Thursday, July 28, 2011

Freaking Out

I woke up last week with my heart racing, I was breathing hard, and I had an overall sense of dread and panic!  Ugh!  Stress dream!

My go to stress dream is usually that I am taking a calculus final, I realize I haven't attended class all semester and I have no idea how I am going to pass. . .and I'm naked.  But this dream was more specific to what I am apparently freaking out about right now-my triathlon in a little over a week.  The basic plot of the dream was that I showed up to the race without my bicycle and I had to drive home (with my mom for some reason?) and get back to the race before it started.  Of course calamity ensued and I couldn't make it back to the race. . .and I was naked.  I think I might be feeling a tad unprepared.

Will I be able to finish the tri?  Yes.  But I really would like to have a time below the 1:30 mark.  I would also like to have a good swim. . .like one where I put my head in the water. . .and only get passed by ladies one heat back. 

So after my dream I had two choices: start popping Xanax or start practicing.  Since I don't actually have xanax, (despite several email offers from Canadian Pharmacies) I figured I had better start putting in some work.

Step One: Do some more bricks!  I have to get these old legs used to hopping off the bike and running.  I did one last week and one Tuesday.  I felt really good both times and was able to complete a 10.3m (very hilly) bike ride followed by a 5k around the neighborhood.  The ride is slightly longer for the tri but also considerably flatter.  I think I will actually ride it a few minutes faster.  Running off the bike was also good.  Tuesday I averaged 9 minute miles which is great with me!  I might be a little slower on race day because I will also be adding in the swim and there is a big hill at the start of the run (evil!).

Step Two: Get in that open water, lady!!!  I have also done two more open water swims since "the stress dream incident" and each one was better than the last.  Both times the water was warmer (yay!) and murkier (boo).  That did not make me happy at first but then I realized if I can't see how far down the bottom is and I can't see the icky lake creatures (that may or may not be trying to eat me) then I can just pretend I am in the pool.  And oh my gosh it worked (mostly because I am pretty gullible).  Today's swim was particularly good.  I swam the whole distance (plus some) and was even sighting.  Yup, figured out how to do that (thank you YouTube).

I am now starting to breath a big sigh of relief because I am feeling more prepared.  One more week of training to go and I am hoping it is filled with sweet dreams!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Race Like a Kid- The Urban Assault Ride

Remember back in the day when you had a playdate with your best friend?  You know, back before jobs, mortgages, kids. . .responsibilities.  Remember when your biggest concerns were what you were going to play and getting back home before dinnertime?  Then you grow up and all of a sudden having fun takes a backseat to real life.  And that is kinda the way it needs to be if you want to have food and electricity.  But once in a while it is nice to take the day off from adulthood and just be a kid again, which is exactly why I loved the Urban Assault Ride!

Here is a breakdown of our race and the many reasons it was so awesome!!

Check this guy out.  Awesome and disturbing!
  • For this race you need a partner and a team name.  I have found these two things give adults an excuse to play dress up.  There was a plethora of wigs, spandex, and puff painted shirts.  Susan and I were no exception.  Our team name (provided by Susan's fiance, Nathan) was "The Preacher's Kid and the Deviant" because, well, I am a preacher's kid and Susan is a deviant (Well not actually.  I believe she was diagnosed as borderline deviant =)).  We didn't go in a full on costume, but we did make shirts!

We've got spirit, yes we do!
  • The basic goal of the race is to ride to 7 given and two mystery locations in Denver/Wheat Ridge.  At each location you collect a bead and you return to the starting point once you have obtained all 9 beads.  So before the race you and your partner need to do some strategic planning (aka Google Maps) to find the best route.  It is also helpful if at least one person in the team has sense of direction.  How was our sense of direction?  We got lost before the race even started!  Yup, we are that good.  I let the far more intelligent Dr. Soto do all the navigating and we only ending up in the wrong place a few times.  Overall, I am going to call it a success because we are not currently roaming the streets of Denver looking for my car.
  • This race made riding bikes fun again!  There is a reason kids ride bikes all the time: it is fun!!  I really do love riding my bike but sometimes I suck all the fun out of it.  How fast?  How far?  How hard can I push myself?  I have to keep improving!!  That is good sometimes, but you know what else is good?  Riding next to your best friend, chatting, and enjoying getting from point A to point B (even if you do get lost).  We probably rode 25 miles that day and never once did I say or hear "on your left!"
  • As adults we like to pretend we are refined and worldly.  We enjoy going to the theater (I actually do) and talking about politics (I actually don't).  But in reality, I think adults have more fun playing the games they enjoyed as children (How else can you explain adult Kickball Leagues?).  The geniuses in charge of Urban Assault must know this and that is why you had to complete an obstacle to get your beads.  The obstacles were both ridiculous and fun.  We had to jump into a pool (fully clothed) to retrieve beer cans, ride a tricycle, do a three legged race, catch a sling-shotted (I don't think that is a word) shoe, bike with our partner on the handlebars, ride a slip and slide downhill, and put together a puzzle.  For the record, the tricycle was my favorite!
Bobbing for Beer

Tricycle Derby
Catch the Keen!

