Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hot summer

Summer is here. 110+ days every day...for the next 3 + months... my least favorite time of the year. I do not like getting up early. Unfortunately right now I have no choice but to set my alarm to 4:30 am or else I will be frying in the sun during my workouts.

I have been taking a short mid season break from racing. After 11 races in 13 weekends I thought it would be better to safe some of my energy and fire for the second half of the season which includes really important races. My trip to the Duathlon World Championships is in the planning and it looks like I will be spending some time in Aviano, Italy and then go over to Spain for the race. I am ranked 4th in the 5150 series right now, so my trip to Des Moins, Iowa for the Championships is in the planning as well. There are 2 more races this weekend, Boulder and Zuerich. I am going to race the 5150 Boulder this weekend. It is a good chance to get out of the heat and enjoy some cooler temps, as well as going on a roadtrip with my husband and my dog :-) Off course I am also going there to take some points home and keep my spot in the rankings :-)

With the temps going over 100 degrees, little desert critters decide to come out...ahhh...this one is the one I found last year. Only one all year...that is kind of OK with me:

But then this one decided to live in my vegetable garden WITH HIS/HER BABIES!!! That is NOT OK. I mean, look at it. If those babies would grow, I would have a family of 20 scorpions living in my vegetable garden. No way.
So I made JR do this:

Hit it with a hammer. And then I felt bad. Poor guy.

Off to pack for the 14 hr drive to Boulder. 5150 Boulder Peak Triathlon, here we come!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Where to start. I had a great time in Germany and the 3 weeks went by way too fast. The first week I was a little sleepy at around 2 pm every day because of the time change, but I was hoping that would disappear by my first race on Sunday.

It was so much fun to see my family. They completely spoiled me and made sure I had everything I needed. My mom even went swimming with me in we go...65 degree COLD water our local 50 m outdoor pool had to offer. Let me tell you, 65 degrees might be nice in a wetsuit, but it is really cold while training. Some days I couldn't feel my fingers anymore after only 1k.

On the rainy days I took my dad's mountain bike, went out in the forest and came back like this:

Here is a picture of the trail (which is as wide as a road) just outside my hometown:

On Sunday we drove to Darmstadt for the 5150. There was a lot of good competition. I started my triathlon career in the US, so I only knew my competition from magazines. Nicole Leder started 2 places in front of me and Radka V., the European ITU star was immediately in front of me at the start. It was a dive in start, I was hoping I wouldn't loose my goggles :-) I tightened them super tight and was successful. No lost goggles. Unfortunately after Lap 1 my head was hurting from the pressure :-) My own fault. I better get good at diving in case there is another race where they make the decision to turn it into a dive start 30 min before the race again (but I have to admit I like diving).

I was pretty satisfied with my swim. Onto the bike I couldn't feel the power I usually have...probably because it was 2:30 pm...=naptime. My watts were a bit lower then I would have expected and I have to admit I did not like my bike time, but for that day it was all I had. With 10 k to go I started to wake up, but 10 k is not a lot of k"s to make up time.The thunder and rain started as soon as I got off the bike. It was 4 lap course, I tried to close the cap to the girl in front of me on the first 2, but realized that we were going about the same speed. I was in 5th place and 6th place was too far behind me to catch me, so I just ran to make sure I hold my position.

After the race in the rain with my parents. I got a nice amount of points for the 5150 ranking.

Jenny Fletcher (6th place) and I were the only 2 ladies who had done 3 races in the series now, so for one week I got to lead the world rankings :-) I made sure I printed out a copy of that!!!

Funny :-)

I did a few more workouts during the week and felt great. On the track I ran faster times then expected, I felt strong on the bike, I was ready for the Klagenfurt 5150 on Sunday. But then on Friday night I started to feel sick...headache, sore throat...Saturday morning we were debating about even driving to Austria for the race, but we said we would drive and turn it into a vacation in case I couldn't race. The normally 6 hr drive turned into close to 10 hrs because of traffic. On many spots the alps are too steep to build roads over so you have to go through a tunnel. Our tunnel had a car-train we had to get on. Unfortunately we stood there for 3.5 hrs to wait to get on the train (well, I slept the entire time). Here is what it finally looked like to get the car on the train:

12 km through the tunnel, a few more miles to drive and we were here:
I went to the pro meeting, but disappeared really fast again. I did not feel good.

I am usually very careful about racing sick. I know the damage that can be done to the body can be big. Here is the reason why I raced: The field was weak (there were 2 athletes that I knew would take one and two for sure, but the rest was no superstar-field). Before I got sick I felt like 3rd place was definitely do-able on a normal day. But we are just humans and no machines. Sunday I woke up and decided to go for it. I would get points for sure and prizemoney. Even if I finished last. Here we are at the start of the race:

The lake is the most beautiful piece of water I have ever swam in. The water was so blue and the canal swimw as so clear.

