Category Archives: The bike

Never say never

Once upon a time, there was a girl who ran.

She ran and ran until just running wasn’t enough. She bought a bike and learned to swim.

She trained and trained and one day became an Ironman.

In that time the girl met a boy. The boy did not run or bike or swim. Try as she might, she could not get the boy to exercise.

That boy became her husband, and she realized that he would never run or bike or swim.

Until…he watched her that day become an Ironman.

And decided that he would be an Ironman too. Thus began his journey. They trained together, he became an Ironman, and so did she again.

Though the day was fantastic, she said never again. Too much biking, too much swimming. I just want to run.

And run she did. She took to the trails and didn’t look back until she had run 50 miles all in one crack.

When Ironman sign up day came, the boy was all in. The girl said not me, never again. Yet in the back of her mind she felt a fire that only burned brighter as the day went on. That night, staring at the screen, she was uncertain in how to proceed. The form was filled out, she was one click away. After much hesitation, she caved in a moment of haste. Still uncertain, there was no turning back. Here we go again, she thought. Here we go again.

Never say never.

Ironman Wisconsin 2013, here we come!


Filed under Races, The bike, The run, The swim

Scenes from vacation

This is the best way to wake up while on vacation.

Coffee, ocean, sunshine, book.

We did another 4 mile beach run on Tuesday after I ran 6.5 miles on the roads.

I also had fun playing with the fish eye setting on my camera.

We have been eating dinner every night at the house. Tuesday night everyone had tenderloin and I had seared tuna steak. Perfection.

Steve and I bought beer bottle koozies to use on the boat this summer.

Many games of pool have been played.

On Tuesday night I may or may not have done one too many shots that resulted in a dance party on top of the pool table.

Ok, I guess that did happen, pool cue and all.

On Wednesday Steve and I went biking. We rode 18 miles south of Avon to Hatteras in search of ice cream. It was so windy on the way down that I swore off biking forever. At one point we were going 12.5 mph. On a pancake flat road. We finally got into town and couldn’t find the ice cream shop that I wanted to go to. Luckily for everyone involved, I did find an ice cream cone. It could have gotten ugly.

On the bright side, we absolutely flew on the way back. There was one stretch of brand new blacktop road, and I looked down to see we were cruising along at 27 mph. We ended up with 37.2 miles in 2:08, or around a 17.5 mph average. Not bad for my second ride of the year. You better believe my sit bones are feeling it today.

On the agenda for today is climbing the tallest lighthouse in North America.


Sigh, why does vacation always go by so quickly?

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Filed under Food, Fun, The bike, The run, Travel

Ice cream ride

My weekend started bright and early on Saturday morning when my alarm so rudely woke me up at 5am. Why? I had a 50k training run on the agenda. It was a trail run to benefit MS Run the US, and it ended up being an awesome day. I ran with a few different people throughout the day and finished with 31.6 miles in around 5:30. The run must have taken a lot out of me, because for the rest of Saturday, all I did was nap and eat, on and off. The only reason I got up off the couch was to get food. Seriously, bottomless pit.

I woke up this morning feeling much more rested, but my legs still felt tired so I knew I didn’t want to run today. I contemplated what my workout would be over some blackberry pancakes topped with sunflower seed butter, bananas, and maple syrup.

It was pretty nice outside, so I asked Steve if he wanted to go on a really slow bike ride around the lake with me. It was my first outdoor ride this year, and that combined with my tired legs and a super-hilly route made for slow travels. We both overdressed a little bit and were feeling quite warm in the sun, so we were forced to stop for ice cream to cool off.

Trust me, it was totally necessary. And delicious.

Weekly totals:

52 miles running

14.25 miles biking

I cut back on the running miles a little bit this week because of the 50k, and will likely do the same this coming week with a marathon on the agenda for next Saturday.

What is the best thing you ate this weekend?

Me – Wisconsin cherry walnut cranberry fudge ice cream, even though I didn’t find a single walnut in there.


