Monday, May 25, 2009

ITU Pan American Cup

It is done, my first ever ITU race is over. And I am happy to say that I got 10th place!!!

Here is the entire story:
Friday morning I finally booked my ticket (thanks to JR and Carrie who encouraged me that this race will be a great experience for me). On Saturday morning I went to Masters swimming to practice some diving, because most ITU races are dive in starts. That was a lot of fun, I think there should be dive in starts in every race. Then I was off for the Group ride but only did 2 hrs of it, then a transition run.

After a few loads of laundry, packing, bike boxing, stressfull times:-) I went to the airport flying out of Flagstaff.

The airplane was super tiny and the steward kept telling us not to sit in row 5. ROW 5? What is wrong with that one? Someone asked...He said (literally): Someone puked all over row 5!!! we actually had to take a detour over Winslow to Phoenix because of all the our little propellor machine. But we made it. The Phoenix Austin flight was rather quiet. I was picked up by my hostfamily and then it was all about preparing for the CAP TEX TRIATHLON, the ITU part of it:

Sunday was the pro meeting. I felt a little out of place between all the big names and their outfits full of ITU logos and countries. I found out that if you start at ITU races you have to have a uniform with your name, country and the ITU logo on it...mhhh...mine= no logo, no country...and not my name:-) I was lucky enough that I was allowed to start, but had to promise to get a uniform for the next ITU race.

We had an 11 am start, which is nice because you get to sleep in:-) BIG PLUS. But then it is hard to decide what to eat. After some breakfast I went to the race. My front tire was flat and the valve wasn't allowing more air in...GREAT!!! Luckily Mellow Johnny's bikeshop gave me a wheel (in ITU you have wheel support:-), but it was a training wheel instead of my super light race wheels.

We went down to the water and got introduced, one after another we hopped into the water. I was introduced last, hopped in (after all my diving practice it ended up being a deep water start), swam towards the start line, but they already blew the horn...WHAT? I was like: I am already a slow swimmer, especially for ITU and then they even get a head start. But all was fine, I just swam the best I could, unfortunately had to defog my goggles once, got out of the water NOT IN LAST PLACE. But it definately needs some work as Hayley Peirsol was out of the water at 17 min, me at 23:-)

The 5 laps of the bike course were to the Capitol and back. I pushed really hard but was in no mans land. There were 2 large groups in front of me, I tried sooo hard and they came so much closer, but was not able to catch them, so I had to TT it all by myself (every lap I got so much closer even though they were 5 or 6 people and I was alone). My bikesplit was very fast, I was going so fast that I was not sure if I would be able to run afterwards.

The run was surprisingly good. 3 laps aka 3.33 km. I passed 4 people, one after another. It felt good. I ended up running a 38:20. It was super hot and humid out there. I got water at every station. Everyone was suffering so much.

In the end I got 10th place at my first ITU race, even got a check and some World ranking points:-)

It was sooooooooooooo fun and I will definately do some more ITU races...after I get my official suit off course. The bike and run are great, just have to keep working on the swim. I am sure it will come around.

Tomorrow will be my trip back to Flagstaff, back to a dry adn cool climate:-) Next race up: BOISE 70.3

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It is a miracle:-)

It really is a miracle, but I went to morning swim practice 2 times this week. I didn't have much of a choice since the T/Th evening swims were cancelled:-) Let me tell you it is tough doing a swim workout back to back: Monday night, Tuesday morning, Wednesday night, Thursday morning...and this morning we ended up doing VO2 stuff:-) WOW. Arms=jelly. But showing tiredness was out of the question: the Danish and Australian Natl Swim teams are here, swimming next to those guys made me wanna show NO weakness!!! It worked for the most part...and I think for the first time I pushed myself to what-felt-like-muscle-failure...I have done it running and biking, but I am glad that I got it done in swimming as well, it felt great to be so super tired!!!

As far as the rest of the training goes: the week has been great with a great 2*Snowbowl workout on Tuesday, a great Track workout on Wednesday and all the swimming. The rest of today is easy, with a 2 hr ride coming up this afternoon and a transition run.

I am thinking about racing at the ITU Pacto Championship race in Austin on Monday, but I just got the confirmation from Germany that I CAN race, but it is so close to the race (Thursday is not that far from Monday:-), so i am not sure if I should. No travel arrangements are made not sure yet...mhhh...can you tell that my head is going: I should...should not...should...?

I am registered for the BOISE 70.3 which should be a lot of fun. Now that one is on June 13th and ALL the arragements are done:-)

Tomorrow I am planning on soing some open water practice for the first time this season, it should be fun, hopefully the Thunder and Lightning which we have had every day this week, will not come until after we are done.

Lightning is so much more scary at 7000 ft then it is at sea level. I blame it on being closer to the sky:-)

Off to some shopping, napping, eating and then back to work aka training!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Back to training at 100 %

This week was filled with lots to do for immigrations and training. The immigration stuff is on its way, out of my hands and up to the government officials which is a good feeling. Now I can focus on training 100 % again. Filling out important forms drains you because you want to do everything perfect...

