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Jelly Doughnuts

I think taper is now officially hitting me. I'm still tired, mind you, but I have felt like a jelly-filled doughnut the last couple of days. I stepped on the scale this morning and realized that I've actually lost another pound or two. I can't remember the last time I weighed myself, and this is probably a daily fluctuation, but I have to admit that I was surprised.

In reading out in the blogosphere, it seems that most of my fellow IM in training had set some sort of weight goal. I didn't. I never started training with the intention to lose weight. I figured that I would slim down a bit as a byproduct of all of the exercise. Now, just 1 1/2 weeks from IM, I can officially say I am 4 to 6 pounds lighter than I was during the winter. This isn't saying much. One forty-three (141 this morning) is my usual weight for this time of year, give or take a pound or two. In fact, I've been at the same weight since I was a freshman in undergrad. I do think that I'm a little slimmer than usual, though. My arms bulk up really easily, and since I haven't been lifting weights, they're definitely smaller. My waist is more defined. My chest is smaller (sorry Steve!). Unfortunately, my pants aren't much looser, but my buns and legs are much more toned. Yup, I'm a well-oiled machine ready for those hills. I just have to keep remembering this in the upcoming week when I feel like a Bismark.
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A Few of My Favorite Things, Part 2

I've hinted on my last couple of posts that I had another thing to add to this list. Everyone, meet Tony.

If I had to give my road bike a name, her name would be Louise (no offense to anyone out there named Louise). It just seems to fit her. She as an OK personality. She's a little on the heavy side, but she's very pretty. I don't know that I would really say we're friends. We're more like business partners. We just work together to get the job done. It seems like most of the time, I am doing most of the work.

Last Saturday, I met Tony. His full name is Tony Tequilo (as in Quintana Roo). I never meant for us to meet. I went into the tri store to buy some Enduralytes, and there he was. I don't know why I was compelled to name him Tony, but for some reason, I picture him as a person with a heavy Brooklyn accent and a strong Italian background. He's not big and rugged, but he is handsome, and I'm pretty sure he's tough as nails.

I should probably back up. Last spring, Steve won the grand prize drawing at a local duathlon. It was a Quintana Roo Kilo. Because he is an awesome husband, he had just gotten a new bike this year, and I was planning on doing IM MOO with my road bike, he decided that I should have it. Can you believe it?!? I'm pretty sure he's the best husband in the world. On Memorial day we went to the tri store to redeem the coupon. Unfortunately, the company had all of their Kilos on backorder. They told me I could upgrade to the Tequilo and pay the difference. Then they told me that the Tequilos were on backorder too. At that time, they said that they were told that the bikes would be in in August. They didn't know if it would be early August or late August (which obviously makes a difference when you're talking about training with the thing). I have been calling every few weeks, and the update has been the same: we don't know when the bikes will be in. We haven't heard anything. I called about 1 1/2 weeks ago, and the guy told me that we likely would have to wait till next year and get the 07 Kilo. I was bummed but had already come to the realization that I would likely be riding my road bike in Sept.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a Tequilo in my size at the bike store. I guess they had just gotten it in, but they probably won't be getting any Kilos in yet this year. I called Steve, and he said not to come home without the bike.

So... he is now mine. I'm pretty sure that I will be riding him in just 2 short weeks. I have taken him out on a few rides, and I've gotten the shifting down. The clipping in and out is the same, so I don't have to relearn that part. He still doesn't fit perfectly, and that will be my goal this week. I will hopefully be talking to the amazing guy who fit me to my road bike very soon.

I'm still a little nervous about making this switch so late in the season. I have done most of my training on my road bike, my road bike has more gears (27 vs 20), and riding my road bike has become second nature. On the other hand, Tony is lighter, hopefully faster (once he fits a little better) and has a seat angle that will should better prepare me for the run. He's also easier to shift mutliple gears at a time on the hills. At this point, I'm still not exactly sure what I am going to do. I'm going to throw in a hill ride or two this week (short of course) to see how he handles on the hills. This past week, I was just trying to get the feel of riding him. I took him for my 60 miler yesterday, and we did OK. My legs felt great on my 6 mile run, but I'm not sure whether that was because this distance was significantly shorter than my recent rides or if it was because the bike was easier on them.

Both people I've talked to in the local bike shop seem to think that I should be OK after 3 weeks of riding him. Any thoughts?
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Still Tired...

It's been a week, but the fatigue has not yet let up. Work was really crazy this week. The pharmacist I am working with on my residency took the week off, so I was in charge of the 18 surgical ICU patients plus one pharmacy student all by myself. I had more than one 10 hour day. It was draining mentally and emotionally. I went in one day, and my eyes welled up. We had one patient who was in a bad accident, and his family had decided to withdraw support (they knew it was what he wanted). Anyway, all day he had a piece of paper sitting on his chest. It was a poem talking about how today he is going to Heaven. It's just so hard to work up there sometimes. That same day, we had a patient who was in for the second time in a month. I guess the first major accident didn't teach him a lesson. Why can't people realize that second chances are rare?!? I just wanted to shake him.

My workouts didn't go exactly according to plan this week. I knew it could even be harmful if I trained hard when I felt so drained. I still managed to get in some key workouts. I went to the lake for a 1 mile swim on Friday evening. I had hoped to make it longer, but it seems I was absent this week when our hot days turned into cloudy and 70 degrees. I realized when I got there that I probably should have brought my wetsuit. That was an understatement to be sure. My local YWCA (who keeps their pool at a bathtubish 80 some degrees) has conveniently closed for maintainance during my entire taper, so I will be doing all of my swims in the lake from now on. I hopped in the water. There was only one other guy swimming. All of the life guards had gone home. It was chilly, but I figured that once I got moving, I would warm up. I did, for a while. After about 600 meters, the cold started to set in. I had goosebumps. My head started to get cold. My calves got a little tight. I managed to swim another 1000 m before hopping out of the water. Guess the reduced fat me does not appreciate arctic water. I had my heat on high for the 9 mile drive home and had to take a warm bath to finally get rid of the chills. My 2 mile swim tomorrow will be in a wetsuit!

I don't know what's wrong with me. I read up on the posts of fellow IM MOO in training tonight, and it seems most people are crawling out of their skin now that they are on taper. I just feel relieved. Sure there's a lot on my mind this week, but the fact that I have to work out less is somehow comforting. Maybe that's a small sign of burnout?

There has been one other thing on my mind this week. His name is Tony, and I'll introduce you to him tomorrow. For now, I am going to bed, and I'm not setting my alarm.
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This seemed to be the theme last week. I was just tired. That's the only word that comes to mind. I had trouble getting out of bed in the morning, even more than normal. I had trouble getting out the door for my workouts when I got home from work. All I wanted to do was sleep. I wanted to sleep for three days. I still do. I missed a couple of workouts last week because I felt completely drained. I guess this combo of work and working out is finally catching up to me. I got up at 3:30 am for my 18 mile Friday run. Three thirty in the freaking morning. Now, I know that there are a lot of IM in training out there who do this on a daily basis, but I am not nor have I ever been a morning person. This was the second time in a month that I've gotten up to do a run of that length long before the sun was up. I had to do it. It was the only way I could fit it in my schedule.

My legs were ready to be done with my bike ride at mile 30 yesterday. Somehow I convinced them to go another 70.2. I even convinced them to run 4 miles afterward, and they felt OK. I used the same nutrition plan as last week, and it worked again. I love Carbo Pro.

My mind has been elsewhere the last couple of days. I'll write about it soon, but suffice it to say that I have something new to add to my list of "my favorite things."

I am now officially on taper. It's funny to look at my schedule and think, "Wow. I only have to work out 15 hours this week." I guess I've come a long way

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going home to take a nap before my 6 mile run tonight.
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Random Question

So Steve and I were at the Science Museum of Minnesota about 1 1/2 weeks ago, and they had this bike thing there. The whole purpose of it was that you could generate enough power on this old crappy exercise bike to light up some lights. If you generated a whole lot of power, you could make the bell ding at the top of it. Easy, right? Especially for me, an Ironman in training (or so I thought). I even had a 100 mile ride scheduled for the next day. Steve hopped on. A couple of pedal strokes, and the bell dinged. I hopped on. I pedaled and pedaled. Some of the lights lit up. Lots of the lights lit up, but I could not get that damn bell to ding. I got off the bike. Steve hopped on again. Ding! I hopped on. Lights, but no dinging. I must have tried it at least 6 times. I never got the bell to ding, and, humiliated, I gave up. I decided that it was not worth wasting more energy on. I am not the type of person to give up and walk away, though, so it took a little extra effort. I have several theories why this happened:

1. I ran 16 miles the day before, and my legs were still tired.
2. I have not biked without clipping in for 3 years. My feet kept slipping off, so I never really got a good position on the pedals.
3. I have converted every fast twitch muscle I've ever had in my body into slow twitch muscles prepared for the 112 miles of Wisconsin hills.

Anybody else got any ideas? I am ashamed to even have written this!
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This Week's Schedule

Hooray! I was off of work by 4:15 today. This never happens on a Monday. I was expecting to come in and have 9 out of 18 of my patients being new. Today I only had 2 new patients. I'm going home to enjoy my extra few minutes of freedom. One positive note: one of my patients started to wake up today! He actually opened his eyes. He's been on my unit for a couple of weeks, and I really want to see him recover (as much as he can anyway), so this was definitely a step in the right direction. I deal with so many trauma cases and head injuries every day. It definitely keeps things in perspective. It pretty much makes my training seem insignificant on most days, but just in case you're wondering, here's what I'm up against this week:

M: 4000 m swim
T: AM - 45 minute run, PM - 30 min swim (open water if possible) with a 90 minute biking brick afterward
W: 80 minute run with strides
Th: 120 minute bike
F: AM -2700 m swim, 18 mile run
S: off!
Su: 100-112 mile bike (I'll see how I feel) with a 4o minute run off

After this last hard week, I'll be tapering, which I'm sure will come with its own challenges. Boy am I looking forward to it though!
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The Hills, the Wind, the Rain, and the Suburbs

The Hills:

Hills, hills, and more hills. I had huge granny gear uphills, long painful ones, slow assents that were disguised as flats (until I looked down at my speedometer), and gigantic rollers that stretched about 4 miles. My max downhill speed was only 35 mph, and a lot of my fast descents were thwarted by red lights at the end. The grand finale was the big hill I had to climb at mile 110.5 in order to get back up to my house. In the end, I probably managed to get in 80-85 miles worth of hills and the rest was relatively flat.

The Wind:

The wind wasn’t actually too bad today. It was about 10 miles per hour and was my headwind on the way out for my two out and back loops. That meant a tailwind on the hills on the way back!

The Rain:

The weather guys said that it would start raining at about 11 this morning. It was predicted that some areas could get up to 8 inches of rain. I wasn’t excited about that. It started sprinkling at around 10:40. “Wow,” I thought. Those guys were actually right today. At 11, it started to sprinkle harder. It sprinkled for the next 4 hours of my ride. It rained lightly off and on. For the last 35 minutes of my ride, it all out rained, poured actually. I was just plain pelted my whole way home. I could feel my shoes squishing. My whole body was soaked. I think it’s going to take about a week for my new shoes to dry out.

The Suburbs:

I grew up in very rural Minnesota. We had a few animals, and we were surrounded by farmland. I now live in the middle of a big city. I can walk to the local grocery store and 10 different restaurants. As silly as it seems, I think that living in the city is as close to living in the country as I can get. I don’t have to deal with the same traffic. I don’t have to choose from 10 different chain restaurants when I go out for supper. Around 20 miles into my ride, I started to question whether I would really be able to stick with this route. I had ridden past hundreds of tan houses by then and tons of signs advertising Model Homes! Single Family Homes! Homes for Sale! Newly Built Homes! I thought that I would go crazy. I’m sorry if you live in the suburbs and love it. I’m not saying that they are bad places to live. I know that they are supposed to be more family friendly, safer, and quieter than the city, and there are not jobs in the country for everybody. I’m not trying to offend anyone here. They’re just not for me. When I looked down at my odometer, I was averaging 14 mph. “This isn’t going to work,” I thought to myself. “I need to kick it up a notch, and if that means going back to one of my other routes, so be it.” Then I saw them. Cows. I had hit farm country. I have never been so happy to see and smell cows in my life. Guess I’ll be just fine in Wisconsin.

The Traffic:

Eight, count ‘em eight people cut me off during my ride by not stopping behind stop signs/yield signs/cross walks. I am guilty of doing this once in a great while too, so I understand that sometimes it just happens. However, an apology wave, mouthing a “sorry”, or backing up so the person could cross are the appropriate response measures to take. NONE of these people even acknowledged what they had done. I had to clip out and walk around at least 4 cars because they were completely blocking my reentrance to the bike path. One lady actually cut me off twice. She blocked my intersection while I was heading up the hill on the way home. Then she stopped right in front of the intersection while waiting to get into a parking ramp. By the time I got home, I was just plain fed up. One of my coworkers was complaining this week that bikers don’t always follow all of the traffic rules. My response was that drivers out there aren’t always watching out for bikes, and that I need to be watching out for myself. I rest my case.

The Nutrition:

I managed to consume 12 scoops of Carbo Pro, about 60 ounces of Gatorade, 40 ounces of water, 2 packages of Fig Newtons, and 2 Eduralytes (it wasn’t too hot today, and with all of the Gatorade, I didn’t really feel like I needed them).

The Summary:

112.5 miles. Time: 7:34. My legs were actually really sore starting the run. I’m not sure if they were still just tired from Thursday’s 18 mile run, if they really liked the stops last week, or if the Reuben last week served as superfuel. I wasn’t as diligent this week about making sure that I wasn’t mashing on my pedals, so that is something that I will work on again next week. At any rate, I know that the hills today were worse than last week, and I’ll be on them again next Sunday.

