Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Worrying about things that aren't a problem

Alright y'all, I am officially nervous. My first ever Olympic distance race is Sunday and I already have the butterflies. Here is the thing though... I feel like I am in better shape at this time this year than ever before. I am pretty sure that I can finish. The distances are not out of range. I have done the miles but there are some things creating doubts. Namely, the cold temp of the water. There has been major flooding in the area and the swim has been moved to another body of water close by. I am considering renting a wetsuit from my local tri/bike shop but have never swam in one before. That makes me nervous. Another thing that is creating doubts is that I haven't been able to be on my new bike all that much. I was fitted in a pretty aggressive aero position although I made sure it was comfortable. I haven't ridden it in much bike traffic and I am just not sure about the handling yet. And lastly, nutrition. I am just very unsure of what I am really going to need when I get out on the course and how my body is going to handle things. I am planning on water and Gatorade Rain in my bottle and camel back and I know that I can tolerate Snickers Marathon Bars on the bike and before the run so those I am taking with me.

I know, I know, most of you are saying... "Cowgirl Up! It is just an Olympic distance race, no biggie." And in my head, I know that, and I know that I will be fine and I know that I have trained but somebody, please tell my swirling stomach that!

It is all going to be fine. I have to say that I haven't had pre-race jitters like this in a while. I feel like a real rookie, and I guess, I am an Oly Rookie. =0)

Deep breath! Here goes.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tag - I'm It.

Alrighty, Blink has tagged me with...

Seven Songs that Stick in Your Head

Blink is a triathlete in Omaha, NE who has the coolest new tattoo on one of the most muscular calves ever! Check out his blog to see it.

So, typically, I don't listen to music when I train and I tend to turn it off when I am trying to really concentrate. I do love to sing along to the radio in the car however, and now, thanks to Blink I have seven songs stuck in my head. =0)

#1. If I Had $1,000,000 by Barenaked Ladies. Man, I don't even really like this song but I walk around humming all the time. Even when I haven't recently heard it.

#2. Cartoons. A really funny song by contemporary Christian artist, Chris Rice. It is all about how different cartoons would "get saved" and how they would sing praise. And, Chris is super amazing at doing all the voices of the cartoons. Check it out.

#3. Coming in at number 3 is Beautiful World by Colin Hay. Gotta love the hippie, folk, acoustic guitar.

#4. Independently Happy is a sweet running song (when I actually take my iPod) that I strategically put in my play list towards the end to get me going. My husband got my hooked on Blue October when we were dating.

#5. This list would not be complete without a little Chris LeDoux. Look at You Girl is maybe the best song ever and I used to dance around my house singing it. (Oh wait, that may have been last week.) Guess I am just a country girl at heart.

#6. This is a super cool song. It is called Rise Up Mighty Warrior by Broken Walls. Patrick has been into Indigenous Christian Rock because of all his work with Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Reservation through the youth department at the church.

#7. And finally... the PT in me that goes to the preschools would have to say, Slippery Fish is definitely one that sticks in your head.

Well, there you have it! 7 songs that you just can't shake. Hope you all learned something about me today. Maybe that my taste in music has no rhyme or reason? =0)

So, I suppose now I have to tag someone. You know, I tag Cara from the InTransit Duo podcast. She is one stellar chick and I know she has some good additions to the collection of music. Don't be mad Cara! Blink made me do it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Picking a fight on the Trek EX7 WSD

Well ladies and gents... I finally bit the bullet and purchased a new tri bike. I went with the Trek Equinox 7 WSD because of the 700cc wheels. I have taken it out once and am looking forward to a ride this afternoon.

It is a 47 cm and definitely doesn't fit on our bike rack. The cool thing is that with the front wheel removed I could slide it standing up into the backseat of a Dodge Neon. Now that is small. (Note the difference between my Trek and Patrick's road bike).

I absolutely love the bike but I am just as impressed with the fit that I had done. Being in the aero position helps and having a more aero frame probably helps a bit too but being in a comfortable yet aggressive position is awesome. My average speed increased by 3-4 mph and what is even cooler is that my quads weren't on fire. I am assuming that I am using my gluts more to extend my leg and that is saving my other muscle groups. Can't wait to see how I feel on my brick today.

Now, that all being said, apparently this bike makes me feel braver too. My husband went on that first ride with me to make sure everything was going well mechanically. We were less than a mile from our house on a fairly busy street near our neighborhood. It was about 8:00 pm and so traffic was minimal. I was ahead of Patrick tooling towards home and a big black SUV lays on its horn. They buzz by us and my husband gives them a few choice words. They hit their brakes for a second but then took off. About 25 ft later they had to stop at a red light. I shifted up (what was I thinking) and pulled up next to their window. It was of course two 16 or 17 year old boys in daddy's SUV and I said, "What is the matter?"

I don't think they were expecting one of the cyclists to be a girl because it took them a moment to say, "You were in our way."

Now really, my bike is about a foot wide at the handlebars and we were as close to the side of the street as we could be without riding through the gravel and sticks littering the road. Ironically, there is a bike lane just on the other side of the intersection, the paint just isn't extended.

