A Newly- Turned 29 Year Old’s Thoughts on Training and Life

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post for awhile now, and figured today would be the day. The next couple of weeks will be slightly busier than before: starting a new job, taking a summer course, and then ofcourse the training for IMLP and Quassy. Between the last post and this one, I managed to turn one year older (gasp!); the last year being in my 20’s. It is actually a bit crazy to think that I started this blog back when I was merely a 24 1/2 year old. Seems like yesterday, and yet it seems like an eternity ago. Gone are the days of last-minute-sans-training marathons and races….

After a recovery week (which was very nice with less than 6 hrs of training) I finished up last week’s of training with gusto. Actually, I felt a bit discouraged after my bike ride/brick yesterday. It being a long weekend, I really wanted to complete a century. I mean, if other people were up at Lake Placid doing 100 mile rides, why couldn’t I? Not even half way through the ride, I lost momentum.Those thoughts of the training I have not done began to creep up and doubts of finishing this ironman erupted. I realized it was tough riding alone and all of a sudden I felt I was slower than other rides. I decided to turn around and stop after 80 miles. This is too difficult. I’ll never finish. If i cannot even complete 100 miles now I am doomed. Don’t get me wrong– I completed an even longer ride last Monday, which did not seem nearly as difficult as yesterdays ride, despite, in fact, being a tougher ride.

This morning I had the chance to speak with a great friend about my fears: that I will not finish the bike portion in time, that I have not been following my training plan to a “T,” that I have not been putting enough miles on the bike compared to others, that, that, that….

She reminded me to trust what I have done and what training really is about: conditioning the body to accept the punishment it will be getting on race day. It’s about building up what my body can handle. Furthermore, that my body will gladly accept it and perform for me. She reminded me I’ve been missing one key element during my training: adrenaline. That pre-race/mid race excitement that only occurs on race day and always seems to help me push forward, focus, and see what I am made of. And this is all true: there is nothing like the feeling you have on race day, especially with triathlons, since they are new types of races for me.

In retrospect, last week I put in more training in one week than I ever have before. I completed my first full IM distance swim, and completed the longest ride I’ve ever done. I’ve found when I listen to my body, I can indeed go further and farther. It’s funny how training for an ironman puts the lengths of rides and runs into a different perspective. I remember last year when I was training for the Patriot Half I thought anything under 30 miles on the bike was an easy day, or anything under an 8 mile run was short. A year later? Most of my runs are at least 10 miles, and rides under 50 are considered a “short spin.”

Today is a complete rest day– I am not doing any-thing. (I am not one of those people who must train 7 days a week– I value my rest days!!) And after last week, I am okay with it. I may not follow my coach’s plan to a “T,” but I always end up completing the total number of miles that were meant to be completed by the end of the week. I need to remind myself not to compare my training to the training of other people– everyone is different, with different physiological make-ups and commitments. I need to focus on what I have done thus far, and what I will continue to do to prepare for IMLP, so that I will be able to finish it. (Which is in 9 weeks, not that I am counting or anything :-O )

Huge important note to self: chamois cream is your friend.I guess you learn things the hard way….

Pictures from the last couple weeks (because pictures speak louder than words)

Training-related

My longest training ride last week, including getting lost with more climbing than planned...

My longest training ride last week, including getting lost with the longest climb I’ve done on a bike

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One of my favorite roads to climb is through Peekamoose in the Catskills, along which are a plethora of waterfalls. It’s simply gorgeous.

Note: the name of any road that includes

Note: the name of any road that includes “Hill” really does include a hill. (This is where a map or working internet connection may have been useful)

Destination ride

Rondout reservoir in Catskill Park

Post- 80 mile ride t-run (yes I am not the best selfie taker by any means)

Post- 80 mile ride t-run (yes I am not the best selfie taker by any means)

How I feel after a long training day...

How I feel after a long training day…

Foodie photos

(cause we all know I’m like a pregnant woman with the munchies)

Yummy meals!

Yummy meals!

...And more food!

…And more food!

The best raw-vegan cake I've made (Happy Birthday to me)--it is hard to believe it is actually healthy for you!

