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Thursday, May 31, 2007

I am woman, hear me roar

Yesterday I took a quick bike ride to Afton and back and experienced a flat tire for the first time. After crossing over the bridge on Eau Clair road, I turned onto the shortcut to River Road. As I sunk down into my aerobars, I felt a weird shimmy in my bike and began checking things out. Looking down at my rear tire, I could see it was in the process of flatting out on me. Great. 10 miles out from home, all alone, is not a great place to have your first flat.
When I stopped to examine the tire, I saw that it was not completely flat and thought maybe I just had a leak that I could pump periodically on my way back home and have some help or at least change the tube on my back porch sipping a cold soda instead of hunkering down in the gravel on the side of the road. I reached for my hand pump to remember it was attached to my mt bike....... at home.
Plan B - I loaded a CO2 cartridge and zapped the tire to full, then took off down the road trying to beat the inevitable. I was about a mile out of town when I noticed it flatting again. I stopped and got off my bike, weighing my options. I had one CO2 cartridge left and a new tube. I was all set to take a stab at my first change. As I was loading up another cartridge in preparation, a truck pulled up and a raggedy looking guy got out and asked if I was OK and needed help. It gave me the creeps a little, so I decided to just use my last cartridge to give me a quick fix, with one hand on my tire and the other on my pepper spray, just in case. (The guy was probably harmless but just didn't realize how creepy it is to stop on a road and talk to a girl who is all alone- doesn't matter, I wasn't taking chances.) With a full tire again, I took off and changed my plan to pedal like hell and get as far into town as I could before flatting again. The last fill made it almost 5 miles, finally flatting at the intersection of Sunset and Mineral Point, about a mile from my house. I took off my road shoes and socks and pushed the old girl home, about a 10 minute walk.
Today we took the tire into the shop, and after deciding it was worn enough to warrant new tires, we bought 4 new racing tires (Continental Ultra Race). Then we went home and I got my wish - changing my first tire sitting on my back porch drinking a soda. By the way, it took me an hour and a half to change 2 tires and yeah it pretty much sucked.
After supper, Mike and I took the dogs for a walk. I have devil dogs from hell when it comes to walking on leash, so I was fully prepared to need a rotator cuff repair by the time we got home. I had a new solution to try - the Premeir Gentle Leader Walking Harness. To my complete and utter shock, I was walking a totally different dog. When she pulled, she stopped immediately as soon as it squeezed her chest. Aside from a few short stops that nearly tripped Mike, she was very close to heeling. Needless to say, this is a highly recommended product. I might even try running with her again now that I seem to possess the secret formula to success......

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

OK, first things first - this is one of the baskets we bought at the Farmers Market yesterday. Is anyone able to identify what it is? I think I can only call it my big freaking basket (that is also edible!) for so long before I will have to actually know its name.
Today was a day off from training, but there was still lots to be done around the house. We were up early and working on our projects by midmorning after a trip last night to the Home Cheepo for supplies.
First on deck was to cut out and landscape around my arbor and fix the clematis plants that were struggling there. This spring before we put in the hot tub, we noticed that this years snow and cold had started heaving the arbor out of the ground. not long after that, strong wind took it completely out of the ground and onto her side on the ground. We replanted the arbor on the other side of the patio a few weeks ago, a little deeper, a little smarter, and hopefully a lot more permanent. Mike and i cut and cleared the grass around it today, planted some new clematis plants around the straggly ones that were there already , accented with a couple of hostas, added some bark and Voila! - a masterpiece!

Next up was cutting a spot for a new rock garden. In 2 weeks construction starts on the road next to our house, widening the road and adding curb and gutter and sidewalk. One of the casualties of this is my rock garden which came in really nice for the first time this year. it was also where I buried my dog Rascal a couple years ago, so needless to say I have really not been feeling much like moving things. There is also the small matter of the HUGE boulders that are it's centerpiece- Three biguns that needed a backhoe to place in the first place.

Mike and I and the boys cut a new rock garden under the trees in the backyard. Not sure what kind of trees they are, just that they get cool strands of flowers in the spring and they have thorns all over them that bite you if you aren't careful. We cut the border and Mike wrangled with the rototiller like a rodeo rider, then we all worked to shovel and level the bed. Once that was done, I dug Rascal's ashes and headstone out of the old rock garden and moved it to the new one. Mike stripped a layer of landscape rock out of the old bed and moved it to the new one too as a base for our dog memorial. We are going to wait to move the flowers until we have a time frame from the city on when they are going to help us move the boulders. I don't want to replant anything in the new bed that might get run over when the boulders are moved so I might transplant them to pots and replant them after the move, but if I do it too soon I will probably kill them anyhow - my black thumb of death is well-known in these parts. Picture one is the old rock garden taken last year. The 3 big boulders in the middle are yet to be moved as are the plants. Picture 2 is of Rascal's new digs and where the boulders and flowers will get moved to someday soon.

