Category Archives: 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!

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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

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

Motivation

Lately I have been lacking a little bit of mojo in my training. Namely, it’s the biking that’s getting me down. I am a runner through and through, and sometimes I question my decision to sign up for Ironman again. The Sunday rides are getting long, like 5-6 hours long. Steve and I did a 30 mile hilly ride  last night, and I was up bright and early this morning for a 16 mile run. When I got home I crashed for a bit, and then decided I needed to find some motivation. I love watching Ironman clips on YouTube and after watching a few, I started to get excited again. This is the video they show during the athlete’s dinner two nights before the race, and it really gets everyone pumped up.

Ironman–You Will Do This

Then I dug through my computer and found a video of me about to cross the finish line in 2009. Steve took this from the bleachers at the finish line, and I had no idea where he was.

Ironman WI Finish 2009

You can hear Mike Riley say my name at the end, but the video cut out before he said “You are an Ironman!!”

What is it about watching these that gives me the chills and gets me a little choked up? What’s the big deal?

It’s the fact that after months and months of hard work, you have one day to put it all out there. You sacrifice during training. You give up sleep, late night drinks, a clean house, and sometimes your sanity. You train like it’s your part time job, because that’s how much time it takes. You work out twice a day because you have to. You get up at 5:25 and head to the pool to swim endless laps before work. You set your alarm for 6am on a Saturday to go on your long run before the heat tries to kill you. You give up your entire Sunday because you will be out riding all.freakin’.day. You give up a lot and for what?

Dare I say that what you gain actually outweighs all of it. It’s a chance to learn what you are made of, and what you are capable of. When you cross that finish line, you are not just finishing that race on that one day. You have come to the starting line ready, prepared, because of all you have given up and all of the work that you have done. When you cross that line you are finishing what took months or even years to build up to. Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to go on this journey. It’s not always smooth and there are highs and lows, but the outcome is worth it. I try to remember that.

We are capable of more than we think.

IMG_0688

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Packed summer Saturday

Summer is finally here! After several weeks of cool temperatures and massive rain storms, Wisconsin finally got with the program and produced a gorgeous summer Saturday. We started it off with a quick 17 mile bike ride with a friend followed by an 11 mile run. We were actually supposed to run for 2 hours, but had to cut it about 20 mins short so I could dash home, shower, and get to my haircut appointment on time. Turns out my hairdresser was running late, and asked if I could come 30 mins later, so we could have gotten those two extra miles in. Oh well, I’m sure my legs will be grateful I didn’t run any further during our 70 mile bike ride today.

After my haircut, Steve and I walked to a restaurant called Hotch-A-Do for brunch. I had a Groupon that was expiring yesterday, and there’s no way I was letting it go to waste. We got lucky and scored the only open outdoor table, and immediately ordered some drinks.

That bloody mary was fantastic, and came with a tasty beer chaser. I’m not sure what it was, but it was good beer, and not some Miller Lite crap that a lot of places like to give me. I ordered the breakfast burrito:

Two organic eggs scrambled, green peppers, onions, morning spuds, vege chili, cheddar cheese all wrapped in a flour tortilla Includes a side of sour cream, our homemade salsa and topped with fresh avocado.

When the food came I died. This burrito was seriously the size of my head.

I pretty much just ate all of the delicious filling out of the tortilla so I wouldn’t explode. I would definitely recommend this place, and hope to go back to try their dinner sometime.

We kept right on rolling after brunch and headed out to Pewaukee Lake for Beach Party. It’s basically a little festival on the waterfront with food, music, and a water skiing show. We met up with my mom and Joe to watch the festivities.

These ladies were skiing on saucers with chairs balanced on top. Crazy.

Joe was the big winner of the ski club raffle, and won 15 sno-cones and a straw hat!

I got coconut mango. Mmmmm….

I know it’s hard to believe, but I ate this sno-cone instead of ice cream, rather than in addition to. I don’t even know who I am anymore. Eventually some of out friends showed up and we hung out and drank margaritas until about 9:30. Late night partying, I know. Me and my best running buddy Cara:

Cara and Mike have the cutest ever 3 month old baby Gavin, and they were out for the first time while leaving him with a baby sitter (her sister). Time to party it up!

Steve was almost abducted by a UFO, but I saved him.

On our way home I had a hankering for some real food, as my breakfast burrito finally felt digested after 8 hours. We stopped at Classic Slice for some giant slices of pizza. Steve eats here for lunch sometimes, but I had never experienced the ginormity that is their pizza. We each ordered a slice that was the size of at least half of a large pizza. Steve posed with his food without me even asking him to. Awesome.

My slice had tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and enough garlic that my sweat will probably smell during my bike ride today.

In case you are wondering if I ate that whole slice at 10:30pm, the answer is absolutely I did. The crust was very thin which is my favorite because I can eat more that way. And with that, it was time for bed.

What a great summer day. I love packing as much as possible into my day when it is nice out. Gotta take advantage while we can!

What did you do this weekend? Was it packed with anything exciting?

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Father’s Day Fun

I don’t want to talk too much about Saturday morning’s bike ride because, frankly, it sucked. I think my hard ride Thursday night followed by a decent 25-miler Friday morning just caught up with my legs and they said enough already.

Interestingly, we did a short brick run after the bike ride and I felt fine. Good, as a matter of fact.

After the workout it was time for more important things. Like going to my Dad’s house to celebrate Father’s Day! On the way there we made a stop at Walgreens to pick up some cards, when this happened.

I split this little package of deliciousness with Steve. I think all of the candy companies are trying to kill me with the addition of coconut options lately, along with Starbucks and their evil coconut mocha frappacino.

We got to my dad’s house and dug into some snacks before heading out on the boat.

Steve is driving here because my dad decided to do a little water skiing. I believe he has now gone 6 years in a row getting up on skis on his first try.

I contemplated skiing, but decided that the water was a bit too chilly for me yet. So I just hung out on the boat and soaked up some sun.

When we got back to the house my dad fired up the grill, and again, I did what I do best.

And that would be lounge around and drink beer. I wish I took a picture of the lake from the deck, because it really is a great view. Eventually I wandered over to see what the grill master had cookin’.

Sea bass, asparagus, potatoes, and breadsticks. He also grilled a steak for Steve because he is crazy and doesn’t like fish.

This meal was so so good. I actually inhaled half of that potato before I remembered to snap a pic. I don’t think there is anything better than dinner off of the grill during summer. And grilled breadsticks = genius.

As if dinner wasn’t tasty enough, Steve and I had made a little stop at Milwaukee Cupcake Co for dessert.

I think my dad is going to start his own blog.

I had the s’more cupcake.

Other flavors included chocolate pb cup (still the best ever), strawberry, and chocolate on chocolate. Milwaukee Cupcake Co still reigns supreme in my book.

Happy Father’s Day Dad! I love you!!

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Filed under Dessert, Family, Food, The bike, The run, Workouts

Sandwich from heaven

Oh yes, I went there. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about this sandwich all day. I believe I thought it up during my 7-mile run this morning. I thought about it all day at work. I thought about it while I was busting my butt to keep up with Steve on my bike after work.

When we got home from riding, it was time. Sunflower whole wheat bread from a local bakery brushed with coconut oil, Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter, sliced banana and cherry preserves, all grill into a gooey drippy crusty slice of heaven. It was everything I had been imagining all day and more. I had some kale chips on the side for a dose of something green and healthy, and the saltiness was the perfect compliment to my perfectly sweet sandwich.

What is your favorite kind of sandwich?

I am partial to grilled sandwiches, particularly if they include melty cheese or drippy peanut butter.

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Filed under Food, The bike, The run