Thursday, May 31, 2012


When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place.  ~ Anonymous 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A BOLDER Boulder run

The Bolder Boulder is an annual 10k (or 6.2 miles) road race in Boulder.  The most recent race featured over 54,000 runners or walkers, making it the largest race in the US in which all participants are timed, and the fifth largest road race in the world.

I ran it for the first time in May of 2008, the first year I was in Boulder.  It was a great experience.  I had never seen anything like it and was amazed by the entertainment on the course, by the amount of people willing to go 10k sprinting, running or walking.  I was amazed by the finish line.  WHEN do you EVER get to run into a stadium full of people cheering for each and every one of us.

But what makes Boulder bolder?  I have never seen an official definition of why the name BolderBoulder came to be.  But according to me, the Boulder 10k race, which always takes place on Memorial Day, is a race to remember those men and women who have died while serving in the US Armed Forces.  The bold heroes.

And what made ME bolder?  Well, when you are training for Ironman, a 6 mile run becomes part of your everyday routine.  I run 6 miles twice a week (on a weekday) and easily double that mileage during the weekend.  The closer we get to Ironman day (read T-minus 3 weeks), the more you gotta run.  6 miles seems like a joke.  I WISH I only had to run 6 miles, but the training plan this weekend called for a much longer run.

Race bib

My Ironbuddies (Jo-Jo and "LayLay") and I met at the parking lot at 4:30am (on a holiday... yep, this is my lame boring life).  We got ready and headed out at 4:48 am.  We ran 3 miles east on the bike path and turned around to head back to our starting point.  Saw some deer and coyotes as the sun was rising (beautiful sunrise, by the way).  Got back to the car to grab some GU and re-fill water bottles and headed back out.  Another 3 miles, but this time, we headed up... or west (it seems flat, but it is not).  We saw some ducks and geese... with baby geese in the pond.  Turned around and headed back to the car.

On this "second loop" we started seeing people walking or jogging to the start line.  Everyone was excited to run this race.  I mentioned to Jo how crazy it was that some people actually train for this 10k.  It seems like such a weird concept... Since 5 years ago, a 6 mile run has been part of my training, not my race.  Do people run up to 5 miles to train??  Crazy!  That's not even an hour!!!  This is my dorky self who ENJOYS long, painful runs.

Anyway, back to my bolder run... we got back to the car and re-fueled.  Some Mix1, GU and water and jogged to the start line.  We got there right on time, since it took approximately 3 minutes for us to get started and off we go.  People were excited, and as always, started off fast.  Me?  Not so much.  Unlike the other 54,000 people running it, my Ironteam and I had just run 12.5 miles and were about to start another 6. Well, THAT's bold.

15 miles into my run (or 3 miles into the race), my feet started hurting, well... you can always expect that, right?  I had been pounding on them for almost 3 hours!  Regardless I kept going and had the chance to grab some water from the water stations.  17 miles into the run or 5 into the race, I found the best gift an Ironman-in-training athlete can ever find.  BACON.  Yes, bacon.  One word: AMAZING. Had two pieces of bacon and the taste lasted until the last stride.

The last mile is not easy.  You gotta go up Folsom St. towards the stadium, and once you think the hill is over, there's another one, but at the top of that last hill you get to turn left and enter the stadium.  A stadium full of people... I smile and relax.

As I cross the finish line, I want to cry.  WHO cries at the finish of a 10k.  Not me.  I held on to my tears and hugged my friend.  That, my friends, was my bolder Boulder run.  Bolder than the BolderBoulder.

We just ran 18.6 miles... so what? 

Kept a steady comfortable pace

Two out-and-back's and BolderBoulder run = Bolder BolderBoulder

Friday, May 25, 2012

230 miles, two weeks

I guess this is when training is ALL I do.  Swim, bike, run, nothing else. It all started two weeks ago, after I felt slightly more recovered after a nasty bronchitis that sorta, kinda turned into pneumonia.

My Ironman crew and I headed out for a long ride, like any other Saturday or Sunday in the past 5 months.  Except this time, we decided to do a 100 mile ride.  First of the year.  I found out about an event called BoCo Loco Century ride on a Thursday.  This ride was 3 days later.  We signed up, we showed up, we rode.

