Monday, August 27, 2007

Keep Your Fingers Crossed

So, in the Reality Show of my life (maybe titled "What's Wrong With Me Now"), I have come down with a case of poison oak. In case you have never been afflicted by poison oak or poison ivy, or are one of those people who gets a small itchy rash when you come in contact with these evil plants, I can't even begin to describe the misery that is me when I manage to come within 10 yards or so of a poison oak leaf. When I get poison oak, I end up looking like a villain in a comic book, shortly after he's been doused with flesh-eating acid and just before he gets his evil mask to cover up his hideousness. Let's put it this way: the last time I got poison oak, I had scars for a year. I won't even show you pictures, it's too horrifying.

So on this week's camping trip, twelve of us went on a hike through the forest. It was a pretty green forest (lots of moisture) and fairly high elevation, so poison oak was a dim possibility at best. Still, I scoured the vegetation at every step of the way for the Evil Three Leaves. Never saw it (and as you might guess, I'm pretty good at spotting the stuff). No one else on the trip got it. I did.

So when I get poison oak, it is really difficult to exercise because (warning: gross description ahead) it gets scabby and oozes and my flesh melts off in big sheets and it basically really hurts and clothing sticks to it. But remember, I've got a half-Ironman in less than a month? And I'm already behind on my training? So now I can't swim, fortunately that's the least of my worries in a race. I haven't been running this week, I've been biking on my trainer in the basement in my underwear. I'll spare you a photo of that one too. At least I discovered I could do this the last time I got the poison oak affliction, and maybe it will help me through this race.

Today I finally did get to go run, and actually had a very nice pleasant evening of it. I put big non-stick pads over all of my remaining patches and wore some long running shorts and nobody stared at me so I guess I covered it up pretty well. I went for 1:45 at a slightly sub-10:00 pace, so I'm feeling pretty happy about that. I think my early-season plan of keeping my long runs at 1:30 even through training for shorter races has saved my bacon here.

In the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed for me that toads don't rain down out of heaven on me or something between now and my race day.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Discouraged, Maybe

So, I've got this half-Ironman coming up in (gulp) four weeks, and I thought I'd really be trained up by about now. Turns out that hasn't happened. Due to a combination of circumstances including a husband that was out of town for most of the summer, a busy schedule, and just lately a very unusual (for me) summer cold, I'm way way way behind. Like I just did my first 50-mile bike ride of the summer this weekend. And I haven't run more than nine miles yet. And we all know the last week of training doesn't count if you actually taper instead of trying to stuff in more mileage. So that leaves me with three weeks. To train for a half-Ironman. Can you say "This is going to hurt?"

On the positive news front, my legs felt great after my fifty mile ride. My back and neck hurt like the dickens, but my legs felt like they could run a half-marathon. So that's a good thing, right? I think it's because I've been biking around town more than ever. With the addition of our Bike Friday tandems this year, and our Burley tag-a-long, I've been able to bike with the kids almost anywhere. Some weeks I've put in as many as four or five additional hours of biking just on the tandem and my town bike. I think that's why my legs feel fresh but my back doesn't (no aerobars on the tandem of course!). So if I can just get up to the point where my back isn't hurting, I might just survive. I was really hoping to post a faster half-Iron time this year, but not sure if that will happen or not. Maybe my new-found running speed will carry over to the longer distance, or maybe I'll just die a horrifying death out there. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Going Postal

I've never done a Postal Swim before, but our Master's swimming club has gotten very active this year and they had a sign-up to do it. Ours was for a half-hour Postal Swim, though I guess there are also hour-long options. The half hour was surprisingly difficult as it was though! The idea is to swim as many laps as possible in the thirty minutes. Normally, as a triathlete, I'm not swimming at my top distance speed, since swimming is just the first event. So it felt really different to be swimming as fast as possible for that half hour. By comparison, a tri swim start will now feel downright leisurely!

We had all July to complete the swim (whenever you wanted to, on the honor system), but our pool has been way too hot lately (as high as 84 degrees - ugh!) and the first couple of times I tried it, I just overheated and had to stop. Third try was a charm though and I managed to fit in 85 lengths of our club's 25 yard pool in half an hour, for 2,125 yards. I think this is a great workout for a triathlete because it really pushes you past the normal comfort zone. Give it a try - go postal!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

You Go (Seven Year Old) Girl!

Along with me doing a triathlon last weekend, our daughter did her first tri as well! It was a 50 y swim, 3 mile bike, and a 1 mile run and she was great!!

That's her coming out of the water in the pink top. By the way, she has the best natural swim stroke - like a chip off the old block I tell ya'... She swam 250 yards in the pool the first time she ever went lap swimming with me (which was a few weeks before the triathlon) and no swim lessons either! Of course, the kids' triathlon was more of a dash through the water than anything...

Transition time. You go girl!

Crossing the finish line with my exhausted and sweaty hubby behind her - he ran with her the whole way, even while she biked, so she could feel safe (the bike course went out on the roads.) She had a great time and wants to train for another one next year!