Celebrating 5 years of Ironman participation

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Sunday in SF: Biking to Ballet

What a great idea for a Sunday!  I got in a quick 20 mile ride through the Presidio and around Lake Merced, then met my pal Tracy at the Stern Grove Festival to see the San Francisco Ballet perform.  Stern Grove provides complimentary Bike Valet!  How great is that? Now, if only the website had cautioned me about the long downhill walk to the theater!  I started the descent in my cleats and with my sore quads…but soon decided a ride on the shuttle was much better.

Maceo Parker is playing next Sunday.  And, They Might Be Giants play on the 22nd.  All you SF folks – you should ride your bike there, just remember to pack a pair of flip flops for the hill!


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Good Training Days

A few things I love about training in Boston:

  • Hearing the cannon go off in the Navy Yard when I’m walking home from the Charlestown YMCA after my morning swim.  I know it’s 8 am.  I know I’ll be just on time, if not a little late, to work.  And, I feel strong and happy.
  • Evening runs along the Charles River
  • Getting lost on the roads near Walden Pond, only to find myself on another route I know – even if it adds 20 miles to the ride
  • Treating myself to coffee at Sorelle or Zumes
  • The quiet of Broadway Ave in Somerville before 6 am.  I try to meet up with my teammates at least one Tu/Th a week for a morning ride and swim around Mystic Lakes.
  • The triathlon community center at Walden – Sat AM, you’re bound to bump into a friend!

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Recovery Road

I traveled to Lake Placid, NY this weekend for a training weekend with a few of my good friends from the DC Tri Club.  Angela, AJ, Julie and Kimberly all signed up for Ironman Lake Placid this year.  I was psyched to join them in Placid to train.  One of the great things about staying on the East Coast – I get to train with my friends from DC to Boston every month this summer!  I’m really looking forward to cheering the ladies on in the race too – especially as I volunteer at the last water stop on the run course. 

Given my cycling accident last weekend, I took a bit of time to recover this week.  I focused on sleeping and putting bacitracin on my face – and not much else.  I barely felt up to anything until Friday.  But, let me tell you, the minute I pulled off exit 30 on I-87 towards Lake Placid, I was ready to ride and run again.  Woo-hoo!

Recovery Ride Attempt #1

Saturday morning started out great.  We rolled out of the house around 8 am.  The plan was for me to do one loop of the IMLP bike course.  About 56 miles.  We hit the road around 8:45 am.  But by 9:15 am, I was in tears.   

On the first descent on Rt. 73 out of Lake Placid (just before River Road), my bike started to shake uncontrollably.  I felt like I was riding a nervous horse that was ready to throw me at any second.  Angela said the rear wheel was wobbly.  I tried to ride a little further, but my confidence was shaken.  Thankfully, Mom and Dad Strope were in LP for the weekend.  They got the “rescue me” call. 

I took my bike into High Peaks Cyclery for a quick check up.  The guys tightened everything up, changed the tires, and even took the bike for a spin down the block.  Everything checked out ok. 

Recovery Ride – Attempt #2

I decided to try the hilly cycling route again around 11 am – with my parents acting as my sag vehicle.   The first few descents felt alright – not nearly as wobbly.  But, I hit above 30 and a little wind, and felt the wobble again.  My parents waited for me after each descent, then followed me along.  I made it to the top of the big descent into Keene, then lost it again.  With tears flowing and my whole body shaking, I flagged my parents down and said, “I CAN’T DO IT!  I can’t do it!  Take me back to town!”

On the Road Again

I spent the remainder of Saturday afternoon cycling around the IMLP run course and Mirror Lake.  It was flat and easy, and I felt much more confident.  I test rode some tri bikes at Placid Planet on Sunday.  The tri bike geometry allows for more weight on the front part of the bike and makes me feel a lot more steady.  My friend Matt said I looked much stronger riding on the Felt B 16!  And, I  joined Kimberly and AJ for a quick ride along the run course on Monday morning. 