As usual,  I focused on sticking to a steady pace, constantly look at my watch and eat on time.  Hydrate and replenish my sodium and electrolytes.  I felt strong.  Apparently, not only did I feel strong, but I was strong.  Felt good. 

The following weekend, I wanted an "easier" ride.  And by that, I mean just shorter, but still sit on my bike for a few hours.  Somehow, without meaning to, I signed up for an epic mountain bike ride.  

I'm not a huge mountain biker, not anymore anyway, but it's fun to spice it up a bit sometimes.  I had fun... although I was scared going downhill. It's always a scary feeling to know that you cal fly over your handlebars and land on rocks.  But I didn't have any accidents and was constantly challenged by the guys.  It took us 3h40m to ride 32 miles and 1800ft of elevation gain.  All in all, a great workout and a nice little break from the road. 

Last, but not least, we drove down to Santa Fe, NM for the Century ride.  We had Kristi and Billy join, as well as Jeremy.  The man-friend's life-time friend.  It was supposed to get hot, and in my eyes, I was up for a fairly easy, but long ride.  

The ride started going mostly downhill, which was a nice warm up... slowly getting the legs going, but not pushing it too hard.  Shortly, the downhill turned into more of a flat with rolling hills. Ah, this is what I'm used to.  The rolling hills, shortly turned into just straight up, big, long climbs.  My small ring was making my gear shifting a hard task since the rear derailleur was not liking it AT ALL.  It was cracking and jumping gears and overall it just made it impossible for me to ride on my small ring.  At the top of a long hill, Jeremy helped adjust it and he fixed it!!  I was a happy camper... since then, climbing became easy.  

That was good, since shortly after our second food stop, we encountered the hardest climb I've ever done.  Luckily, no one pushed it harder than they should've and we all maintained our energy levels fairly high.  

Close to the end, around mile 90, right before the last climb of the ride, there was the best aid station I've ever seen in any race.  It wasn't much of an aid station as it was just some nice people handing out popsicles!!  YES, POPSICLES!  BEST THING EVER!!! I got an orange one and was SO careful to not drop it... saw so many popsicle sticks on the ground close to the tents that I was certain many people had dropped theirs. I didn't... ate it all and it was glorious.  It was OF COURSE the highlight of the event.  In the end, the question definitely was: "Did you see the popsicles?  Did you get one?" and the answer was always: "Duh?!? Of course I did!"  Now I want my support crew to give out popsicles to our crew.  Yum. 

I finished strong and felt great.  Kristi was right behind me.  We both felt strong.  The guys: Chuck and Jeremy, got to the finish 5-10 minutes after us.  Chuck's first century and he rocked it, because Kristi and I were certainly pushing it at times.  And Billy, Kristi's man... came a few minutes after the guys.  Also his first Century.  Congrats guys! You survived some Ironman training.  Lucky them, they don't have to sit on their bikes for a while.  :) 

Santa Fe Ride - Elevation Profile

Friday, May 4, 2012

How to run correctly

Just like I shared my very wise knowledge letting you all know how to swim faster, here's some info on how to run correctly:

Flight booked

Done deal.  This week I got my PTO approved and bought my plane ticket to fly out to Coeur D'Alene.  So scary to think that Ironman is less than 2 months away.  Ironman CDA, here I come.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

One third at 80%, Second third at 90%

April started strong after such a great Oceanside performance.  I felt confident.  Regardless, I had family in  town and I had endless dinner commitments.  One week later, I was exhausted... started thinking swim day was rest day, so I started skipping my swims. 

Apart from skipping my swims, my bike rides and runs were strong.  VERY strong.  It was good.  Started upping the mileage and man! I feel good.  I have been able to keep a very steady, yet fast speed even while on long rides. My nutrition is spotless and totally figured out.  

Now, starts the true test.  The last third of training.  Two months to go until Ironman and I have to give it my 100%.  I have to focus.  Unfortunately, I'm starting the month of May with a nasty Bronchitis, but once I got that figured out and got the drugs, I'm starting to feel better and ready for the next steps.  

In an attempt to stay motivated, I have joined Colorado Athletic Club so I can go swim and work out with my friends Jo and Leah.  So far, so good since I had almost given up on the swims but in the end, I did a couple with Jo at the awesome CAC saline water pool.  