I then worked a couple other miscellaneous flower projects, mostly replacing the butterfly bushes in the front yard and a couple other miscellaneous perennials that fell victim to a bitter cold few winter months.

I replaced the butterfly bushes in the front corners with Chinese willows (they are very pretty and get pink tips on their leaves as they grow) and added some lavender, salvia, and some others to the other front beds.

I thought I would share a couple pictures of the yard projects, since several of you that visit have wondered if the green stuff in our pictures is really grass. This is what Wisconsin looks like folks!
Below you will find a picture of my two nutjob dogs, doing what they do best - acting stupid for treats. I predict one or both of them will be yelled at in the near future for messing up part of or all of today's projects very soon.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I need more cowbell (and a race report)

Well, the weekend started off with a trip to Madison early Saturday morning with our main goal being to pick up our race packets from the Alliant Center Expo Center. Because the dogs had us up at 6 bells when the birdies started chirping in the backyard, we took off soon after to take in a trip to the Farmers Market around the Capitol Square too.

There was lots to see there as usual. We made several trips around to look at the beautiful flowers and plants and smelling the wonderful baked goods, and sampling from the cheese displays and other yummy food items. Before I knew it we had polished off an Amish cookie, a homemade vanilla filled Bismark as big as my head (I split it with Mike), an apple fritter (also as big as my head and split with Mike), a loaf of warm fresh spicy cheesebread (also split with Mike and bigger than my head!). We bought a bag of fresh squeaky cajun spice cheese curds and a couple of beef sticks to boot. Does your stomach hurt yet? Mine did too, but it was SOOOOO good. Seriously, I way heart the Amish- they bake their asses off!!

After a lot of deliberation, we decided on 3 blackberry starter bushes (to replace the ones I somehow already managed to kill this year), 2 cilantro plants and a habenero plant to add to Mike's Salsa porch garden, and a pair of ginourmous hanging baskets to hang from my arbor so it has some color until the clematis plants get a little larger and fluffier. The girl at the plant stand could not remember what kind of flowers the plants were, nor were they marked. She did know they were edible and told us that repeatedly, several times. I am not sure why I would WANT to eat my hanging basket, but apparently if I wanted to I could....... (WTH- very weird!) Apparently we looked hungry or something, I have not a clue.

Next we were off to the Alliant Center for packet pick-up. There were roughly a bajillion people there. We got a bag. We got a tee. We got a ton of other stuff - flyers, discounts, udder balm, a Badger State Games lapel pin, a water bottle, a pen, and some other stuff. My favorite item of all was a red Madison Marathon/Saturn Cow Bell!!!! Now my kids can use it to cheer us on by ringing it from the sidelines. Plus I feel just like Will Ferrell from Blue Oyster Cult........ I know I am way too excited by this stupid bell, but it was fun.

Also on the Alliant grounds was another something only Wisconsin can do up right - that's right, the World's Largest BRATFEST! Being at Bratfest and not eating a brat is like going to Germany and not drinking the beer, so of course I had one of those greasy lovelies too with horseradish sauce and mustard. It was the best brat I ever ate.

Once we got home, the food fest continued with supper at Applebee's and other miscellaneous crap. We never eat like that, but darn it was good! I think I ate one of everything......

This morning we were up early again and after a quick bus commute, we were back on the Capitol Square for the start. I had to use the porta-jon to take care of some excess pre-race Rock Star, which was a 40 minute wait in line. Needless to say the portas are a far cry from the pristine marble and mahogany bathrooms in the capital building a few measly yards away I had used only the day before (I am feeling a little bit George Costanza, rating bathrooms and all, but hey whatever). The course was nice with a downhill followed by a nice flat run along the Lake path back to the Alliant Center.

The start was very congested and I noticed that I was able to break through the crowd a little more nimbly than Mike was. I felt like I got way ahead of him at the start and then he never passed me, so by the time I got to the finish line, I was really certain that I had beat him to the finish somehow. Hallelujah! I was revelling in it as probably my one and only opportunity to cheer HIM in, so I crossed the finish, stripped my chip and turned around to watch for him. After a few seconds, I felt a tap on my shoulder to find Mike trying to figure out what I was watching. I looked at him dumbfounded and asked "How did you beat me here???." Oh well, burst my bubble......... We got a quick snack and a water and headed back home.