Filed under Food, The bike, The run

Run Into the New Year

Steve and I, along with my friend Cara all ran in the Run Into the New Year 10k today. What better way to usher out 2011 that with a race? Believe it or not, I have never actually raced a 10k on the roads before, and I was a little nervous about how much it was going to hurt. I ended up having a great run, and finished in an official time of 41:24, or 6:39 average. I felt like I could have pushed it a little harder at the end, but overall I’m happy. I took 8th overall female and 2nd in my age group. Cara won her age group! (She is still a youngster for another month or so).

Steve did great as well, despite not putting in too many running miles over the last few weeks.

This race closed out a great year of swimming, biking, and running for me. I just checked my totals for the year, and because I am a numbers dork, here they are:

In 2011:

1663 miles run

2035 miles biked

96 miles swam

I can’t wait to keep training and racing in 2012. I have some big plans up my sleeve, so stay tuned!

I hope you have a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve, wherever your plans may take you! It will be a small miracle if I can stay awake until midnight, but I will try my best.

Here’s to 2012!!


Filed under Holidays, Races, The bike, The run, The swim

Ironman goals

Time to start stalking the weather for race day!

Sunny and a high of 76. Could it be any more perfect? Let’s hope is stays that way.

I have been thinking about my goals for this race, and I have broken it up into the swim, bike and run.

Goal for the swim: don’t die. I am seriously dreading the swim as I remember how crazy it was two years ago. Recap here. They call it the washing machine for a reason. I have been slacking a little in the swim department this year too. I’ve gotten all of the workouts in, but a lot of them were shorter than they should have been due to my innate ability to procrastinate in the morning and end up getting to the gym with only 45 minutes to swim. I don’t expect much improvement on my previous time. I just need to get through it with plenty of energy left for the day.

Goal for the bike: I know I am capable of taking at least 30 minutes off of my previous bike time. Recap here. For one, I am faster on my tri bike than I was on my road bike, which I used last time. Two, I have done more long rides this year, which will be invaluable. In 2009, I did only one ride of 100 miles and it was on a flat route. This year, I got in a hilly 92 miler, a hilly 105 miler, and a 120 miler on the Ironman course.  I plan to take it fairly easy the first half to make sure I have plenty left for the second. I need to stay on top of my nutrition too. If it is cooler out, I will really have to remind myself to drink.

Goal for the run: sub-4 hour marathon. This will be a true challenge, but I know I can do it if everything else falls into place. In 2009 I was able to run a negative split. Recap here. I need to make sure I go out easy. I have felt really good running off the bike all year, so hopefully that carries over into the race. I am hoping for no stomach issues so I can fuel a little bit more during the run.

Ultimate goal for the race: finish while it is light outside. Sunset is at 7:09, and I figure I have about 15 minutes after than until it actually gets dark. That puts my finishing time goal somewhere between 12:00 – 12:30. Can I do it? You betcha!

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Filed under The bike, The run, The swim, Triathlon


1. Steve is doing well. His wrist is fractured, and he had a cast on for 10 days. It came off today, and he now has a custom splint. While the cast was on he was running and biking on the trainer. Needless to say the cast was pretty disgusting and he is very happy to have it off. Also, he has been cleared to swim with the splint on, and is planning to race Ironman! The race will be one month and one day after the accident.

His new bike is pretty sweet and totally matches mine with the red and white. What a copycat.

2. I ended up going up to Door County for three nights of camping by myself. Steve had doctors appointments, and was bummed that he really wouldn’t be able to do any activities up there, so he stayed home. I hung out with my family for a few days which was nice. We saw several amazing sunsets.

While I was there, I got in a two hour mountain bike ride and a 20 mile trail run. Peninsula State Park is my favorite place to run in the world so I had to take advantage.

3. Last Sunday my friend James and I went to Madison and biked 120 miles on the Ironman course. We followed that up with a two mile run. I felt way better than expected and only had one mental breakdown on the bike. It was a great confidence booster.