My husband (a much larger person than I am) then pulled up beside me and the conversation quickly became less than mature. He told them that it would be nice if they would consider sharing the road with cyclists and the kids said they couldn't hear anything we were saying. Some explicit language was exchanged and we were on our way. What in the world was I thinking? What cyclist takes on a vehicle. Not the smartest thing I have ever done. In fact, usually I just ignore the ignorant drivers who intentionally or unintentionally disregard those of us with pedals.

You know, I really wish I would have challenged him to a bike race. Think how ridiculous he would have felt when a girl kicked his butt from here to Timbuktu on a bike. I can just see it now, quads burning and lungs gasping for oxygen. A beautiful sight.

Special Olympics

The Nebraska Special Olympics Summer Games are going on in Omaha right now.

As a therapist, I volunteered to go help with the Fun Fitness activities. Fun Fitness is a time when competing athletes can come and go through a number of fitness testing stations, maybe 8 or so. Physical Therapists, PTAs, and PT and PTA students come and do the testing. We look at flexibility, strength, and balance. After they go through the stations, they come to an education station (where I was working). Here we give them a book of exercises and decide based on their strengths and weaknesses what they need to concentrate on. Then we show them the exercises, watch them do them, wish them luck in their events and move on to the next person. It is always a really fun time! The athletes are so excited to tell you about their events, show you their medals, or tell you about their day. I really like the prevention and wellness piece that we provide. The athletes ranged from 8 to 75 (at least the people that I saw) and they seemed to have a great time. Can't wait to do it again next year.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

My very first flat...

...during a ride. The weather here has been as rainy and thundery as it could possibly get. The last 3-4 days have been nothing but rain and the forcasters are predicting about 4-5 more days of this. It was Sunday afternoon and I noticed that the clouds were parting. I checked the radar and it showed a hole in the weather for about 3 hours. I had been dreading a trainer ride in the basement all morning so I was excited to have the chance to get outside. I was hoping for a 25 miler on my WSD Specialized Dolce road bike. I rode out with a 25 mph wind in my face for about 9 miles. I averaged a crawl of about 11.5 mph. I typically do my easy rides on a local paved trail. It is nice because it ducks under the streets and railroad tracks with little underpasses. A lot of the trail (the whole section that I rode today) runs next to a creek/sewage runoff. WIth all the recent rain I could see that the water had risen quite a bit above it's normal level and then had receeded and left lots of yucky debris in its place. There were wads of dead grass and weeds, aluminum cans, pieces of broken glass and food wrappers in piles, large branches floating down the swollen creek, and lots of mud on those usually so helpful underpasses. I slowed pedaled through one or two 1- 1.5" deep mud pits. After my wheels nearly slid out from under me, I decided to try and cross the streets above on my way home. I had been glad to turn around and increase my speed to an average of 19.5 mph but I had to keep stopping to cross streets. I had mud and water spattered all over my front and back (no big deal) and had mud in between the toes of my left foot from where I had had to put foot down to keep from wiping out (annoying). At one of the crossings there was no way to get back down to the trail except through the grass. I had to decide if I was going to carry my bike and get more mud and water in my cycling shoes or ride my bike through the tall grass and weeds. Unfortunately for me, I opted for #2, I rode. I thought I felt like something was not right as I was crossing a long wooden bridge but I looked down and everything looked fine. A few minutes later I felt that squishy feeling that means you better have your CO2 and your tire lever ready. I looked at the sky. I could still make it, everything was still looking clear. I was about 6 miles from home, maybe less. I jumped off and took a deep breath. I thought to myself, "Ok self, you can do this, you've seen it done a million times." ...

And then I decided to call my husband.

I know, cowardly, but it proved to be a good decision. He said he would be right there. "Just hang tight." And I did and then it started to rain. I decided to see how far I could get on my own. I took off the back wheel and got the tube out. I got out the spare tube and CO2 tank and cartridge. That is when it started to pour. I was cold, mad, drenched, and embarassed that I didn't know what I was doing. In fact, I told about three or four others out on bikes that I was fine. Big, fat lie. I had no idea how to use the CO2. I had bought that so long ago that I couldn't remember anything about it. Just as a really naughty word was beginning to pass my lips, I saw Patrick walking in the pouring rain towards me with tools and a pump. I am not going to lie, it was almost as good as our wedding day. I was so glad to see him. Being the bike mechanic that he is, he had things fixed in no time. I had a minor issue with the rear derauiller and the chain that he righted and then he sent me on my way. Is he awesome or what?! He met me back at home and as I showered off all the mud and sand all over me he patiently cleaned every inch of my bike and put it away. He never said a word about it, but in his own way he was telling me that maybe next time I should think about what the road conditions will be before I take off on my own.

It seemed like a rotten ride at the time but tonight we are practicing changing a tire with both the pump and CO2 cartridges and hopefully if this ever happens in a race I will be good to go on my own. Had to learn that one the hard way.