Once we got back, we loaded the bikes on the roof, picked up my bro-in-law Jeff and we all went to lake Leota Park in Evansville to pre-ride the bike course for the Evansville Duathlon. Wholly f-ing crap, Batman - what a course! The first 3/4 of the way was a breeze with very little elevation change, but windy. Apparently karma thought we were a bit too cocky and kicked us in the butt. Up we went up a 25% or so grade, turned a corner leveling off slightly, then up, up, up again. We panted for while at the top and kept going. The next hill was just as steep if not more so. just before it, my chain fell off and got chain grease EVERY WHERE. Got it back on quickly and up we went. A few hundred yards into the climb, Mike's chain dropped off too and he had to stop. No way was I going to be able to stop and restart, so I kept going and planned to wait at the top for him. We waited and waited and waited and finally decided he must have had to walk it and sure enough, he turned the corner not long after. I could see he was ticked and as he got closer we saw the blood running into his shoe from a wound on his ankle and his other knee road rashed up.

By the time we got to Magnolia Bluff park, I was toast. We did the turnaround and headed back. The ride back was better, but there were still a few bigger hills and at the bottom of every downhill there was a 90 degree or worse turn so you could not ever really get flying down.

I am glad we pre-rode the course so I can prepare for next week. My plan will be much different than if I had chosen to sit home today. Plus I burned up a ton of calories today in atonement for my gustatory sins of yesterday.

Final numbers 6K results: Chip time 40:07, Pace 10:25/mile (PR!) 196/315 overall, 7/13 age group, 83/171 females- Yeah me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Words to Live By: Fortitudine Vincimus

I have been reading a few new blogs for a few weeks now. One of them belongs to Myles and each time I open his page I see his motto and think to myself how motivational it is to have a vision defining where you are going and where you have been. The phrase I read each time I open his site is "Fortitudine Vincimus- Through Endurance we conquer."
I am awed at the powerfulness of the written word and enjoy finding a meaningful turn of phrase. I am also a compulsive fact-checker, so today I set out to verify the translation of the phrase and possibly seek out some others that would be personally motivational in defining my own efforts. I stumbled upon a site that had lots of Latin phrases translated and as I read through them, I found myself creating a few lists I thought I would share with you all. My first list is a serious one, the others just made me laugh.....

Jenny’s Top Ten Mottos to Live by:
10. Audaces fortuna iuvat - Fortune favors the bold. (Virgil)
9. Experientia docet - Experience is the best teacher
8. Luctor et emergo - I struggle but I'll survive
7. Palmam qui meruit ferat - Let him who has earned it bear the reward
6. Pari passu - With equal pace - moving together
5. Per angusta in augusta - Through difficulties to great things
4. Poli, poli, di umbuendo - Slowly, Slowly we will get there
3. Res firma mitescere nescit - A firm resolve does not know how to weaken
2. Vincit qui se vincit - He conquers who conquers himself
1. Vitanda est improba siren desidia - One must avoid that wicked temptress, Laziness. (Horace)

Jenny’s Top Ten Conversational Latin Phrases:
10. In dentibus anticis frustrum magnum spiniciae habes - You have a big piece of spinach in your front teeth (for my sister the hygeinist)
9. Non plaudite. Modo pecuniam jacite - Don't applaud. Just throw money
8. Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit - A wise man does not urinate against the wind
7. Me oportet propter praeceptum te nocere - I'm going to have to hurt you on principle
6. Machina improba! Vel mihi ede potum vel mihi redde nummos meos! - You infernal machine! Give me a beverage or give me my money back!
5. Estne tibi forte magna feles fulva et planissima? - Do you by chance happen to own a large, yellowish, very flat cat?
4. Cum homine de cane debeo congredi - Excuse me. I've got to see a man about a dog (I always thought it was about a horse, but whatever........)
3. Cave canem, te necet lingendo - Beware of the dog, he may lick you to death (Accurate description of my dogs)
2. Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem - In the good old days, children like you were left to perish on windswept crags
1. Braccae tuae aperiuntur - Your fly is open (unfortunately, I need to use this phrase at my house WAY too much!)

