Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More Contemplation of Upcoming Season

It never ends, does it? Any racer knows the turmoil that goes through their head during the pre-season anticipation (at least MY deformed brain is in turmoil) I training right, am I training enough (too much?), am I eating right, I should lose a couple pounds but can't 'cause I need the food for energy to train; I wish I could go faster, maybe I should do harder longer intervals, blah, blah, blah. Stop the confusion! I'm still toying with the May 18 weekend -- the long RB winter or the Xterra. I mentioned earlier since I'm doing the 12 hours of Lodi I'll have some good endurance in my back pocket that I shouldn't let go to waste, so I may think about doing the RB Winter 50 miler. On the other hand, what does it matter? I'll lose it if I don't keep it up and that's where my dilemma enters -- I'm not so sure I really want to spend an entire summer trying to maintain long-distance endurance. My earlier posts over the holidays stated I like the multi-sport thang -- I seem to actually have time to do other things. That hasn't changed. This past weekend got me thinking as I hung from the apple trees pruning new life into their branches, enjoying every second of getting my hands dirty in my backyard I really want to ride 4-5 hour rides all summer. No, I don't. I want to start a compost pile again, I want to spread composted horse manure all over everything and watch stuff grow like weeds from the wonderful nutrients in horsy doodoo after its finishing "cooking". 3 hours is my max this year for a good long ride (all that's really needed to train for Xterra racing) and I can get a good 3-hr ride in at 6:00 am on Saturday mornings and be done for the weekend to give me a bunch of time to garden, kayak, run, swim cook, whatever. So yes, I'm think I'm heading back to the multi-sport focus only. My heart just ain't into long biking hours - my heart is tugging at the gardening thang again. And of course kayaking with Mr. Brown. Training will continue to be ready for the 12 hours of Lodi, but after that I'll be heading back to the 3 hr long rides mixed with lots of other goodies. So Chrissy - you'll need to find a wetsuit for the May 18 Xterra!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

First Race of the Season March 1

March 1 marks the 1st official race of the season on the schedule – the Hummdinger - a 7 mile, rocky, hilly trail run on the same trails as the June Tour de Tykes mountain bike race. This race came about for 3 reasons – 1st priority is moola - by finishing, it puts me in the running for accumulating points toward a $100 prize for my age group as part of the River Town Race Series – a series of multiple sport races throughout the spring, summer and fall that are cheap to enter and close to home. For the past two years, I’ve done the Tour de Tykes and two adventure-triathlons and took home the 1st place prize. So I added this trail run to help assure point accumulations toward that prize. But I’m also doing it because one of my very first Iron woman inspirations from years ago, Donna Mummert, told me one time if you want to get faster at running, enter some races…so this race is good training; and 3) I LUV the Tour de Tykes course and racing in Montour county. It’s less than an hour from home, is loaded with all those features us adventurous, off-road racers come to love – hills, rocks, logs, twisty turns, and not lacking in a hard-core challenge. So the countdown is on for the first race. I’ll be back with a race wrap-up afterwards.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Adjusting the Training for 50 milers & 12 hr duo

I guess I wasn't thinking it through too much when I told Donna YUP - I'm in for 12 hours duo. After a couple days of letting it sink it, I realized I shoulda been in those 3-hr spin sessions twice a week with the Mountainside gang all winter long. Last year my endurance was perfect for the long stuff after 4 months of 10-12hr weeks on the bike only; but this year is a different story having been doing only 1 3-hr session maybe every other week, getting of total of about 5-7 hrs biking 'cause I'm also running and swimming 3+ hrs a week. So it may be tricky building the bike back up to assure I can make it through 12 hours as a duo. But I'll certainly give it whirl - there are 11 weeks left to prepare. AND, the other side of the coin is once I have that endurance and long-ride readiness in my back pocket, why let it go to waste?! I should do a 50-miler or I might end up doing RB Winter (LUV that park), instead of the 1st Xterra of the season...just not sure yet (chrissy - don't kill me!). Of course I could try both too (RB Winter is Saturday and the Xterra is Sunday). Ouch - that would really, really hurt. And I may do the Stoopid 50 too if I feel up to it - they have an old gals category! Time will tell on the training. Guess I better get off the computer and start working out!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

