Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We're not in Kansas anymore Toto....

It's been over 2 weeks now since the KS 70.3...it feels like it was a lifetime ago. But I will do my best to recap the highlights (and the low lights) from my time in Lawrence.

We left for KS Thursday morning. Turns out you can fill up an Element pretty quickly when you have 2 people with clothing, riding gear, etc and everything you could ever need to set up an expo and show off the Saris and CycleOps goods. And let's be honest here people, I am NOT a light packer. I'm just not. Anyways. After a slight detour to swap racks (don't ask....but trust me, it was the best option there was) we were on our way. Destination Kansas City for the night.

Truth be told, it was a solid 8hr drive, possibly made a wee bit longer by the fact that we had to stop and let me out of the car a few times. I'm kind of like a puppy or perhaps a small child in the car. I get antsy, I have to pee, I get bored, I get hungry, I'm annoying. But between the few stops and my cat naps (I only remember closing my eyes for like a minute I swear) the time passed pretty quickly.

Thursday night we got together with a handful of my dealers from the area and enjoyed some of the delicacies of the KC Hooters.Friday we were up relatively early in the morning, and on our way to into Kansas City to get a little work done before heading to the expo in Lawrence KS. We got to Clinton State Park midday to set up for the expo. By set up I mean set up, take down, relocate, and repeat. And it was a warm day! We're talking upper 80's and full sun...not something I had a whole lot of before heading down there. I was, as a coworker of mine would say, a Sweaty Betty. Having worked the expo and event last year it was crazy to see how much it had grown! From a 40x40 lot behind a building off Mass St in down Lawrence, to a sprawling huge outdoor expo at the race site....it was awesome. The race director's spared no expense making this event top notch--including a "yellow brick road" finish line (that may have sealed the deal on me racing)!!

Friday afternoon rolled around, expo started, and the triathletes came! With over 2200 registered participants there were plenty of people milling about. It was long, hot, tiring afternoon. And in true Katie form, I got sunburned. Grrr! It also turned out that there was no food at the expo, so there was definitely no eating until we finally got out of the expo sometime after 7 that night and sorted out our accommodations in Lawrence.

Dinner that night was at Montana Mike's Steak House. It was non-meat eater at a "classy" steak house. Enough said.

By the time all is said and done, we got out of the restaurant sometime around 9:30 or so. At this point I really want to drive the bike course. I still wasn't sure I wanted to actually race on Sunday, so I thought seeing the bike might help me decide in one way or another. Turns out trying to maneuver the bike course with a questionable map and no sense of direction in the dark is not easy. We made a few u-turns, a few turns, and there was of course when I navigated us at 65mph onto a gravel road with no warning. Opps. Needless to say, Wyatt was less than thrilled with me by the end of this drive. In fact we cut the drive short after I navigated us in the wrong direction (again).

What I learned while on this drive? Well KS is NOT flat. It's not. All those pastoral pictures of wide open farmfields...not quite. There were quite a few loooooong climbs. Nothing like the WI IM course, and I would have to agree with Robert that I would love LOVE love to do 2 loops on this course versus 2 on the IM WI course, but there were some hills just the same.

Expo Day 2 was BUSY! Lots of last minute needs, wants and poor planning on the part of participants kept the expo interesting. I got to talk to athletes sponsored from quite a few shops in the area (from KS to Tx to CO and back), and saw lots of Powered Athletes down there. In the midst of the expo craze my friend, and fellow racer, Taz stopped by to say hi and to convince me to race.I still was not sold on wanting to race on Sunday. I just wasn't sure I had it in me, and spending 2 days on my feet working the expo in the hot and sunny weather of KS wasn't helping anything. But rather than leave myself without options I figured I would at least rack my bike. I could always change my mind later and just not start, right? So I took a brief hiatus from the expo to walk the mile down to T1 with Taz and Meghan to rack our bikes. After getting body marked and racking our bikes we took a minute to check out the swim course. Holy cows! Looking across the course always makes it seem so so so far away.

From here.......to here!

We wandered the mile back up to the expo area and checked out T2 and where we were going to rack our bikes after the ride. Taz and Meghan were headed home at that point to get off their feet and out of the sun, but of course we took a moment for another photo op. :)

(and no, I do NOT normally pop my collar...I was trying to keep the sun off my neck)

After another long hot day of expo-ing we made our way back to the hotel to get cleaned up and head for a delicious dinner. This time we were given the name of a pasta place downtown and told that it was tasty. I had my fingers crossed.... We headed downtown and did in fact have a delicious dinner (I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant, but I can't, oh well). As it was another long day with no food at the expo I was starving, and probably breaking every night before the race rule as I ate EVERYTHING in sight. Bread while we waited for an appetizer, appetizer, bread while I waited for my pasta with shrimp, my pasta (I ordered the small portion, but still ate every last bit of it), and then Cold Stone ice cream. Yum!!

