Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Two cortisone injections later...

...the hopes of running in the near future have actually become a reality!

After some 'not so pleasant' news from the MRI, Dr. Matt decided that he would inject the bursa in my IT band and the outer side of my knee with cortisone in hopes to reduced the swelling and alleviate the pain. After a few pokes and a quick 5 minute test run this morning, I've been instructed to give it two weeks to settle in. During this time, I am supposed to run 30min beginning on Sunday and increase the duration by 5 minutes every other day. If the pain does not subside then it's under the knife I go. Keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Big Bike Rides, Long Car Rides & MRI's

We ended our training trip with a big ride on Saturday morning. Allen set out with Benny and I mapped out a 6hr route of my own. It was a beautiful day and an awesome ride. Lots of climbing but the more the better, right?!? It was brutal, but we finally packed the car up after the day, said our good byes to the best hosts EVER, then went to bed at a fairly early hour!

The 4am wake up call wasn't too bad but I knew the next 17 or so hours were going to be tough. I started the adventure by crankin' out the first 4hrs. Because we switched driving every tank (4hrs or so), it didn't make the 16hrs all that bad. We even made a quick stop at Best Buy to get a phone charger and swung by the lodge at Vail to pick up some snowshoes. We finally made it home, jumped in the shower then went directly to bed...long, long day!

I woke up super early yesterday morning to get some work done for a client before heading to my MRI at 9am. Yes, my knee is still an absolute disaster and I'm not talking much about it because I really don't know what's going on other than it hurts like mad when I run and only when I run. The MRI took much longer than anticipated and was very unpleasant. Loud and obnoxious noises when you're tired and hungry do not bode well together. After that I made the rounds to more clients then finally cracked and headed home for a LONG afternoon nap. Woke up to eat and do a little work then back to bed.

Ready to find out about the knee and get back into the swing of training...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Birthdays, Bike Riding & The Tour of Cali

Since Thursday was Allen's 25th birthday, we decided to have a more relaxed day and go out for an enjoyable ride on the mountain bikes. We found some pretty sweet trails that go all the way down to the beach that we could have explored for hours but we didn't need to get lost again 2 days in a row :)

Apparently riding 'wheelies' are the new in thing to do!

After cleaning up, we headed down to Malibu to have a nice dinner by the ocean. We went to Duke's (which was kindly recommended by Sir Ben) and had a delightful fish dinner.

Today was filled with another string of fun events. We work up super early and drove up to Solvang, where the 6th stage (individual time trial) of the Tour of California was being held. We got there just in time to meet up with the Road Bike Action Magazine clan at a coffee shop and join in our their pre-race group ride. There were about 50 people that initially started out together but after we hit the hills in the canyon, the boys got separated from the men...or should I say, Erin (the only chic there), tried to hang on for dear life! It was super fun, but holy crap did I forget how intense riding in big groups can be...thank goodness for the numerous pushes from Allen that kept me from being dropped all morning :) We finished off by riding the actual race course which was a treat. What a beautiful course!

After the ride, we got changed in the car then went and wandered around the venue which took up the entire town of Solvang. This was the start of the race...pretty cool!

Because we know so many people in the cycling world, bouncing from one team truck to another was lots of fun. We honestly knew at least one person from each of the teams and their expressions seeing us there were all priceless!

Of course, the only really important person who we saw was the one and only Doug Berner. Not only is he the mechanic for the Timex Team, he does some pretty good stuff for the Team Type 1 Professional Cycling Team too...he's kind of a big deal. Needless to say, it's always great to run into and always has something nice to say :) Now he just needs to get his butt out to Colorado to ride bikes with us...geeeez!