The best raw-vegan cake I’ve made (Happy Birthday to me)–it is hard to believe it is actually healthy for you!

My new addiction: water with mint and cucumber (and, I don't even like cucumber!)

My new addiction: water with mint and cucumber (and, I don’t even like cucumber!)

Non-Training

Good times with good friends

Good times with good friends

Wedding time! My man and I

Wedding time! My man and I

I love this guy.

I love this guy.

My beautiful cousin <3

My beautiful cousin ❤

Last Week’s Training Totals:

Running: 29miles

Swimming: 3.07miles

Biking: 164 miles 

= 19hrs 25 min 

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Fall Foliage Half RR and Other Fall Ramblings

I know I said the last race I would be doing was the Adirondack Half, but, did you really believe me when I said that?

I had been scheming ways to get last Sunday off, as there was a half marathon to happen in my hometown, and I figured, there is no better location for a race than the town in which you live…And, even though the Adirondack half was my last scheduled race, there was still a part of me that wanted to do another one this fall. Thankfully I managed to get the whole weekend off, giving me the opportunity to partake in yet another half marathon in which I was unprepared for (as well as to spend time doing fall activities I’ve been wanting to do, like pumpkin picking!)

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Now that I think about it, I guess I was somewhat prepared for this one, as I ran a half marathon only a couple weeks before.

This is the second time I’ve run a race in my “hometown” (first being a 5k a couple years ago) and this half marathon had a great course, one which I’ve run a couple times before.

My only criticism of the race was packet pick-up. It was at Dutchess County Fairgrounds, and it took me walking up to four different fair entrances to get to. (There was another event happening that weekend, and no one at the entrances would let me get through to where I wanted to go…Even if packet pick up was less than 15 feet away!) Actually, my other criticism was that it was another late race start. What is wrong with having a race start early?The earlier you start, the earlier you are done. I guess others do not think the same way I do. 

Since I was not planning on doing the race until the day before, I did not really have a “time goal” in which to finish. Gauging from the Adirondack Half, and Lake George Half, and considering this course had some uphills, I decided to just go for anything under two hours.

Race day could not have been more perfect for a race. It was a clear, crisp, sunny, perfect autumn day. At the start of the run, I picked out another female runner who seemed to run at the same pace as I was, and decided to use her as my own (pretend) pacer. The first four miles of the race are pretty much down hill. Then the rolling hills start. It was nice knowing the course, and the “ups” and “downs” as I knew when to ease up and when to speed up.

Picture snapping mid race

Picture snapping mid race

At about mile seven, since I was still feeling okay, I decided, why not just push yourself? Other halves I’ve run to “finish” and, yes, I did push myself in those races. But, this race was in my territory. I couldn’t allow myself to run an easy race in my home town. So, I just went ahead and challenged myself. Maybe this is not a good race strategy, or maybe it is. I don’t know. I just wanted to see what I was capable of.  This meant I had to find another pacer to run with.

Which I did, and I have no idea how some people, who may not look fast, end up being really fast. (In case you were wondering, I figured out the reason why they are fast: they actually train. Duhhh.) 

I will admit, I did walk up the small “hill” at the mile eleven mark (on Mill Road if you are familiar with the area). Walking up was not part of the “race strategy” I created at mile seven, but I had to.

After “mini mini heart break hill on Mill” I started running again. When I looked down at my Garmin and realized I could finish in 1:50 (which would be my fastest half time yet), I decided to just go for it. Pain is only temporary, right?

Despite feeling like vomit was creeping its way up into my throat, and legs that felt like bricks,  I finished with a sprint and managed 1:50 (even though Strava said I finished it in 1:49). I think when the MC said, ” Here’s a fast finisher”…and then pronounced my name correctly (which never happens!), a smile might have crept across my face.

If you look really hard, you can see me.

If you look really hard, you can see me.

Thirsty much?

Thirsty much?

However, no smiles were caught on camera. But, I was really happy inside…Trust me. 5th in my age group, in a race I wasn’t even planning to do. Goes to show if you push yourself, you can surprise yourself.

I was happy, I swear.

I was happy, I swear.