JR and I celebrated our end-of-the-work-week friday by sitting on the porch for about 5 hrs. We didn't know that we could eat dinner for that long:-) I guess we can...

Saturday was the weekly group ride again, where I took Mr. Cherry (aka my Roadbike), because it was a good day with no wind, highs speeds, great attacks, and on that hilly ride I wanted to give everything. I even had a speedometer (haven't had one for about 1/2 a year), I looked at it every once in a while and a 45 km/h pace felt great to me, which is a really good sign. Even if it was my turn to pull the boys along, I managed to keep the 45 km/h up and it felt comfortably hard.

The stairs ended up in a late sprint and I managed to come to the top in 4th, which was great since the group was bigger this week (25-30 people). On the sprint to the Lodge at the 1/2 way point I missed the break (it went off just as I was drifting back after pulling...), but I tried to jump across and managed to end up in no man's land. But then one guy fell of the front group, I caught him and ended up 4th in the sprint:-) The way back was just as fast and about 20 k out I attacked- ha - how much fun. I have to learn how to attack in my drops and how not to be over geared, so I went for it,it worked and I felt sooo fast. T run felt great as well. I like days like this a lot!!! They are confidence boosters and us athletes really need them every once in a while:-)

We had our friends over for dinner, noone was in the mood to go downtown, which I liked; TIRED LEGS!!!

Today was a 1:45 hr run. I went at 11 am, so that it would be a little warmer as my next 70.3 is a afternoon start. It was hot!!! But fun:-) The first 45 min a bit easier, then I picked it up until 1:30, then a 10 min cool down. I ran my favorite loop for the first 45 min. Up to Mars hill, back down in the forest to the traintracks. I LOVE THE TRAIN. Flagstaff has about 160 trains going through every day and night:-) and they honk!!! When you run next to the train in the forest (out of town) they honk at you and it is so fun, this huge train with the very loud horn:-) LOVE IT. Unfortunately Flagstaff wants to get rid of the noise:-(
After the loop it was an out and back with milemarkers, to check on the pace. It felt great. The pace was high and the legs felt great!!!

After the run JR and I went hiking at Snowbowl and had lunch in the Aspens. What a good way to recover. Now I am on the couch and I am not sure when I will get up again...

Easy day tomorrow- good feeling when training sessions are nearly perfect...appreciate the good training days!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ahhh, nice to sit on the couch:-)

...after a beautiful day with good training. I have been getting uo early every morning to go for a morning run. How beautiful to run in the forest at 6 am, nice and cool, lots of animals jumping around...and then get home and have breakfast and a well deserved coffee.

I am not a fan of getting out of bed as it is so nice in there, but I have to admit that running in the morning is one of the best things ever. I feel refreshed, satisfied, because I already did something productive and I can enjoy my day so much more.

After the morning run it was time to replant my veggie garden from inside pots to outside dirt. That was a strength workout, shuffeling is exhausting!!! But all the tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini,...are relocated and I hoe they enjoy the sun...and I hope that it stays around the typical 40 degrees at night:-)

Planting took longer then expected so my bikeworkout got done between 12 and 3pm:-) Good training in the sun. Snowbowl 5min repeats - felt great!!!

Then I was off for run #2 with Pam, which was also great!!!
Done for today and now off to get some ice cream with JR, refueling for an am track workout with Pam!!!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

My wedding week

What a week!!! Here we go:

my immigration medical is over, but at the doctors office I find out that I have to get 4 more immunizations. So I drive the scooter over to the clinic and get my shots. I also got some "warning" papers.
1st shot: side effects:.....bla...tiredness....fever.....bla...
2nd shot: side effects.....bla...tiredness...fever...bla...
3rd shot: side effects...bla...tiredness...fever...bla...
4th shot: side effects...bla...tiredness...fever...bla...
So my chances of getting a fever or being super tired all week were great. Here is a shot of my left arm after getting the shots:-)

The nurse said not to drive back...yeah, right, those shots are not going to do anything. But it did hit me at swimming that evening (flip turns without being able to touch the wall, then I couldn't lift my left arm anymore,...they did not mention I couldn't do sports:-)
From Monday on until Saturday, I fell asleep everywhere. Bed off course, couch, in the car, on the patio, ... I had to cut my training back by A LOT, because I was too tired to do long runs or rides and by Tuesday I was unable to swim, because I could not lift my left arm at all anymore...

Tuesday, the wedding day:
JR and I went to the court house on the scooter to pick up the license:

70 bucks and you can get married in Flag:-)

We went back home, went for a little run, got showerd and changed. At 4:30 pm we started walking to the court house. Here is a pic from before the wedding...
Our judge was super nice. She talked for about 10 min (don't even ask me what she said, I cannot remember). Then we had to repeat after her (also no clue what I even said). I am glad she talked for a while because I was sooo nervous and about ready to cry:-)
OVER!!! We are married!!!

Our wedding crew!!!