Jenny's Top Ten Latin Quotes:
10. Certe, toto, sentio nos in kansate non iam adesse - You know, Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore
9. Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum europe vincendarum - Sometimes I get this urge to conquer large parts of Europe
8. Mater tua criceta fuit, et pater tuo redoluit bacarum sambucus - Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries
7. Pone ubi sol non lucet! - Put it where the sun don't shine!
6. Solum potestis prohibere ignes silvarum - Only you are can prevent forest fires
5. Stercus accidit - Shit happens
4. Vescere bracis meis - Eat my shorts
3. Ascendo tuum - Up yours
2. Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre? - Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?
1. Luke sum ipse patrem te - Luke, I am your father. -Star Wars (for my son Lucas, who hates this phrase)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mt Biking, Part Deux

Mike and I have been kicking around volunteering for Ironman Wisconsin this year, since we are not ready to do an actual Ironman ourselves. For days we have been weighing what a good thing to do as a volunteer would be, what would be a time commitment we could live with, what we are qualified to help with, etc, etc, etc. We finally decided that we were game for about anything up to Transition 2, but would prefer to work our way through the earlier opportunities if possible. This morning, the volunteer spots opened up and Mike was in charge of getting us registered. We are all signed up to do body marking with race numbers from 4:45-7 AM (OUCH! Thats early!!!), which will free us up for any other minor volunteer jobs as well as allow us to watch lots of the tri as it unfolds. Oh yeah - we will get a t-shirt too, which should definitely make Mike the Tshirt Whore do a cartwheel from sheer unadulterated joy. One the jobs we kicked around was stripping wetsuits after the swim. We didn't sign up for it because we got the body painter spots first, but I wonder if you get a special tee that says something like "I was a stripper at IMWI 07." Maybe we should find out and switch, that would be kind of funny........

Tonight Mike and I did our second Velo Club Beginners MTB ride. First we had to make an emergency pit stop at the bike shop because Mike went to prep his bike and discovered his tire was flat. When he tried to change the tube, he discovered that the valve stems were not the right ones and would not fit through the hole in the rim. The bike shop boys did us up right and we got ourselves together int time to meet the group at Sunnyside.
I have to say I had myself pretty wound up by the time we started the ride. After last week, i was not looking forward to taking my life in my hands again and I was very nervous about doing the single tracks again in Rockport. We had a larger group tonight including a 9 year old boy who was pretty much fearless. No way was I going to let a kid kick my ass without putting up a good fight so that was the motivation I needed to get moving.
We did a lot of the same trails so even though I had no idea where I was most of the time, certain things looked familiar to me from last time - like the trees that bit me last week or any of the numerous places I hit the dirt, or a tree, or a rock, or a sharp turn, or a root...... (you get the picture). I would call the night a success because:
- I was not the least experienced person on the ride (there was someone else there that was newer than I)
- The only person I told to shut up and leave me alone was Mike, and he's tough so I know he can take it
- I only fell off my bike 3 times, one of which was over a log hop which I had never tried before.
- I was able to maneuver most of the single tracks tonight
- I only shrieked out loud once, down roller coaster hill.
- I only said the F word out loud once, and i think the kid was out of earshot when I did. (In my defense, it was on a rather scary hill)
- I have no tree bites to speak of, I only bled a little bit from one knee, and none of the bruises hurt yet.
We saw a few new spot tonight too. Janet had a quirky name for all kinds of different parts of the park, and there is a story behind them all. Tonight we didn't do onion run, but we did visit "Porno Point" which is a ridge where a pile of girly magazines was once discovered by some of the MTB riders, hence the name I guess. Funny.
Next time, I will be working on cornering better and trying to keep my brakes from sparking a forest fire. I can't believe I just said "next time"............. guess I'm hooked.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Every day should be Saturday

Another weekend is almost over and it seems like it just started. I could use a 4 day weekend every week, or better yet, work 2 days and have 5 off - if only I would win the lottery and live my dream!
We have done a few things since my last post. After our mountain biking experience last Monday, I took Tuesday and Wednesday off to lick my wounds and heal my scrapes and bruises. Thursday, Mike and I took a long run from home to Riverside Park and back, an 8.25 mile loop. Friday was errand day after work, but we got home from work early enough to squeeze in a quick 4 miler and bicker a little bit about whether Mike needs to act like he is my personal pace car.
On Saturday, we rode our road bikes for the Rock 50/50 benefiting the Rock Trail Coalition. We chose to do the 38 mile tour and it was a nice ride. I think we probably should have opted for the 60 mile ride, but at the time it was early in the morning, a little cold out, and honestly I didn't know I had a 60 in me until we were well on our way. Interestingly enough, we registered for the ride so we could do a different route than we usually ride and the route they planned went out on Hayner road to Murray Road and into Afton, which is where we ride all the time. It did veer off in an unexpected direction onto Bass Creek Rd and took us into Big Hills Park and then onto Creedy Road, back into Afton, and back to the bike trail. Despite a chilly start, the temperature of the ride was very nice and the route was challenging but not too much so. Next year, I want to do the long ride and check that out.