Best tasting iced coffee. Ever.

Best tasting iced coffee. Ever.

Onto Other Fall Ramblings

Later that day, Kevin (who was able to go to a Fall Foliage even of his own) was a super trooper and allowed for me to drag him pumpkin picking. Have I mentioned how amazing he is to put up with my requests to do corny things? We came home with mini pumpkins, and more apples than I knew what to do with.

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion."-Henry D. Thoreau

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”-Henry D. Thoreau

We found the really big pumpkins.

We found the really big pumpkins.

Just like last year's shot.

Annual picking shot

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There always needs to be a blooper picture

There always needs to be a blooper picture

I let the tree do most of the work...

I let the tree do most of the work…

And Fall Shots

Below are some reasons why I am so grateful to live where I do.  Photos taken on rides around the Hudson Valley. I’m most certainly thankful for the amazing fall weather we’ve had, and thankful to my legs for allowing me to put some major miles on my road bike these past couple months…

Somewhere in Columbia County

Somewhere in Columbia County

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Shokan (I think)

The Ashokan resevoir

The Ashokan resevoir

The Catskills

The Catskills

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Milan, NY

Milan, NY

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Our second annual Geuss Fall Foliage tour

Our second annual Geuss Fall Foliage tour

Kevin preparing for Cross

Kevin preparing for Cross

The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled

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New Paltz

New Paltz

Some climbing

Some climbing

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Woodstock, NY

Woodstock, NY

Love is when one person falls into stride with another.

In the Summa’ Time…

What’s been happening so far this summer?

On the 4th of July, my first holiday off since Thanksgiving, I decided to go for a mid-century ride. Despite my detailed directions, I got lost, and never ended up where I wanted to go.

How can one get lose with  directions like this?

How can one get lost with directions like this?

Views from who knows where

Views from who knows where

I lead my first mountain bike ride! We fought the heat and mosquitoes.

Not a real mountain bike ride unless there is blood.

Not a real mountain bike ride unless there is blood.

I decided to be girly and get my nails done professionally.

Sparkles for the 4th of July

Sparkles for the 4th of July

Sweaty runs have occurred.

Selfie

Selfie

Vegan baking adventures have continued.

Blueberry Banana cake

Blueberry Banana cake

Chocolate with mocha frosting-- a hit!

Chocolate with mocha frosting– a hit!

Kevin and I have explored the new addition to local trails….

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And he even went wildflower picking with me!

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His picks matched his shirt

His picks matched his shirt

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I’ve spent time riding a true Dutch bike…Or trying to ride it.

The bike has got to weigh atleast 40 lbs

The bike has got to weigh atleast 40 lbs

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What have you been upto?

Another blog? And my thoughts on Strava…

I decided to dedicate another blog to satisfy my love of cooking/baking, separate from this blog…I forgot how “tough” it was starting this blog a couple years ago. Below is a link. It is a work in progress–of course, the wonderful weather has delayed my work on the blog, as my priorities revolve around outdoor activities rather than blogging 🙂 Feel free to check it out!

That (Vegan) Girl in Sneakers

Views from Overlook Mountain, taken last week on a hike

Views from Overlook Mountain, taken last week on a hike

For the past couple months or so, probably starting February when I started running more in preparation for the marathon, I began using Map My Run to follow my progress. I do have a very expensive Garmin watch and heart rate monitor, but do I use the $350 watch? Nope. The watch still works though…Maybe I’ll start wearing it again now that I feel guilty about never using such an expensive watch. Anyway, Map My Run is a great way to log your progress–the app is free, which is also awesome. However, many of my biker/runner friends use Strava. I used this app maybe twice last year, then deleted it…Not really sure why I deleted it. If you are unfamiliar with Strava (which, I doubt you are if you are up to date on cycling apps), it is basically the same thing as Map My Run. However, there are segments where you can actually “race” other riders (or runners). These segments are usually hills, but can also be segments, like a long, flat road that people use for time trials, etc. The fastest people are called “Queen” or King.” The program then places you according to your time compared to other peoples times. You can also analyze your performance online.

