twin cities summer, in photos

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Right now, at this very moment, I don't believe winter exists.








ask me about discomfort

Monday, June 20, 2016

Current status:

Do you like my pedicure?

Remember my recent "my left knee hurts" complaint? Turns out my left IT band and hamstring are so tight they've been pulling on my knee. The pain was enough yesterday that I skipped my long run and then went to the chiropractor today for some intense Graston action. Hence the bruising (which is a totally normal thing after this treatment, I promise). I'm already feeling better, but may still keep the running easy, especially since I'm less than three weeks away from Vineman.

Anyway, this weekend was a brutal one for training. The heat and humidity were overwhelming. (Dear Minnesota: I thought you were supposed to be cold. WTF.) I did my long ride -- 65 miles -- on Saturday. Even though I brought ample hydration and nutrition and followed my plan exactly, by mile 45, I knew something was wrong. I started feeling really drowsy -- like I could just shut my eyes and fall asleep mid-ride.  

The part when I seriously considered lying on the side of the road.

And it got worse. The air was stifling, and when there was wind, it felt like a hair dryer hitting my face. And when I stopped at a park to use the restroom, taking my shorts off was a struggle because they were so soaked through with sweat. (However, I was happy I could still pee. At least there was that.) And when I got back on the bike, I started to feel chilled, and my heart rate was in zone 4, even though I was riding really slowly.

(Meanwhile, this entire time, I also had a bug bite in the crease between my upper thigh and my lady parts. So imagine that too -- sweat plus awkward bug bite plus extreme heat plus hours in the saddle. And if you're wondering how the hell I got a bug bite there, it happened at last week's race. I changed out of my tri shorts into regular shorts after the race, and somehow a bug flew up there. And I totally felt it happen. It was like a sudden pinch. And I actually stuck my hand up my shorts to figure out what was going on. And this was mid-conversation. So if you happened to be the person I was talking to while I shoved my hand toward my crotch in discomfort, sorry.)

Thankfully (my awkward bug bite and) I made it safely to my car, only to learn the outside temperature was 95 degrees. I nixed the T run and went home.

Not the most productive training weekend.

never say never

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Things I never thought I'd say in my life but have confidently announced since moving here:

"Sure, I'd love to go to prenatal yoga!" (Let me remind you that I am not pregnant. Also, I really need to tell you the rest of this story. Because it's ridiculous and so good.)

"I actually really like working on crisis communications!" (This story is not as interesting.)

"All day I've been looking forward to swimming in open water!" (I know, right? Who am I?)

But can you really blame me for watching the clock so I could get to this ASAP?

This is kind of a stupid photo, but it's all I have, so you're welcome

Yes, those are buoys. And there were also lifeguards in kayaks. That's right: An organized, well-supported open water swim in a cool lake on a sunny day. And this happens Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at Lake Nokomis and Mondays at Cedar Lake throughout the summer for a mere $35 one-time swim club membership fee.

Minneapolis is bomb. And man, it felt incredible to get in that water and try to swim in a straight line.

But wait: It gets better.

 

A solid swim effort should never go unrewarded. Afterward, I treated myself to Thai tea ice cream from Milkjam Creamery, which is pretty much where I'd like to retire and spend the rest of my years.

liberty tri race report

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

When you check your Garmin after the race and realize you swam 1.1 miles.

But the event was an Olympic distance tri.

Oops.

Other than my scenic tour of Lake Rebecca (which included choosing the wrong buoy to sight on and swimming diagonally across the course toward oncoming traffic), Liberty was great. Yes, I was mosquito bait in the transition area (welcome to Minnesota), and yes, the weather was effing hot -- heard it hit 90 degrees on the run course by 10 a.m.

But the bike was stronger than expected (I did end up riding Minivan), and I was ready for the run -- knew the course, knew it would be hot as hell, planned and executed accordingly.

And while I was never in a place to be competitive (this just isn't something that's ever a reality for me unless there are like three people in my age group), I set a new PR of 3:16:57 (compared to 3:30:01 in 2013 at Monte Rio, which is a fast course with a much easier swim and better weather). So there is hope.

The Minnesota contingent: Me, Kendra, Mandy, Erin

But hands down, the best part of the day was hanging out with my Coeur teammates. Love is an understatement here. These ladies are welcoming, supportive and inspiring -- the women you see giving their all while simultaneously smiling and cheering for everyone out there. I'm especially grateful for Kendra -- the pre-race "therapy session," the post-race McDonald's run. (Hey, we earned it!)



