In the thick of it

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Training is a funny thing. At the very beginning, it’s fun and motivating. But as the weeks go on, the novelty wears off and you have to find ways to get yourself out the door. Then, I always seem to hit a point as the event looms closer that the combo of physical exhaustion and nervousness at the proximity of the event turn me into a bit of a mess. It’s at these moments that you just have to take motivation where ever you can find it.

This weekend, I had to do a practice ride in my race wheels and new race kit. I made a plan to have T meet me in Snohomish, where we could do a short ride together and then get a slice of pie or something. Originally, I’d planned to leave early in the morning to avoid some of the multi-use path traffic. But I procrastinated and talked the boy into making banana pancakes for breakfast, so the denizens of the Burke Gilman were going to have to deal with this girl:
RacePractice(I really wish I could have borrowed an aero helmet to complete the ensemble… ) It was a beautiful day, but I was still having a hard time getting my head in the game. I did my best to look at the scenery and get the work done. It took me a little longer to meet up with T than I wanted, but I found him eventually and we had a nice little ride together. There was a section where I could put the hammer down with the new wheels and pull T along, which was pretty awesome. All told, I got 60 miles on the bike – not too shabby. Afterward, I went out for a short brick run. It felt terrible for the first couple of minutes, per usual, but it actually felt pretty decent after that. And turned out that I was going much faster than I thought I was, which is never a bad thing. Then there was a delicious slice of pie with the boy in the sunshine, so it was a successful day all around.

The next morning was another tired/don’t wanna sort of morning. I had friends doing Ironman Coeur D’Alene, which provided excellent motivation and reminded me of what I’d be facing in one months time. (YIKES!) As an added incentive, T made biscuits for breakfast, which Wally was very interested in.

WallyBiscuitsI needed to do a bit of open water practice, since I’d missed my opportunity last weekend. Unfortunately, I hadn’t been very good with the sunscreen yesterday and had a nice little sunburn on my back. That made the wetsuit very un-enjoyable. But even with gray skies and a little rain, Green lake was as smooth as glass without a hint of wind, so it was a pretty decent swim. T brought Wally to the lake for a little walk/swim. I tried to coax him out to swim with me, but he wasn’t having it. (I don’t think he wanted to leave T, sweet boy.)

Afterward, I rested up for a little bit and watched more Ironman coverage. Then it was back out the door for a run. I told myself that I had to do at least two loops of the lake, but got myself to do three, which made me happy. I felt pretty solid too, which was nice. We had a nice chicken dinner and got to see David finish his first Ironman. I know it’s been a goal of his since his bike crash before IM Canada in 2009, so I’m very happy for him.

Oregon whirlwind

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Back when I started setting up my training, I put a few events on my calendar to break up the monotony of training alone. I thought it would be nice to do a weekend down in Portland as one of those breaks. What I didn’t count on was how logistically difficult it would be to squeeze in time with both families, T trying to get some work done and all of the training I had on my plan.

Friday:
Early start to the day. T was working all day, so we dropped Wally off at doggie daycare and I took the day off to hang out with my mom. I made her go to a tri store with me (birthday $ + sale price + no sales tax = new wetsuit for Vineman. Yay!) Afterward, we went to the Rebuilding Center – this giant place where people bring stuff from their house when they remodel or tear things down. It has a little bit of everything and a lot of little things:

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For example, an aisle of doorknobs:

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My favorite was the shelf of toilet tank lids:

RC4It was a really interesting place to look around. I envy those people who can look at stuff like this and turn it into amazing things, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them. My mom scored a couple of old oak drawers that she’s going to make into little shelving units to display some creche scenes, so I’m excited to see how that turns out.

We headed over to SE Portland where we had lunch, got some cupcakes for desert and poked around a couple of shops. Then we headed home to relax in the backyard sunshine with Bingley (aka the holy terror):

Bingley

He’s a lap and guard dog in one!
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Who, like all pugs, knows when he’s being made fun of:
Bingley2Todd eventually joined us after battling the Friday evening traffic. Lucky for him, we got to sit in some more to drive down to Salem. Yay!