After the drive home, we stopped at the grocery and picked up some delicious food from Trader Joe's (my favorite place EVER) and cooked a nice meal consisting of salmon, rice, asparagus, spinach salad, garlic bread and homemade oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chip cookies for Chris and Gary. They have been the most amazing hosts ever and the is least we could do. It turned out really good and I hear my cookies might even taste better than yours Miss Jenny Gerson....bwahahaha!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The first REAL adventure

After a solid swim Tuesday morning, we set out on our first road ride in the hills of Thousand Oaks. It was really fun exploring the different terrain and although we didn't have a clue where we were going and it was pouring rain, we found some great roads to spend the following days on!
We later went to the K-Swiss headquarters to meet up with Ben and chat with all the fun people who work there. Then it was off to dinner at a nice little Italian place in town with Ben, his super fun girlfriend MP and a few others. Good times and lots of good laughs!

Yesterday was the beginning of some real training. I hit the pool in the early AM then we took off on an epic road ride. It began with a fun decent to the ocean where we rode along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) for quite some time.

Then we took a sharp right and started climbing this super steep, windy and beautiful road that was absolutely amazing.

The views at the top were gorgeous! We were both amazed that we had never heard of these routes before and can't wait to come back :)

Allen eats a lot of bagels. I will admit...the ones we got from Trader Joe's are pretty darn good!

Yes, we're big dorks! At least we're cute dorks :)

After this decent, we went to K-Swiss to meet up with the boys for a lunch ride. Unfortunately they got stuck in a meeting so we went back out for what we thought was a short loop back home. Our thoughts were very wrong and we ended up getting quite lost. I was already pretty smashed before we set back out, but after another 90min of going up and down the same roads looking for a way home, I completely cracked. We finally decided to just retrace our initial route but knew it would take a lot longer. On the way back I bonked harder than I have ever before and almost didn't make it to the nearest place with food. Thank goodness for gas stations, coke and junk food because I honestly would never have made it home. Big thanks to Allen for dealing with me and all the other fun things that come with hitting the wall like I did. After scarfing my face, we made the 45min trek back to the house where I immediately refueled (again) then got into bed just in time to get up, eat dinner, watch the Tour of California recap, sit in the massage chair, then fall asleep again! What a day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Quick Recap

Getting the final packing and preparation for the big trip went well and we finally took off for New Mexico first thing on Friday morning. I drove 8 straight hours in the car following Amber and Eric. It was a fairly easy drive and we got in with plenty of time to get setup for the race, eat a good dinner and get to bed early for the next day. Race morning was typical and after a solid breakfast and a great warm up, I was feeling ready and excited to see what this event was all about.

And go...the first segment of the bike was pretty funny with people taking off like it was a 1K sprint! I stayed on for a bit but then decided to back off and just do my thing as I knew it was going to be a long day and the last thing I needed was the crack on the first of 8 legs! So the bike went well. The run to the top went surprisingly well too considering how badly my knee was hurting. Once I got to the ski section, I was feeling very good physically, but was a little concerned that I was the only one with tele gear and skins versus nordic skis and kickers. That ended up being the biggest mistake of the race. I was a great position in the overall race then about 75 people came flying by me with their light and fast ski setup as I lugged up the heaviest gear possible. To say the least, my time was over 15min slower than those who I had similar bike and run times and when I got done with the section, I was so exhausted from overworking and getting frustrated. The worst part (and the part that lead to the disasterness of the race) was that the skinning uphill for that long cramped my hips up and I wasn't able to run the snowshoe up. Instead, I had to walk and with insanely cold temperatures, howling winds and the wrong jacket, my wet clothes got made my body colder than anything you could imagine. I made it to the top but by the time I returned back to the skis, I was frozen solid. I couldn't feel anything in my body and I was shaking uncontrollably. The gentlemen there to 'monitor' me before I took off wouldn't let me continue due to the state I was in and ended up in a warming tent and eventually hauled off the mountain in a cat and to the ambulance to get checked out. There I found the girl who has won the past 4 years. The same thing had happened to her. Not the way I had planned for things to go, but as everyone keeps say, at least you are OKAY!

