Wednesday, August 20, 2014

8/11-8/17: Being a Mountain Girl

... for the most part.

Monday, August 11, I didn't take any pictures, but we did get in a solid 30 mile ride with Richard and Carlos. They were going from downtown to Cherry Creek State Park and back; since we live that way, we rode downtown, met them at REI and rode to Cherry Creek. We then went our separate ways. 

Fairly easy ride, but it's fun to ride with others. I need to keep telling myself this.

On Thursday, August 14, we went hiking up in Golden at Mt. Galbraith Park. It was a good, fun hour of tromping around.

Brandon staring at the vast.

Heading down the trail.

Brandon on a rock outcropping, like usual.

Standing tall, modeling my SkirtSports Boulder skirt.

Then, for Brandon's birthday (which was the 16th), I bought us a white-water rafting trip which we did on Friday, August 15. It was the trip that almost didn't happen, thanks to crazy ridiculous traffic (made worse by rain).

Neither of us had been rafting in a few years - since my birthday in either 2008 or 2009, but this trip made us both realize how much we miss it. Next year, we want to go more often. And do a full day excursion. And some Class V rapids, baby.

(These photos are courtesy of Clear Creek Rafting. Apparently they give you free raft photos, which is AWESOME because they're usually uber-expensive.)

8-15-14 int 5.00 030
We're the two in sunglasses.

8-15-14 int 5.00 042
Coming out of a rapid.

Then, of course, Saturday, August 16 we went up to Leadville which was a workout in itself. Insider's tip: if you're going to be tromping around most of the day at or above 10,000 feet ... stay hydrated. Or you will feel hungover the next day.

Not too much tri-related this week, but it was still a lot of fun and a lot of activity. Rafting is a hell of a workout!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cheering at the Leadville Trail 100

This past Saturday, we went up and cheered at the Leadville Trail 100. One of our running friends just so happens to be a professional runner - went to the Olympics in Sydney, has won the Denver Rock 'N' Roll Marathon ... he's good. He's currently on the ultra scene, running for Mizuno (and helped design the shoe he runs in). 

In any case, he was running Leadville and was gunning for the win after coming in third last year. It was Brandon's birthday, but both Mike and his wife Nic wanted us up there ... so we went. After getting in a swim/lift and gambling a bit, though.

We missed him on his way back through Twin Lakes, but caught up to him at the Outward Bound aid station. While waiting for him to come through, we met and talked to two of his pacers - Andrew Letherby and Patrick Rizzo.

(Nic's in stripes, Mike's in black)

Mike was in second place at that point and was a little out of it, but doing okay.

After Outward Bound, we headed to May Queen (by Turquoise Lake - BEAUTIFUL area) to wait for him to come through. We chatted more with Rizzo - dude's hilarious - and celebrated Brandon's birthday with a bit of cake.

We also sang to him, embarrassing him horribly. Payback for my birthday.

We saw leader Rob Krar come through and then Ian Sharman ... and then Mike right behind him in third.

Mike in black; Letherby in blue; Rizzo in gray.

From that point on, the next time we'd see him would be at the finish.

We moved on back to town to grab dinner, getting periodic text updates from Nic as well as our friend Mitch who'd been up there for a few days. We had a general idea of when the clear winner, Krar, was coming in so we made it down to the finish for that.

Medal table.

Krar, with the second-fastest time in course history.

After he finished, we were able to meet up and talk with a few more of our friends that had come up to cheer Mike on. Then, about 30 minutes after Krar crossed, along came Mike, solidly in second place. We found out later that Mike had the fastest split ever from May Queen to the finish - fastest by about eight minutes.

Ghostly looking Mike - stupid camera.

Although he didn't win, I think he finally found redemption on that course from the few previous times he'd run it. 

It was awesome to watch and awesome to spectate ... but it is also something I am NOT interested in ever doing. At least for a good looooong while.

I leave you with this photo of Mike talking to ... somebody ... mainly because Rizzo's face? Is hysterical.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Race #10 of the Season: Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half-Marathon

This was a weird race.

I signed up for this race because it was a bucket list item; a race I'd heard about for years and always wanted to do ... but never signed up for. This year, I finally signed up for it. It's a point-to-point race from - surprise, surprise - Georgetown to Idaho Springs, two mountain towns. You also lose about 1000 feet of elevation over the course of the 13.1 miles.

I was always planning on training through this race. With the way the summer has gone, I went into it with 0 expectations. I think I'd run 5 or more miles ... maybe four? times since the BolderBOULDER (one of which was probably TriRock) so I knew the lack of distance would come to bite me in the ass at some point during the course of the race.

Friday afternoon, I drove up to Idaho Springs for bib pick-up ... and proceeded to sit in traffic on I-70 for over an hour. Made it up to Evergreen just fine, but from Evergreen to just outside of Idaho Springs ... slog. Five miles in an hour thanks to blasting on a tunnel project. I finally got my stupid bib, almost fell asleep on the drive home, forced dinner down my throat and passed out.

Saturday morning, I woke up butt-honking early, because I knew it would take me a while to get up to Idaho - there wasn't any blasting going on, thankfully, but part of I-25 was closed down due to construction, so yay detours.

I got up to Idaho Springs about 5am, got Starbucks, pooped, parked ... and got one of the shuttles to Georgetown early - probably before 6am.

So excited. Also: new Ironman visor!

I rode the shuttle to Georgetown and just ... waited. Waited around until the 8am start. Huddled in a shelter to stay out of the wind and to stay warm. Waited until the last possible minute for gear check (about 7:45). 

I also realized that my bib number (733) was the same as it was for Ironman. Told myself it was a good omen.

At the start, I seeded myself around the 2:30 pace group because I told myself if I hit that, I'd be happy. Then I spotted some people I knew from Run Colorado - Jeanne and Leanne, mostly, and ended up starting the race with them.

Leanne, Sade, me, Jeanne, Elina's ... husband?, Elina.

Running with these ladies for the first few miles saved me, I think. We started out by the 2:30 pace group ... and then passed them ... then the 2:25 pace group ... then the 2:20 pace group ... and settled in behind the 2:15 pace group. 

I stuck with them and their pace until about the four mile mark when they veered off to use a porta-potty. I told them they'd catch up with me soon.

From that point on, I kept it steady. Kept running. Walked for the first time at about the halfway point thanks to a hill. Walked a bit more after that, a bit more often ... but for the most part, I kept running.

One foot in front of the other, keep on going.

I heard the shuffling footsteps of those around me, thinking it couldn't be good for their shoes (or their body long-term) for them to not pick up their feet. I listened to my own feet, to make sure I wasn't doing the same.

I enjoyed the view, running next to Clear Creek, loved the few mile stretch of dirt.

Surprised when I was able to keep going.

I felt a few pains here and there, but I adjusted gait or walked a bit or told myself, "You're fine," and they disappeared.

The wheels finally started coming off with about a 5K to go. The miles started getting longer and longer. I started walking more and more. The 2:15 pace group, which stayed in sight for most of the run, started slipping away.

There's one hill most people talk about, and it is at about mile 12.8 and it sucks because it's at mile 12.8. I walked up it and then ran it into the finish. I had just started my final kick when I heard my name being called - Jeanne and Leanne had finally caught up to me.

I finished, my Garmin saying 2:18.

I went down into the field, got my t-shirt, got some watermelon, got my medal (which I paid extra for and apparently lost that day. Boo.), got a pint glass that Runners Roost was handing out, got my bag from gear check, called Brandon, heard that Norm came in third in his age group, left the field, saw Norm, got in my car, drove home.

My legs hurt, but I was able to get in some decent workouts on them the next few days.

Final Stats:
Time: 2:18:26
Pace: 10:34/mi
Overall Rank: 1274/2159
Gender Rank: 698/1347
Division Rank: 138/252 (F30-34)

Also, for the curious, the Garmin splits (for the 13.16 miles it said I did):

Mile 1: 11:01.9
Mile 2: 10:32.2
Mile 3: 9:42.3
Mile 4: 9:54.5
Mile 5: 10:08.2
Mile 6: 10:08.6
Mile 7: 10:18.8
Mile 8: 10:37.4
Mile 9: 10:30.5
Mile 10: 10:30.8
Mile 11: 11:06.0
Mile 12: 11:34.2
Mile 13: 11:12.1
Last Bit: 1:09.1

Of note: Look at miles 5/6 and 9/10. My ability to have consistent mile splits lives on!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Things I Love: Skirt Sports

It's been a while since I've done one of these ... and this one is way past due.

As a reminder, I'm not sponsored by Skirt Sports ... though Nicole, if you read this and decide you want to "sponsor" an AGer, I'm all for it. Or find me a job with you guys. Either way.

I discovered Skirt Sports a while back. Probably in ... 2007? They were one of the big sponsors for Tri for the Cure which, of course, was my first ever triathlon. They made the race shirts that year ... and I think I have mine ... somewhere ... 

In any case, I learned about them then, but didn't actually try a running skirt until 2008, when Brandon and I did the SkirtChaser 5K* in Cherry Creek North. I got a skirt with entry and I liked it except for a few chafing issues (learned to wear other shorts underneath due to chub rub).

I didn't truly "Convert to Skirt" until a few years later - I think 2010 was my first full season of ONLY wearing Skirt Sports when running - but now that I have ... I can't go back. No matter what, given my thighs, I'm going to have to wear spandex shorts. However, I don't like showing this booty off in JUST spandex. Shorts tend to bunch up ... so skirts? Are perfect.

And I know there are other brands, but I like Skirt Sports. I like the brand. I like how they're the original running skirt. I like how they're a local Colorado company. I've been following them for long enough that I can see a print somewhere and, about 75% of the time, name what it is (Brandon laughs at me for this, by the way).

I could go with Lululemon ... but honestly, no. They're a little too much for me and, if you believe the interwebs, they're a sketchy-ass company.

I've had a Nike running skirt ... but I didn't get the same freedom with it - too tight.

I could go with Running Skirts - and trust me, I've been tempted ... argyle? Yes please! - but at this point, I feel loyal to Skirt Sports.

I did wonder about the direction of the company with last summer's line - some more asymmetrical stuff with a lot more ruffles, stuff that seemed more in line with say, a Lululemon - but if that's what they've got to do to compete, who am I to judge? Plus some of the new fall colors are awesome, so y'know, I'm hooked again.

In 2012 at the Tri for the Cure expo, I introduced myself to founder/owner Nicole DeBoom and we've become friendly since ... which is why I felt totally comfortable bringing up my ENTIRE Skirt collection to the Skirt Sports Half-Marathon and 5K which I raced back in June.

The work of a few years.

Sprawled on top ... bedecked pretty much entirely in Skirt myself.

With Nicole. Swiped off of the Skirt Sports Instagram page. I've added a few pieces since.


So the story behind this last photo is kind of funny ... I went up to Skirt Sports HQ in Boulder in early July to get myself a black headband to wear to work as well as the Boulder Skirt as an early birthday present to myself. Nicole heard I was there and came out and said hi. I commented on the prints on the wall, mentioning my favorite (Ocean Play - get so many comments on my arm warmers in that print!) ... so she insisted on a selfie of the two of us next to it.

To sum up, if you're a girl (or a guy! There are a few male Skirt Sports devotees!) and are looking for some cute running apparel, check out Skirt Sports. And if you hate running skirts, they've got shorts now, too.

Oh, one last note on durability - I'm still wearing some of those skirts from way back in 2008. I wore one on Saturday at Georgetown to Idaho Springs. Take care of them, and they last. I've also kept every single piece I've had except two - a mojito green Cruiser Girl bike Skirt (my waist/hip ratio meant I showed buttcrack every time I wore it) and a black pearl snap Skirt from that same SkirtChaser series that got too stretched out for me to wear anymore. I've also liked pretty much everything - there's one shirt that was a little "meh" regarding the fit and the capris just don't work for me ... why, I don't know. Also, unfortunately, the two sports bras I've tried - the Trifecta and the Kelly - chafe me horribly in triathlons. There's this one spot on my side that gets rubbed horribly raw. The Kelly also gave me side-boob chafe at IMAZ.