A couple weeks ago, I downloaded the app again. Let me tell you, I think I have actually seen a difference in my cycling. That, or I’m actually focusing more on my rides and pushing myself harder. Perhaps it is the latter. For the first time in a couple years, on my ride, I didn’t simply say (to myself), “Ack, it’s a hill. I’ll go slow.” Nope. My new mantra while going up hills is “Power up!” Pushing myself has definitely improved my tolerance to pain and burning thighs…As well as lead to me beating my “nemesis” female cyclists (road and mountain) whom I have never met.

Strava can also be used for runs…I’m pretty sure it was the reason for one of the fastest 5miles I have ever done.

View of sunset behind the Catskill Mountains

View of sunset behind the Catskill Mountains

I need to warn you, though. It is not always reliable, as I found out today after my run (trying to beat the time I managed for the “fastest 5” mentioned above), when it stopped recording for some reason mid run–and I swear I made a new PB on that run. Grrr! Frustrating! Ohh well, I guess it simply means I will have to do the run again.

Another possible negative regarding the program is it hinders your ability to “go with the flow” if something happens mid run (or mid ride). For example, I ran into an acquaintance on a run once, and had to stop to say hi. I feel it would have been rather impolite to run past her saying, “Sorry, can’t stop–I’m Strava-ing now.”

What are your thoughts on Strava? Is there another app or program you use to keep track of rides or workouts?

 

 

Bagpipes, Bagpipes, Playing Loud and Clear

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It’s that time again! Duathlon season in the Hudson Valley (semi) officially started this past weekend in West Hurley with the Trooper Duathlon, a duathlon dedicated to three New York State Troopers who lost their lives in the line of fire. It is different than other New York State Triathlon series event because it is a time of reflection of those who perished, and a time to really reflect on how fragile life is. Before I begin, I would like to thank all of you New York State Troopers, Police, and other emergency responders for everything you do. You are the reason we are safe today, and also a big reason to why I drive my car within 5 miles per hour of the speed limit.

After competing in the duathlon as a team last year, and wanting to continue the legacy of the Valley Girls, at first I was on a quest to find a female I know in the Hudson Valley area who would enjoy being on the team with me. Little did I know, there are not that many people I am aquainted with who were willing or able to do this race. (My teammate from last year was out of town).

Then I thought about Kevin’s sister, Meg, who is a Collegiate Cross Country coach. Tada! A runner! When asked if she would do it with me, she said yes!

Now, all you internet readers, remember how a couple posts ago I said that Kevin had running in his genes? Running IS in his family. This girl is a running beast–in the positive sense of beast. You immediately know this when she is off doing her stretching.

Hardcore warm up and stretching

Hardcore warm up and stretching

She finished the North Face Endurance Challenge 50mile race last year, which is, like the name, an endurance challenge. During her college running career, she ran in the NCAA Championships, and awarded a bunch of awesome titles, that you can read about here.  Thank you, Vassar Athletics webpage for allowing me to stalk info on your coaches. 

My stretching...Not sure what zone I am in.

My stretching…Not sure what zone I am in.

Meg finished both two mile segments in about 13minutes each.

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Having competed in this race twice before (last year with S.Z.B. and in 2011 as a one-woman team ), I failed to remember how absolutely horrible Dug Hill Road is. If you are unfamiliar with this road in West Hurley, thank your lucky stars, because unless you have a vehicle, or are being towed by something, you do not want to know it.

Starting the bike

Face of determination…starting the bike

It is basically 3 1/2 miles of uphill. The first three miles are straight uphill. Okay, okay, the first couple hundred feet are a rolling incline. But then it goes up. And up. Even when you think you are at the top, it is still rolling in an upward direction. The first eleven miles are fine, and you can even build speed, boosting self confidence. On numerous occasions, as my lungs flamed (why? who knows), I found myself thinking, “Man, this is a piece of cake.” Come Dug Hill, all positive self-talk plummets. Inbetween labored breathing come grunts and groans. And bless John McGovern, who played his bagpipes half way up the hill. But, really? I love bagpipes, but in the middle of Dug Hill, when I am already spewing every curse word know to man, you decide to play the bagpipes? Who, who, who enjoys hearing bagpipes when they are near death trudging up a goddamn hill? It’s as if tricking you to think you are at the end of the bike course, when you still have miles to go.* We are in West Hurley, not riding into a Scottish sunset with the theme of Braveheart in the background.