Today we chose to forgo working out for something much more fun - watching my nephew Jake and baby niece Isabel. Jake brought his Wii which was a blast to play and he swam in the hot tub for a while. It is always fun to hang out with the younguns and play. And my sister brought cookies when she picked them up, so that was definitely worth it!

Monday, we will be doing the Velo Club beginners mt bike ride again. I hope to stay upright and not take out too many trees, we'll see how that goes. We also want to preride the bike course for the Evansville Duathlon at least once this week or upcoming weekend with Jeff. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us, but Memorial Day weekend is notoriously rainy so we shall see. it is set to rain a couple days this week too, so I guess those would be good days to get to the Y and work on my swim, or maybe take a PiYo class.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ever have one of those days?

I am having one today.

Monday, May 14, 2007

"Ouch....hurts" Mountain Bike Beginners Group Ride

Mike and I took our first group ride tonight at Rockport Park with Janet and other velo club members tonight. It was quite an experience. All I can say is there is nowhere to go but up from here.
We started off going through some wider grass trails with gentle slopes and gentle hills. I thought to myself, this is OK so far. it did not take long before Janet veered off onto a single track winding dirt path and burst my bubble. We went careening through a narrow path cutting back and forth across a steep hill, many many many trees rocks and debris on either side. i think I fell off my bike in less than 5 minutes. I whined and whimpered to myself through the death track after picking myself up off the ground several times.
Before long I was following Janet and the rest of the group though the woods, up and down hills, around and over trees, and through the mud. I think I spent more time off my bike than on it, I couldn't get my pedals to clip in right, and I was basically scared to death and nearly peeing my pants for 2 solid hours. I crashed into numerous trees, scraped my arms and legs across lots of tree bark, and knocked myself off my bike lots and lots and lots.
Bob had lots of good advice for me, I wish I could have taken it. "Try to relax a little" (yeah, right!). "Don't look at the tree, look at the path ahead" (um yeah, harder than it sounds, ask all the trees I hit). "just squeeze the brake lightly and keep pedaling" (do you suppose my brakes should smoke?? I think probably not..... hmmm).
We did finally leave the woods and go home. I hurt everywhere. My arm is all scraped up and bleeding. my shoulder hurts where I ran it into a tree. I have a hole in the palm of my hand that really hurts. My legs are all scraped up too. I have several holes in the back of my calf that looks like it was punctured by my sprocket at some point. I had blood running into my shoes and a fat lip.
Did I love it? Not so much today. Did I embarrass myself? Yeah, I pretty much sucked. Will I do it again? Absolutely, I will conquer this, I can do it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Beloit Biathlon.... It's all about the bling

This morning Mike and I and my brother-in-law Jeff took a quick drive down to Beloit for the YMCA 18th Annual Beloit Biathlon. It took off from Beloit hospital's parking lot and was a shorted 2 mile course for the first run, an 11 mile out and back loop for the bike, followed by another 2 mile shorted course.

We got all signed in and set up our transition areas and before long we were off and running. Since it was such a short course for all the legs, I had already decided I was going to go as hard as I could and see what I had in me. My legs were a little sore today from the 10K Thursday night, but I was giving it anyway.

Mike and I were in Wave 3 for the takeoff and Jeff was in Wave 5. We took off running down West Hart Road, and before I knew it most everyone was ahead of me. I tried to keep Mike in sight at least but after a while I gave up on that too and just concentrated on taking nice long strides and the fastest pace I could sustain. most of the time, my garmin pace was between 9:30 and 10:30, which is pretty quick for me. pretty soon we had looped back into the hospital parking lot and onto my bike. Mike was already gone at that point, so I ripped off my jacket and threw on my shoes and was off again. The transition gates weren't well marked so I lost a few seconds trying to go the wrong way but was quickly redirected. The bike was windy but I managed to smoke a lot of people anyway and got smoked by a few myself. I love this leg of the races - its about the only time I can pass folks up and look strong. Just before the turnaround in Turtle township, I heard a familiar voice behind me. Jeff had caught up to me and passed me like I was standing still. I hollered out some words of encouragement (I think it was something like "Bastard!" which I hope he knew meant "great job Jeffy!!" :-) ) Caught some tailwind on the way back and kicked her into the big ring most of the way back. The transition went well and the run was quick, I gave it all I had. My garmin clocked me at 1:13, but I am waiting for the official times and splits since mine were pretty imprecise.

