Friday, June 22, 2012

Weekend fun... I need your help!

There's so much fun going on this weekend- LOTS of racing... good luck to all my athlete-friends!!

TOMORROW is the big WIBA Wisconsin ride- I've done this several times in the past and have had a ton of fun each time.  Chris, Michelle, and the rest of the supercool EvoTri team will be there... and best of all, it's free!  Except for lodging/travel of course.

Sunday, however, is the Illinois 40K Time Trial Championship! Hard, Fast, and Fun cycling.  My local friends Curt and Brad will be competing.

So what should I do?? I'm still undecided.

WIBA- longer drive (will have to make 5hr roundtrip drive tomorrow...with a 80+mile bike ride inbetween)... but I will get to have a fun ride with fun people!

40K TT- still a long drive (3hr roundtrip), I'll miss spectating Dan & our friend Mike race the Twin Lakes tri, and I'll be late to a bridal shower in the afternoon... but I'll get to RACE, which won't happen much at all this year.

Thoughts?? :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer camping, racing, bike stuff, and foot update

Sweet Summertime!!

About a week and half ago on a Thursday night Dan and I went on a ride with our friends Tamara and Brian Nelsen that we shall call the "Tour de Vine"... we rode from Bloomington to White Oak Vineyards for a tasting, then out to Mackinaw Vineyards for a glass or two (they have NEW dry reds this year!! Cody's Round-Up Red and Cole's Classic- yum!!) then we HAMMERED home to get in before dark.  The Nelsens brought a backpack full of cheese, bread, and chocolate, which were great snacks and accompaniments to the wine!  Not a bad 47 mile ride! :)

The Friday night afterward we had margarita fun with our friend Steve, then I woke up early early Saturday morning and set out on a 93 mile biking trek with lots of cycling and triathlete friends to "Wheel Around the Lake"... a new local ride consisting of 3x20 mile loops starting from Lake Evergreen.  I felt like I was riding strong, but I was still having a hard time keeping up with the larger groups... I'm not super comfortable riding in the middle of a large pack with a tri-bike (no immediate to switch gears/brake, and handling isn't fantastic) and I'm well-trained for the "stop-go-SPRINT-slow down-repeat" riding style of cyclists.... there's nothing wrong with it, it certainly keeps you on your toes... I am just not very good at switching gears like that ;)

Of course, instead of going a full 100mi like a good athlete, I stopped at the Lake Road Inn with my favorite athletes Mick and Phil, and enjoyed a couple cold drinks on a hot day!

After I finally got home, it was CAMPING time!!  Dan had gone out to help his parents with their remodeling for a little bit and get the RV, while Steve and I loaded up his car and set out for Clinton Lake.  Dan was running a little behind, so we stopped at this local dive bar...

Once Dan got back, we grilled up some dinner and enjoyed some drinks around a campfire :)

We got up early the next morning- Dan and Steve went fishing, Winston and I went hiking!

After we got back, I decided to finish off the week with a shorter ride :)

So now this PAST weekend, we decided on Friday to head up to Rockford with the RV so that Dan could compete in the Rockford Olympic tri with his friend Steve!  We had friends Kevin, Missi, and Adam that were competing as well.  We had a lovely dinner at Sam's Ristorante, which boasted a beautiful dining room and live music  (we thought it was just a pizza place!  It could use a better wine menu though.) then camped out at Rock Cut State Park.

The race venue was cute- there were no more than 120ish competitors, so it had an easy-going, laid-back feel.  You can read more about the actual race in Steve's blog.

While they were competing, I took Winston to the nearby "dog park" in the State park... it was awesome!! It wasn't your traditional glorified fenced-in yard... there were several miles of grass trails in a wooded area with swimming ponds and more- he LOVED it!  I took my hybrid bike and cycled along with him so he was able to cover more ground :)

After the guys finished, it started DOWNPOURING.  Luckily, we were able to hitch a ride with Steve and his dad in their huge van to our campsite- thanks!!
Happy bday Missi!

After lunch and a nap, the weather cleared up and I went for a little jog/walk (more on that later)...Rock Cut State park is beautiful!!  Besides the rolling (paved) hills that they used for the tri and other road races, they had some great trails as well.

Once we packed up and headed back south, I convinced Dan to stop at the Illinois River Winery near Starved Rock State Park in Utica- very cute little place!  They have some dangerously delicious fruit and dessert wines...we really liked the Port (port wines are usually thick, sweet, and have a high alcohol ready for it!) and of the course the Norton... :)

We arrived at Moraine View State Park (Dawson Lake) in the evening and set up shop- Dan's parents and his aunt/uncle were also camping there as his family had a Father's Day cookout planned for the next day.  Unfortunately, it stormed pretty good that night (which was great for us...we slept VERY well!), so the big cookout was post-poned.  Dan's sisters still came out that the afternoon and we all had a nice little celebration ourselves :)

We keep the RV at his parents' house, which is out in the country, so again, I finished up the week with a nice 40mi+ ride back home :)

Which gets us to my next topic- biking!!

The week before last I rode 6/7 days, and ended up with 237 miles of riding.  Not too bad! My legs felt great, but here's the problem: SADDLE SORES.  There's something going around this year.  I don't have anything that needs to be lanced like some athletes have experienced recently, but it's just an overall unpleasant chafing experience that cut my mileage goals short.  I also skipped time trials this week due to them.  They HURT just when my clothes rub against them when I'm walking!

I've ridden an Adamo saddle for 5 years, and so far nothing has compared to the relief that it provides  to the ladybits...the saddle doesn't have a nose, and directs pressure to your sitbones.  It works beautifully.  However, it is WIDE... and the chafing I'm experiencing is on my inner thighs (If I'm wearing a swimsuit, you could see them).
Uuugh...The reason I switched to the Adamo is because the nose on traditional saddles brought me to tears....but I'm going to TRY them again.  Luckily, my LBS Bloomington Cycle and Fitness has 3 saddles that they have for demo- Last week they put a Specialized Women's Oura Expert Gel saddle on my bike 
I tried it for 3 rides, stopping every ~10 mi or so to adjust the saddle, but could not find any relief.  It solved the chafing issue I had with the Adamo, but the perineal pain especially in time trial position, wasn't tolerable for me.  I'm sure this saddle is fantastic for some women, but I think I'm going to have a harder time adjusting because I haven't had to deal with ANY soft-tissue pressure in so long!!

The next saddle I'm hoping to try is the Cobb V-Flow Plus...they have an outstanding return policy, which is good news for me during this trial and error process... if that doesn't work out, my friend Chris recommended the saddle try and buy program from if you have any other suggestions, please send them my way! :)

So, my foot has NOT healed up well since the surgery I had in December.  It is tender to touch, it is still painful to run, and it occasionally even locks up on me.  It has been over 6 months- normally full recovery from this surgery takes 2-4 months.  I had an MRI done, and got my results back last week.  Good news- there is nothing structurally wrong.  The achilles tendon and other connective tissues are fine, joints are fine, etc.  The problem is NASTY scar tissue.  All the pain I'm feeling is "OK"- it needs to be broken up.  Ouch.  There is nothing more the doc can do for me at this point.  More graston, stretching, exercising, and anti-inflammatories indefinitely...until it doesn't hurt anymore.  Ugh.

So running is sort of "back in the picture"... At Rock Cut SP I jogged/walked 4.5 took me 48 minutes with 35min of jogging total.  My general strategy was 3min jog/1-2min walk w/ stretching/skipping/etc.  I guess I'll build from there.  It "locked up" a couple times, but I'll learn to deal with it before it goes away completely.  Funny...2 days later and I am SORE from it! My calves/quads/hip flexors haven't been worked like that in awhile, ha.

As far as racing goes, I'm pretty bummed.  Buffalo Springs 70.3 is out (will be able to race it next year), and I'm working on getting out of IM Louisville as well without throwing all the money I spent on the race down the toilet.  At least I'll still be able to compete in the Lake Evergreen tri next month as a relay and REV3 Dells in August as an Aquabike or relay!!  Thank YOU awesome race organizers for looking out for injured people!! :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Birthday Blog!

Yesterday was my 28th birthday! The Weather channel app on my phone told me the day's forecast called for 60's and 70's, breezy, with "plentiful sunshine" ... THANK YOU!! :)

haha, best happy birthday wish on facebook- thanks Rob Shannon!! :)
I had a fun weekend- our local race, the Tri-Shark Classic sprint distance, was on Saturday.  I was signed up to race, but given that my foot is in a sad, sad state right now and I can't run, I made the best of the situation and volunteered to help out.   I got hooked up with the finish-line announcing position- I had a BLAST!  I didn't have any experience with it before, but my job was easy thanks to Eric at .... I had a screen with the finishers' names/hometown/age pop up as they ran through the chute and results were instantaneous and reliable.  I also had "spotters" on the bike and run course (thanks Mike, Rich, and Travis!) texting me as the elite racers ripped by... it was fun updating the spectators back at transition as the race was going on!  I would definitely do it again- I would love to see my husband do it though- he is gifted with doing mental math like "This person would need to run x:xx pace to catch this person by the 4mi. mark..."  :)  It was fun to see all local friends racing, hearing the race recaps, and of course seeing them dominate the podium!

Thanks Carl and Tabitha for the funniest birthday card!
In other news, I've been VERY excited about getting a commuter/townie bicycle set up!  Dan and I have been sharing a car since he got back from his deployment- we both work/go to school in town, our schedules mesh well for sharing rides, and we have friends/family that can let us borrow a car if we really needed it.  So why waste money on getting another car when we are doing just fine with only one??

For the sake of being more active, enjoying the summertime weather, and having a little more freedom to come and go, I now have a Giant Cypress Hybrid bike!! For my birthday, Dan helped me pick out a couple cute bags to carry my STUFF in.  Here are a couple pics of the finished product!
My mom is too cute setting this up for me!! Wine and bread included! :)

Hanging out at the park this afternoon!

Dan had an errand to run, so I took Winston for a "ride" around the lake by our house... I held a leash and let him run next to me, I was SCARED to death he was going to pull me over, but it went well!! We both had fun!  We took a break in the shade as you can see above!  I also rode over to the farmers market in the afternoon and filled that red bag up with lots of fresh goodies :)

We topped off my birthday at our weekly bike time trial- a 20K course out on the country roads. I was apprehensive about racing on my birthday to say the least.  TT's are my favorite workout, but since my training and motivation have gone by the wayside the last few weeks (more on that a different post), I wasn't sure if I was ready for a bruised ego (on my birthday!).  After much hemming and hawing, I sucked it up, busted my a$$, and had my best ride of the year! I was 30 seconds faster, and rode HARD (7 watts higher than my best effort this year).  Since we go off single file (the fastest riders go last), usually the big boys make up the time and pass me early on in the course.  Well, nobody passed me either (They likely still BEAT me, but for the sake of my bday let's ignore that :).  YAY!  I better start training a little harder though, this luck is bound to run out soon ;)

After the race we usually hang around for a social hour, and last night was no exception.

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes and for making my day very special and enjoyable!

I also had a great time catching up on the REV3 Quassy race reports... gosh I would LOVE to go back there soon!!  More on racing (or lack of) in a different post :)