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...

Jan 31, 2010

Long ride and chores

We got a late start to the day. Just a lot of small chores that needed to get done before we leave for 24hrs in the Old Pueblo. But there are chains in the camper now, so if we hit bad weather we'll be okay. Slower then normal, but okay. We also got some of the crap we won't need for the race out, like the little microwave and coffee pot. So now there is more room for all our race gear. But the little errands and chores seem to take twice as long as planned
As a result, we didn't head out for our ride until late. Because of time and the snow from Friday, we decided to play it safe. A road ride on the Air Force Academy was in order. As usual, Nick rode his mountain bike and I rode my Tricross. Neither of us have road bikes, so that's the best combo. I wasn't feeling spunky at the start of the ride. It was a struggle to stay on Nick's wheel on some of the long climbs. I just did not have any power riding today at all. We had planned on getting a solid four hours, but I was done at three. Between feeling so drained and the falling temperatures, we were back at the camper after 3:15. And it was so nice to get into a nice, warm camper after the ride. We have heat!!!

Despite how tired I was, Nick convinced me to at least run for a mile or two. I was supposed to do four after the ride. Well, that first mile was not pretty, but then everything loosened up and I was able to settle into a comfortable pace. I was feeling good enought that I went ahead and did the full four miles.

Now, it's time to unpack the camper, throw some clothes in the wash, get ready for work tommorow, then chill out. I'm going to try making the kale soup that Mel McQuaid gave to Triathlete a few months ago. If it doesn't work, there's always pizza!

Jan 29, 2010

Crazy drivers

My drive to Pueblo for work this morning was interesting. Usually, it's pretty quiet - I set the cruise to 74, turn up my music and have some alone time before work. Today, the roads were a little damp and it was not a day for the cruise control. Not because of ice, but the fog. It was really foggy between Colorado Springs and the Pueblo west exit. Part of the problem is that I-25 follows Fountain Creek down to Pueblo and when it's cold, there is a lot of moisture. That means lots of fog and it was bad today. Yet it seemed that everyone else didn't notice. They were still driving like maniacs, tailgating and speeding. Oh well. At least I didn't see any cars in the ditch this time.
Pueblo also got more snow then we did in Colorado Springs. That's also unusual. Pueblo is normally colder at night, but with less snow. Our plans for a long ride on Sunday might not work out. If the snow does not melt quickly, the trails at Lake Pueblo SP will be nothing but mud. And looking out the therapy office window, the sun is shining, but the snow is not melting very fast. There is still a good two inches on the ground. The roads are clear, but I'm not sure that things will dry out by Sunday.

Jan 27, 2010

Drafting in swimming

I never really accepted that there was such an effect from drafting in swimming. I hate the melee of the open water swim starts in most triathlons. I usually try to find clear water as soon as possible, so I don't have to deal with other people. I also don't like trusting others to site for me. Well, that might have to change this year. I think that I will have to work on staying with the first group and staying on the feet of the swimmers around me.

I've been happy swimming the long free sets on Wednesdays with the masters group. I'm usually second or third off the wall, and can hang on the feet on the swimmer in front of me and hit the intervals decently. Well, the normal leader decided to hop up a lane and swim with the faster group this morning. That left me in charge. Bad combo - having to do weird math to hit the intervals and having to count past four while swimming hard? Not things I'm good at - I once lost count in a 200 free race in HS!

First half of the set went well. I was hitting the interval with plenty of rest, hadn't lost count and was doing the math appropriately. I felt like I was working harder then last week, but chalked it up to a busier first half of the week. On the last half of the set, my arms and back really started feeling the workout. I was still hitting the times with enough rest, but all of a sudden I was working a lot harder to maintain the pace. After the workout, I mentioned it to one of the other women in the lane. Drafting. I wan't able to just put my head down and follow toes. I had to work to cut through the water, to maintain the pace and the effort level. I have to be honest, I didn't not think that there was that much of an effect from drafting in the water. Well, now I know better. I'll lead the interval if I have, but I will also remember that following saves time and effort in a race.