My splits are not very accurate since I have a bad habit of forgetting to lap myself until too late. The first one I forgot to split my transition at all, so I have a lap clock somewhere in the middle of transition. The next transition is marginally accurate, and the stop time is pretty off too and includes a little bit of getting my chip stripped off and standing around chatting...... GRRRR.

Knowing that last year their were only 4 Athenas I knew I had a shot at medaling and I was right. I have no idea how many were in my division, but I do know I took second place in it. i got to go up and collect my medal, which was cool and a first ever experience. Looking at the medal on the way home, I had to chuckle to myself. The YMCA events both the Janesville ones and elsewhere seem to always just miss the mark as far as organization goes. This was no exception. The race was pretty organized with a couple minor snafus, however the medals were all engraved for the event and said "18th Annual Beloit Wellness Biathlon 2008." Apparently I won my division at next years race already. Funny.
We jokingly say the races are all about the shirt (my sister calls Mike the Tshirt Whore - lol), but since the tshirt is kind of ugly, it's really all about the bling for me today. Might as well enjoy the moment, who knows if I will ever be here again!

Kudos to Mike and Jeff for beating me to the finish again. I think maybe thats secretly why they bring me - at least they know their will be one person behind them eating their dust - good job guys!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Happy Nurses Day! (and a race report)

Well we did our first 10K race tonight after work, the Meriter Nurses Day Run. We left right after work (to get there in time to register - I forgot to get us pre-registered for this one - Oops!).
The race began behind the Vilas Zoo in Madison and wound around behind Edgewood College, around the golf course and through the arboretum. It was uphill the first half and mostly downhill on the second half, which was a nice break. It was shady and pretty, keeping us pretty cool despite the near 80 temps. In the arboretum, I had a pack of turkeys (what is the plural for turkeys - flock? gaggle? I don't really know....) that was across the street in the brush and I worried for a time they might swarm me and start throwing spurs as they started to run parallel to me along the other side of the road, but they eventually stopped and stayed put.
When I reached the mile marker for mile 4, in my head I mistakenly thought I had only a mile left to go and a lot of gas in the tank so I took off as fast as I could go. As I was running that mile, I redid the math in my head and realized that there were TWO+ miles left and so I slowed it up a little until I got to mile marker 5. (mental note: never rely on math done in your head while trying to run fast , especially when cursed with a fuzzy math gene.) After that, I took off and ran the last 1.2 miles as fast as I could.
I am feeling pretty good about the race. My Garmin time was 1:10:04, no official results are posted that I can find yet. I finished it, I did my best, I had fun, I managed to pass at least 6 people, in fact all of them I set in my mind to play cat and mouse with, and - BONUS - I was injury-free (this was the same course I sprained my ankle on in September at the Zoo Run Run).
Today is national Nurses Day. Take a minute next time you see a nurse and thank her/him for all they do to help make/keep you healthy. Like everyone else, we work hard for too little appreciation sometimes and it's good to hear that we have made a difference in someone's life.

UPDATE: The official results are up and can be found by clicking here. The highlights are:
286/294 overall, 46/50 age group, 145/152 female, 11:17 pace, 1:09:44 chip time.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Our first real mountain bike experience

