Transcendence

Most people do crazy stuff when they turn 40 - the classic midlife crisis type affair. There's buying a snazzy new car (does a 4WD Merce...

Nov 30, 2009

Masters Swimming

I've started swimming with the local masters group in the mornings. Just Mondays for now, but I'll start going more frequently next year - Fridays and Saturdays as well as the Mondays. It's not that I need to swim more, it's just that I need to swim faster. I've been doing well with my three times a week, by my self, on the fly workouts, but I have not been pushing myself to swim faster. It's aways just at my comfort zone. It's really hard to swim fast without someone on your toes. Since I have to get up early on Mondays to get to work, it's a perfect way to start. Only issue - Mondays are IM days. That means plenty of work on butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke. It's good in a way, because working all four strokes provide even muscle development and better power for open water swimming. I just need to be careful. I swam fly and IM in high school and my shoulders get a little cranky some times. It is nice - I haven't been mixing it up like that since high school and it's actually fun.

Nov 29, 2009

Triathlon inspirations

As I was working with a patient yesterday, I realized something. We triathletes use a lot of tools to make our lives easier that were origianlly designed for older adults. My patient was looking at my shoes and asked my what kind of weird laces I was using. I had a pair of shoes that still had the elasic laces I use for triathlons. My inital response was "well, it makes it so I can get my shoes on faster." Then I looked at her shoes - she had a pair of elastic laces that the OT had provided so that she could get her shoes on without help. That made me think of the compression stockings. I'll admit, I have a few pairs. I use them all the time while traveling, before and after races, and after hard workouts. I also use them while at work. Many of my patients also have compression stocking - not to reduce soreness and improve recovery, but to prevent swelling and blood clots. It's the same technology, just for a different function.

So where will we get our next inspiration from?

Nov 28, 2009

First Night Ride

Nick and I went for an night ride after I got off work yesterday. It went pretty good for being my first night ride all summer. I haven't had the need or desire to ride at night. I have plenty of lights and clothes, but just haven't felt like getting out after dark. I really need to practice more before 24 hours of Old Pueblo. That was the big thing that I noticed last year - my times slowed by about 15 minutes for the night laps, not because I was tired, but because I was taking it easy. Just not fluent riding at night and I didn't want to ride into a cactus! If I want to ride faster at night, I have to get out and ride - bottom line. I have to ride more after dark.

I have to say, I really like the little Amoeba lights. They are so much easier to operate then the Nite Riders we use on the bars. It's just an on/off - no fancy setting that get confusing after 14 hours. I also like the fact that the light and battery pack both fit on my helmet. There are no cords to worry about. If you race 24 hour mountain bike races or commute to work in the dark, check out out http://amoebalight.blogspot.com/

Nov 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

A happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I think that we all have much to be thankful for, including the ability to head out for a nice mountain bike ride with friends. It was a great day - Tracy, Fred and Mike joined me and Nick for a low key ride through Stratton and down Columbine. After the ride, the gang came over and shared dinner with us.That's the true meaning of the holiday - a time to get together with friends and family and reflect. It's always fun when we have people over. I get to try some new recipies, make some different dishes. I had a great time cooking - although the cheesecake did not turn out as well as normal.

Also, thank you to Challenged Athletes and Operation Rebound. I've met some truely imspiring athletes through my participation as a fundraiser and am honored to be helping make a difference in their lives

Nov 24, 2009

Fashion Accessories

I finally got my sewing maching up and running again. I'm all finished with my schoolwork, just waiting on the grades, so I needed something else to do. So I dug out my fabric and started playing around. I have had this funky bike fabric for a number of years, but could not figure out what to do with it. Well, I have a new tote bag now, in fun bright colors that will never get lost in the car. It wasn't that hard to do - I just needed to figure out the best way to do the side seams and the handle. This was the first draft. I will make a few changes to the pattern in my head and try again. I have plenty more fabric and once I get the lining and style perfected, then watch out!!

I'm not sure that Nick is as impressed as I was. He just wanted to critique the bikes, make sure that everything was realistic. The road bikes were fine, complete with cables and everything. The mountain bikes on the other hand. He wasn't impressed with the design.