Then we went out for dinner, at Flagstaff's Brix Restaurant, voted one of the 10 best restaurants in the US!!!
We had some delicious steak and fish, a cheese platter (yummie), cheesecake and chocolate cake adn wine. So gooooooooooooooood:

After the dinner, we went from bar to bar (it was also cinqo de mayo), got invited by everyone!!! I also scored a sombrero:-)

We had a lot of fun and it was so exciting. Now we ahve a few months to plan our church wedding in September with all the family members included. It was a really nice day. It would have been perfect if my parents could have been here...
We went out for breakfast with JR's mom, dad, uncle and aunt, then did some sight seeing. No swimming, and noooooooo touching my arm. When is it going to stop hurting?
Drive to Phoenix to drop off JR's parents at the airport after waking up at night totally sweaty, probably a fever. We were there 45 min before the flight. But it was too late. They were not allowed to board their airplane to Fargo, ND anymore. WHAAAT? We drive back up to Flag (5 hrs in the car, I slept 99 % of it:-)
Small 30 min jog in the evening, too tired to do anything.
JR's birthday!!!
Morning run (feel a little bit better), JR and I find an Ipod on the street and put it on the truck it was next too (Ipod #3 that I found in Flag, I returned all of them!!!). Then sight seeing, man it was hot in the desert!!! At night I attemt to swim which was OK, but not great. But at least I have ROM again:-)
While JR is driving his parents to Phoenix (with a huge cushion so that they don't miss their flight again:-), I sit on the computer for 2 hrs, scanning documents for the government. Then at 9 am group ride. No wind and sunny, yippie!!! I actually end up having a great ride and a great transition run. YES, I am over my "shot-sickness". The bad thing: I had to skip the Irongirl Las Vegas race:-( And I love racing!!!
Flagstaff Bike swap!!! Nice to get rid of these little things that pile up in the garage. We still have shoes and frames for sale, but at least the small stuff is gone!!! Now it is nap time and then a long run in the evening.
The week was nice and definatley exciting, but I am looking forward to a less stress full week with some good training. And maybe even a day where JR and I can do some hiking in Sedona as our wedding celebration (we didn't get to do that yet!!!) I am skipping the Columbia Triathlon due to the lack of training, but i might try to defend the Genuine InnovationsTriple Crown Title (Tempe Intl Tri, Sahuarita Tri, Deuces Wild).
Can't wait to race again!!! No more shots for me now, no matter what. They are a huge set back and noooo fun.
Next week: swim bike run and race:-) YEAH!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weekend workouts are done

Weekends are always longer workouts, longer bike on Saturday, longer run on Sunday. I was so excited to have a group ride without attacks this week. JR and some other guys were racing at the Tour of the Gila, so I was hoping for a nice and steady pace.
Who knew, after an entire week of almost no wind, that on Saturday (just like the last Saturdays) the wind would blow like crazy? Why always on Saturday? Friday was was calm...but I kept telling myself that it is good practice.

We were only about 8 or 9 people at the group ride, me and one more girl, the rest guys. Alright, off we go. About 20 min into the ride a guy attacks (who what why? those were my thoughts). And in cycling if you don't pay close attention, that person is far ahead in no time. I was the only person on a TT bike, so I said: I'll get him!!!

I felt super strong and pulled the group back to the guy all by myself:-) But the counter attack was coming...another guy sprinted by (some guys think its mean to attack right after a girl pulled...I say: BRING IT ON!!!)

So 3 guys got away and me and two other guys chased. Up the weekly KOM, called the steps (3 steps, then a false flat, the the steepest hill). We are chsing, but knew we couldn't catch the 3 ahead before the KOM anymore. So one of the guys attacked me on the last and steepest part (right after "a girl" pulled again:-) thoughts: NO WAY...this is my hill, you are not going to finish in front of me no matter what...even if I puke on top!!! So I did it, I dropped him and took 4th!!! That was fun and I got some: what, you are already here looks from some guys:-) HA!!! Love it.

We waited for the rest of the group but never saw them again.

After the ride 20 min transition run - yeah, I didn't feel that good anymore. Hard pulls and sprints on the bike can kill your legs, that's why in a Tri = nice and steady but hard pace:-) But those group rides are simulated races which make you so much stronger.

Today was a long run which felt like forever. I am doing about 95 % of my training by myself, which sometimes can be really frustrating. Noone to talk to, hard track workouts are tougher because there is noone to cheer you on. Crazy. I wish some triathletes, runners or cyclists would move to Flagstaff. I got the run done, in beautiful perfectly warm weather...but it was hard out in the middle of nowhere by myself...:-(

It can get very frustrating not to have anyone in town who knows what it means to be a full time athlete. Everyone has work that comes first and skipping a workout is not a big deal, but if sports is what you do full time, there is no such thing as skipping a workout, partying all night long or going to hike the Grand Canyon during race season. I love being a full time athlete and would not want to change it for anything, but please, someone move to Flag who is also a full time athlete:-) Please:-) PRETTY PLEASE!!!

On another note I am so proud of JR, who has made Levi Leipheimer's and Lance Armstrong's live very hard in the last week during the Tour of the Gila. Guess who was in a break? JR. Guess who had to chase him? Levi Leipheimer, Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis,... I am so proud of him. Check out velonews for some great pictures of the Tour of the Gila or just click on the links below to see my man: