Sunday, September 14, 2014

Oh yeah I have a blog!

I guess I should write about this munchkin who's been home for about 5 weeks now….

Sometime soon!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Tale of Two Races

Last month I did the Loveland Lake to Lake triathlon (sprint distance).  It was awesome cause I did it with this lady (though she was racing the longer distance) and it was awesome cause I finally got my swim mojo back.  The swim was fast, fluid and comfortable - only took a year to get that back.  The bike was balls to the walls hard as I could and the run went fine.  I even caused a car accident when a particuarly vocal gentleman driving a pickup truck failed to notice traffic had stopped in front of him.  Pinnacle achieved.

Jeff came out to cheer at my last tri and captured my joy at being done just after the finish.

After I recovered a little I went back out on the run on the hunt for Tea and photobombed her race.

Duathlon Nationals came last weekend.  I flew out to St Paul alone, making it to the host hotel just in time for packet pickup and then built my bike in a hurry, ate dinner and went to bed.  I was up before dawn on race morning to take my bike over to transition and then went back to bed with my coffee for a few hours, because the sprint distance race didn't start till nearly noon.  There's not a ton to be was hot, humid and windy.  I looked like a wet tomato for the majority of the race.  My first run was pretty fast.  I pushed some big watts on the bike but it was stupidly slow, even for me.  The women who took my AG were the sturdy strong bikers who weren't being pushed around so much in the wind; the course did not offer much advantage for small folks who climb well.  My second run was just hanging on and trying to pass back people who had passed me.

And then it was done and after I was done dry-heaving over the side of the finish chute mostly I just wanted to go home.  I packed my bike in a hurry and caught an early flight back rather than stay another night in Minnesota.  The look of surprise on my husband's face when he saw me in our local watering hole made it all worthwhile.  No big revelations or special moments with the last race, I guess my brain was already finished.  The goal was to go as hard as I possibly could and leave nothing in the tank - mission accomplished.  And now...I think I'm done with that particular form of pain for a bit.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Not an Ending But a Beginning

I'm not sure if there's anyone still around but...yeah, it's been a while.  I owe a race report...or maybe two.  My last triathlon as well as Duathlon Nationals have come and gone.  I'll get to them, eventually.

With the end of my season, and training/racing life for now, comes a whole mix of emotions.  Joy at being done. Sadness at no more snarky little comments in TrainingPeaks from my coach as well as virtual pats-on-the-head.  Excitement about what lies ahead.  Interest about how embracing a less structured active life will play out in body composition, energy levels, and beer consumption. Curiousity about how the changes to my life over the last year led me to become so apathetic about training and racing.  Relief that I recognized the changes in myself early enough to know when to call my season done without fear of judgement.

But also...a large proportion of gratitude.  I'm grateful for my husband for supporting this sometimes-outlandish journey into competitive sports as well as supporting my choice to drop it and take up whereever the summer's explorations take me.  I'm grateful to so many friends who talked me through hard training days and disappointing races and celebrated the good ones and were happy for me when I had a big breakthrough.  I hope you still bitch to me about your training and race dilemmas and that we can continue to make fun of triathlete egos together.  I'm grateful more than anything else to my amazing coach who has been with me for most of this journey and taught me everything I know about how to push my limits and succeed.  I'm happy to call her a friend as well and once she's delivered her baby I fully expect we had better find a way across the 1000 miles between us to have a beer!  Seriously though, I could never have done anything in the last 7 seasons without her; it's not just about the PRs (of which there were many) but the journey from timid adult-onset athlete to confident racer.  Thank you, Elizabeth, for everything.

So what's next?
*Rest. I'm taking this first week slow and just going with the flow.  By slow, of course I mean that yesterday, the day after the race, I took the dogs to the lake, bathed and groomed them, vaccuumed all 3 floors of the house, organized and packed away all my racing gear, rebuilt my TT bike and put it up for sale, rearranged a few parts of the house, and ran 4 loads of laundry.  But really, other than some yoga and an open water swim with Tea, it's going to be a mild week.
* Hiking.  Jeff got us an annual pass for Rocky Mountain National Park and as it's only 20 minutes from home I expect we will be checking out a trail each weekend.  He's doing some advance scouting for his yearly man trip into the wilderness and I'm happy to join in and explore with him.
* Still biking and running.  Stanley loves to run with me and we shall do some trail running.  It'll be nice to just go out and run and stop when I feel like it and not even care about pace.  I've got a road bike on order and hopefully a mountain bike will follow.  There are so many roads and trails to try out here and I'm truly chomping at the bit to explore things in our new home.
* Dog agility.  I've had to put competition on the back burner while I trained and raced but we are entered in some trials coming up soon.  Stan will be very happy to get back to it!
* And more.  Music festivals, concerts, beer, tons of work on our property and house, and maybe a few other little things along the way!  Life in Colorado is pretty full and I'm looking forward to embracing it all.  Maybe without the pressure of race reports (after I get the last ones done) posting will even be a bit easier to do :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Boulder Sprint Triathlon

I can't say I was really looking forward to this race…combine the open water swim issues I've developed since moving to altitude (more on that in another post) and the turnoff of the Boulder tri scene and I wasn't exactly jumping up and down at a local race.  But I'd signed up and I couldn't manage to injure myself or come up with any good excuse in the day leading up.  So there I was at 5:30am in transition after waiting 20 minutes in a Starbucks parking lot for them to open at 5am because it was Sunday, I'll be damned if I have to race AND go without coffee, and oops I woke up too early and left the house by 4:15.

As it turned out, there were plenty of folks doing their first triathlons racked near me and their enthusiasm was infectious.  Then, as I chatted with the woman next to me, she told me how she had done this race last year.  And then had a stroke in transition an hour after finishing.  This was her first race back.  Yeah, OK, clearly I need to get the hell over myself and just go have fun today.  So that became my primary goal - Have. Fun.

I spent a LONG time warming up.  The water wasn't cold at all - in the low 60s when I came for a practice swim Tuesday and in the high 60s on race morning - in either case, WAY WARM compared to the water we train and race in back home (I had more than one experience this weekend that made me realize Colorado folks are bigger weather wimps than Californians!).  I needed the long warmup just to calm myself down, keep my breathing under control, stay acclimated.  When waves started going off, I stayed in the water, just dunking my face and hanging out.  And then it was time to line up to start!

I went out nice and easy and controlled.  I got hit in the head, I got swamped by the waves from a boat that raced by, but since I'd kept my effort light I was OK.  I hit the turnaround feeling good and built my effort on the way back.  Swim swim swim till I touched sand and then popped up and ran up the ramp.  Yes, I had a BIG SMILE on my face for getting through the swim feeling better than I have in nearly a year.

Onto the bike and for the first time in quite a while I was on a "home course" - I ride this route often, though usually backwards, so I knew nearly the entire thing well.  Coach gave me a goal to pass 10 people on the bike.  I focused on nothing but counting people as I passed them and pushing ahead to the next person.  When all was said and done, I passed 45 people on the bike and averaged 99% of my FTP for the whole 17.2 miles.

Finally, on to the run and while my legs felt pretty trashed I was still having fun!  My Garmin had stopped registering distance/pace after the swim and I'd forgotten my HR monitor at home so I was racing entirely by feel.  Coach said to pass 20 people on the run so I made that 35 instead, including one from my AG in the last 100 yards before the finish.  

I ended the day grateful for the opportunity to go out there and have a good time and see people so excited to race their first triathlon.  Coming in the top 1/4 of my AG (7th place) at a competitive local race like this was nice but not as important on this particular day.  Thanks to Katie for cheering and the photos and pre- and post- race chitchat.  I'm extra excited for my next (and last, for now) triathlon in 4 weeks, because I get to do it with Tea!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Life Happens Part 3

As all this life has been happening, I've done my best to stick to the training plan and stay engaged in racing for the year.  It's been hard though....motivation wanes at times and the many MANY temptations of Colorado life are calling.  Swimming and I have NOT been BFFs since I moved to altitude, the trails near my house keep calling me to bike them (nevermind that I don't, as yet, own a mountain bike), the warmer weather is making me crave backpacking trips in the Rockies, my dog needs to get back to competition again after a yearlong break...

In addition to all that, the triathletes here...they really fit every single negative stereotype we have in this sport.  After a good hard masters swim, I don't wanna hear you talk about your FTP in the hot tub.  DURING masters swim, I'd like to actually do ALL FOUR STROKES rather than listen to everyone whine that they can't.  Wake up, people are still triathletes even if they don't do Ironman.  And so on...  It's really become quite a turnoff in general.

What this means for me is, at the moment, it is highly likely that I will end my racing year after duathlon nationals in July.  I have concerns about attempting to fit in long course hours when school starts again in August and honestly I'm just not that into it right now.  Nobody should train for a 1/2IM when they aren't feeling it.  I do want to stick it out for 8.5 more weeks till Du Nats though; I want to see what I can do coming down from altitude at an event that highlights my best sports.  After that, Molly's Summer of Fuck Around In The Woods begins.  Bring on the beer festivals, music festivals (of which our town has THREE world class events!), backpacking and mountain biking.  This is my 8th straight season of triathlon and all I can say is, somebody needs a LONG break from racing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Life Happens Part 2

Training has taken me to many new and beautiful places near our house in the past 2 months.

I've done some very...non-training related things as well!

Spring has certainly sprung in Colorado.  MAJOR spring fever makes it hard to work in a basement some days!

Finals and grading and the semester are done, so now it's just lab work for the summer - phew!  More on my plans for the upcoming months next!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Life Happens Part 1

And when you don't blog for months, it's cause it was really happening.  We moved into our new house.

It's amazing.  I waste an hour a day staring out the windows.

Puck has chased a multitude of wildlife.

We've seen even more wildlife. Up close and personal.

You thought I was kidding.

We ran out of water on the first weekend.  We used our handy dandy water truck that came with the house to retrieve more.

We've tried out just about every restaurant and bar in town.  We've been amazed by this community...for a tiny town there is SO MUCH going on here, from live music every single night to an array of festivals and events.

We've had snow, we've had rain, we've had warm sunny days and our whole valley has gone green.

 My closest neighbors are cows.  And we now have baby cows too.

We've wood chipped wood, we've burned wood.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Tale of Two Races

I might as well catch up on races first.

In March, a few days before we closed on the house, and 2 days before Jeff moved to Colorado, I raced down in Arizona.  It felt like a comedy of errors that wetsuit tore a giant hole across my ass when I put it on, the race director allowed the volunteers to play all bible music in transition, and the swim was a giant clusterfuck of panicked people.  However, I felt phenomenal on the bike course that involved climbing over 1000 feet from the lake before turning around and then I felt horrible but went fast on the run that required 500 feet of climbing over the 1.25 miles to the turnaround.  I wound up 4th place woman overall!

Last week I raced here in Colorado, a reverse tri where you start with the run.  The upside is this allows for a pretty good spread of the field early, the downside is it's damn hard to jump in the water and swim after redlining it for an hour and barely being able to breathe.  I had my best 5k run at altitude and threw down the fastest run in my AG, then followed it up with one of my strongest race bikes to date.  The swim...was difficult to start while still panting for air but I finished it stronger than I started it.  Ended up 2nd in AG and 5th woman overall.

Turns out when you are on the pointy end of the field, there are a lot of photos of you.


When I crossed the finish line I got a rose "as thanks for being a mom."  This is what happens when you race on Mother's Day weekend.

And THIS is how we do post-race recovery in Colorado.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Return of the Blog?

A certain someone *cough*Tea*cough* thinks I need to resuscitate the that I'm officially done with the spring semester and ONLY have lab work and training and dogs to deal with, it could happen.  I'm not even sure how to catch up on the past 2 months of moving and new house-ing and racing and schooling and life stress but I'll give it the college try.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Catching up on 5 weeks in one post

12 more days till I can enjoy the view from my house every. single. day.

Stanley and I did a dog show in Denver on Valentine's weekend. He was Select Dog both days and most importantly we had fun!

Typical morning dog walk views

The boys and I hiked Rabbit Mountain on a VERY cold day a couple weeks ago.

Random sunrise colors

Stanley turned 7 on March 1st.  Birthday croissants were mandatory.

Then - whoops - I left him at home to go to a beer festival

But I did let him play with his best buddy in the snow after that!

We also visited the dog park in our new-future town last weekend.  10 acres of fun!

The aftermath:

On Friday the boys and I made 2 trips to the park.  One at 8am...

And one at 4pm...

And then - this should be a novelty because I DON'T take stupid selfies all the time - we had a little fun with it :)

It was all melted and sunny and beautiful and warm Saturday.  Because Boulder winters rock.