Welcome Crankskins.

After already suffering from some major scuffs and dings on the my Truvativ Noir cranks, I was happy to accept sponsorship from Crankskins. They make high quality protection for crankarms and chainstays. I also really like the ability to personalize your bike through the different patterns and colors. Haven't gotten mine yet, but will soon. Need to figure out what colors I want! Visit http://www.crankskins.com/ for more information.

Nov 20, 2009

We have heat!

Nick and I dropped the Road Turtle off at Dee's RV last weekend so they could look at the furnace. When we did our test run in Pueblo, we were lucky that there was an electric hook-up, other wise it would have been a cold time. The furnace was blowing out air, but it wasn't warm. So we had to use the little heater fan we got at Target to keep warm. We were hoping that it wasn't an issue with the furnace, because the darn thing is so old that we would not be able to get the needed part. A new furnace would have been a little more money then we wanted to spend right now. Luckly, the darn thing was just dirty. The mechanics at Dee's pulled the furnace out and cleaned it, twice. After the deep cleaning, the furnace started blowing out nice, warm air. So we will have heat down in Old Pueblo this year. That is going to be such a nice change from last year - a warm, dry place to sleep, change and hang out. It will make the race so much better.

Nov 19, 2009

Training Again!

Why does even one week of not doing anything make me go utterly crazy? I am not good at taking time off, espcially when the weather is nice out. I just want to get out and do something!

I promised that I would behave myself as I started getting back into training after Silverman and the whole pneumonia thing. Well, does running mile repeats with the girls count as taking it easy? I'm not sure about that, but it felt good to run hard. Hey, I didn't get to run the marathon, so... We ran a measured out and back mile on the Santa Fe trail. I ran faster then I meant to, but it felt really good. The last mile was a bit of a struggle and I did slow down by about 10 seconds from the first mile to that third mile. Not as consistant as I usually run. A little sore today, but worth it. It's always nice to get out and run with a group.

Even though it has been really nice and sunny, the trail was muddy. Left overs from Sunday's snowstorm. Of course, I wore a brand new shirt and now it's a little mud splattered. Oh well. I'm sure the mud will come out in the wash. If not, I got the shirt to run in and just made sure that it would be used for that!

Nov 18, 2009

Operation Rebound 2009 Final Update

I would like to thank everyone who has donated to Challenged Athletes Foundation already. While I did not have the race I was hoping for at Silverman, the Operation Rebound athletes were out in force and the teams all had outstanding days. This was the first year a Challenged Athlete attempted the Full Silverman and the first year a woman hand-cyclist completed the bike course of the Half Relay. It was an honor to see these outstanding athletes succeeding despite physical limitations. These achievements would not be possible without our support.
Please visit www.teamorsilverman 09.kintera. org and help support the efforts of Challenged Athletes and Operation Rebound

Silverman or Bust

Silverman or Bust is a group of individuals documenting their training for the 2010 Silverman Half. Many of them have volunteered at Silverman in the past years, but have not yet taken the plunge. For many of them it will be their first triathlon. What a race to make as the first triathlon! I will be helping them with the journey from triathlon newbie to Silverman Veteran through guest blogging on the site. I'll be giving training advice, equipment advice and general comments as they train for Silverman. I think it will be awesome to follow them through the year, then see how well they all do at Silverman. The website is http://silvermanorbust.com/ so join us on this adventure!

Nov 17, 2009

Sponsorship Stuff

This is the hard part about being a professional triathlete. I have to pay for my sport somehow if I'm not working, so I need the sponsors. I also need to find a few strong sponsors that will help with travel and racing expenses, not just the product at a steep discount. Don't get me wrong, I love having the access that I have. But a closet full of coffee will keep me awake while driving to the race, not get me to the race. So I need to learn to sell myself. That's something I'm not very good at. I would prefer to let results, ect speak for me, but that hasn't worked really well this year. So now the hunt begins - not so much for the 2010 season, but for the years after that.