4. Ironman is in two weeks. Eek!

5. On Tuesday we got to see Blink 182, which was awesome. My aunt and uncle (Beth and Mike) hooked us up with the tickets and it was so much fun.

That last one is Travis the drummer elevated high above the crowd on a moving platform during the encore. It was really cool. They always put on such a good show. Thanks Beth and Mike!

Side note: My Chemical Romance opened and they sounded awful. They didn’t play their one current good song either. Boo.

6. This weekend is going to be crazy. Saturday I have a three hour bike ride followed by a 90 minute run. After that we are attending a wedding in Milwaukee, then leaving the wedding early to drive to Chicago. At 4am on Sunday morning I am meeting my TNT athletes before they race in the Chicago Triathlon. I will be down there cheering them on all day Sunday which will be fun. I expect to get home Sunday afternoon and crash. I don’t think my planned Sunday bike ride will happen, but we’ll see.

7. Sorry this whole post is in an annoying list format. That is pretty much the story of my life right now. I just don’t have the time/energy to do anything more in depth. Two more weeks…thank goodness.


Filed under Friends, Fun, Music, The bike, The run, The swim, Triathlon

The unthinkable

Last Wednesday night, Steve was hit by a car while biking. He is ok, thank goodness. It seems like cyclists are getting hit left and right lately, so I want to use this post as a reminder to everyone to be safe out there.

Steve was riding south on a heavily-biked road in Milwaukee. A 16 year old male driver pulled out in front of him to turn north. There was a large road construction sign obstructing the driver’s view. Steve was probably going about 25 mph when they hit. He cannot remember anything, but we have been able to piece together what happened by talking to the police and one of the witnesses. Given the amount of damage to the car, Steve is incredibly lucky that he escaped with no major injuries. The windshield had a hole in it from his head, the driver’s side door was dented in, the hood was dented and the headlight was broken. He literally went flying.

I was not home when it happened, and I did not hear my phone ringing right away. When I talked to Steve he was getting a ride home with the police. His bike is totaled. I rushed home and when I got there he was pretty out of it. Pacing back and forth in our condo, repeating things over and over, etc. It took me an hour to get him to go to the hospital. We finally did, and thankfully the CT scan of his head came out ok.

If you are squeamish, probably stop reading now. I took some pictures of his injuries in the hospital.

His eye was all cut up, and he had a super-fat lip. His eye looks about 5 times worse than this right now, it’s all red, black, blue, and green.

His elbow was pretty cut up and bloody. This is what is giving him the most trouble because every time he bumps it against something it is really painful.

His thigh is cut up and really swollen. This also looks a lot worse now because it’s such a huge bruise. It’s turning all kinds of crazy colors. New little sore areas and cuts are popping up each day.

His left hand was swollen like a balloon, and the x-rays are showing a probable fracture in the wrist. He is scheduled for a CAT scan tomorrow to take a better look at it and see the extent of the fracture, because it wasn’t completely clear on the x-rays. Right now he is in a splint wrapped up with an ACE wrap to keep it immobile.

The worst part is that we are four weeks out from Ironman. A new bike has already been ordered, but the race will probably depend on weather he will have to wear a cast or not. He is determined to do everything he can to resume training and do the race, so we will have to see what happens. We were also supposed to leave on a family camping trip yesterday, which is on hold. We are hoping to possibly get up there for a few days on Tuesday.

Things could have turned out so much worse, and I am just so thankful that he is ok. Many people that are hit like this are not so lucky. He was wearing a helmet, which I am completely convinced saved his life. We will be getting him the same helmet again, and I am going to get a new one too. I learned that bike helmets should be replaced every 5 years, so I am overdue.

Please be careful and share the roads, weather you are a biker, runner, or driver. We all need to pay attention and follow the rules to keep everyone safe. End PSA.