12 Hours of Lodi Now on Schedule

What's a season without at least one really long, crazy race? Last year I outdid myself and raced 24 hours of Big Bear (4 12-mile laps), 3 MASS endurance races (about 50 miles each, 6 1/2 hours long), and ended the season with a full century in November. This year I thought I'd focus more on multi-sport so I had thought I wasn't going to do as much long riding. Well....plans and schedules are made to be changed, right?! I couldn't refuse the offering of being on a duo Team with my fellow Master team mate, DonnaW, for the 12 Hours of Lodi in Virginia. I heard good things about this race, and we all know there's a certain energy that goes along with 12 and 24 hour racing that is addicting. We were kinda depressed last year to find out Big Bear was raising their prices to WAY too much for a 24 hour race, so this 12 hours of Lodi seems like a really nice substitute -- it only costs $25 bucks! Last year, there were only 2 women teams... one duo and one solo. Amy Breyla was on one of the solo teams, and Loretta Torres was the solo women. I've raced with and know both of these gals and I recall both of them raving about the 12 hours of Lodi.
So it sounds like a some long-ride training is in store after all! Maybe I'll have to readjust that darn schedule again.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

45-49 Age Group Almost History

SHIT! It seems like yesterday was my first experience with age-group racing and at that time I was about to move from 40-44 to 45-49. I thought how cool it will be to be the young gal amongst the late 40-somethings. That was 2005 and it turned to be just as I planned - a great year for Xterra racing and the young gal in the age group did-in-fact finish faster than the older gals (its scientifically proven that there's slowing with age -- even with the same level of training). This year is another milestone. It didn't really hit me until they asked my racing age for 2008 - as of December 31, 2008. Let's see, born in 1959 and my birthday is in October...that's 49! My final year in this age group -- and my turn to be one of those late-40 somethings the younger gals are hoping to whoop up on. I've been seeing some trends in the competitive biking world as the years go by and I'm right there with the aging trendy. The fast, XC no-age group racing is left for the fast folks and the maturing athletes that can't stay with the competition gravitate to the longer, slower-paced endurance stuff, or age-specific competition. I'm no different. The last two years of finishing last in most XC mountain bike races were mentally devestating, but definitely physically beneficial. But throw me in a race of women in my age-group in a multi-sport race, and its a whole new, fresh ball game. I imagine most other aging athletes feel the same way. What can lift your competitive spirits more than stepping on the podium. But this year may be different being the "old" gal in the last year of my group. But it IS the last year amongst the year is a whole new age group -- again! Geez. 50-55. Ouch.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Snowy Trail Running 101

The training schedule said 3 hours today - no matter the sport. Yesterday Mr. Weatherman predicted 44 and a chance of snow/rain showers. The plan was to swim at 9:00 am since a swim meet will close the pool at 11:00 (and I'm kayaking rolling on Sunday - so no swimming Sunday), then run in Weiser to simulate the 7 mile trail run in 3 weeks. There was a trainer ride early in the AM so I didn't have to worry about the bike. Daylight comes, and its SNOWING! Not just a shower - but a semi-blizzard! The wind was whipping, snow was pelting my face like needles, and normal folks would say "its terrible outside." It was great! I think I got myself psyched enough that the weather didn't matter, and it was SO nice to be outside for a change. The route was to be the 2 mile climb to the top of the mountain, then the 2 mile rocky Rock's Ridge trail, then back down the 2 mile descent. A nice little 6 mile loop that was about 400 feet shy of the climbing in the Humdinger race. The climb was good...only about 2 inches of snow on the trails so no issues there. Rock's Ridge was a different story -- I lasted the 1st part of Rock's Ridge west and bailed onto Wolf Pond. It just wasn't worth a sprained ankle trying to 1) figure out where the rock's were under the snow and then 2) don't slip on them in the snow! The run ended up being 5.5 miles, but that's was still nice to be out. Ironmine trail was PAINFUL going down. The legs will probably hurt tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Human Motivators

One of the joys of multi-sport training and racing is the teammates you train and race with. THEY make it fun – and you never want to let your team mate down, no matter what. My lack of motivation lately just did a 360 yesterday when the realization hit home that if I didn’t get my ass in gear, I could be letting my team mate down…and none of us want to be the reason for a poor race. It turns out my bud Donna is training pretty darn hard this year for the Savage Adventure race in April. So I’m gonna start cracking the whip too and sticking to my plan and (try) not to deviate. She and I make a pretty darn good MASTERS female team. Last year, we not only won our age group of the females (3 entries in Masters) at the Savage, but we also won the female division overall ‘cause the other female teams didn’t get all their tokens. So Donna, this one’s for you! We ARE gonna kick some boo-tay this year again. But you get to do the start this year. (Adventure racing always has interesting starts whereby one team mate usually has to do something stupid to get the maps… last year we had to run into chest-deep water to a boat to get our passports/maps. Image about 100 people converging on a row boat at once. Me and Chrissy near drowned!).