Getting going again

I'm finished with the antibiotics and feeling normal again. I'm not coughing like I was, and the breathing in much better. Time to start gradually getting back into training. I've been getting ansy this week without doing much of anything. I just need to be really carefull about ramping up. I don't want a repeat of what happened at Silverman, so I need to make sure that I'm really healthy before any higher intensity workouts.

Nov 16, 2009

Joe's Silverman Report

One of the other Pikes Peak Tri Club Members just posted an nice report on his Silverman Half. Joe raises money for Caine Companions for Independence with his racing and added Silverman to his already busy race schedule. Take a read and consider making a donation to CCI after reading his report. Thanks!

http://joeturcotte.blogspot.com/2009/11/2009-silverman-half-distance-race.html

Nov 15, 2009

Roads?

This was one of those days where you get in the car, start driving and go huh? It snowed last night, just a little - maybe an inch or two. But it was wet and rainy before the temperature dropped to snow levels. I would think that since it's a Sunday, the road crews would be able to get all the major streets plowed before the the church, ect traffic heads out. Well...

As I was driving to work at 8:15 - it did not look like they had been out plowing at all. A few major roads were okay, but the rest - I really could have gone ice skating on them. Just thick, chunky ice with a layer of slush underneath. And the major roads? Well, it looked like the plow drivers had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. Nevada was a mess - a long pile of snow ran right down the middle lane, ocassionaly wandering into the left lane. There was a Smart Car sized snowball in the middle of the road by the Myron Stratton Home. It would have been better if the plows had stayed home - just dropping de-icer does not help with clearing the roads. Plow on the pavement, not two inches above is the only way to get the snow off the road. Anything else and whats the point?

Anyway, this is Colorado. It will melt in two days and we'll forget how to drive on ice again.

Nov 14, 2009

Ironman Pro Membership

Good news and bad news. The good news is that I will truly and honestly be focused on the Xterra racing and my mountain biking (except for Silverman.) That in itself means my 2010 season will be better then this year. I won’t be pulled in different directions within triathlon. The bad news is that this is not by my choice entirely. I just can’t justify the new WTC Ironman Pro membership costs to race one or two 70.3s.

The new move for the WTC is starting an “Ironman Pro Membership.” Unless you get their membership, as a pro, you can’t race any of their events. No Ironman races and no Ironman 70.3 races. If you’re planning on racing at least five 70.3s or two Ironmans, then it’s a great idea. But if you’re like me and many other pros and were only planning one or two 70.3s, it’s just not an option. Why? The membership is $750 + active.com’s fee. After paying that up front, the entry in to any WTC race is “Complementary” How can you have a comp entry if you’ve just paid $750 to join a club? But that’s just me whining. The point is, if you race 70.3s frequently, then it’s a financial bonus and will make it easier to race. But if not… I can’t afford to pay $375 for two or $750 for one 70.3 race. So I won’t be attending any WTC events next year, despite how interesting some of them sound.

It will be interesting to see the effects this pro membership will have on the WTC races. So far, the opinion seems split on it. People in my shoes hate the idea but others like it. The bigger issue that people are upset about are narrow time allowances for Kona slots (5% of the winners time) and for the prize money distribution (8% of the winners time). Not every pro makes money from sponsorships – hoping to pay travel expenses with prize money is reality for many new pros. And now we’re being told that if someone has a great race, our hard work might not get rewarded. That would be like telling a nurse that she won’t get paid for her 12 hours because she has fewer meds to pass then another nurse. I understand that the pro fields at some races were very weak – this is not the way to encourage new pros and development at the distances. At least that’s my opinion

Okay – rant over!

Nov 13, 2009

2011 ITU Long Course World Championships

A little late getting this posted, but a huge congratulations are in order for Frank and Meg from Lowery’s Multisport aka Silverman. I found out on Friday before this year’s race that Silverman had been chosen as the host race for the 2011 ITU Long Course World Championships. This a huge honor for an outstanding race. I’m thrilled for Frank and Meg and looking forward to the next two years of Silverman. I know that the Half Silverman will have more racers next year as people come to check out the course and that in 2011, the world’s best age group triathletes will converge in Henderson for the challenge of a lifetime.