Filed under Family, The bike

Another packed summer weekend

Even though our summer weekends have been filled with a lot of training hours, I always try to make sure to do plenty of summer activities as well. It’s always tempting to lay down on the couch and nap the afternoon away after an 18 mile run, but summer is short and we have to take advantage.

Saturday morning was an 18 mile run that almost didn’t happen. I have been having some pain on the bottom/side of my right foot, which has caused my calf to be in a knot from trying not to land on it while running. Friday night I could barely put pressure on it, and it didn’t feel much better Saturday morning. The thought of doing a 3 hour bike ride instead of running made me want to die a little, so I put on my compression socks and running shoes to see how it felt. After a couple of laps around the condo, I decided it wasn’t so bad.

I paid really close attention to it during my run, and though my calf was sore the whole time, my heel didn’t seem to be getting any worse. I ended up with 18 miles (out of a planned 20). My Garmin froze up two miles in, which was a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to forget about the pace and just take it really easy. My heel didn’t feel any worse after, thank goodness.

After running, Steve and I decided to take the boat out to try and catch the end of the air show that was happening in Milwaukee. We really wanted to see the Thunderbirds show, they are so loud and awesome. When we got to the boat storage, we were greeted with this:

Ugh. While Steve worked on changing the tire,

I made myself really useful by taking pictures of myself and my iced coffee.

The Thunderbirds were performing as the tire was being changed, so we just missed them. We could hear them loud and clear though, and we did see them fly over the boat storage several times.

Even though we missed the show, we still had a great time cruising around on the boat. I will never get sick of the view of Milwaukee from the water.

There were so many boats out, probably because of the air show and the perfectly breezy sailing weather. Can you spot all of the sailboats?

After cruising around for a while, we were hungry. We headed to the Milwaukee Ale House for some outdoor dining.

I had a margarita (which I could barely finish because it was so sweet) and a black bean burger. Look at this beauty.

Fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and cucumber sauce. Yum.

We were determined to get our 5 hour bike ride on Sunday done in time to actually see day two of the air show, but mother nature had other plans. The plan was to leave at 7am, be back by 12:30, and be on the water by 1:30. I woke up at 6am and started getting ready. By 6:30 it was storming. We waited it out and didn’t end up biking until 11am. So much for the Thunderbirds.

We rode out to Steve’s sister’s house which is about 46 miles away. I am not kidding when I tell you that the entire way there was uphill and into the wind. It was horrible. Then about 6 or 8 miles before we got there, it started raining. Then it started pouring. We couldn’t see a thing, and I declared that I would not be riding home. (Not sure how I was going to get back, I didn’t think that far ahead).

After a nice visit with my sister-in-law and eating all of her wheat thins, I felt better. The sun was back out, and it was quite steamy. The ride home was a million times better than the ride out. It took us 2:45 on the way out and 2:30 on the way back. We ended up with 92 miles in 5:15, not too shabby. And then it was time to eat tacos and collapse on the couch. We watched Rango, which I was loving but of course I ended up falling asleep.

Two more big build weeks and then it’s taper time!

What did you do this weekend?

Do you like biking?

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Filed under Food, Fun, The bike, The run, Triathlon

Biking, biking, and more biking

Today Steve, our friend James and I drove out to Madison to bike on the Ironman course. The course is sort of a lollypop, where you head out in the beginning, do two loops, and head back. Today we did the red loop twice, for about 80 miles in 4 hrs 28 mins.

Here is the elevation:

If you are thinking “wow, that looks hilly,” you are correct. We did the section from approximately mile 16 to mile 96. Though it is an extremely challenging course, it is also really fun. It is beautiful, with lots of farms and red silos and cows and hills in every direction. Though the up-hills are tough, you can absolutely fly downhill, which is awesome. I actually cracked 40 mph today. I didn’t carry my camera on the ride because there was a chance of storms, but we did stop after the first loop to refuel.

I’m sorry I am such a dork, I can’t help it. Overall it was a great ride, though the second loop went slightly slower than the first on tired legs. By the time we finished I was beat.