Monday, February 4, 2008

Week in Review: -1 for Training,+8 for R&R

4 hours of biking last week. Yup...the grand total of biking was 4 - all trainer. Absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt, pathetically embarrassing. And yesterday was one of the prettiest, warm days yet this year. But what did I do? Hiked. With hubby. Part of the OCD he thinks I have was tearing me to bits and pieces about not riding, but the smart part of me was enjoying every second of bushwhacking along Rattling Creek in Weiser State Forest, and finding some incredibly cool spots to sit and soak up the beauty of nature. We discovered a "hidden hole" that folks must use in the summer to swim in. Huge rocks to jump off of into a 6-7 ft hole. Very secluded and beautiful. We think the Doc Smith bike trail is about 100 yards away, and of course will try to find from the bike trail and maybe carve in a semi-noticeable path to get to the hole. It would be a nice place to stop and cool off -- its a short ways below the Rattling Creek bridges. So the two-hour hike was very enjoyable, but certainly didn't benefit the training side of things. The week ended up 8 out of 10 planned hours. The highlight was shaving 16 seconds off per mile on my long training run and finishing my 6.60 loop two minutes faster than two weeks ago. 6.60 miles is my "long" run? I really am pathetic, aren't I!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Where's the Vim and Vigor

Lost: ambition, motiviation, inspiration - AGAIN! Yesterday was a struggle to get to the YMCA to swim. Then the plans changed on the way home switching up the scheduled long run to a two-hour indoor ride blaming the was 35! That's nowhere near cold. So the trainer ride ended up being only an hour although it wasn't too bad of workout at a 144 avg. Yes, some would think that's pathetic, but I've been a lot lower than that. Then my shoulders hurt last night from swimming -- they hurt everytime I go. So what's with that? Rick says I need to lift weights. Guess what Rick, I do! I feel like I'm getting older, slower, more tired, and less motivated to do this training thang. There's no denying the head games or physical limitations going on. Could it be the 1/2 century mark approaching all-too-quickly? Should I just let everything slow down and say its ok? Should I keep killing myself attempting to "get better" when it likely just ain't gonna happen anymore at this point? Or should I just let mother nature take her course and accept the slowing, but keep training and racing at the slower pace? I can't imagine going any slower than I already do! Although...I usually DO finish 1st amongst other women my age in multi-sport races (not biking...there's some seriously awesome older women bikers out there) so maybe I'm not as slow as I think I am. Possibly today will be better. Rick and I are heading to Weiser SF for a change. The temps should hit 45 and I'm doing that long run followed by a semi-long ride. Maybe a little fresh air will be just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Is YOUR Training Obsessive Compulsive?

My husband insists I'm obsessive compulsive when it comes to training. I insist I'm not. I will admit, however, that training IS my priority for the most part - but if something switches up the training schedule, I simply train another night. This is where he says I'm obsessive and I get upset when I can't do what I planned which may be 1/3 true when the local YMCA swimming pool is closed. So like any good argument, the facts were laid on the table on OCD to prove I am NOT at Jack Nicholson in As Good as It gets! Sorry, honey, but I'm NOT! (Hubby says I'm in denial).

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by persistant and repetitive thoughts and behaviors that are often upsetting and disruptive to a person's day-to-day life. That's not me. Most OCD cases are severe and the person can't function properly in daily life because of their obsession. Jack Nicholson couldn't function "normally." He locked himself in his apartment to write and freaked when his routine was disrupted. (Enter gay neighbor and Verdell, the dog; and of course Helen Hunt as the waitress). But I also discovered doctors will separate obsessive and compulsive into two separate behavioral diagnoses if there isn't compelling reasons to diagnoses OCD. But again, they must be severe enough to disrupt life. Other disorders such as related phobias, fears, and anxietys can also be determined.

So my dear hubby, my training is not obsessive enough that I act compulsively, or get SO upset I can't function. I'm just a normal kinda bikin' gal Mr. Ricky Brown, just like you are a normal kinda money-minded save for the future guy (now there's an argument I can throw back at you as obsessive compulsive!).

Here's a cute, funny comparison of a wife's OCD of Johnny Depp, and her husband's OCD of sports.

Friday, February 1, 2008

What a Difference 7 years of Racing Makes

Ha! This pic is a riot... taken my first year of racing when I was 42 in 2001. Whoops - I guess I just gave my age away, huh. Take note: flabby, lifeless arms (I guess I was in denial and wore the sleeveless shirt anyway); helmet positioned very nicely in that new-biker stance pushed back on the forehead - oh, and it was one of those new-biker -older-style-few-holes-helmets that I bought fairly cheap; the "gut" hanging over the seat; the wider hips; and what is that -- a SMILE in a race!? Didn't I know any better!? Classic, for sure.