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Recap of Last Sunday’s Ride

I wrote this while waiting for my bus ride last week, but I just haven’t had time to type it up. Steve posted a pretty funny version of his recap on Sunday. This one will just be informational.

We started off the morning by sleeping in. We hit church the night before, so I didn’t get up until 9 AM. It was heavenly. :)

I had asked Steve earlier in the week if he wanted to join me under the condition that we could stop at the malt shop in Stillwater if he came along. At first, he said no, but I think that the temptation of blueberry malts got to him.

We left around 11 am and told our neighbor that we’d see him in about 8 hours. I don’t think he believed us. I mixed up some super strength Carbo Pro for each of us, and we were off. We headed onto one of our favorite trails up to Stillwater, a town that has a few good hills heading in.

We did several laps back and forth over the rollers before heading down to the malt shop. Miles elapsed: 52. Miles to go: 48. Steve of course ordered the blueberry malt, and I helped him with it a little. He also ordered a ham and cheese, which came with their homemade potato chips. What did I order? Did I pick something healthy? Did I go with the usual grilled chicken? No. I ordered the Reuben (the dressing came on the side). Halfway through a 100 mile ride, and I ordered a sandwich piled high with corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut. I knew I’d probably come to regret it, but it sounded good at the time. Plus, all that salt has to beat what I’d get from a few Enduralytes.

We finished our meal and headed back up the huge hill. We returned to making laps back and forth. As I suspected, the sandwich didn’t sit the best, but it never came back up. I guess it was a test for my stomach’s ability to tolerate what I put in it during the race. Miles and miles later, we were home. I chugged some chocolate milk and went out for my 3 mile run. My legs didn’t feel too bad!

Last Sunday’s ride was more a test of distance than time. This Sunday’s 112 mile solo trip was the endurance/nutrition/speed test.
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First Century!

Just wanted to post a quick note to tell everybody that I finished my first century ride yesterday. Technically, it was 100.37 miles. My total time was around 6:43, and I even did a 3 mile run-off afterward (my program only made me do 2, but I felt like that was somehow cheating myself). I'll post more on it later. Mr. SLS took lots of pictures, so you can take a tour of the ride.

First of all, let me say that I have the most AWESOME husband in the world. He not only rode 100 miles with me. He also did all of the hills I threw in. All in all, I'd say that the ride was about 60 miles worth of hills and 40 miles that was for the most part flat. We hit one mother of a hill twice. It's either bigger than or comparable to the 3rd hill in the IM loop. I did it sitting down:) There was a bit of a wind yesterday too, about 10-15 mph. More later.

I can't promise any long posts in the next couple of weeks. By the time I put in an 8-11 hour day at work (not counting my commute) and throw in my workout(s), I literally have NO time left in my day. This week's training schedule:

M: 8 X 500 M swim
T: AM: - 12 X 100 M swim; PM - 60 minute hard bike followed by a 30 minute tempo run
W: AM - 45 minute run with strides every 5 minutes; PM - 90 minute hill bike ride
Th: 18 mile run
F: 2 1/2 mile open water swim in the AM, 1 hour run in the evening
S: off - woo hoo!
Sun: 112 mile bike with a 30 minute run-off

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, but after such a successful week last week, I know I can do it. I'm feeling better about those cutoffs...

I slept 11 hours on Friday night and 10 hours on Saturday night. It felt GREAT!
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Back in the Saddle

Not too much time to post - I just got off work and have to head home to get ready for company. Just wanted to let you know that I'm back at it, and with a bang. I did a fairly easy swim to recover from the HIM on Monday, but I had a pretty good sized knot in my left quad, so I took it easy Tues and Wed. Better to let a couple of easy/medium workouts go and get in the really tough ones scheduled for this weekend. Last night, I hopped back on the bike and knew that I'd be fine doing the rest of my workouts this week.

This morning, I got up at 3:50 AM to get in my 16+ mile run before heading to work. The problem: I am NOT a morning person, but for some odd reason, I was up and at 'em, ready to go. I had everything layed out last night. It helps me to peel myself out of bed come morning. I ate a Cliff bar and headed out. The first couple of miles were slow. It was cool this morning, but it was so humid that my body was working overtime just to suck in air.

It was kind of fun feeling like I had the whole city to myself. Seriously, I probably only saw 5 people during the first hour. Soon the city started coming to life, and I started picking up the pace. I finished my 16.3 mile run in just over 2:46. My legs actually felt great, and I never hit the point where I felt like I wanted to walk. Maybe my body is finally realizing who's boss! I have a 2 mile swim tomorrow and a 100 mile bike with a run afterward on Sunday. More later!