A Week Without my Watch

After NOLA I decided to take at least a week of easy workouts without a watch/HRM/GPS, etc. (I heard the collective gasp from all of you Type-A, super fit, competitive athletes. Yes, it is possible to work out without your techy gizmos. In fact, I highly recommend it from time to time.)

I went for a few runs in my Vibrams and a bike ride with no bike computer. I do don't know how far, how fast, or how long I was out. But I do know it was fun. I have to say, this has been one of the best recovery weeks ever.

On Saturday in particular, I quite possibly had one of my favorite runs ever. MO and I had planned on easy recovery ride for late morning. With rain in the forecast, I suggested instead we run to a nearby park, kick off our shoes and run around barefoot for a while. Not long after we hit the road, the rain started. It was a good day to be on foot and not on bikes.

I wore my Vibrams, so we were plodding along pretty slowly. Soft rain and a conversational pace made for a perfect morning run. We put our shoes in a tree and made a few laps through the soft, wet grass of the park. Enjoying the child-like pleasure of mud between my toes, we grabbed our shoes and kept going. We ran in the street barefoot for a while until the tenderfeet got the best of us. Re-shod we started winding our way through the quaint neighborhoods we're lucky enough to live in.

We had only intended on running 4 miles or less, but after 30 minutes I just didn't want to go home. The rain kept coming, which meant quiet streets and empty sidewalks. We wandered some more and eventually turned towards our respective houses. We ran for about an hour, and if I didn't have to go to the bathroom, I could have kept running for another hour at least. With no goals or schedules or times, it's been a good week to remember why I love doing this so much.


NOLA 70.3 - New PR and a tetanus shot

All races hurt. Some hurt more than others and this one was a doozy.

I got in the water the day before and thought it would be nice. The water was flat and the temp was perfect - about 71 degrees. Boy, was I wrong.

There was 2 foot swells and I took so much water in the face I thought about waving my arm and quitting before I hit the first buoy. I didn't, but it took some doggy paddling and back stroke just to make it to the first turn. After the first turn, things got better. Then worse. They could have used a few additional buoys on the second half of the course. The swells were so big, I had a hard time sighting. One wave actually picked me up enough my legs were out of the water. I got pushed off course and cut my leg on some rusty sheet piling trying to cut through to get back on course. I just wanted out of the water.

I was surprised with my swim split of 45:51. For how many times I stopped to clear my goggles, doggy paddled, and got off course, I felt like I have been in the water for over an hour. John said I'm usually smiling when I come out of the water and this time I just looked dismal.

The bike was flat, fast, and calm, exactly what I was hoping for. The pavement was rough and by the end I was intimately familiar with my saddle. I had a rockin' bike split of 2:46:23, averaging 20.2 mph.

By the time I got off the bike, it was about 78 and full sun. I am not acclimated to that weather just yet. The run was rough. I was having problems breathing. My chest felt compressed and it was like there was a golf ball in my chest. It hurt to take a deep breath. Needless to say, I did a lot of walking. Note the bloody leg. Yup, time to update my tetanus shot.
I *barely* made it in under 6 hours. The clock was off, so when I rounded the last corner, I thought I had 4 minutes to spare. My official time was 5:59:16. If I had know I was that close, I would have pushed a little harder on that last quarter mile. By pushed a little harder, I mean I might have picked up the pace to a 9:30 mile instead of the shuffling 10:30s I was averaging. I pulled my HR monitor off immediately, but it still hurt to breathe.

My friend MO raced it too and the look on his face says it all. This was his first 1/2 and he did well, somewhere around 5:51, I think. If this had been my first 1/2, I don't know if I could have finished.

There was a 3rd person from Prairie Village, which was funny. The announcer called us the Prairie Village Triathlon Team. If you're interested in joining, our membership dues are paid in beer.

Here's a shot of Andy Potts, the overall winner, coming in off the bike.
My wound, post race. There are some awesome professional pictures of me on the bike with a bright red streak of blood all the way down my leg. My shoe was pink from all the blood.

It was just a scratch, really, but I was going to milk it for all it was worth. I was bit by an alligator, fought him off, and still finished the race!