...And ending the bike, completely oblivious to troopers cheering me on

Face of defeat by the hill, completely oblivious to troopers cheering me on

Hence, I forced myself to the finish, bronchospasming, with remenants of my breakfast inching up my throat. I felt that no rides this season have helped prepare me for this. To be honest, I’ve spent more time running this year than years in the past when biking has taken priority. Marathon “preparation,” i.e. running, has a hold of me, full grip. The only thing keeping me from walking up Dug Hill was knowing an athlete was waiting for me, so that she could start her last leg of the race. To my surprise, I beat my best time on the hill by one minute.

Meg (pink) looking strong

Meg (pink) looking strong

Meg finishing strong...And as it looks, me ducking out of the photo to hurl

Meg finishing strong…(I’m not hurling to the side, I swear!)

Another differing aspect of the race than other races I have been to is the post-race food spread. A BBQ, salads, sweet foods, beverages…If I was not still feeling ill from the ride, I probably would have indulged in the amazing food.

Lo and behold, we took first place for the Women’s Relay Team. The Hudson Valley Girls did it again! (S.Z.B, you were missed)

First place Women's Relay Team

First place Women’s Relay Team

A fellow mountain biker and incredible athlete asked me how my training was for the marathon, and if I felt prepared. I’m pretty sure I just stared at her, as my “training” for this marathon (in less than two weeks, mind you) has encompassed six mile runs and a couple 13 milers. She said my training should be “winding down” now…And, I guess if the last time I ran longer than six miles was the half marathon in April, then, yes, my training is winding down. To be fair, I have developed an even greater love of mountain biking, and so on days off, I’ve wanted to save leg strength for rides as well.

Training

Basically, my training for the past couple weeks can be seen below, in the exact same sequence:

Wake up, inhale coffee, catch up on The Real Housewives, or other Hulu classics (What WAS Tamara thinking inviting Vicki to her gym?

Go for a run…Attempt to Strava the run, give up on Strava, and use Map My Run instead

Drink more coffee–usually iced, usually black

Go for a mountain bike ride, or road ride (I need to start spending more time on the road, as it is duathlon season)

Attempt to blog, but end up browsing potential races instead, then realize I have loads of errands to do

Prepare dinner

Meet up with Kevin and go for mountain bike ride #2 or walk (depending on my legs)

Eat, sleep,work

One would think that these upcoming races will be pieces of gluten-free cake, right?

Well, we will see….That is, if I survive this marathon.

*It was a nice touch, though. And, John McGovern is a triathlete wonder. In retrospect, it was pleasant having my attention diverted from the pain I was in.

She Lives!

Nowadays, it is rare when I find myself wide awake in the early hours of the morning. Late night midnight or early two am runs have not occurred in over a year now.After tossing and turning, I decided to get up and do something productive since I could not sleep. And what better way to beat insomnia than write a blog post? Yes, I do realize it has been for-e-ver since I have written.

Mother nature has been acting rather odd as of late.  From digit-freezing weather to giving us a glimpse of springtime, only to take that glimmer of reminiscing how amazing spring is away from us. I did go out on a couple road rides bundled up as a riding ninja, but not as much as I have been riding in the past due to the fact I lost one of my beloved lobster gloves. Bad circulation + riding in freezing temperatures = me unable to use my hands for a couple hours post-ride until they thaw…Which is an incredibly painful process. Spring, please come soon.

I was able to, however, capture a couple awesome shots of the frozen land.

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Trail run

Trail run

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Frozen ride

…So was Kevin on weekend days when I had to work.

A little too close to the ridge for my comfort.

A little too close to the ridge for my comfort.

Due to the lost glove, I’ve been spending more time on the trainer (ugh), and Kevin actually purchased rollers so he could ride indoors.* Note: He once told me that he would never ride indoors. I’m pretty sure he was jealous of my indoor riding and wanted in on the fun. I even captured a moment of him trying out my set-up before he realized what he was missing.