Jan 26, 2010

N(ice) night ride

We got together for another night ride this tuesday and decided to test our luck with Palmer Park. The trails there are ususally pretty clear, so we figured that it would be a safe place to ride. The weather was cold, but clear and there was a lot of moisture in the air. To add to the fun of a night ride with the girls, Tracy H had her brand new Giant - maiden voyage time!

We headed up to the top of the mesa via one of the easier trails. There was some cruchy snow, but nothing really bad. It was looking like a good choice for a ride. Once on top of the mesa, we meandered around, finding nothing but dry trails. I took lead for a little and headed down one of the more technical side trails. Halfway down a descent that I've cleaned hundreds of times, my whole bike just slide out from under me. The trail was nothing but a sheet of ice, covered in a fine layer of dust. I avoided hitting any big rocks and slid down the rest of the descent. That was our first indication of what most of the trails would be like. Once we realized that there was a lot of ice hidden under a little layer of sand, we were a lot more careful. Everyone slid out at least twice because of the ice, but other then some bruised egos - no injuries. Tracy H had the best crash near the end of the ride. Her bike just felt over and she slid nearly five feet on the ice. Luckly, the bike was just fine!

Other then the ice, it was a great ride. It's so quiet riding at night - there is no distraction from the trail and how you feel on the bike. Having a good group also makes it fun.

Jan 24, 2010

Windy Ride

The weather man warned us that it would be windy Sunday. I didn't really belive him - after all, Colorado weather is notoriously difficult to forecase. Nick and I made plans to drive the Turtle down to Lake Pueblo for a nice, long mountain bike ride, thinking that it would just be cold. One of the CTS Coaches, Jane was also going to join us for the ride, since most of the trails here are icy or muddy.

Well, when the wind picked up at 4:00 and woke me up... And it did not die down. The drive down to Pueblo was slower the normal because of the wind. Although the Turtle is heavy, it's also tall and the wind was blowing us around something awful. A precurser to most of the ride, actually. Once we got to Pueblo, we changed and headed out into the wind. Because I wanted to ride for 3-4 hours, the plan was to do a few loops on Voodoo, one on Outer Limits, then play in the canyons for the rest of the time. We did not get that much distance covered. Pronghorn was straight into the wind and pretty much sucked. Most of Voodoo was the same way - into the wind, with nothing to hide in. Jane was getting blown around pretty badly on a few stretches of the trail and ended up in Pinon Pine at one point! Even Nick was blown a few feet off the trail. I don't think the Kona winds had much on our Lake Pueblo winds. We only managed one loop of Voodoo and nixed Outer Limits. There is too much exposed cliff side trail on Outer Limits - one gust at the right time and it's a long way down.

After getting blown back into the canyon country, we spent some time practicing the technical sections. It was good for me - Jane has some strong skills on the bike and watching her line and body english on the bike helps. I was able to clean a few pieces of trail that I hadn't made before.  We ended up with three solid hours on the bike - not bad for the weather. The sad part is - if the wind hadn't been howling, the day would have been perfect for a long ride.

Jan 22, 2010

2010 Race Schedule Posted

I have 90% of my race schedule for 2010 up on my website. There might still be an Xterra or Mountain Bike race to add to the list, but I think it's a good start. It will be a busy season, that's for sure. I'm going to try to make it to all of the Xterra Cup races, Xterra USA and hopefully Xterra Worlds. That one will be dependent on money - I might not be able to afford to get out the Maui. I'm also going to race about half of the MSC events. I'm really looking forward to the Full Tilt in Telluride weekend. I've never been out to Telluride! Add in three marathons and there you go. Oh, and I must not forget Silverman - the perfect race to end the season with!

Check it out - http://sites.google.com/site/tracysthelen/race-schedule

Jan 21, 2010

Night riding - finally

This is silly - I have 24 hour race coming up and I have yet to do any quality night rides. Nick and I had planned to get out last Friday, but things didn't work out. I don't feel comfortable riding at night alone - there is wildlife in the hills and I might make a good snack. And when we've gone down to Pueblo, we haven't brought the lights with us.

So when Tracy H mentioned that she was going riding last night with a few of the Women's Mountain Biking Association of Colorado Springs (WOMBA) riders, I jumped at the chance. No stress pace, ride some different trails and get out with the lights. It meant for a busy day, but the ride was worth it. We rode some of the trails in Red Rocks, which was really cool. I've only riden there once, and that was last year. Riding on new trails was a good test of the lights and my light set up. I was running a Nite Rider ont he bars and my Ameoba on my helmet. I really like the little Ameoba lights - battery and light fits well on the helmet and I don't even notice that it's there.

One of the trails we went down was still a little icy and snowy. The descent was a little hairy with six inches of crusty snow hiding the rocks and roots. I bounced off a rock, unclipped and couldn't get clipped back in, then rode two thirds of the hill half out of control. But I didn't crash - came to a nice, controlled stop. Good times. Most of the trails were decent - it was just that one section that was really bad. I felt comfortable on the trails, comfortable with the lights and was perfectly dressed for the weather. It was a blast to get out and ride with some new people and I'm looking forward to the next night ride next week.

Jan 19, 2010

Surviving master's swim

First, I have to admit that I should have buckled down and started going to the Masters Swim workouts last year instead of just maintaining the swimming I was doing. It's a great group, very welcomining of new athletes and very encouraging to be around. It's also nice to have a good workout posted and to have other people to swim with. I hate getting up that early to swim, but I'm always happy I did afterwards.

That said - I'm also getting schooled in the pool. I have not swum this fast since high school. I will freely admit that I took full advantage of my swimming ability last year and hardly trained in the water at all. Since starting with the masters, I have been really working in the pool. I'm swimming on an interval five seconds faster then I was last year. I'm finishing the workouts on that interval, but it's right at the limits. Those last few sets are always a struggle to maintain good power and form. Having someone infront and behind me makes it easier, but still... I'm looking forward to when I can maintain the interval without feeling completely spent at the end.

Jan 14, 2010

Back on the bike

After having a nice and relaxing recovery week last week, it's time to start working hard on the bike again. After finishing the workout on Wednesday, I think the next few weeks are really going to kick my rump. I know that the bike is my weakest event. I also know that my run is suffering because I'm working so hard on the bike. I just need to keep remembering that while I'm suffering on the computrainer at CTS. That's why I'm working with a coach now - so I can develop as a complete triathlete. Right now, that means bike focus.

I have to be honest, I was not expecting this block of training to be as intense as it will be. I'm not sure why - if I want to meet my goals, I need to expect both long hours and high intensity. That's the only way to develop the cycling power that I need for the Xterras. It's just a little shock to the system - I haven't ever really done any workouts of this intensity on the bike before. And going to CTS and riding inside really forces me to focus on just the workout - just the wattage and the intervals. It's odd - I'm really looking forward to the end of this training block, but dreading the middle weeks.

Jan 12, 2010

Turtle Trouble

So, last year, I posted a triumphant note that we had a working furnace in our camper. Well, after three trips to Pueblo in the last week, I have to relucantly state that we sometimes have heat. The furnace works - when it wants to. On the first trip (Dec 30-31) the furnace worked great at the rest stop, great when we parked to set up and great when we got back from our workout. But then, just before it was time to go to bed, no heat. None. We had to plug into power and use the little heater fan to survive the night. Then on the next trip - same thing. Furnace worked great until bed time, then just quit. The fan was working and everything, but there was no heat coming out at all. Next morning, after a fun ride, the furnace was working great again.

Nick's parents were in town last weekend, so he and his dad spent over four hours working on the engine. The whole time (thankfully, otherwise it would have been really miserable doing the work) the furnace worked like a champ. And the work they did really helped. All the trouble that we had starting the engine went away. The turtle starts on the first try and runs beautifully.

So Nick and I decided on a third test run last weekend. Yet again - the furnace worked until it got dark and cold. Then no heat. Just blowing cold air in. Wake up in the morning, and it's intermitent. Sometimes we have heat, sometimes none. And we were not out of propane - I was able to make two perfect cups of Christopher Bean Coffee to drink before our ride.

So, we're bringing it back to the RV shop tommorrow to see if they get either fix it for good or just put a new furnance in. We need the heat.