This was a big training week. I ended up with 179 miles biking, 16 miles running, 2 swims, and all this after racing a half ironman last Sunday and taking Monday off. I am tired, my legs are tired, and I am so happy that this next week is a step-back week in training. One more huge build and then a three week taper before Ironman. I am so ready for this race to be here already!


Filed under The bike, Triathlon

Door County Half Iron Triathlon

Steve, James and I headed up to Door County, WI on Saturday to race in the half iron distance triathlon on Sunday. I was excited for this mostly because Door County is one of my favorite places on earth. As soon as we got into town, we headed to the race site to pick up our packets. Everything was well-organized, and there were a few tents set up selling clothing and gear. We walked down to the water to check out the swim start.

I’ve never seen a start line out in the water like that, but it was only about thigh-deep out there. We drove up to the town of Fish Creek where we were staying and checked in to our motel. After a quick trip to the bike shop across the street for CO2 cartridges, it was already time for dinner. We headed to a little Italian restaurant called Villagio’s. They boast about their famous marinara sauce, so I went for the spaghetti.

The sauce was very tasty, even though I am not too much of a pasta fan. After dinner we headed back to the motel to relax. Steve and I hung out on the swinging bench in the courtyard.

I was hydrating as much as possible in preparation for the extreme heat the next day.

Race morning I woke up at 5am and had to make my Starbucks via packet with hot tap water. The motel was lacking slightly in amenities (it didn’t even have a hair dryer), but it was cheap and in a perfect location, so I can’t complain. We loaded up the bikes and were on the road by 6:10. We pulled in to the race parking lot about 20 minutes later, and it was already hot and muggy. We picked up our timing chips and headed over to transition to get set up.

After that it was a lot of waiting around. The race started at 8am, but I was in wave 13 and wasn’t scheduled to start until 8:43. Steve and James were in wave 8, so they had almost a 20 min head start. The start was organized very well. One wave would wade in to the start line, and they would line up the next wave on the beach. Before I knew it, my wave was on deck. I entered the water with 68 other women in my age group, and we were off.

Swim – 1.2 miles – 43:12

I was a little nervous going into the swim because my shoulder has been bothering me a lot lately, and I haven’t been swimming as much as I should. Things were a little crowded out to the first turn, and then I found a rhythm. I felt like I was gliding through the water, and I knew that we had to be swimming with the current. Sure enough, when we turned for the back stretch of the course I was immediately hit in the face with some chop and almost choked. I tried to find my rhythm again, but it was tough. I felt like I was going nowhere, and I started to get passed a lot. It felt like I had been out there forever by the time I saw the last turn buoy. This was the most well-marked swim course I have ever seen, with plenty of buoys so sighting was never a problem. I was so glad when I reached the shore, and relieved that the swim was over. I got my wetsuit stripped by the great volunteers, and ran to my bike.

T1 – 2:48

Socks and bike shoes on, helmet on, sunglasses on, bib number on. I have no idea what took me so long with this. I remember having trouble with the straps on my left shoe. Velcro is hard, you know.

Bike – 56.3 miles – 2:58:48 – 18.8 mph average

I really enjoyed the bike course. The first 10 miles seemed like a gradual uphill, but the roads were smooth and I was feeling pretty good. I made sure to start taking in my nutrition right away, and plenty of water. It was starting to really heat up out there. I saw James and then Steve coming the other way when I was around mile 16, which was fun. I would say I passed a fair amount of people, probably because I am such a slow swimmer and had some ground to make up. I didn’t check my time once during the bike, but I thought I was moving pretty good. The last 10 miles I felt great, and was passing more and more people. I finally checked my time during the last half mile, and I have to admit I was disappointed. I thought I rode faster than that. I reminded myself that I was not working with fresh legs coming into this race, and I was doing my best.

T2 – 1:54

Bike on rack, helmet off, shoes changed, running hat on, gels in pocket. This time I had trouble with my shoelaces,  because tying is hard. Maybe I should look into those quick-yank laces.