Caught!

Caught!

In between working way too much ( it IS possible for this girl to turn into a workaholic), my baking adventures continue, as evidenced by the photo below. If colleagues decide I should quit nursing and bake all the time, I guess the baked goods are noteworthy.  That, or I’m just a lousy nurse–I prefer to think the former.

Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes

Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes

Since I do not like cupcakes/cake, Kevin has been an eager guinea pig to test my creations before they head to work. In the meantime, I’ve become a fan of making smoothies (which is a post in itself) in an attempt to consume healthy things. Below is one with almond milk, peanut butter, banana, blueberries, chia seeds, and ground flax seeds. Vegan/vegetarian friendly and ohh-so-delicious, especially post workout.* I’m looking for protein powders to perhaps add, if anyone has suggestions of a good type/brand?

Mmmmm

Mmmmm

On the subject of nursing, nursing outside of the workplace has actually come in handy numerous times. For example, having your bag with scissors and tape allows for improptu Valentines Day gift wrapping in your car. I can also just lounge in–clean– scrub bottoms when I am too lazy to even put on sweat pants on a day off. Now that, there, is just plain LAZY lazy.

Well, I suppose I should try to get some zzz’s in before Kevin and I head to Europe later today. Yup, going back to my homeland! When I return, photos from the trip will be shared, and training for races will resume.

Happy February everyone!

Post script: Since writing this, I found my second Lobster glove!

 

Autumn Rides

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” William Cullen Bryant

Autumn; it might be my favorite time  of year. I was blessed to be able to live in an area where we can see the colors of the trees change from green to golden brown to shades of  golds and ambers;and to have the opportunity to jump into piles of crispy, crunchy leaves that hath fallen from trees (yes, the youth is still in me). In all honestly, where did September go? I feel the month disappeared without my knowing. I guess all the overtime at work had something to do with it.

Autumn. Think about it. Trees change colors, you do not sweat to death walking to you car….Yes, it might be chilier, and snort sleeve jersies will be replaced with long jerseys. And the change of leaves brings yet  another challenge to (esp) mountain biking, since paths are covered by leaves ( as well as rocks and roots)…Not to mention we have started the  hunting season, which brings a whole different change of mountain biking.  Thankfully, Ferncilff  Forest is a “safe’ zone for riders; i.e. hunters are not able to hunt in these zones (hallelujah!).

On my first couple days off in  a row after hellish days 0f non stop insanity at work, I decided to get back on my road bike– one which, I am afraid to say, tool somewhat of a back seat this summer. I guess with Lyme you need to pick yourself back up and just pedal, pedal,pedal to get back into the shape you once were. Not to mention, most of my recent rides have been mountain bike ones.

Running is getting better as well. I cannot believe the amount of strength I lost–but am determined to get it back, not only that, but he healthier, leaner, and stronger. As well as start swimming again. I am not going to get one little tick bite destroy the goal of mine to do a triathlon.

So, I convinced K to go for a ride with me–a road ride….And for some reason my GPS system doesn’t work (okay you got me on that one….I simply forgot my garmin–gasp. But I think it was about 35miles around through Dutchess and Columbia counties. I have done this route multiple times before, but never with someone else… I’m more of  a solo rider). Below are a few pictures–a few taken by me…the rest taken by him.

Off of River Road

 

Pretty road

River Road….Freshly pave…like riding on clouds.

K  found flowers….

And to top off the day, I created homemade pumpkin pop tarts and pumpkin cinnamon rolls….That post will follow.

Third Year’s a Charm

It’s hard to believe I’ve been in the Hudson Valley for three years already. Where did the time go? And what has happened?

I’ve gone through a variety of different sneakers…Some getting wet, others getting dirty.

I’ve endured scrapes, bruises, and tick bites.

Major ouch.

I survived my first road trip adventure, including sharp descents, rocks and roots.

I’ve made life long friends.

The Valley Girls

Best. Cousin. Ever.

I learnt how to make lemonade when life gave me lemons…Or juice out of berries.

I’ve taken lots of photos.