Anyway, as Vineman looms (holy crap), I'm making notes on what needs fixing:

First and foremost, everything about swimming. (You know those stories about people who get struck by lightning and suddenly develop a new skill? Yeah. That kind of miracle.) The list is endless: Sighting. Getting used to what wearing a wetsuit feels like again. Translating all of the work I've put into form in the pool to open water. (Why is it that as soon as I get in a lake, everything I've been doing with my stroke is completely forgotten?)

My left knee, hamstring, IT band, hip. Basically everything about my upper left leg feels borderline scary and needs TLC.

Eating while waiting for my wave to start, especially since my Vineman wave is two hours (that's right -- two hours) after the pro start. Note to self: Bring a bar and finish it.

Shifting. The Liberty bike was rolling; Vineman will be similar, but with larger rollers and three significant climbs. While I'm feeling more and more comfortable on Minivan, shifting at the optimal time into the optimal gear is still a work in progress.

And so it continues! One race down, and so much more to go.

to live, and then

Monday, June 13, 2016

This past weekend was a big one for races. I had friends at Escape from Alcatraz, Eagleman 70.3 and Victoria 70.3. And I was out there too, being completely neurotic and yet loving every second of racing alongside my Coeur Sports teammates at Liberty.


And while we were doing this -- while we were swimming and biking and running, hearts in our throats, cheering for friends and strangers alike, making mental notes about training and what worked and what didn't and what we'll do for next time -- a member of my former Seattle tri team was dying.

I didn't know her very well -- not every athlete went to every workout, and I traveled so much when I lived in Seattle that I didn't meet her until IMAZ last November. It was her first Ironman. She was nervous, worried about finishing. I saw her at breakfast the day after the race: On her face, that unmistakable elation that comes with completing a task you never thought you could do in your life. I remember hugging her.

She died from a brain injury she sustained in a bike accident at an organized event.

*

Part of me feels fake for writing about this. We were acquaintances at most. I never met her family. I maybe saw her less than five times, if that. But the accident -- this kind of thing can happen to any of us, at any time.

I think about it every time I ride, how one split second can change everything. I think about it when the mister gets on a plane for a business trip. I think about it when my parents drive from Los Angeles to Sacramento to see my nephews.

This kind of thing can happen to any of us, at any time.

*

I don't want to put things off. I don't want anyone I love to spend even a moment without knowing I love them. I don't want to think the words: "If only I had."

I didn't know her very much at all. But what I remember, what little I knew, was that she lived.

pre-race thoughts

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

I’m doing the Liberty Triathlon Olympic -- my first tri of the season -- on Saturday as a practice race for Vineman 70.3 next month.

However, the term “practice” doesn’t mean I’m freaking out any less. Current sources of stress include:

  • It’s going to be 95 degrees and humid on race day.
  • Sleeveless wetsuit or sleeves? (Hell, will I even still fit into a wetsuit?)
  • Tri bike or road bike? I’ve only ridden Minivan (a.k.a. the tri bike) outside twice so far this season, and neither ride happened recently. My last two rides – including a metric century – were on Muppet (a.k.a. the road bike). However, I want to ride Minivan at Vineman. Or do I? Because Vineman is hilly so maybe I should ride Muppet. And Muppet is from Northern California, so this would be like a homecoming for her. But if I ride Muppet, then why do I own Minivan? Shouldn’t I be racing on Minivan? (I actually woke up at 3 a.m. recently and couldn't go back to sleep because of this.) 
  • My left knee hurts. 
  • I feel like I’m about to come down with a cold. 
  • I have not swum in open water since October. 
  • The word “swum.” It’s weird, right? Doesn’t it make you feel weird?
  • Being embarrassingly slow.  

My neuroses is so bad that I told the mister he is not allowed to spectate because I'm certain it's going to be a comedy show, and I don't want him to have to wait around for hours while I muddle through.

happy global running day

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

I feel pressured to write about running since today is Global Running Day.

But really all I can think about right now is how I cut the big toenail on my left foot too short and now it's bothering me and my toe feels very exposed and vulnerable and I should probably take my sock off and examine my foot because I did indeed run today for Global Running Day and it's completely possible that I irritated my toe during the run which would be a shame since today was the first really good run I've had in a long time and the weather was perfect and overcast and cool and I had the trail all to myself and other than the sound of gunfire from the nearby shooting range everything was lovely and peaceful.

Dear Coeur: Does this bra come in safety orange?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks putting a shooting range next to a trail is a strange thing.
 
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