But we still got some great riding and awsome training time down in Pueblo. Some photos of the trips - http://picasaweb.google.com/TracyThelen.triathlete/JanuaryCampingTrips#

Jan 9, 2010

Doctor Thelen

It's official. I finished all the class requirements and seminars for my DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) last year. I just did not have the certificate from the Clinical Instructor Credentialling class that I had taken in November. Since the CU offices were closed over the holidays, I couldn't make the needed calls to get everything taken care of. Well, I finally got through to everyone and got the information from point a to point b. My degree has been posted to my transcript and I have my diploma coming in the mail soon. It's been a long road - getting this Doctorate. I was on the fence for several years after I finished my masters as to whether I even wanted to pursue the higher degree. At times, when I was struggling with the reports and papers for Patient Care Seminars, I was questioning my sanity with even trying. There is a huge gap between the research and academia version of physical therapy and the reality of practicing in the current payment systems, and I was having some major issues with that. But after two and a half years - I finally finished and can now call myself Doctor Thelen, PT.

Jan 6, 2010

Errands on the run

This was one of those days where (so far) everything has worked out well. I had a recall service that I needed to get done on my car, so my plan was to swim in the morning, drop my car off and take the shuttle home. I would the run down to the dealership to pick up my car when it was finished. That way, I would have everything done and be home before the weather blew in.

And that's how it worked, almost. Swim went well, got my car in and got home. Did a little stuff at home, then started getting ready to head back down to the dealership. At that time, there was no wind and the temperature was 38 and sunny. The storm wasn't supposed to move in until the afternoon. So I decided to wear shorts for my run. First mile, perfectly comfortable. It was a great day to be outside. Second mile and the wind started picking up. And there was a nasty cold bite to the wind. Third mile and the tempurature drop was starting to get noticable. Mile four, and I was starting to doubt my sanity for wearing shorts. At least the sun was still out!

I told the service advisor from the dealership that I would be running in to get my car. I guess that's why he knew exactly who I was when I got there! I didn't have to wait at all or tell anyone three times why I was there. I'm sure he thought I was nuts when I walked in wearing shorts. "It was nice when I left" didn't really cut it as a good reason.

I looked at the temperature when I got home and no wonder I was cold! It had dropped from 38 to 24, with a stiff wind blowing. Sure the sun was still out, but... I'm happy that I've gotten everything done and this is a recovery weeks. The next few days are supposed to be ugly.

Jan 5, 2010

Resolution Season

It's here again. Every year, the fifth season kicks off just after January 1st, as everyone heads to the gym to try and fulfill New Year's Resolutions. I went to my Pilates and yoga class this morning and was amazed to see every treadmill in use. At 9:30 on a Tuesday! And there were a lot more people in the classes as well. It's great to see the interest in getting healthy and making a postitive difference in your life. I wish that come April, when the weather is perfect to take to the roads, that more of the Resolutioners were still active. It's hard to keep the motivation up when the inside of gym is all you see.

Jan 1, 2010

Ringing in the New Year

I decided to race in the Rescue Run this year. It's a Colorado Springs New Year's Day tradition for the running community. Last year I had to skip because I was working and could not get the time off. This year, not an issue. Nick and I drove to Palmer Park - He was going to go riding with his friends, then ride home. I heading down to the playground to register. Timing was perfect. I was able to get my number, get on the bathroom line, and into shorts for the race with about 10 minutes to spare. Since I didn't want to be waiting around in shorts, that worked great. Air temperature cold, sunshine warm, waiting in cold air and warm sun still cold.

I haven't been focusing on the run lately, and I could feel it in the first few miles. I was breathing a little harder then I wanted, and just didn't feel as smooth as normal. It doesn't help that the Rescue Run is a very hilly race. Once we got off the first major hill, I settled into a comfortably hard pace. I knew my postion in the field, but I also knew that the lack of speed workouts and mileage might hurt later. I could feel the hills in my legs too. But it was fun. I love getting out and running hard. It's a good way to shake the cobwebs out and a great way to bring in the New Year.

My time was decent, but slower then the last time I raced. I'm going to blame it on the amount of snow on the mesa. Everyone had to deal with the packed snow, so all the times were a little slow. I know that in 2008, there was no snow on the roads, just bitter cold. I'd rather see the snow and have to take it easy then bitter cold. Since the Rescue Run is a fundraising event for the El Paso County Search and Rescue, it's always nice to wake up to sunny day. That brings the numbers up for the event dramatically.