I felt weak on the swim already and my stomach juices decided to say hello during the swim too. Here is a picture of the leaders coming through the canal:

Me running through transition:

The bike was a beautiful course. It would have been perfect. Some hills, some flat parts. But I didn't feel good and just made sure I would finish the race...very frustrating to race like this, knowing how you can normally race.

Onto the run. I was in 5th place with 3rd and 4th not too far ahead. I tried to push, but I felt weak. At one point I actually walked through an aid station and grabbed a coke, hoping the caffeine would help get rid of my headache. I am not sure if I have ever walked in a race :-)

On the bright side: Klagenfurt 5150 is a great race. The area is beautiful, the spectators are very nice, the bike course is great and, off course the water is beautiful. My parents cheered the entire day and also cheered me up after the race. The next day was a little rainy and we drove back home...

The last week went by really fast. I barely did any training, instead I made sure I spend quality time with my family and made sure I would get healthy again.

Tuesday morning the anti doping agency decided to ring the bell (very thankfull they came at 6 am and not at midnight like last time). This time I had a double test: blood and urine :-) And I was able to pee after only half a bottle of water and only 30 min of waiting :-) SUCCESS!!!

Time went by way to fast and on Friday morning I was on my way back to the US. I got to Phoenix and had just a little bit of trouble adjusting to the 100+ degrees :-)

I went for a long run today and had to built 3 water stops into the run. I am really looking forward to the "warm" pools more frozen hands.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Travel time - Germany part I

For the Memphis in May Triathlon I attempted a new kind of travel. The in-n-out travel (no In n Out Burgers in my bags). I flew to Memphis on Saturday and home on Sunday after the race. That was the plan at least.

Well here is how it went, including the mistakes I made:

When travelling at 4 am, no breakfast is NOT a good idea. I thought I could eat on the airplane, but a Clif Bar is just not enough...

When travelling through lunch time, bring a snack just in case...I thought I had enough time to get a sandwich in Charlotte, but we had a delay and therefore I had to run to the plane that got me to sandwich...again, a Clif Bar...not enough for lunch either.

I got to Memphis and got picked up by my very nice homestay. We built my bike on the way to the Pro meeting, listened to the rules and went for a ride/run. Sweaty but happy we went to April's house (homestay coordinator and very good cook) for delicious FOOD.

The next day was one of the craziest days in Triathlon that I have ever seen. A HUGE storm rolled in and half way through the start of the age groupers thunder and lightning was everywhere...I hid in the car and was still scared of getting hit!!! Damie, my homestay is so brave. She did great out there and even rode a flat for 5 miles!!!

We started with an hour delay...after sitting around without food or water or a blanket. I am not sure where my race mode and my battle instinct went but it seemed to be gone for the swim. I got on the bike and was just worried about crashing or getting hit by lightning in this storm, so I rode careful. I still managed to get a sub 1 hr time, which I was super happy with.

The run was very scary again, with lightning everywhere...I have been in storms before, but this was the scariest thing I have ever raced in. I got 8th place and was really happy with it!!! Turns out that the same storm was the reason I had to spend the night at the Chicago airport a few hours later. JR got me a room (it was paid and I had a confirmation number) and when I arrived they told me they no longer had the room...soooo...soaked from the rain I went back to the airport to sleep on a bench. Nice.

I couldn't leave Chicago until noon, so I even missed work. But I got to meet some super nice people who were also stuck and I tried pretty much all the coffee places at the airport!!! Yeah!!!

At home I unpacked...then packed. For GERMANY!!!

The flight was great, Continental/United are great with bike boxes. I went for a run and felt great after the long flight...the forest and the endless trails are great. I have been a runner for a long time and I have to say no matter where I tried different trails (Spain, Italy, Switzerland, USA, ...) Germany has the best trail system!!! No single trail, but the best trails for a "normal-terrain" runner like me.

I have tried the pool as well...multiple hopes it would get warmer. It is 65 degrees in the water. Today I did a 1500 m TT and I wasn't able to feel my left hand anymore after 1000 m :-) Ooops. The good part is: The pool is very empty. Usually in Germany the problem is all the people swimming in the pool...I have had 20 people in my lane before. At 65 degrees, even German's stay out (except for the 3 in my neighbor lane with wetsuits on).

On Sunday I get to compete at the Germany 5150. As of now we are not a lot of people in the race, but the 6 that I saw are super stars in Europe. I have to admit I am a little nervous, but VERY excited to race. The work is done...all I can do is go hard and enjoy!!!