In retrospect, heading out on a 56 mile HILLY ride was probably a bit ambitious for my first ride post-crash.  And, it seems like my bike (a Giant TCR) might have picked up a case of Speed wobble post-crash.  The causes of speed wobble are too numerous to count…but it also seems that the more tense, cold, or shaky a rider is, the more pronounced the wobble will be.  Perfect for me coming off of a crash, right? 

So, here’s my new plan to regain strength and confidence on the bike:

  • Do a few short and easy rides over the next 2 weeks
  • Talk to some coaches and experts
  • Buy a new bike.  I’m looking at the Felt B 16, Felt S32, and Quintaroo Dulce now.  Other suggestions are welcome.  Just looking for something other than a Cervelo – great bikes, but I want something different. 


Have Helmet, Will Travel

The Triathlete’s Weekend Getaway List:DC Bike Ride

  • Running Shoes
  • Shorts and Sports Bra
  • Helmet
  • Bike Shoes
  • Bike Shorts and shirt

What else do you bring when you’re headed out of town, but you need to get some training in? 

I thought it was pretty funny to have my helmet falling out of my bag at the airport when I flew down to DC a couple weekends ago.  But, I was so happy to have it!  Especially since Lauren lent me her bike so I could ride through Rock Creek Park – and Beth joined me for the ride!

I’m off to San Francisco next weekend.  I’ll definitely pack my helmet again.  Just need to find a bike to rent or borrow while I’m out there.  Any recommendations?


False Start

Imagine standing on the diving block before a race – all the nerves and excitement rushing through your body.  You can’t stand still-  you shake out your arms and legs until the official announces “Swimmers take your mark!” You inch up to the edge of the block and curl your toes over, lean over and wrap your hands around, but suddenly there’s a splash in the water and the gun never went off.  False Start.

That’s the best way to describe my first day of IM Moo training on Monday.  I thought I was all prepared and ready to dive in.  But, I sat on the edge of my bed Monday evening with no workouts accomplished, beating myself up.  What happened?  Sure, I had to get to work early and stay late, there was a doctor’s appointment, and my parents were in town.  But, why did my training plan fall to pieces on day 1?  How did I dive into IM MOO training so recklessly?

Turns out, I forgot some key lessons from last year.  Kind of like my swimming days – when I knew to take a deep breath and tuck my chin in to avoid diving too early – I taught myself a few tricks last year to make sure workouts stayed on track.

How to Make Workouts Happen:

  • Get prepared the night before!
  • Put your workout clothes next to your bed
  • Have your work clothes lined out as well, to save time whether getting ready at home or the gym
  • Fill your water bottles with recovery drink powder
  • Prepare hard-boiled eggs on Sunday night – throw one in your purse every morning
  • Stock up your office on Monday with food for the week
  • Ask friends to go for a run after work instead of a beer

I applied these rules this morning and am happy to report I made it out the door by 5:30 am for a 4 mile run and 30 minutes of strength training at the gym.  I even made it to the work by 7:30 am!  Let’s hope the rest of this week goes this well.


IM Moo Training Kick Off

It’s countdown time until my official 26 weeks to Ironman program kicks off! March 16th I officially start training for Ironman Wisconsin 2009.  Here are a couple things I’m doing to get psyched for this season:

  1. Stocking up on all my favorites at home and in the office – Peter Pan Crunchy Peanut Butter, Pink Lemonade Cytomax, Hardboiled eggs, Cliff Mojo Bars.
  2. Finding fun ways to get my exercise in – Running in Central Park this weekend.  Possible St. Patty’s Day run
  3. Drooling over a new bicycle.  Orbea Diva vs. Quintana Roo Dulce???
  4. Redesigning my blog!  Check back on the 16th for a new design for the new season

Any other ideas to get me pumped for the new season, send’em my way!  I think I’ll need a little more motivation for this sophomore effort.