Saturday:
Another early morning to get ready to ride. The dogs were still sleepy:

WallyBlueBlue is now Wally sized, but still a puppy:

WallyBlue2Originally, I’d planned to do a century up in Silverton, but it was a bit more catered (and expensive) than I needed. So, I was planning to do a mostly solo 100 miles down to Brownsville, the town my grandparents lived when I was a kid. Sarah and Susan joined me for the first leg of the ride, it was nice to have such… um… fashionable company:

RainbowBrightIt was a lovely day for a long ride. We even saw a baby llama:

babyLlamaAfter about an hour and a half, I bid farewell to my riding companions and continued on my way. There was a section of the ride called the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. I couldn’t figure out why they would possibly call it that:

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At some point in here, a mini-van coming toward me stopped and asked “if I was part of the bike race.” Um, nope. Then I passed an intersection where some obvious volunteers were hanging out and chatting. I was clearly coming from a direction they didn’t expect, so they watched me pass without comment. Then another five minutes later, a pick-up truck pulled up next to me while I was refilling my water bottle/taking a picture and ask if I was in the triathlon. (There are so many things to love about that question.) So, should you ever contemplate doing the Albany Triathlon (my best guess as to where the race would be), the whole community is looking out for you!

Eventually, I made it to Brownsville. It was mostly unchanged, but they’ve kept the historic downtown section nice and clean. It’s still a cute little town. (Fun fact: they filmed the movie Stand By Me here back in the 80’s.)

BrownsvilleMedleyI was pleasantly surprised by how much I remembered. I was easily able to navigate the way from the park, (where we used to swim in the river) to my grandparent’s old house (now owned by white trash, complete with car on blocks.) Then it was time to hit the road again. And deal with the terrible scenery and copious amounts of traffic:

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Scenery5The rest of the ride went without incident. Except for needing to pee and not having anything but open farmland and stupid towns that don’t have obvious restrooms, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the ride was going. I made it back to Salem just in time to shower and gather my wits for the BBQ Susan was having. When I came out to the backyard, Susan and T were testing out the croquet set up. Blue added a “miniature golf” quality to the game:

BlueCrocquetWe had a nice meal sitting in the sunshine. I was pleasantly tired from the days ride, but there was no rest for the weary. Time to head back up to Portland!

Sunday:
Today was supposed to be the Hagg Lake Open Water Swim. I wanted to practice the 2.4 mile swim in race-like conditions. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan well and we were too late getting out of my parents house. (It’s much further to get there from my parents’ house than our previous residence, so we completely mis-calculated how much time we needed.) I beat myself up about that for a little while, but it gave T a chance to visit a few more locations and finish up some work. Then a long drive back to Seattle. Whew!

Overall, it was a good visit but it was much more frantic and stressful than I wanted it to be. Hopefully, I can remember some lessons to make future visits go more smoothly.

Weekend Update

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It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted because I really didn’t have anything exciting to write about. (I’m trying to hold off on my boring triathlon training posts until I can at least add an amusing anecdote or funny photograph to the mix.) Training has been going okay on the whole – there have been a few really bad outings mixed in with some successful and middle of the road ones, so it all averages out to okay. I’m still a little freaked out about being ready for Vineman, but that’s pretty typical for me, so we’ll just roll with that.

But this past weekend, I actually had some social plans mixed in with the training. Friday evening, I went with the boy to see the opening of one of his big projects:

WFbar1It’s a bar. In a Whole Foods!

WFbar2Okay, it’s not a full bar. But they have beer, wine and cider for pretty reasonable prices. And you can drink at the Whole Foods, which I frequently want to do when I’m there, so it all works out! ;-P

On Saturday, I finally got to find out what the surprise birthday-related outing was that the boy had been planning for me. First, I had to redeem the terrible long run that I’d attempted on Thursday and only managed 3.5 miles. Luckily, it went a lot better and I got 12 solid miles done. A few hours of recovery and we were off to Key Arena to see the Rat City Roller Girls play. Woot! I’d never been and it was so much fun. The players had awesome names, guess which one of these was my favorite:

RollerDerby

Only T was able to keep all of the rules straight, but it’s still a very fun sport to watch, even if you have no idea what’s going on.

RollerDerbyMontageEvery one seemed to be having a great time. Khai even joined us from Canada!

BryanKhaiAfterward, we went out to a very loud bar and had some pretty solid Mexican food. (You know, by Seattle’s standards… )

On Sunday, I originally had a long ride scheduled. But moving the long run to Saturday made that feel like a terrible idea. (The previous night’s drinking and bad food choices didn’t help either.) So, I opted to go out for a long walk with T and Wally around Green Lake. We don’t walk Wally around the lake, because he barks at other dogs and generally acts like an a-hole. But we decided to start across the street and see how it went. Wally was doing really well, so we grabbed some coffee and continued around the lake, stopping for a swim:

GreenlakeMontageThe water lilies were really pretty:

WaterLiliesIt was a nice long walk that loosened up my legs and let me spend time with my two favorite boys.

I tried to do a trainer workout in the afternoon, but my stupid Powermeter stopped transmitting, so instead of the intervals I’d planned on, it was just an easy spin. Oh well…