Ever wonder who the people are that provide the dimwitted experiences that make up the advice offered in the "For Dummies" book series? Well wonder no more - today Mike and I provided fodder for their next book - Mountain Biking for Dummies.
After feeding the masses from Parker High lunch, Mike and I went to the bike shop looking to browse and find a map of Rockport park. We talked to Bob a while and he printed us a map of the Rockport trails and went over it with us giving advice on which trails would be fun to ride and which ones are kind of boring. We got home and prepped our bikes and took off to the park across Austin Road and entered onto the north trail head on Rockport Road. I knew I was in trouble immediately. Mike took a right which after a few feet became a wicked steep and gravely down hill labeled on the map as "difficult". I got about 3 feet onto it before I unclipped and walked my bike down the hill to the bottom. mike was circling at the bottom, raring to go. We took off on the trail and we made lots of loops around the trails - orange, green, and then red. At one point we ended up in knee high grass next to cornfield in the middle of nowhere, totally off map. We had lots of pit stops along the way trying to figure out where we were. I am still scared to death of the downhills down the rutted dirt paths, but after a couple I loosened up my brakes a little bit so I was going faster than a snail (Mike says this is because I was squeezing them so hard they lost pressure for a few seconds, but I THINK he was kidding). At one point we rode past the hill we originally came in on, so we knew we had come full circle. I got brave and suggested we do another loop around, which we did and I was still a scaredy baby but it was better the second time around. Mike at one point turned around and said "you know, the constant commentary is hysterical." I guess when I am road biking he doesn't usually hear that I am talking all the time about what is going on around me, but in the woods I continued to talk to myself and i think he heard every word. Mostly I was saying things like "oh shit" and "I think I'm going to die" and oh my god, here's another *&$#* climb" etc, etc, etc. That as in addition to the shrieking and whining noises I made on every down hill, no matter how puny or gimongous they were.
We came across several muddy bogs that Mike stopped to walk around in his self-described Tony Shalhoub style, apologizing to his bike the entire time for getting her muddy. Somehow we found our way back out of the woods and back home, although I'm not sure how. While on the trail we envisioned that maybe there were webcams broadcasting our adventure back to the bike shop to entertain the boys with our bloopers. I can almost hear them giggling that they got one over on us by sending us down the advanced trails instead of the bunny slopes.
Next Monday i think we are set to start a beginners group ride in the same park. Janet leads the group with another guy. I hope we either are quick learners or she realizes how truly beginner her "class" is going to be. There seems to be a beginners level and then another level of beginner that is more like the special ed class. That seems to be about where we are at at the moment so there is nowhere to go but up. I should really warn Janet...... yeah.

I am now officially a multisport athlete

Saturday we left for Appleton, Wisconsin to take part in the Paper Discovery Duathlon, a mere 2 1/2 hours from home. We took our son Lucas and his friend Caleb as our official media crew for the event. Mike and I went to the Paper Discovery Center to pick up our schwag bags. It included kind of a lame tshirt, a tablet of paper, several samples of lotions and salves (heel balm, udder balm, etc), and a race drink called Heed - boring. We went shopping at the Fox River Mall next to our hotel and then went to dinner at the Texas Roadhouse (how can it be OK with the health department to eat at a place where people have just thrown peanut shells all over the floor?? - seems very unhygienic). We attempted a swim it the pool (it was more of an ice bath....) and settled in to watch a couple movies. At midnight I went down to the pool to rustle the boys back to the room, where they made enough noise that I slept for a while with my pillow over my head.
We were up at 6 on Sunday so we could get ready and packed out of the hotel in time for the start of the race. As expected, we needed a crowbar to blast the boys out of bed and into the shower they had deemed immensely important the evening before. The marquis on the Mall said it was a balmy 44 degrees when I looked out our window. Little problem - I had brought tri shorts and a sleeveless bike jersey to wear. at the last minute I had also packed a pair of trek arm warmers and a sweatshirt so those went on too. It was flipping freezing and windy as hell out - great.

We were at the paper Discovery Center in plenty of time. I think we were there 3 minutes and ran face to face with Bill Gilmore from Janesville - that guy is at EVERY race we go to! We picked up our timing chips. For this race we also were required to get body painted, which essentially meant that a lady took a big Sharpie marker and wrote our race numbers down the sides of our legs and down our arms. Interesting, I've never had that be part of the program. In case you are wondering, it still has not washed off after 3 showers. Nice.
We arrived at the transition area and set up our spots. Mike and I were set to take of in the second wave so we set up in that area. It was super windy, so we made sure to loop our helmets etc firmly so they didn't blow into the Fox River next to our bikes. Once we were set, we watched the transition for the kids duathlon for a few minutes (man some of those kids were SMALL!! - like 5 or 6!) which was cute. Before long we were off and running. I did my first 5K in 33:25.7 . It was interesting - the course wound through the Lawrence University campus, along a dirt path in places and up a couple of big hills. The transition went pretty smoothly and I was off on my bike. I took off my sweatshirt and changed my shoes. It was pretty much an out and back course. It was a nice flt course with the biggest hill of the whole thing right out of the start gate. The wind was really strong, mostly a cross wind on the way out and back, except for the turnaround loop where we turned into a hellacious headwind. There was one bike wreck along the way that was under control when I rode by. The bike was cool for me. I was able to pass TONS of people and found several that I could use to play cat and mouse to pump up my pace. There were a lot of hardcore tri guys here too and they flew right by me. Most were encouraging, one guy gave me some shifting advice on the way past me and other slowed down long enough to say "Hey Janesville!"as he flew by. My bike time for 22 miles was 1:21:55.9 . Then it was back to running. It was not too bad to get off the bike before the transition and run into the corral in my road shoes and get changed for the final 5K. Transition took longer than I think it should have been and felt kind of putzy. I took off running again finally and waved to the boys n my way out of the transition gate. The last 5K was a struggle to get started with and trying to loosen up my calves enough to open up the stride. Along the way, I took off the gloves and arm warmers and stuffed them into my jersey pockets. The second run was definitely tougher but I just kept telling myself that I only had a little more to go as i passed the mile markers. I ended up with a time for the second run of 35:37. Mike and the boys were at the finish waiting for me, which was cool. I am so proud of Mike for doing so well. He always picks apart his performance, but i thought he did great.
After the last run we were able to pick up a ticket from a guy that printed our official times and splits, which was pretty cool. Another something to add to the scrapbook.
I ended up 7/14 in my division (Athena) overall and I was second place on the bike, a mere 12 seconds from first place. That was cool. I was 405/497 with an official time of 2:25:28.5. I am feeling pretty good about this. First I finished without walking, flatting out, or dropping out. Second, I kicked ass on my bike in my division. I actually had a woman stop me in line to get my split receipt to tell me she kept trying to catch up to me on the bike but she just couldn't. I was her GOAL pace- How cool is that for a back of the packer?!?! Third, there was a ton of elite athletes at this event and I got to see and learn a lot from watching their techniques and equipment.