We walked off dinner by strolling down Mass St, and on our way to the car we passed this:

That's right, a church.........with a No Gun sign!

Anyways....back at the hotel it was time to figure what I needed in my transition bags. For this race T1 and T2 were in 2 different areas, and this COMPLETELY threw off my system. I didn't know what to put where. What if wanted something both places but only had 1 of that something? And then there was the "no additional bags" in T1...something to do with shuttling our gear around or something, I don't know. So along with my stress-y/panic-y attitude and random demands, this is was Wyatt was subjected to:
It was like a triathlete exploded! Seriously. And this is only one of my bags. There were 2 more that are out of the picture. There was going to be no sleeping until I was packed to my liking.

All that's left to do is sleep and race. Simple as that. Right.

So that takes us up to the night before the race....it took me long enough to get to that point, but I swear my race day report is in the works and will be up soon!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The people have spoken...

...and 66% agree that this is NOT a good look. That's 2 to 1.

So please running buddy, for your own sake, and the sake of those who have to be seen with you, no more socks and sandals.

(KS 70.3 Race Report still in the works....)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

He did it!

HHH I made it all

I made it all the way to Blue Mounds all by myself!

Rest Stop # 2 Mt Horeb

Rest Stop #1 on my ride to Blue Mound

Friday, June 19, 2009

Race Report....is coming...

I still have not had a chance to sit down and recap my thoughts on the KS 70.3 last weekend. Between the crazy game of catch up I am playing at work and the early to bed routine I've been pulling, there just hasn't been enough time in the day. And I have too many thoughts to skimp on the report.

There is one aspect of the race I would like to touch on, because well, it was a HUGE part of my race. And that is my traveling companion (i.e. chauffeur), partner in crime in KS, coworker at the race expo, race day cheerleader extraordinaire, and all around excellent guy, my running buddy.

Let's review...he was on the front line dealing with my stress and general attitude leading up to the race, changed racks when I had a meltdown over how my bike was sitting in the rack (don't ask), drove me down to KS (while I cat-napped), hung out at the race expo with me, drove the bike course with me....including when I took us off-roading full speed onto a gravel road (opps!), met my endless pre-race demands, got up at 4am with me on race day (and he is NOT a morning person), cheered me on, met my post race demands (including chicken nuggets and PBR), drove me home (again, while I napped).....and the list goes on!

I heart my running buddy....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

KS 70.3 is done people. Success!

70.3 or BUST!
Sitting in traffic waiting to park, set up transition and get this show on the road. Feeling a little queasy...some questionable weather on tap for this morning. We'll see what today has in store...
Yeah, that's my nervous face..

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Race Day Ladies
Meghan, Taz, and I after racking our bikes and checking out transition. Good friends help calm nerves. :)

Expo Day 2
Taz stopped by expo to say hi!

Friday, June 12, 2009

2 Days and Counting...

It's Friday....2 days and counting until my 70.3 debut!

We're headed over to Lawrence in just a bit to set up for the expo and show off our goods.  Its going to be long afternoon and an even longer day tomorrow.

Side note, I am down here with a pretty rockin' dealer of mine, BikeSource.  In particular the kids of BikeSource of Overland Park.  Great group of guys.

All I wanted to do was come down here, do a little open water practice swim, drive and check out the bike course, maybe do a little run (Rock Chalk Run anybody?).  But instead, I am going to be on my feet pedaling my goods and rubbing elbows with the well trained athletes.

My race plan for Sunday? Wing it!  The best I can do it rock my compression socks, hydrate like none other, sunscreen it up and try to stay off my feet as much as possible.  Get some sleep, and hope for the best on race day.  Before all this went down, I was really hoping for a sub 6:30 time.  I don't think that I'll be waaaaay off of that, but its going to be a struggle.  I think my swim will come in around 45mins, if all goes well my bike time will sometime just over 3hrs, with a nice 2:30 to run (the rest in transition time).  But in reality, for tomorrow, I just want to finish in under 7 and learn all that I can about the training I need to do for IM this fall.

Did I mention that I am absolutely terrified about the race?  Ahhh, yeah.....FREAK-IN-OUT!!

Highlights, pics, and a full race report to come....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Best part of Iowa....the Kum and Go!

It's like they wanted to be naughty, but just couldn't quite commit to it. ;)

(and in honor of the Kum and Go we made out in the car a little...but only a little...very PG....)

here's another view...

So its poll time again...

I'll get a formally poll up here soon, but here's the deal. Socks and sandals....ok or fashion faux pas?