Every year, the race has gotten better. I love going back now and catching up with everyone, from the race staff to the volunteers to the other races. The same faces at the registration tents, asking how last year went. I’ve seen the same crew at the mile 7 aid station on the run every year. The announcers know the entire history of the race and aren’t afraid to tease you about something. And Frank is out and about the entire weekend, making sure things run smoothly. It’s a little family that is always welcoming to new members. You won’t find a better value for your race money, even if personal worsts are almost guaranteed!!

Nov 12, 2009

EcoSports Bottles

I got my new bottles while I was out in Vegas, so this was the first chance I had to play with them. My first impression was how light they were. I think the 30 oz Eco bottle was lighter then some of the plastic bottles I've been using. The sport top is perfect for using in the car or while on the spin bike. I'm not going outside for a while, thanks to the pneumonia, but looking forward to trying the bottles when I do. I also got the Eco Jr and an Eco Steel bottle. The Eco Jr. is a good size for am orange juice or for using at the computer or at work. Don't need to worry about knocking it over, unlike the taller bottles. The Eco Steel is for my swim bag - I needed a new bottle after my last few plastic ones got deformed in the summer heat. I know the sturdy steel will last being in my car all day and the slate blue is a nice color.

Everyone is making metal waterbottles now. Why not try the only ones designed for the active lifestyle we all lead? http://www.ecosportsbottle.com/

Nov 11, 2009

Check up results

Went to one of the urgent care clinics in town just to get checked out after Sunday's cough fest. I'm still not breathing right and still coughing a lot. Normally, I would just ignore those sort of things, but I don't want this to turn into a long time issue. Turns out I have a very mild case of pneumonia (would hate to see what the xray would have shown on Sunday) and acute bronchitis. SO two antibiotic shots later, and a dose of oral antibiotics, I should start getting better soon.

My wallet on the other hand... Will suffer from this episode, I'm sure.

Silverman Race Report

As I said before, Silverman did not go well for me this year. The weather was perfect for a race, sunny, clear and hardly any wind. I just had a bad day, physically. I started coughing up crap on the bike at mile 10 and never stopped. My swim was 55:31, thanks to the smooth water. T1 was in and out, efficiently in 2:05. I did have my fastest bike time on the course by over two minutes, riding 6:36:10. T2 was a little slow in 2:08. However, I had to walk the run. I could not run at all and took 5:50:38 to do the marathon. My final time was 13:26:30, which is my second slowest time for the course. But I finished. I also have some photo from the trip and venue
http://picasaweb.google.com/TracyThelen.triathlete/Silverman2009

I had had a nagging cough since I was sick two weeks ago. I really didn't think much of it, but noticed that it was getting worse on Friday and Saturday before the race. Woke up race morning, bright and early. I made my oatmeal (three packets of the Quaker Healthy Harvest instant) and some how managed to finish it all. Made some coffee and dropped two MotorTabs in a bottle for waiting at the swim start. I already had everything packed, so it didn't take to much time to get over to the Sunset Station to pick up the race shuttle. Yes, I was a lazy bum and drove the half a mile from my hotel. I would be going far enough in the coming hours.

Once we got to Lake Mead, there wasn't much that I needed to do. I got my water bottles on my bike, filled my aero bottle and made sure that I had my tools and my spare tubes. Last thing I wanted to deal with was the chance of a flat. There were a lot of people I knew wandering around, which made the time pass quickly. Soon it was time to fight with the wetsuit and get ready to swim.

