions: what to wear.  Now, you may laugh at that, but it was a 6 AM mountain bike ride.  In Colorado.  It’s cold, but I imagined I would get pretty hot pretty quickly, as this was advertised as a “different kind of cardio than you’re used to, Susan”.  So what’s a girl to wear?  Well, I should have worn bike shorts, but I didn’t, because I didn’t want to do the whole 2 pants thing since it was about 35 degrees out.  That ended up being a poor decision.  However, I figured out that NEXT time, I could wear bike shorts and ski socks and go for that whole hipster look with the compression socks thing.  I probably won’t pull it off, but it’s not like anyone else was out there at 6 AM.

Look at it! It could be the next big thing!

NEXT time, you say?  Could you dare to hope that my first mountain bike ride didn’t turn catastrophic?  That’s right!  Now, I am not about to pat my own back because I sat in the lowest gear for pretty much the whole ride up and went about 4 mph on the way down and the whole event was about 20 minutes long.  BUT, I survived and I had fun!  I was still smiling while Trainer Guy put the bikes on the car and ordered me to run the first hill out and back.  I got to the top of that hill and I was in awe of the sun rising and my own athletic prowess and the fact that my heart was back in its proper place and not in my throat.  I was practically skipping on the way down to the car at which point I declared that the singular experience of mountain biking at 6 AM could have been better than coffee.  I know, back up the bus, right?  My slavish devotion to steamy, hot, yummy black coffee could not possibly be replaced by freezing my butt off on the side of a hill while my lungs attempt to bust out of my chest.  And you would be right.  It’s only almost better than coffee.

The wonder of trying and enjoying something new can happen at any time and at any age.  I used to think that the joy and amazement on my little girls’ faces when they encountered something new was just for kids.  But I know how I felt last week, and as I watched my friend Christine stand-up paddle (SUP) board this weekend, you could see that feeling in her face too- well, that and she kept yelling, “I LOVE THIS!”  So whatever new things you want to try, just go for it!  What could really happen?  You fall and break your face?  It probably won’t happen, and the feeling of doing something new and fun is pretty addictive… in an awesome kind of way.  Let me know how it goes!

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