The picture doesn't really do it justice, but yet again the running buddy has wondered out into public wearing Keen's and socks. And not just any socks, tall black socks.

So I ask, sandals and socks, okay or no way?

I swear that's not all my stuff....

Rack.....Take 2

oh! and we're no longer

and we're no longer sure where we're staying in Lawrence. awesome.
So as the running buddy and I both know a thing or two about car racks, when he said to me "do you have a dish cloth I can use to make the rack fit your bike?" there's really no suprise I almost flipped my shit. We are now going to change racks....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Last minute training....

That's right, nothing like a few last minute training sessions to get ready for this weekend...

Friday night I went in to Crono (again) to try and solve my saddle dilemma. I just cannot seem to find a saddle and/or saddle position that is eve remotely comfortable. Not good. Craig is patiently working through this debacle with me. We found one Friday night that is better than the last, and while I won't call it comfortable, I think it will get me through next weekend. It could just be a matter of tweaking this saddle's position, we'll see. This is seriously a glass slipper situation here people. But instead of trying the glass slipper on lots of ladies to find the one, this lady is trying everyone in town to find the glass slipper that doesn't poke, prod, rub, blister....

So after setting up the new saddle the running buddy and I went out for a quick spin. It the chaos of my Friday I managed to only eat a blueberry scone, a cup of coffee and 1/2 a cup of granola. So I was not fueled to say the LEAST. Why do I do this to myself?!? I know better! Anywho, at about mile 9, shocker, I totally and completely bonked. So we ended up turning it around at 10m and calling it a day. And that was all there was to it. The most important part of the ride was to give the new saddle a road test and see how it did. I think this one is going to be ok. Maybe.

Saturday we have plans to go out for another ride, but between me not getting a very solid night of sleep, and the running buddy staying out partying way too late, that ride didn't happen. Seriously, I could have grumped out a ride, but the running buddy was in no shape to do so. I stand by, you play you pay. Suck it up sally! But by the time everyone was up and functional there was barely enough time to get ready for the wedding we were headed to that evening (beautiful and very nice wedding by the way, congratulations Conrad and Nikki!!).

Sunday I decided it was time to log a nice long swim. I was hoping for an open water, but the weather was iffy and willing swimmers were scarce. So I headed to the pool instead. I managed to do 2000y in 39mins. About 5mins slower than where I would like it to be, but with how I've been feeling lately I'll take it. Not great, not terrible. So if I subtract a little time for my super stealthy buoyant wetsuit and race day adrenaline, and then add some time for the chaos of open water and my inability to swim straight, I'm expecting around a 45m swim this coming Sunday. Again, not great, but it could be worse.

Running? Where's the running you say? Well I did a few shorties last week, but I'm still coughing stuff up and there's this nagging twinge in my right knee. So I've decided to take it easy on the running front, wen well, just sort of wing it. I know I can pretty comfortably cover the distance if I keep a reasonable pace. Sure, I'll be sore with the lack of mileage lately, but I'll pull through. And if all else fails, I can walk. And with the way this season has been going so far, I'm ok with walking. It is what it.

Now its time to pack, re pack, pack again and stress. I've got another swim on tap before I head out, hopefully a little pre-course ridding with the ladies when I get down there (Hey Taz and Meghan!!!) and I think the running buddy and I are going to do the Rock Chalk....Run 5k on Saturday.

I'll let you know how the packing and planning is going.....did I mention I am getting super stressed out nervous already?!? Shocking, I know.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


So after tapering for a week, follow by getting sick and not having the energy to do anything for a week, I decided this past weekend enough was enough. I did a little (note very little) open water swimming on Saturday, and made plans for a long ride on Sunday. Some how I convinced fellow KS 70.3 and IM WI triathlete Robert to come out and ride with me....which he will likely never do again...

So let's start at the beginning. The over ambitious plan was to do 70'ish miles on Sunday. And not just any 70 miles, but a serious butt-kicking hard 70 miles (from the Monona Terrace out and around the IM loop and back). I think mistake #1 was sleeping through my alarm for an hour and not having time to eat breakfast. Duh. I know better than this. I scarfed down part of a Clif bar as I frantically packed my gear which I had fallen asleep without packing the night before. I realize that is another poor decision I made in epic riding preparation.