Swim
The swim at Silverman has been challenging the last few years. This year, the lake was smooth as glass. The water level was quite a bit lower then last year, leading to a very narrow starting channel. As such, the start was a little more physical then in previous years, but I found open water quickly. There was a cluster of racers in front and another group right around me. For once, I could actually see the bouys in the water! I settled into a comfortable rhythm, siting every five to ten strokes. The bouys were moving by quickly, which was nice to see. Frank (the race director) has different colored bouys at the turns, which makes things easy. No thinking required! I lost a few of the guys in my group - they were swimming off in some weird directions - and struck out on my own. As always, there was plenty of support staff in the water, from Kayaks to Stand up paddlers and ski jets and motor boats. Despite not really having any other athletes around me, I was never alone in the water.
Thanks to the perfect conditions, I got out of the water in record time. I was actually a little shocked to see the clock at the swim finish reading 55:31! There was no time to celebrate - I wanted to get on the bike as quickly as I could. Before the swim, I'd greased up with Beljum Budder to make the (wetsuit) stripping as easy as possible. I have to hand it to the fabuloaus (wetsuit) strippers at Silverman. Always make that part of the race a bit easier.

Bike
This is the hardest bike course I have done. It is harder then Kona, even on a windy day on the island. My fastest time leading up to this year was 6:38:54 - the first year, in perfect conditions. I was hoping to ride between 6:20 and 6:12 this year, and the conditions were again perfect. I got on the bike and started up the two mile long climb out of T1. At that point, I noticed a rookie mistake - my aero bottle was on backwards! I managed to fix it without having to stop, but that was an indication as to how the rest of the ride would go.
At mile ten, that cough I'd been dealing with came back with a vengeance. I started coughing about every five minutes, hard enough that other athletes were asking me if I was okay. I continued riding, maintaining a comfortable pace, but I was unable to push on any of the hills. If I started working too hard, I started coughing. And what I was coughing up was not pretty. Think chewed up saltines mixed with chewed up pretzels and you've got a great visual. There were a few times that I was wandering across the road because I was coughing so hard. Just lucky there was no traffic or USAT officials around at that time!
I hit the halfway in 3:12. Slower then what I was looking for, but reasonable given the first half has a lot more climbing then the middle 30 miles. I knew I had a good gap on the woman behind me, and decided to just ride tempo home so I would be able to run well. At least, that's what the plan was. I continued coughing, with the spells coming more frequently and starting to really affect my ability to ride. My back was also starting to cramp up from the coughing, so I couldn't hold aero on any of the climbs.
At the exit off the road onto the River Mountain Trail, the first Age Group woman caught me. She slowed for just a minute, asked if I was okay after hearing me coughing my way up the first of the three sisters, then took off. I tried not to let her ride away - I was still planning on having a good run at this race. Gradually, she disappeared from view, but I knew that it had taken her 96 miles to make up 10 minutes - I wouldn't loose that much time in 18 miles.
On the road leading up to T2, Frank pulled along side me, driving a little Gator ATV. He waved and shouted "What are you still doing on your bike? Shouldn't you be running already?" I just smiled and replied "how's your day going?" He shook his head and drove off.
When I got into T2, the volunteers said I was about three minutes behind the leader. Normally, that amount of time is easy for me to make up on the longer runs. This would not be a normal day.

Run
When I left T2, I knew that things were not going well. I was really having problems breathing and was coughing like crazy. The color was also starting to trend more towards the pretzel side of the equation. It took me 8:05 to run the first mile and I felt like crap. I stopped and walked for a little, then started running again. That did not last long. At mile two, I realized that I would not be catching anyone today. In fact, if I wanted to finish the race and still be breathing normally, I would not be running either.
So off I went, for a nice long walk. I turned into a one-woman cheering section for everyone else on the course. There were still people finishing the half when I was on the run, and they looked like they needed all the encouragement they could get. I made sure that I thanked all of the volunteers and the race staff. Just because I was having a crappy day does not mean I get to take my frustration out on anyone else. So I made sure that I was polite and cheerful. It helped that it was a good day for a walk.
I did manage to run a few miles - just enough to keep my "run" time under six hours. I was amazed at the number of other athletes who congratulated me on staying in the race and finishing. I was told by several that most athletes in my position would have walked off the course instead of finishing. My response? I have too much respect for this course, this race and for Frank to even consider walking off the course when I know I can finish. I have to thank every athlete who told me I was inspiring - I was just so disappointed that on a day where I felt strong and the weather was perfect, I was not able to succeed on that course.