Here's a couple pictures post-race. The first is Mike and I as the unofficial Michael's Cycles Duathlon Team (LOL- notice how thrilled the girl in back of us is to be a part of the picture.) and the other is of the photojournalist team. Hollister belongs to me. They did a great job. We got some good action shots of us, which was the point. We also got lots of shots of random hot chicks, girls butts, and some other random stuff including a picture of Lucas's snot rocket (gross).
Today, Mike was looking at the Appleton Paper online and found my picture in it. You can see it here. Very cool.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Yes I am still here, people

Mike has instructed me that I need to post more. He is right, but since the addition of the hot tub, something had to give and that water just feels so good.......... :-) There are only so many hours in the day you know!
So here is what's been happening lately. I biked a couple times in the wind, and I have been running a lot lately. 5-6 mile runs have become my standard instead of my long run. I've done that several times this last couple weeks. My parents have returned from Costa Rica. I bought matching pink camo capri pants for my niece Izzy and I, plus some other stuff.
Friday I sent in our application join the SWAT Team (Southern Wisconsin Area Triathletes - "We Tri for Fun"). Mike went to see a Sports Med Doc this week who is in the club and hooked us up. Apparently they do group training and I hope they can help us with our form, especially in the swimming. I so want Mike to learn to love swimming like I do and get good at it. With his past knee surgery I worry that he needs to be kinder to his knees long term and swimming would be a good cardio workout that is non-weightbearing for cross training. Anyhow, we filled out the applications and are excited to begin some group activities, like we get from the Velo Club already.
Tomorrow we set sail for Appleton to do our first duathlon of the year, the Paper Discovery Dualthlon. It is 5K run - 22 mile bike - 5K run. I think it will be an absolute blast. Lucas ("DUB") is coming with us and bringing a friend and they are in charge of taking pictures of us so we should have lots of pictures of hot girls in tight spandex and other random people and funny signs. If all goes well we should get one or two shots of us in there somewhere that don't have to buy from the event photographer.
I have found a new favorite treat. Sugar free Mentos - I love them. One caveat for those of you that are suggestible enough to consider running out right now to get a box - there is a phrase written in teensy, tiny letters on the packaging that states "excessive consumption may have a laxative effect." Just in case you are wondering, an entire package of roughly 20 Mentos pieces apparently qualifies as excessive consumption........... So should you choose to buy them next time you are in the supermarket checkout line, remember that less is more and stick to just a couple at a time.
What's up next for the Wimmers? Well, on Thursday we will celebrate National Nurses Day with our first 10K race - The Meriter Nurses Run in Madison. Next weekend is the Beloit YMCA Biathlon (which is a mere 15 minute drive for us) 2mi run - 11 mi bike - 2mi run. This should be a piece of cake after the Paper Discovery this weekend. After that is the Rock 50/50 bike ride. We will take Memorial weekend off, the we will be doing the Evansville Duathlon the following weekend(another one close to home). Beyond that- who knows? We have lots of choices, so we shall see.

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