Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Triathlon! Are you CRAZY!??!!?

Here I found myself agreeing to do a 1/2 Iron Man Triathlon, and I don't even own a pair of tennis shoes! I MUST be crazy!!

For those of you are not aware a 1/2 Iron Man Tri consists of 56 miles biking, 13 miles running, and 1.2 miles swimming. I feel I have the biking part in hand, but it's the running and swimming parts I need to work on.

Now I also want to say that this is not an official Iron Man Tri put on by any organization. This is just a group of friends loosely putting on the event together to see if some of us can just do it. It's not a race or a competition. It's just a test of endurance. The challenge is to finish. (Photo above: My new running shoes!)

So thus I entered the Salt Lake Running Store on a Saturday afternoon and tried on new running shoes while a salesman was giving me suspicious and questioning looks. Yep, I made the mistake of telling him I was training for a 1/2 Iron Man Tri and that I haven't ran in 20 years. I KNOW he thought I was a nut case! He seemed to calm down a little bit when I mentioned that I bike about 150 miles a week. But as I was talking with other friends who have done these, they said that most people most often take anywhere from 6 months to a year to train for this event. Gee, and here I am planning on doing it in 3 months! Yeah, maybe I am NUTS!

I found myself on Saturday night, trying out the new shoes. Hey, I gotta take these new babies out for a test spin. Boy! Could I tell that it had been 20 years! I huffed and puffed my way through 1 and a half miles. First running 1/2 mile,and then I speed walking the rest. My time was 19 min. OUCH! At that rate it would take me three and a half hours to do the 13 miles; if I can even manage it. (Above Photo: Some of the Tri Contenders on a training bike ride this last Sunday morning. We did 5o+ miles on our bikes.)

The reason that I stopped running 20 years ago? A combination of things-- my shins didn't like it, I moved away from the track that I used, and well, I'll admit it, I got LAZY! But I really did missed the track. It was one of those older gym building on the college campus that had the elevated track upstairs and was open to a floor below. There was a basketball court below, and often, you could find shirtless college boys playing a game of basketball. Yes, I was in my own version of heaven on earth--- getting high off of exercise endorphins,and voyeurism of yong musled male chests. Aw, I really admired all those nicely muscled young male chests. I would purposely time my runs to go during basketball games. Going for 4-1/2 to 5 mile runs and keeping my eyes on the action below. I would fight for the inner lane with the best view. Hmmm, boy do I miss THAT track!

Well, training is getting into full swing, and I'm all ready seeing some improvement. This morning I woke up at 5AM, and managed a mile and a half around Liberty Park. Hey I even improved on my time--- 17 min. That averages out to 11.33 mph. I'm hoping to work towards at least a 10mph mile. But it just goes to show that there's hope for me yet; at least for the running part. Next, I need to figure out the swimming part. But it looks like I'll find out about that on this Friday when we attempt a mini-triathlon. I'll keep you posted on how we do.
Oh, and P.S.--- If any of you happen on a track like I had above in college, let me know. It would do wonders for my running! ;-)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Lazy Rainy Saturday

One of my favorite things are lazy rainy Saturdays. Rain always seems to be cleansing, refreshing, and relaxing. It's like a Spa day for the soul. I find myself wanting to curl with a good book, and of course, a cup of coffee. And thus, this morning shortly after waking and hearing the light patter of rain, I started a strong pot of my favorite hazelnut creme coffee. As it brewed, I set up a chair and a stool on my covered balcony. I shrugged on a hooded sweatshirt and brought out a small blanket for warmth. Out on the balcony I went with a cup of Joe in one hand, and my latest read ("The Friday Night Knitting Club") in my other hand.

I camped out on the balcony, quietly reading as the sound of rain pattered on all around me. Periodically, cars would pull up below and I would watch people bolt for the doors. I always wonder why people run in the rain? Yes, you get wet. But it's not as though by running you are saving yourself from getting any less wet. There's also the possibility of getting even more wet if you slip and fall. It's not as though we are the "Wicked Witch of the West" and live in total fear that we are going to melt. Well, at least not most of us.

I always liked the rain for the most part. Though, it doesn't mesh well with my preference to be out cycling during this time of year. I have had to cancel a few rides this last two weeks due to all of the rain that we've had here. But rainy days have always held fond memories for me. I've had my days where I've donned my galoshes with raincoat, and played the BIG kid splashing my way through the puddles. I remember as a kid, we would jump into the car with Dad and scout out large puddles on the street. "There's one!" We would thrill as Dad would step on the gas and swerve through the puddle. We would shout with excitement and watch with animation as the spray would build higher and further out from the curb areas. Later as the rain died down we would go in search of night crawlers.

Here I find myself on my balcony, quietly reading as a symphony of light rain patters and birds chirp. AND what is it about rainy weather that always makes me crave a good bowl of hot soup? So for lunch I find myself making a cheddar potato soup with some diced tomatoes thrown in. Yum! It's like a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup in a bowl. Something else that I remember enjoying as a kid. Yummy!

The rain continues to patter on forming mini lakes, and small rivers. I think to myself I wish that this relaxing and quiet day would just go on and on. But I know the reality is that it can't which makes me treasure these quiet relaxing moments all that much more.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Little Red Riding Hood Ride!!!

Considering that when I got up at 4AM with it raining outside. It turned out to be a wonderful day to be on a bike! And what FUN too!
(Above Photo: Little Red Mascot- Von and myself as a Course Marshal)

After going to 3 different places in SLC I finally managed to get a caffeinated cup of joe. I guess there's something about being that early in the morning(4:30AM) that most regular coffee places are not open. I went inside a Maverik after fueling and they only had decaffeinated. Hello! I need fully leaded at that time in the morning. I'm a conditionally early morning type of person--- thus I NEED my hot black caffeinated cup of coffee before I perform very well. And I definitely needed something before driving two hours north. (Photos Below: Hawaiian shirted volunteers-Andrew and friend, Ann from BadAss Coffee being coy, Little Red-Myself-the Big Bad Wolf, and plenty of costumed gals!)

Well, the lottery winner in this case was a McDonald's. Those golden arches and their new coffees lured me off the interstate in Bountiful. Ahh, coffee! Now I was awake for the day, as I buzzed north along I-15 sipping my cup of joe and a sausage McMuffin. The weather was clearing up as the more I headed north. But as I got to Wellsville there was a fog and cloud cover. I was concerned about the weather for the ride.

I arrived in plenty of time to get a GREAT parking space! Right across from the start. I headed over to the volunteer and right away they needed help at the registration booth. I showed up and asked what they needed me to do. I kept on apologising because I had NO CLUE what I was doing but I muddled through as best as I could. As it started to slow, I left that area and managed to visit and get a few pictures. The weather was clearing up by almost every 15 minutes of time that passed.

Shortly after 8:30AM, I headed out on my bike wearing the Course Marshal bib. Mostly, I felt like the Course Marshal position gave me an instant PR position. I would go along and talk with riders and say hi. Periodically, I would point out safety hazards or make suggestions as I went along. I also notice that women would search me out at rest stops. They would ask me questions about directions of where to go for certain routes, and mention any riding concerns that they may have. If I didn't know the answer we would seek out someone of authority near by to get the answers. It was fun and I got to talk with a lot of wonderful women from all over the country. And had a bit of wind (never fun) on the way back on my 80 mile extension that I was the Course Marshal for but over all it was real FUN time, and a beautiful day too!