    •  And now for the best part of the race!  Even though I acted like a kid all day I still had the ID to enjoy a post race margarita!!

    Celebratory drinks!
    A great day with a great friend!  We will be there next year and I highly recommend you do the same!!

    More fun times:

    The injury of the day.  Susan got a bloody nose jumping in the pool.  It was gross!!
    Soaking wet and ready to ride again!
    At the finish line with all 9 beads!

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    The Vegas Report

    My first trip to Sin City was my senior year of college.  I was twenty-one and we piled a bunch of girls into my parent's minivan for the trip out (it doesn't get much cooler than that!).  I think I stayed up all night.  I think I went to a club.  I think I was inappropriately dressed.  I was carded every two feet (I looked 12 at the time).  If there were digital cameras back then I would include a few pics from that trip.  But alas, it was in the dark ages of 35 mm and I don't know how to work that scanner thing.

    Fast forward 10 years.  8 years of marriage, three dogs, and two kids can change the way a lady does Vegas.  Although I had a really fantastic time I learned one important thing from the trip: I'm old!  I have no idea when it happened.  It probably snuck up on me sometime between cleaning poop off of onsies and yelling at my kids to stop yelling.  I was preoccupied and KAPOW I'm suddenly complaining that my heels are killing me and I can't wait to take off my supportive undergarments (yeah I'm talking bout you Spanx).  Yup, I'm O-L-D.

    For those of you still trying to figure out what 35 mm is, I am sure you totally believe I am old.  For those of you who don't believe me, here is the evidence that I enjoyed Vegas AARP style:
    • I only got carded in the casino one time when, ironically, I was ordering water and not alcohol.
    • I was ordering water and not alcohol.
    • I was very happy to be in bed before midnight both nights.
    • I might have danced to "Whoomp there it is."
    •  Right after this picture was taken I ditched the heels and put on filp flops.  Did they match?  Nope.  Did I care?  Nope.  My feet hurt and let's be honest, I'm married so I don't do things like wear heels ALL night.
    • Our travel companions kept popping pills. . .for heartburn.  Haha Jim and Joanna!  I had to poke a little fun.  We had a great time with you guys.
      Jim and Joanna Grant.  Don't let their youthful good looks fool you!  They decided they were old too! 
    Vegas at dawn (already a million degrees)

    •  Here is the view I saw when I left my hotel room in the morning.  Coincidentally, this is the view that most people saw when going to their hotel rooms for the night.  I think this one has more to do with the fact that I am a morning person and less to do with how old I am.
    •  My idea of living it up was sitting by the pool (in 50 SPF) reading Bossypants (thank you Tina Fey for the hilarious read).
    • Lattes from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf are at the top of my list of best attractions in Vegas.  In my defense, they are ridiculously delicious and I have been in serious withdrawal since I moved to Colorado!
    •  My husband and I had a conversation about the music being "too loud."
    • After seeing a billboard for Thunder from Down Under, I might have suggested that it would be a more appealing show if instead of the men taking off their clothes they did things like unload a dishwasher and fold laundry.  Take notes men- housework is sexier than muscles!!
    • And lastly, even though I didn't go crazy in Vegas I still need a whole day to recover from the vacation!
    I am happy to say that realizing I was no spring chicken did not spoil the trip.  We had a great time despite complaining about our corns and the lack of Matlock reruns on the hotel tv (kidding!).

    More Fun Times:
    Kevin and Jim fully embracing their bromance.

    No one I'd rather be old grow old with!

    I think we are thinking, "Thank God we don't have to put the kids to bed tonight!"   

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    An underwater sort of day

    Friday was aqua day at the Schmidt house.  

    It started out with my second open water swim (eek!!).  I opted for a swim at Bear Creek Lake.  It is cheaper and the water is more clear than Grant Ranch.  On the downside, you are on your own and there are no buoy markers.  Plus you can't swim out across the lake, but that is kinda a plus for me right now (baby steps, baby steps!!).

    The beach was deserted when I got there because it was 8am.  The beach goers usually wait for it to warm up a bit (which is what I should have done).  When I got to water I noticed that there was one guy swimming along the beach and he had a wetsuit.  He was smart because guess what, the water was freeeeezing.  I don't own a wet suit because they are really expensive to buy. . .even used.  Triathlon gear starts to get expensive after awhile and I know I will be fine without one on race day.  It is just hard to continually cough up the dough.  So alas I freeze from time to time.

    Wetsuit dude got out right when I got in.  It was just me and the fish.  I eased my way in and immediately began to talk myself into this whole thing.  I looked in the water (nice and clear) and started out slow.  I stayed close to the rope and swam back and forth a few times.  I did much better than my first time out!  I front crawled, had pretty good form, and was getting somewhat comfortable.  Then I started getting hypothermia.  I called it a morning and went home to the kiddos.