Here are my stats for April: 

Weight: Lost 2lbs. more. KEEP GOING!  I still wanna get to the low 30's and I'm sort of stuck between 135 and 136.  
Swim: I skipped swims.  I swam a total of 4.6 km (2.85 miles). Darn. But at least better than last year.  
Bike: I rode 355 miles. Whoa! Bring on May, I've ridden more and more miles each month, I wonder what my max will be.  Two century rides are on the calendar for May! 
Run: I ran 51 miles. The least since the beginning of training.  Again, DARN!  I lost it this month, looks like. Gotta FOCUS. 

Goals for this month:
Weight: Continue a steady weight loss. CHECK. Eat healthy. 
Swim: SWIM DOES NOT MEAN REST! Stay focused. 
Bike: Complete my two century rides strong. Focus on nutrition and stick to a steady, yet comfortable pace. Mostly, keep up the good work. 
Run: Up the mileage. Focus on my run.  Seems like last year I lost it this time around.  Stop hiking, and goofying around. It's time to FOCUS. 

April's Accomplishments:
Platte River Half Marathon: Like I mentioned last month, this was a real test.  I felt strong and while I felt like I was under a lot of pressure, I pulled through and broke my own PR.  Race Report

May's Goals: Complete 2 Century Rides - BoCO Loco Ride and Santa Fe Century Ride.  RUN. Beat mileage for all disciplines from previous months.  

All in all the word that should describe the month of may is: FOCUS

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Getting High...

A little altitude never hurt anyone.  Well, maybe some people's bodies (or brains rather) don't respond very well to altitude, but if you live in Colorado you just gotta deal with it and enjoy the gorgeous playground we have.  

Training is getting pretty intense, so a little bit of cross training and spicing it up a little won't hurt.  So a couple of weekends ago I decided to go all out.  On Saturday morning me and my Ironman gang went out on an 81 mile bike ride.  I was feeling STRONG!  I was telling Kristi that it sometimes scares me, since I have to remember I need to run 26.2 miles after I jump off my bike.

We went out to Masonville and back on a gorgeous, 70+ degree, sunny day:

This time, instead of heading out for a 26.2 mile, I went for a 2 mile hike... at night. We started off at 9700 and 10:30 pm and we immediately started to go up, up, up.  There were some crazy switch-backs gaining lots of elevation FAST. After the switch-backs, it flattened for a second but we started hiking through snow... lots of snow too.  Fortunately we were not post-holing, but still slightly slippery. After almost two hours, we reached another flat-ish area where the man had planned for us to set camp.  This was at 11,600ft.  I was exhausted, but unfortunately didn't sleep so well. My feet were cold.

At the trailhead at 10:30 pm

Elevation gain - Trailhead to camp site. 
On a happier note, since we camped at 11,600ft, we got to sleep in.  We went to bed at around 12:30 am, and slept until 7, which is a late wake up time when you climb 14ers. We had breakfast and started hiking at 7:45 am.  We got  to the mountain fast... we only had 2 miles to go from our camp to the summit of Mt. Belford.  Once we hit the ridge we, again, started gaining elevation FAST.  It was a gorgeous day and the views were amazing.  Unfortunately, we couldn't document it since I carried my camera without a memory stick.  The internal memory of my camera holds 10 pictures, so I had strategic points where I could spare one.  We reached the summit shortly before 10:00 am.

Panoramic view from the summit of Mt.Belford

Summit shot - Mt. Belford

We continued on.  We had another 1.5 trek to the summit of Oxford.  It felt nice to walk on flat for a bit and while I thought the descent would be fun, it was steep and snowy but we hit the saddle pretty fast.  The ascent to Oxford was dry and was not as steep, so it was fast.  We reached the summit of Oxford an hour later and enjoyed some Krispy Kreme's.

Summit shot - Mt. Oxford
Now, let's go back home.  Got off the summit and headed back up to Mt. Belford.  Lovely.  Apparently the only way to get back is heading back up.  But I was feeling strong so that was definitely not an issue.  On the way down and back to camp I slowed down and was enjoying the weather.  It started getting hot.  We broke down camp and couldn't wait to get back to the car.  We were craving pizza.  An hour and a half later we were back in the car stripping off layers.  We drove back to Leadville and ate at Pizza Hut.  Once again, epic weekend and our Colorful Colorado did not disappoint.

Campsite - Mt. Belford - Mt. Oxford - Mt. Belford - Trailhead