Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Snotty Mess

Since my introduction to triathlon and the pool in 2005, I have had major issues with getting 'stuffed up' while swimming. It's rather disgusting how much phloem and mucus I produce and it's really hard to swim through it. Not to mention, I am always coughing like an 80 year old smoker at the wall and people think I'm insane. At first I just thought I was allergic to chlorine and that I would just have to deal with it, but then realized it happens in open water as well so it couldn't be the chemicals. I have also been told that my seasonal allergies might be causing it as I swim outside year round, but it happens all year and even when I do swim inside, so that theory is out too.
After a great meeting with Lisa Brone of All Sports Medicine of Boulder, we decided that I should try using Afrin nasal spray before getting in the water.
Neal Henderson thinks I should the Afrin for the sinus congestion and Mucinex for the coughing. Did I mention I hate taking meds? It's a good thing because Tingle is convinced I'm going to become addicted to Afrin...haha

Monday, July 27, 2009

A weekend of Tom Torrance and road racing!

The weekend started out with attending the Rockies baseball game with the crew from one of my clients (Franklin Resource Group) Friday evening.

Not that either one of us understand or enjoy the sport of baseball, it was lots of fun and I even got to wear my cool Rockies shirt :)

Yes, they did lose!!!

Saturday began with a great morning swim. I then headed down to Denver for the Federal Center circuit race at noon. Thought for sure I would be able to pull away from the group with 3min to go but got caught about 150 meters from the line and finished 5th...oops. I had lots of fun though :) Later that afternoon, I met up with Tom, again, for another road ride. He was on verge of bonking so we stopped at a gas station where he came out with a six pack of powdered sugar donettes and a coke. He then proceeded to get more sugar on him than in his mouth...absolutely hilarious. However, it cured the bonk and we had a very pleasant ride...minus the insane 2o minute downpour :)

Sunday's wake up call was at 4:30am so I could be in Denver by 7am and ready to race another road crit. After working well with another girl, we formed a break of 5 from the main pack. I took 3 of the 4 primes and finished 3rd in the sprint. Had another great time and even made a little money :) Afterward, I drove straight to the pool to hammer out a 75min masters. I'm not going to lie, but I honestly wanted to eat someone's hand off after that swim. Since I had nothing to eat at home, I figured going to the grocery store was a good idea. I defintely bought way more than I should as my stomach was dictating what to buy!!! Let's just say lunch was mmmm good.

Even though we had planned on riding again together, I really didn't want to join Tom in the high country after my swim because it looked like a massive storm was coming and the last thing I wanted was to get soaked far away from home. However, as he was coming back down the Canyon, I just so happened to run into him as I was going up so of course I made him rally and finish the last 2 hours with me! When we started riding, he said that he was just thinking that he might run into me and I would try to convince him to go ride Betasso again...funny how things work :)

After a delicious dinner and some great chatting on the porch with Jon, Jen and Pamela, we decided to head to Glacier for some dessert where I ate an entire pint of peanut butter fudge gelato in one sitting. Let's just say I had the WORST stomach ache for about 5 hours afterward and falling asleep was not so fun...such a dumbass, but so worth it :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Anti Monkey Butt Powder

A few weeks ago, I received an email from this company asking if I wanted to test out their products. It was way too ironic as I had just been complaining about saddle issues a few days prior. At any rate, I accepted the offer and received a box of product just a few days later.

Anti Monkey Butt Powder is specially formulated to absorb excess sweat and reduce frictional skin irritation. It is Ideal for butt busting activities such as truck driving, motorcycling, bicycling, horse back riding, and extreme sports. May also be applied inside footwear, under sports pads, and other areas prone to chafing. Indoors or outdoors, work or play, or on occasions when you sit on your butt all day, don’t let your buns get red, use Anti Monkey Butt Powder instead!