I watched things grow from seeds in my (first) garden.

I’ve gone for many rides.

Yes, all my bikes get used.

I’ve baked lots of cakes, both big and small, round and square.

I built my first bike, from scratch.

I expanded my family.

I met the love of my life…

Obsessed much?

Oh wait, I mean this love of my life.

I learnt it takes a strong person to compete in a race, and sometimes stronger one to know when to stop.

I was reminded how fun it is to dress up, and that every person is beautiful.

I learnt not to take myself too seriously.

I learnt how to ski, face my fear of open water swims, and mountain bike.

Most importantly I learnt that life goes on.

Thank you, to all of those whom I have met on this fabulous journey.

Du Fast, Du Furious

Du Fast Du Furious

NYTRI

I cannot believe it’s already been a year since I raced in the 8th Annual Trooper Duathlon, which you can read about here, organized by the NYS Troopers, as well as the New York Triathlon Organization, which organizes similar sprint duathlins and triathlons in the Hudson Valley. It was the same course as last year – a 2-mile sprint run, followed by a 14-mile bike ride, and then a 2-mile sprint run.

However, this race was different than last years in that I was part of a relay team. I decided to do the relay with a friend of mine, SB, who did the running, while I did the biking. We were the Valley Girls. Might I add, the t-shirts we designed received a lot of praise around the course. All of the duathlons I have competed individually in. Being a part of a team added an extra element of possible complications, esp. with the handing off of the timing chip with each transition. My race day jitters were higher than normal, since in this race, I was a member of a team, so I had to work hard to not let the Valley Girls down. I think my jitters were shared by my partner. Normally, I’d warm up and run and then have the bike ride, so my legs would be warmed up. Only doing the bike portion was a little trickier since there was a delay from when the timer started, and when you biked. I should have brought my trainer with me….And a TT bike.

Showing how to warm up

Pre-race massage is what should be required at races. Don’t worry, they know each other.

BB transitioning, biking, and finishing the race strong.

BB did an awesome job considering he was basically on his feet most of the day before with the Fats in the Cats Annual Bike Swap. I am envious at both his run time and bike time. He was only 20 sec away from placing third in his category. Next year, BB, next year.

SB doing her part for the team, also finishing strong to bring in our first place!

Steph started the sprints and finished the sprints (both two miles each) strong–leading us to first place. She was consistent with her running, and, apparently, ran a quicker pace than she normally does–managing about an 8 min/min pace!

Zooming by

I cannot really remember the bike portion of the course form last year, or how I did, but this course is basically rolling hills that lead to the bottom of Dug Hill road–a hill that can make a grown man cry. It is a hill that messes with your soul and emotions. It is 4 miles– and the last 4 miles of the bike course. It goes up and up. Then, it has small sections of “flat” which are deceiving because just around the corner you’ll have a steep incline, and other steep incline. I did have a better time than last year, yet my thighs still burned (I definitely need to work on sprinting, and climbing–long road rides are good for Timberman training, but the sprinting is good for smaller distance triathlons or duathlons).

Race in Progress

Cheering on my partner at the finish line

Valley Girls post race–still strong. Let’s do another one!

The post-race refreshments were not your average bagels and bananas. The Troopers had a full BBQ with salads and ziti. I was stoked at the chocolate milk that they had. We all stayed for the award ceremony.

Valley Girls get First place!

I don’t know why I was slouching…Taken before we had to give the plaques back, because they were the plaques for the Co-Ed Relay Team. At least we got a picture. There will need to be a celebratory dinner when our real plaques come in.

SB and BB, what a great team in real life

My best supporter and me

All in all, it was a well organized race. Thank you, NYTRI.ORG, especially the NY State Troopers and those who have been lost doing their job. Another thank you to the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department and Ulster Police for keeping the roads safe for riders along the course, and to all the EMT’s, dedicating their time incase something happened to a participant. All of your services are greatly appreciated. Thank you, again. And a special thanks to K for taking all the photos 🙂

9th Annual Trooper Duathlon
co. of NYTri.org

15th Annual Hudson Valley Triathlon and Duathlon

15th Annual Hudson Valley Triathlon/Duathlon

Remember when I said all races are learning experiences (if you have read any of my posts that is)–how at every event, you learn something new that you can use in the future, see what you can improve upon and what you have improved upon since your last race? Well, it has been a year since I competed in my first multi-sport race (my first one was the HV Duathlon last year!) and my knowledge of both multi sport racing, and training, has increased dramatically since completing my first duathlon. And it is safe to say I (finally) learned some very important lessons at the race yesterday, ones which perhaps a normal person would have figured out months ago (hey, I’m just stubborn, okay?).