Silverman is a humbling race. Two of the five years have been perfect, the others less then desirable racing conditions. The course does not let you take short-cuts, either with training ro on race day. If one thing is off, then things will become more challenging. On the other hand, the race organization - Frank Lowery and his awesome team - make suffering through the bad days more then tolerable. I am proud that I was able to finish this year and am looking forward to next year.

Nov 10, 2009

Silverman

Well, Silverman did not go as planned. Had a great swim, then things went downhill. Started coughing at mile ten, kept coughing every few minutes the rest of the ride. And I was coughing up oddly colored crap. Still had a decent bike split despite the coughing fits. But I could not run at all. My chest was starting to hurt and the coughing was getting painfull. So I walked the marathon. I'll get a full race report posted after I get home.

Nov 5, 2009

In Henderson, finally

Finally made it to Henderson, NV early this afternoon. I forgot how horrid the drive between the Junction of 15/70 and Las Vegas was. Just long, straight and hot. The sun was strong and bright the whole drive. We got off 15 at Overton, so we could drive the North Shore Drive part of the bike course. There's a little construction near the turn around - rebuilding some bridges and repaving. The road's a little messed up, but nothing like the second year of the race. It shouldn't be a huge issue at all.

We stopped to run a little on the bike course, in the "flattish" part of the course. I felt really good running and was able to settle into a comfortable pace on the hills. Hopefully, that's a good sign for Sunday. The only issue was the heat. Much hotter then what I'm used to. It is also the hottest that it's been since the first year. I am still refusing to look at the weather forecast. I don't want to know what will happen come Sunday.

Tommorow will be a busy day. Short, easy ride on the course, then volunteering all afternoon, then the dinner. I will need to make sure that I have plenty of water, MotorTabs and food for the day. This is where the Motortabs are awesome - staying hydrated is much easier with something that tastes as good as the Fruit Punch Motortabs.

Nov 4, 2009

Travel Day

On the road today to Nevada. We'll get about halfway to Henderson today, then finish the drive tommorow. Its been an uneventful trip so far, just the way I like it. Sitting in the car, listening to music and spacing out. I keep reviewing the run course in my head, the ups and downs and where I fell apart last year. I wish I knew the bike course as well as run course - that would give me more to ponder on the drive.

We finally got to ride in the Colo Natl Mont today. Timing was close - it was getting dusky when we finished riding. But Rim Rock Drive is pretty, espcially in evening light. We drove to the top and started at the visitors center. I had no desire to ride uphill or downhill for four miles before my race. Asking for trouble in my mind. What we did ride was perfect, hardly any traffic, gently rolling and views. It was also the perfect time to get out of the car.

Nov 3, 2009

Packing time!

It's time to get everything packed and organized for Silverman! I'm leaving tommorow in the morning for the drive to Vegas. It feels like there is so much more stuff that I need for an iron distance race compared to an Xterra, but when I got everything piled in the middle of the floor, there wasn't much more. Wetsuit, goggles, CAF kit, bike shoes (need to make sure I've got the road ones, not the MTB ones!), running shoes, sunglasses, hat, helmet, ext. There's more warm clothes in the pile, but given the history of Silverman... Having a vest or jacket and other stuff in my swim to bike bag could save the race. I'm also packing more food, but with the lenght of the race, that's a given.

I haven't checked the weather forecast yet. Almost scared to check - it seems that Silverman Sunday is always the black sheep in the week. I decided that I wouldn't worry about the weather, but just make sure I've got the clothes to ride in anything. The only thing that the weather will really affect is the finish time. If the weather's perfect, there might be some fast times. If it's like last year, with head wind both directions, hail, rain and thunder, then the name of the game will be survival.

But I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again. The Silverman staff is just the best and the racers are a little family. I'm volunteering with the aide station set up on Friday again. This will be my third year with volunteering. Yeah, it's not the smartest thing to do before a big race, but I wouldn't give it up. There's something about volunteering that makes you appreciate the work that everyone does to make a race run smoothly.

I'll get travel and race updates posted regularly. Wish me luck!