The rest of the evening was quite eventful as I felt like absolute crap and could not warm up at all. I finally got rid of the chills but started getting really hot later in the evening. Not fun. I woke up the next morning feeling a little better and hopped in the car to drive 6 hours to Phoenix t0 meet up with Allen and the crew and watch the final stage of the Valley of the Sun Cycling Race. It was a great race and Allen won a prime lap to top off an awesome weekend of racing which was even more exciting. After the race we drove another 6 hours to LA to my 2nd cousin's place where we will be for the next week.

I rained all day yesterday so we took the opportunity to rest up and get organized. Chris and Gary made us a delicious breakfast and dinner and have been exceptional hosts. I will post photos of the area and such later. It is raining again today but supposed to be gorgeous the next couple days and there is lots of great riding to be done. Off to the pool now, but stay tuned for more excitement :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Winter Racing Prep

As the Mt. Taylor race approaches, I've been busy trying to figure out the exact gear I want to bring and how to make it as light as possible! Allen helped me turn an old pair of running shoes into 'snow shoes' by drilling a series of screws into the soles. I'll be sporting these guys during the race instead of using Yaktrax which I would normally run on in the snow. It will be lighter and more efficient if some sections are not entirely covered in snow.

I have also decided to strap the above Pearl Izumi Syncroseek III WRX to my Atlas Snowshoes. They are both light and water resistant which will be a perfect combination for the final climb to the summit of the mountain. The clothing situation is just a headache in itself because there could be so many variations in weather and each condition requires different apparel. I'm basically bringing my entire winter training wardrobe and will figure it out the night before!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Physiological Testing at BCSM

I apologize that the recent postings are a little out of order but things have been super busy lately. The whole tax crunch has of course made things a bit hectic, but I have also been doing my fair share of training and finally turning myself back into an athlete! No, my knee is not 100% quite yet, but I am doing a few short runs here and there and monitoring it very closely. I did, however, do my first Lactic Threshold (LT) Test since September of 2006 on Thursday. Surprisingly, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. As a matter of fact, it was actually much better than both Neal and I were anticipating...even after taking lots of time off this past winter.

For those of you who haven't been through the grueling procedure (I'm only kidding - it's really not bad at all) it goes as followed. It starts with a 20min easy warm up, then you increase the watt load by 20-40watts every 5min or so. Each time you increase the load, your finger gets pricked (which hurts more than the damn test itself) and the lactic levels in your blood are measured. When your body produces a certain level of lactate, that is the watt load you should be able to sustain for an hour worth of work. There is way more science behind it and there is a reason I am an accountant and not a doctor, however, I do know that this is a very important number to know so that training zones can be set accordingly.

Click on the pic above to see all the other fun stuff the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine offers...all right in our backyard. Gosh, we're such spoiled athletes here :)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Getting ready for the Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon

Today was Neal's crazy Mt. Taylor prep session which included riding around Nederland (8500ft) for 90min or so, running from Nederland to the Eldora Ski Resort (1725ft of climbing over 4.6mi), skinning up to the Tennessee Hut (2+miles up up up), snowshoeing at the hut, then skiing back down.

It was a very interesting day. A bit chilly and quite breezy on the ride, but Allen came with me so it wasn't too bad. The run was not only steeper than anything I've run in a while, but straight into a huge headwind. Although it was only 4.6 miles, the 1700ft climb into that wind just wiped me out. Once at the top, I threw the skis on and started skinning up to the TN hut at the Eldora Nordic Center. I somehow went off the trail and needless to say, got incredibly lost. I stopped after an hour of skinning and got on the snowshoes that I had been hauling around the entire time. After about 10min of that, I came back to my skis and was looking forward to getting back to the base. Unfortunately, that didn't happen as quickly as planned. I got lost again and ended up making a 15-20min ski down an hour skin all over the damn mountain. It was a good overall day and it definitely got my mind into race mode. I'm sooooo ready for next weekend and can't wait to get my race hurt on!!! WHOOOOAAAAA