Yes, (a little more than) one year ago I competed my first duathlon. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I used the second hand Giant bike which was a piece of crap (don’t get me wrong, I love Giant bicycles, just this one was old). I had no idea what I was doing or getting myself into. I had gone on maybe three long bike rides on the bike–at that time I did much more running–now it’s actually a bit of the opposite. I signed up for the race three days before the event. What a first duathlon, too. It starts at the bottom of a slightly steep incline at Ulster Landing Park next to the Hudson River, which, if you do the duathlon, you must go up three separate times with the sprint, then the bike, then the last run. The first leg is a one mile up (literally) and back sprint, then a 18 mile bike ride which is actually two nine mile loops up along Route 32 and through Glasco–if you are familiar with the area then you know where I’m talking about. Then the last 3.5mile run is another up (and another literally going up) and back sort of deal. This race is put on by the New York State Triathlon Organization, which I must thank for all their volunteers and work, especially yesterday in the heat/humidity/downpour/ultimate weather grossness that we had. I actually am thankful for the rain, because it made the bike sprint more bearable. I also thank my rides in Dutchess County and the Catskills for preparing me for the nasty start of the bike race.

Waiting for the start of the sprint

Post my attempt at Mooseman in June, my training somewhat dwindled a bit–that, couple with insane work hours just left no real good time to train. And after the race yesterday I finally realized (yes, it has taken months as I said above) that my body just does not like me when I make it do things on 1)two hours of sleep and 2)when it’s exhausted and wants to be sleeping. I know I never let my work schedule affect whether or not I do races. But in the midst of the last leg of the run my body just said, “enough not listening to me when I’m exahusted. Enough. Enough.” I ended up with the slowest 3.5 mile run time that I have ever had in all the duathlons I’ve done (okay, all four of them– I haven’t really done that many.) And, yes, my body talks to me when it’s angry at me, which it seems to be more and more often now a days.

Transition number two- my apologies for poor picture quality.

Starting the last run

So, dearest reader, please listen to this advice, and take it to heart. It’s not smart to force your body to compete in multi sport races, or any races actually, when you got two hours of sleep the night before, and average 3-4 hours of sleep a day for the past week leading upto the race. Your body has had NO time w-h-a-t-s-o-e-v-e-r to relax and replenish and rebuild muscle and strength if you’ve also been continuing to train (ça c’est moi). There is just so much pushing your body that you can do. And, make sure you are physically well before the race, and not have GI issues the day before/day of the race. When I started the bike portion I thought, “man, I can’t do this! My intestines/ stomache ache so horribly bad.” But, once I got over the wave of cramps and riding 5miles per hour (which definitely affected my bike time), I got back into the rhythm of cycling and the ride was great. I like rolling hills. My new Aero Bars came in handy too. I’m not used to sprinting on my bike- as most of my rides are greater than 30 miles, and I don’t sprint on those rides, but I do go up nasty hills, so the burning sensation you get in your thighs is just like that of when you cycle uphills.

All in all, the race was okay. I feel if I pushed myself harder (which my body would hate me even more for) I could have done better on the last leg of the run. Despite a time longer than my time at last years race (then again, at that time I was still working a day shift job), I did manage to make 1st place in my age group!

exhausted post race with my sister Laura, another triathlete--the craziness must run in the family

My next race is the Timberman Sprint, which will be my (second) triathlon. Hopefully in the next month, I’ll 1)have more than 2 hours of sleep the night before the race and 2) have energy before starting the race and 3) have a normal functioning immune system.

I hope you all were able to stay cool this past weekend- it was somewhat warm!

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