I have been using the powder primarily while mountain biking and road cycling but have also tried it during longer car rides in hot conditions as well. I have been super impressed with it and have been passing out samples left and right to all my friends. If you'd like to try it out, let me know, I may have one or two left :)

They also have a women's version of the powder which I haven't tried but can't wait to get my hands on. Check out their site below for more info.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Outdoor Retailer

Will Kelsay and I flew into Salt Lake City on Monday morning to attend the Outdoor Retailer Show with the Timex Group.

We gave a brief presentation and showed the video above to the entire sales rep team then headed to dinner at Squatters with the crew. A great introduction to fun week :)

Tuesday morning was the beginning to our 'modeling' adventure. We were supposed to run around the show advertising our beer party and let everyone see the new Timex licensed apparel by Sugoi. As you know, I don't really do pink, but I didn't have a choice. It sure did catch lots of eyes though. That, and everyone who saw me in it and knew me almost about fell over because they were laughing so hard...haha...very funny.

As always, I was told to go take my picture next to the Headsweats booth where my photo still displays proudly. Not really sure what I was thinking when I took this pic!

After running around the show all day, we went directly to the industry party where there was lots of beer and a dogdgeball tournament. Rob, Will, Jim and I were a team and totally sucked it up for the first 3 games but then we played 4 others from Timex and eventually won. I nailed Herbie to get him out which drew a big cheer from the crowd then the rest was history. We finally got our free Timberland shoes after a series of super fun and injury free games!

The day was wrapped up with a delicious family style dinner (chosen by Dave) at PF Changs! good :)

Day 2 was a little more 'hoppin' at the show. Because there were way less meetings and more play from each of the vendors, we went from booth to booth just having an absolute blast and attempting to get as many people as we could over to our side of the show for the beer party at 3pm. Since we became such good friends with the guys from Timberland (they sponsored the dodgeball tournament), we visited their booth where we got to cycle on a bike to blend our own smoothies. Of course Will and I had to have a friendly competition for the crowd. I'm pretty sure I got my butt kicked, but I swear mine had way more ice than his...haha. Good times.

We also visited the Technica booth where they were doing grafitti on everyone's calves to promote their new trail running shoes. We didn't waste any time on this one either and got all marked up to show off as we pranced around throughout the day.

Finally...BEER!!! We marketed a keg at our booth with the first 200 people receiving a free mug. It was a complete success and we had tons of traffic and got through those first 200 beers in no time. Not only was there lots of great conversation, but many great connections were made and we had an absolute blast :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Start #4 of the 2009 season

After 7 months of running with shooting pain, a gazillion doctor visits, shots and surgeries, travel to 6 races with the sole intention of finishing and numerous meltdowns, I think I've finally pulled my head out of my ass! Coach Neal and I sat down early this week and decided that calling it quits for the season and getting my knee fixed for good is probably the best option at this point. I have several doctors to check out and until those visits, I plan on just riding and swimming a lot. I've also decided (pending cycling is okay for the knee) that I will just race road and mtn bikes for the rest of the season with a slim chance of going to Ogden just for the $$.

Although I was super bummed that I didn't participate at my home championship race this morning, I have to give a big congrats to my boy Branden for snagging his second podium spot after a killer race. Great job to everyone who raced's not easy going hard at 10,000ft!

Along with doing lots of swimming and riding, I want to integrate a lot more fun events into my regime since I will be traveling much less. Even though our cookie making extravaganza happened to be for an open water swimming fundraiser, it was super fun getting a bunch of ladies together to gossip and bake more cookies than we had a clue what to do with. Yes, we did eat more than we really should have and they were GOOD :)

After an 11hr drive in the van from Boulder to Boise today, the Rio Grande cycling team raced a big crit at 8:30 this evening. This wasn't the original plan but apparently it didn't make that much of a difference as Allen took 2 primes and 11th overall in a tough field. Pretty dang good if ya ask me! I bet Doug Berner is super impressed too. Right Doug?!? TT1 doesn't need an exceptional sprinter/climber for next year do they?!? They'll be heading to Bend, OR for the next 2 weeks for the Cascade Classic and pro nationals.