* Oooooooooold blog. Picture links broken. Not fixing.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

7/28-8/3: Trails and Tutus

Last week's featured workout took place on Sunday.

That morning, we were supposed to meet up with some friends of ours to try trail running at White Ranch Open Space up in Golden. We got up there ... saw nobody. Apparently there were two parking lots and we were at the wrong one. Oops. While confused, we managed to get a nice view of the city:


15 minutes after we were supposed to start, we said "screw it" and decided to just go ourselves, given what else we had going on that day. We picked a random path; it took us to a picnic site only; picked another one. We descended and descended and descended ... and after a little while ... decided to turn it around because we knew it would take us a while to climb back out.

And it did. A long while. More hiking than running ... and both of us tripping. I still have quite a nice bruise on the outside of my right knee thanks to my fall. Yay, we're normal?


It was fun, but I don't think it's ultimately for us. Or at least me, since I am fairly klutzy. I don't really want to injure myself on the trails and screw me over for triathlon season. I'll stick to the slower hiking ...

Afterward, we drove from Golden to Boulder so we could volunteer for Ironman Boulder. We knew about a half-dozen people racing - from friends to MX-12 teammates - and got a spot as bike marshals with about two miles left to go on the bike course. Brandon was at mile 109.9 - I was at 109.6.

Our friend Danielle looking at Brandon's sign. Her husband is doing IMoo this year!

Brandon wearing his awesome yellow vest.


I wore a crazy rainbow tutu as part of my outfit and spent the 6.5 hours of my shift jumping and waving and yelling. I was gesturing and telling people to go straight down the course (and through the intersection) as well as giving words of encouragement or compliments or, whatever, really.

I was hot, I got sunburned, I had to pee for half the shift ... but I also got to see some of my friends racing and hopefully provide some energy to those last few athletes on the bike course. I posted on twitter near the end:

"Most people are fairly non-responsive ... I have a crap voice but I'm picking up the energy because the athletes need it! #IMBoulder"

It also made me really want to do an Ironman again ... but I'm sticking to my 2016 guns, damnit!

Monday, August 4, 2014

July Round-Up

July was better than June, but not by much ...

Running: 29.38 mi
Swimming: 8400m (5.21 mi)
Cycling: 123.71 mi
Lifting: four sessions (1:32)
Other: two walks (3:00), one stretch session (:10), one yoga session (:8:15), boot camp class (1:00)

Did I do something non-S/B/R related? Yep - we're counting the boot camp class.

Am I strength-training regularly? Barely, but yes.

Am I injury-free? Still thankfully, yes.

TriRock was a disaster. We've discussed this; we're moving on. I need renewed focus, every day. I also need to make sure I keep getting enough sleep. Each day is a new day, each week is a new week, and August is a new month. 

Volunteering at Ironman Boulder

Yesterday, the inaugural Ironman Boulder took place.  Boulder has long been considered by triathletes to be the "Mecca" for triathlon, so it only should be natural that there's an Ironman event in the place that so many triathletes call home.

T and I wrestled around with the idea of signing up for it, but with Ironman Arizona being the priority, we figured training for it would be too tough.  Also, this area is generally predictable in August: hot, hot, hot, and more hot.  Therefore, we wanted to see what it'd be like before we took the plunge.

I bid for the day off and we signed up for our friend Carlos's bike marshal station.  The job was pretty simple, all things considered.  I kept people going straight at mile 109.9.  In addition to helping out a lot of cyclists, I was looking forward to seeing fellow MX12 athletes out there, as well as my friend Richard.

So for 6 hours, I stood, waved my arm, clapped, cheered, and was simply inspired.  At one point, standing out there, I realized that the Ironman is my arena.  It's where I belong.  If you didn't read my last blog post, I bluntly describe my year and why I'm in the place that I'm in.  Yet yesterday, watching these athletes ride, I realized I was in this place not 9 months ago.  I was there.  Pumping my legs, finishing my bike, knowing that I was going to be an Ironman at the end of the day.  

I told a lot of the athletes late in the bike that they made me proud.  Because they did.