Run – 13.1 miles – 2:00:58 – 9:14/mile average

By the time I started running it was around 12:30pm and oppressively hot. Temperatures were in the 90’s with a heat index over 100 degrees. I decided to run without my garmin, because I didn’t even want to know. I started plodding along, passing many people who were already walking the first mile. I took a gel around mile one, and drank as much water and gatorade as I could stomach throughout the run. My legs felt fine, but the heat was killer. I stopped at every aide station and poured water over my head and dumped ice in my shirt when it was available. The built-in sports bra in my tri top was perfect for this, because it would hold the ice cubes right on my chest and back.

There were shaded areas here and there throughout a lot of the run which was nice. There was a pretty steep hill at mile 6 that I walked up, and then “the bluff” just before mile 10. The bluff was no joke. It was so steep I’m not even sure it was possible to run up. I walked that entire hill as well, and stopped at the aide station at the top. Miles 10-13 were brutal. We were out in an open farm field, no shade, blazing sun. Most people were walking. I kept running along because I just wanted to finish the damn race. Given the amount of times that I stopped at aide stations and walked up the hills, I think my pace was actually pretty decent. The last quarter mile was a steep down hill to the finish line. I passed a woman in the finisher’s shoot and crossed the line with plenty of energy. I felt like I could have given so much more in this run, but it was just impossible with the heat.

Total time – 5:47:41

214/1087 overall

38/329 females

13/69 age group (F30-34)

I am happy with the race overall, but it definitely showed where my weaknesses are (ahem, swim and bike, ahem). Out of my age group, I was 46/69 in the swim, 23/69 on the bike, and 5/69 in the run. Out of all females I was 162/329 in the swim, 76/329 on the bike, and 21/329 in the run. See a pattern here? I wish I liked biking more, because that is the area where a big improvement would matter the most. I have a lot of riding to do before Ironman, so hopefully I can work hard and gain some speed.

I would like to give major props to the race staff and volunteers, who worked their butts off to make sure there was enough water, ice, gatorade, and dunk tanks in the extreme conditions. There was a 91% finishing rate, which I think is amazing. Nothing beat the ice cold dunk tanks at the finish line. I hopped right in and instantly felt so much better.

After hanging out at the finish area for a while and drinking some beer, we grabbed our stuff out of transition and loaded up the car.

I made Steve turn on the car and blast the A/C while we were loading the bikes so it would be nice and cool when we got in. I didn’t want to feel the sun again for a long time. After getting cleaned up, we enjoyed a few local Door County beers in the gazebo at the motel.

It took a while for a table to open up at the restaurant across the street, and by the time we sat down to eat, I was ravenous and a little tipsy. We started with some sangria.

What I really felt like:

For dinner we chowed down on some delicious salad and pizza. I had the veggie pizza, which had artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, and goat cheese. So good.

Please check out my bicep in the above picture. Either that pizza was really heavy, or I am totally ripped.

After dinner, we did what anyone would do.

Frozen custard, duh.

Look at how concerned the lady behind me is. Don’t worry lady, I will finish it. I got the “Door County Inferno Snowball” sundae, which had tart cherries on the bottom, vanilla custard in a chocolate shell, and whipped cream. It was a totally random thing that I wouldn’t usually order, and to be honest it wasn’t that great. By now the rain had moved in, so we enjoyed our custard under the gazebo. I am sad to admit that I did not in fact finish my sundae, but not because I couldn’t have. It just wasn’t that stellar.

One day later, and the good news is that I am not really sore at all. Because of the heat, I wasn’t able to push it on the run, so my legs feel fine, just slightly tired. I am ready for a big training week starting tomorrow with tons of biking. It is going to be in the 90’s all week, but I guess I am ready for that now!


PS. If you want to have a really good chance of winning some Gotein, enter my giveaway here. It seems nobody wants it, so your odds are good Smile


Filed under Dessert, Food, Friends, Fun, The bike, The run, The swim, Triathlon