After another 2 mile open water swim tomorrow morning with the crew, I will finally be heading up to Nederland for a fun day of epic mountain bike riding! Then, I take off with Will Kelsay to the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City first thing on Monday. We will be running around on behalf of Timex. If you're at the show, come by our booth :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

XTERRA Northeast Cup Race Report

July 12th, 2009
Warren, Vermont
7th Pro Woman

The Swim - The water temps had been hovering around 69* all week but after the big rain storm the night before, it was possible the water would be a little colder allowing the pros to wear wetsuits. Nope...70* it was on race morning, so no wetsuits for us. No worries, it was actually quite refreshing! We got a 60 second head start from the age groupers but by the second buoy, I had already been caught by several fast swimmers floating along. After a good start and a good build into my race pace, I swam up to another pro woman and was able to stay on her feet for over 75% of the swim. That was one of the first times I have been able to do that so I was super excited. We came out of the water 3rd and 4th position.

The Bike - Or hike should I call it?!? The course was comprised of a technical downhill trail (meaning you get shuttled up then ride it back down for normal people), but in our case, we got to attempt to climb up it. Since it had been raining for 4 straight weeks, the course was completely submerged under water and the biggest mudpit I have ever seen. Not only is this kind of riding incredibly foreign to me, almost the entire 3000ft of climbing was completely un-ridable. The bike was basically a hiking race to see who could run with their bikes the fastest up the steep, muddy and slippery trail.

This is the 'Erin is not a happy camper' face. The hiking not only killed my knee beyond belief, but totally stressed out my lower back making the final road climb into T2 quite painful. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE playing in the mud and being dirty, but it was really frustrating that because my knee was hurting so badly and I couldn't run through that crap fast that people were passing me left and right.

The Run - Or hike should I say?!?! By the time I reached T2, I was so far back that I actually got to witness the sprint finish between Seth Wealing and Conrad Stoltz for 2nd and 3rd! I got very distracted and almost forgot I was racing...oops! I finally slipped on my shoes and set off on the very difficult 2 lap course. As expected, the first couple steps were already sending shooting pains through my knee. I hobbled through as much of it as I could but had to walk A LOT. There was over 750ft of elevation per lap of steep, soggy, muddy terrain. I even lost my shoe in one of the mud puddles because it was so deep and sticky! All I wanted to do was finish, and in one piece. Several minutes later, I did and it was a huge relief.

After thoughts - Where to start? After crossing the finish line, my first inclination was to burst out into tears as 1) I was pretty sure my knee was going to fall off and 2) I was just an emotional train wreck. Luckily, Branden was the first person there to calm me down. I knew coming into this race, along with every other race I've done this season, that I was not going to be competitive and was just there for the experience. Toeing the line to a race with that attitude is NOT easy. This race was the culmination of all those emotions and the final push to make my decision to cut the season short pretty easy. Racing unfit and in loads of pain is not enjoyable and definitely not going to get me anywhere in the future so it's time to figure things out...for real.

On a more positive note, I will be missing all the comraderie that comes along with racing XTERRA. Pre and post race activities are always a blast and everyone on the circuit is absolutely amazing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Adventures on the East coast!

It all began on Tuesday morning at 5am! I ran, I worked, I swam, I worked, I biked, I worked, I got a killer massage that felt absolutely amazing but left bruises everywhere on my legs, I had some delicious dinner at Allen's, I packed by bags then drove to the airport at 11pm! I swore to myself after taking a red-eye flight last year I would never do it again and guess what, I did it again! I had a 1:15am flight to Hartford, CT with a layover in Atlanta. I arrived in CT at 10am. After getting absolutely no sleep, I felt like a complete zombie. I then had to find out that Southwest lost my bike and had no idea where it was and that it wasn't there responsibility to track it down or replace it because it was flown on miles...seriously? Since I wasn't going to make Boobs (Matt Boobar) and his wonderful girlfriend wait, I told them just to call me when it arrived. We then made our way to Middlebury, CT to visit Keith and the Timex headquarters. After a delicious lunch and lots of chatting, we headed down to the park nearby for the Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon. I had every intention on racing but after not sleeping in 2 days, that wasn't bound to happen. Instead, I played cheerleader with Tristan and watched all the Timex boys kick butt. After being transported from Midway to Manchester, my bike finally arrived in CT so we picked it up along with Mr. Will Kelsay on our way back to VT that evening. It was a long and rainy drive but we finally made it. I ended up sleeping almost 10hrs that night. That never happens!