So I, shockingly, make it to the Terrace only 10 minutes late (which is quite a feat as I had woken up only 35mins earlier) and get ready to ride. This ride was also going to be the beta test of some new sunscreen. Not to digress here, but no matter how well I slather on the sunscreen in the morning, by the time I wriggle out of my wetsuit it seems to be all off of my pale flesh and I inevitably fry. And of course I don't want to wast precious transition time drying off and reapplying sunscreen, hello! So I thought I would check out one of those spray on sunscreen do-jobbers. I did some serious spraying too. I thought I was being so careful and well prepared. Until I saw my burn lines. Turns out it works....where you spray it. Insert exhibit A:

That would be one of the many places I failed to hit with the spray sunscreen. But if you look closely you can seen I sprayed in the area. I am speckled. And I have a wedding to go to this weekend....do you think I can wear compression socks to cover my stripe? Or perhaps leg warmers? No, this is not the only place on my body this occurred, this one's just the worst.

As if oversleeping and no breakfast wasn't omen enough, I realized that the rides I had saved to the Garmin weren't there. If it wasn't for a competent copilot there would have been no ride, because, well I am directionally inept. I am. I accept it. Oh, and I forgot my old fashioned paper cue sheet (which I can't actually follow anyways). Awesome.

Anyways, back to the ride. So we left and headed out. I warned foolish riding companion Robert that I wasn't feeling 100% and it would be a long slow ride, but I don't think either of us knew what was in store. The first 15-20m were slow, but it felt really good to be back on the bike and moving. And that's where it ended. Our first stop was my beloved Verona BP so that I could blow my nose for like a year. I was still feeling kind of ok at this point.

I still haven't figured out my saddle position so sitting on the bike, not my favorite, but I was trying. Trust me, this blog would not be rated PG if I went into much more detail than that here. Let's just say, ow!

And then there was the ride to Mt Horeb. Before we headed out 92 Robert says "you take the lead, I need to work on pacing." Translation, "put the slow girl in front and it will make me ride slower." This just made me giggle. It was sort of like when my coworker rode hills with me and told me "you didn't almost stop and tip over on any of the hills today and like 3 of them were kind of big." So the slow girl rode in front for pacing purposes....until we were almost to Mt Horeb and I don't think he could handle my snails pace any longer. It was brutal.

Stop #2, the Mt Horeb Kwik Trip. I sort of feel like I am cheating on the Verona BP when I stop at any other gas station while on my bike. But when you gotta blow, you gotta blow. Your nose that is (remember, this blog is rated PG). This was the point of the day where I started to feel like I was in trouble. We were ~30m in with the hardest miles yet to come and I already felt spent. There was nothing in the tank.

We rode on.
I actually felt a little better after our brief stop in Mt Horeb. Slow but uneventful all the way to Cross Plains. This is when I warned Robert it was going to get ugly. And it did. Those hills. Those dreaded awful painful hills. I am ashamed to admit that I walked 1/2 way up the next 3 hills: Old Sauk, Timber AND Midtown. Old Sauk it was like the half way point where I just couldn't breath, my nose was running down my face, and my legs were cramping. Walk a little, swear a lot, be humiliated, get back on the bike. Repeat. Timber I was like 3/4 of the way up when I started to tip over. That's when the old guy chugged past me and said "don't worry, you'll get 'em next time." I. WAS. MORTIFIED. Let's repeat that same story on Midtown, only with less passerby-ers.

(My face saving note here is that I have in fact made it up those hills on other occasions. If we overlook the mini-tantrum during the April Duathlon I have made it up those hills every time I have ridden them.)

Ok, the worst of it behind me, still moving at a snail's pace I thought I was going to be ok. We stopped for some refueling in Verona. Culver's: the food of all good athletes. Right. And home it was. Nothing to taxing, maybe 20miles, piece of cake. Right.

There had been PLENTY of stops, a ridiculously slow pace the entire ride, and a few hills walked. That was the reality of it. I was feeling pretty frustrated, kind of down and out. Then came a little hill on Whalen. I never even realized it was there before. Well this was the hill the broke the Katie's back. That's right. Less than 10m to go and this is where I lost it. Again, 3/4 of the way up the hill I started to tip over. My legs were cramping, I couldn't breathe, my nose was dripping...and I was bawling. Full on ugly-crying in front of a relative stranger. Insert meltdown here. This is where I realized that an entire season of training can really go down the drain really pretty quick. I had nothing left in my body. I had been running on reserve since Mt Horeb. I didn't walk that hill, I calmed down and got back on my bike. God bless Robert, you can tell his has children. His patience was never ending (and I do believe I tried it).

After getting back on the bike the last little bit was slow, painful and seemed to take forever, but I made it. By the last 10m I was so sore from my saddle that I couldn't sit any more. All that extra movement (really the whole ride, but especially the last chunk) lead to really sore hips that were starting to cramp.

It was probably way too ambitious of a ride to start with. And it certainly was poorly executed on my part. Live and learn.

Still sick. Still sore. I'm trying to find a better attitude and keep going.