Time for some R & R. The new PR is nice, but that was a hard-fought race. Hopefully the next time I'm on Bourbon Street, it will just be for the Hurricanes.
Oh! I'll have to add more pictures later. The first night we were there, we got hurricanes at Pat O'Brian's. Great suggestion, Christi! And there were baby goats! I love Bourbon Street!


Where's my Body Glide?

This is it.  Tonight we leave for NOLA.  I started packing last night, which was futile at best.  I can never seem to pack unless I'm under the gun.  Don't ask.  At this point, I'm on a see-saw with nervous anticipation on one side and self doubt on the other.  The fact that I've been mildly productive at work is amazing in itself.  Either way, I've lost my appetite.

The good news is the weather looks fantastic!  No thunderstorms in sight!  It will be a little on the warm side, but I'll just have to tell myself the faster I go, the less time I spend in the sun.  The best part is that the wind is supposed to be less than 10 mph.  After all of the windy days I rode in, I feel like I'm cheating if the wind is less than 15 mph. 

My strategy to keep my nerves in check is to focus on the post-race hurricanes and Crawfish Étouffée. I'll finish packing when I get home.  Hopefully I'll be able to find my Body Glide before then.


Brew to Brew

The Beer Fairies and Booze Hounds were in fine form for Brew to Brew!  The sun was hot, the beer was cold and everyone had fun.  Next time, more sunscreen!

Current NOLA weather predictions for Sunday: Hi 78, 9 mph winds, 30% chance of t-storms.  Cross your fingers for good weather!



I have never had a ride of over 30 miles that I really, really enjoyed.  Rides of 40 miles and longer always just felt like something that I just had to do.  Until yesterday.  MO and I rode 50 miles and it was damn near perfection.  Between good company, perfect weather, and a new saddle, I couldn't believe how great it was.  We were 25 miles south of Kansas City, starting to head back and I realized that there was not a single other place I'd rather be.  It was just the perfect way to spend the morning and it was perfect for my last long ride before NOLA.  If every ride were like that, I wouldn't own a car.


Happy Heiney

Two days of my Bike Mini-Challenge are done and I have 50 miles in.  Tonight is 30 more miles in the wind with 3.75 running afterwards.  After riding on Tuesday, I finally decided to buy a new saddle.  The discomfort of riding just has not improved like I had hoped.  So I journeyed to one of my local bike shops and hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, there are not many options for women-specific tri saddles, at least not at most bike shops.  Since I wanted the option of returning it if I didn't like it, I wanted to shop in person instead of online.  Again, unfortunately there are not a lot of people who can help find an appropriate saddle, either. 

First, I asked the only female employee working if she had any saddle recommendations to which she responded "This is only my fourth day, come back in a month and I'll have all kinds of recommendations."  Hmm.  I'm guessing she doesn't really ride that much, just needed a part-time job.  Next, an older gentleman came over and asked if he could help.  When I told him I was hoping to find a women-specific tri saddle, he pointed me in the direction of the commuter saddles.  When I told him those wouldn't work, he sayd "Oh, you're in one fo those riding positions where you're on your elbows."  *Sigh*

Can anyone help me?

Finally, a younger guy came over and showed me how to measure for saddle width, which was the most helpful thing so far and also pointed me in the direction of the performance saddles.  After staring at the rack of all 4 women's saddles, I picked up the Bontrager Inform.  It's not a tri saddle, but it is a women-specific saddle for more aggressive riding positions. 
So far, I have a very happy heiney.  It is much harder than my previous saddle, but it keeps all my weight where it should be.  There are some parts of the human anatomy that just are not meant to be load-bearing.  The stock saddle I had been riding also did not have any cut-out area for, um, lady parts.  Sorry if this is TMI, but saddle problems can ruin an otherwise perfect ride.

I also feel like I slide around less.  The nose of the saddle is shorter and more narrow, which is much better for short riders climbing out of the saddle.  It will still take some getting used to, but I am very optimistic.  I'm carrying my allen wrenches with me so I can make adjustments as I ride.  Other than my bike fitting, this may be the best $100 investment I've made.