The next morning Matt and Kate showed us around the Stratton Mountain School where they work, live and teach. Pretty cool. We then drove to Sugarbush, met up with Branden and got to preview a bit of the mudfest we were going to race in. It had been raining for the past 3 weeks and the entire course was completley underwater.

In Conrad's post, he says he wasn't sure whether we were supposed to swim or bike on the course :) After lots of walking and playing in the mud, it took us over 1:45 to go 10K. I was not having such a good feeling about this race to begin with and this definitely didn't help. After a good dinner and another solid 9hrs of sleep, I woke up feeling much better. I went for a quick 30min jog that felt great. Branden and I pre-rode the final part of the course which was 80% ridable and actually quite enjoyable. Once we reached the ski resort, we decided to ride a loop of the run course. BAD IDEA. The entire 5.5K loop was soggy grass and mud that went up and up and up...750ft of up per lap as a matter of fact. Becaues of the steepness, we ended up pushing our bikes most of the way and by the end, my knee was in absolute agony! I briefly thought about getting a flight home but figured I'd just go with the flow and hope that my knee felt better on Saturday and even better for the race Sunday!

Just when things started to dry up, we got hit with a massive storm the night before the race! The more mud, the better...let the dirtiest person win :) After a good swim, I jumped on the bike and spent the next 2hrs hiking and falling on wet roots and giant puddles of muck. I couldn't run my bike like most people as it absolutely killed my knee so I just went with it. The run hurt even worse so again, lots of walking. I finished and that's all that matters. More on the actual race later.

Afterward, we had a great lunch with the crew at the mountain then headed down to go cliff jumping in the river. It was a bit chilly but lots of fun. Conrad even brought out his fishing stuff! We then headed to Warren for some bread, cheese and coffee. After packing up the bikes and such, we met up for a fun dinner then an early morning...we all had to catch 6am flights out of Burlington which meant 3am wake up calls...UGH!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

4th of July in Crested Butte

What an adventure!!!

After a bit of a miss communication about who was picking up who and when and a few minor housing issues, we finally got on the road. It was an easy drive but mostly in lots of thunderstorms with big downpours! We weren't really sure where to stay Thursday night, but we knew we wanted to be close to the 'Bay of Chickens' at the Blue Mesa Reservoir - wherever that was! After driving around, we finally decided to setup in a small area that didn't have a 'no camping' sign, but didn't really look like a legal place to camp. Oh well, it was late and raining and we just wanted to sleep. Sure enough, at 6am, we hear the forest ranger outside telling us we needed to be cleaned up in 45min as we were in a 'no camping' area. Blah, blah, blah. We packed up the tent, but stuck around to make breakfast and enjoy the views while we waited for the big group to show up for a nice open water swim. I wasn't sure if I was in the right area, but knew I was close. I eventually saw a huge group swimming towards us in the water so quickly got ready and threw on my wetsuit. Because I was hurrying, I ended up pulling my wetsuit too hard over my shoulders and ripped the seam :( Ugh oh. That's never a good thing, but I didn't let it get to me and jumped in to have fun in the water. Allen drove around the bay while we were swimming and took lots of amazing photos. Oh, it was soooo nice and fun :)

After a good breakfast at the Smith Cabin in Gunnison, we all headed out for a group MTB ride at Hartman Rocks. We split into a male and female group and all had a blast. The guys hammered themselves into the ground and the girls worked on their technical skills with Coach Jenny :)

Post ride, Allen and I drove up to Crested Butte and found a killer place to set up camp. It was quiet and absolutely beautiful. We made chili and corn for dinner and smores for dessert...mmmm good!
After a short run on the dirt road the next AM, we met up with the girls in town for a big ride in CB. Allen joined the ladies for a kick ass long ride. The weather, the terrain and the company were absolutely PERFECT! A late lunch downtown CB to watch all the drunk people for the 4th was icing on the cake and exactly what we needed.

The next morning was very relaxed. Nico, Allen and myself headed back to Hartman rocks for an easy ride which was super fun. Afterward, we quickly packed up and headed home. Unfortunately the only paved road out of town was closed so we ended up turning around and taking 3 dirt passes home. During the drive we not only hit the crazy holiday traffic the entire way but had to wait behind a huge herd of cattle that was being moved.

A 4.5hr drive turned into a 7+hr adventure and lots of PB&J eating :)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly

Monday evening, I finally got to see Allen in over 20 some days. We've both been racing like crazy but unfortunately on completely opposite schedules :( After kicking butt and taking names at the Tour of America's Dairlyland stage race, him and his teammates drove the entire way back from Wisconsin and arrived late Monday night!

Staying on the good side of things...My brother and dad also drove a full day on Tuesday from Michigan to Boulder. They're heading out to the Edward's Airforce Base where my brother will be interning this summer and employed full time in February of 2010! Jerry is growing up so fast and it's really scary :) Even though they got in late Tuesday night and I only got to have a quick 45min breakfast with them in the AM, it was so nice to see both of them and they got to check out my new pad.

As much as I hate complaining and posting negative things on here, sometimes I just need to vent...Yes, I attempted my long run on Sunday. It was great until about 40min then it just got progressively worse and worse and worse until I blew up and walked back to the car :( No worries, I'll get over it. After purchasing a $165 saddle for my MTB so I don't have any more 'saddle issues', I went to put it on my bike only to realize that my carbon seatpost is almost 2 inches above the max insert line on a carbon frame...that is a big no no. I called around everywhere but bc the post is so specific to the bike, no one had it in stock. I got on it anyway and strolled over to Shep's to make sure an easy spin wouldn't break it but he said it's possible but should be okay for just a road spin. Apparently the ride just wasn't meant to be as my knee started to absolutely kill on the ride. What?!? This never happens. I eventually got home and just lost it. Seriously. I have done everything with the damn knee and it doesn't seem to want to heal whatsoever. I ended up getting a doc appt for Tuesday morning.

This is when it gets even worse. I went to the track early Tuesday morning to meet up with Neal and his 'Tri' group for a little trainer/track session. This is normally one of my favorite workouts but I haven't been on track since, oh, about October of last year, and with the state of my knee, who knew what would happen. The workout was 4min hard on the bike followed by a fast 600m run. The bike went great and the run was absolutely awful. I haven't run that fast in forever and despite no knee pain, I couldn't run to save my life and was getting just stomped on by the others. Talk about feeling like crap. Eventually the knee pain came as I was cooling down and my appt was right after the session so I marked it all up to show Dr. Paul. After much discussion, we decided to do another round of cortisone shots in a different area and see how that goes. Another surgery may be possible if it's 100% related to the IT band, but we're going to see how I react to this shot first. UGH.

The absolute worst is the fact that I took my powertap unit off my bike as I was putting on my car after the track session and completely forgot to pick it back up since I was rushing to get to the doc. Guess what? It's not there anymore...and one, it's not a cheap piece of equipment, two, it's something I use on a daily basis to train with so waiting to see if it was turned in somewhere is gonna be a big pain in the butt. Ahhh, when it rains, it pours, right?!? It's a good thing Allen and I are heading to Crested Butte today to get away and play in the mountains together for a few days. More on that next week.

Happy 4th of July everyone. Be safe with those fireworks!!!