    To continue with the water theme we headed to the Downtown Aquarium.  Maybe seeing fish would encourage me to become one?  The kids and I had a great time (much better than my frosty swim).  We saw the fish and other assorted creatures.  I got to hear my kids tell an elderly gentleman that the bird he was talking about was not a parrot, it is a called a macaw (can you tell mom was a science teacher!).  We had lunch, played, and rode the train.  It was a great day and a reminder that I need to get in that open water more!

    Some more pictures of our aquatic adventures:

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    1 down, 12 to go

    My second half marathon is 13 weeks away.  Even though I am training for the Tri for the Cure I need to make sure I get in one long run a week.  13 weeks, 13 long runs (lucky number 13 will be the race).

    Monday was the first long run.  I haven't actually done a long run since the Colfax Half Marathon on May 15th.  So for two months my longest run has been 4.25 miles.  I wasn't sure how well I would do or how far I would go.  And I definitely didn't know how fast I would do it.  I made a general plan to run 7 miles. . .slowly.  The other plan for the day was to run flat which means a drive out to the Mary Carter Greenway (flat runs are hard to come by here).

    It was a beautiful morning.  Sixty-seven, cloud cover, light breeze.  Perfecto!  I gathered the ipod, the uber dorky (yet totally necessary) hydration belt, the Newton's, a hat, and I was off.  I told myself that I would try to do 7 miles, but if I needed to do fewer that would be fine.  It was my first week after all and the if I did 4 I would still be on track with training.

    I have decided to use my heart rate monitor for training this time.  It had been malfunctioning and telling me I had a heart rate of 60 then 250 then 23 then 210.  What the heck??  Either I need to see a cardiologist or this thing wasn't working.  It is no longer possessed and seems to be working correctly so I used it for my long run.  I wanted to feel comfortable the whole time so I aimed for a heart rate around 150-170.  I know this is a range I can sustain for a long time.  Lower and I am not working hard enough, higher and I will burn out.

    I am pleased to report that the run ended up being quite fantastic.  The temperature was great, my heart rate was good, and my legs were hanging in there.  When I got to the point where I would turn around I thought, what the heck, I'll keep going!  (I am sure the fact that my kids woke up super grumpy and were already fighting with each other had absolutely no influence on this decision.)  The way back was a little slower and my legs really began to feel it.  But I knew I would make it and I did just that.  9.4 miles.  Not bad for my first time out.

    I must admit I was a little slower than I wanted to be.  It took me 91 minutes (9:40 pace).  I was hoping for faster but I am overall pleased with my starting point.  I will have to put in some serious work if I want to average 9 minute miles, but dang it I want to have a sub 2 hour time! 

    12 more runs and 12 more chances to run it faster!

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Swimming with the fishes

    Today was my first open water swim of the season!  The triathlon I am doing next month is open water so practicing is a must.  Why is practicing in open water necessary?  Swimming is swimming, right?  Um, no.  Not even close.  Here are my thoughts about open water swims and why you need to (make yourself) get in before race day:
    Clean and Safe!
    • Running on a treadmill feels a little different than running outside.  Riding a stationary bike is not the same as riding on the road.  But swimming in a pool is totally and completely different than swimming in open water.  While the mechanics of your stroke are the same, the mental aspect of being in open water is what makes it so different.  In a pool you can see the bottom.  That bottom is close to your feet.  There are lane markers and walls.  You can stop if you want to.  Even if you don't stop you know that you can and that makes you feel safe and calm.  In open water you have to swim, float, or die.  Those are your three option and I generally try to avoid the third.   
    • I am not a neat freak, and I don't have OCD. . .until I get into water.  I don't like murky water.  The cleaner the better.  Chlorine?  Bring it on!  Sea creatures, slimy plants, mud between my toes.  Yuck!!!!  It really, really makes my skin crawl and I have to go to my special place to make it through the whole experience.  Maybe I was traumatized by seaweed as a child (I am pretty sure my brother threw it at me often)?  I don't really know, but whole slimy, gooey aspect gets to me.  The more time I spend in open water the more I can block out the goo.
    • I think I saw this while swimming today
    • I am pretty sure there is something bad in the water that will try to eat me. . .and I know this is ridiculous, but really I think there is something bad in the water that will try to eat me.  I really never should have watched Jaws.  Yes, a shark in a man made lake 1000's of miles from the ocean is unlikely, but maybe there is a "lake shark" or a Loch Ness monster type creature.  I don't know. . .because I can't see anything!  And frankly a small fish rubbing up against me is almost just as bad.  It gives me the heebie jeebies and so spending time in the water reassures that I will not be swallowed by lake creatures (probably).
    • You think you swim in a straight line?  Probably not.  Or at least I don't.  Open water swimming requires sighting (which to be honest I don't really get or know how to do).  My strategy is to front crawl and then occasionally switch to breast stroke to make sure I am going the right way.  This seemed to work for me today but maybe I will try to figure out this whole "sighting" thing.  
    • Waves splash into your face sometimes.  You need to get used to that or you will start hyperventilating and quite possibly die (and when I say you I mean me).  The very first time I did open water last year this happened to me.  I was not ready for the wave/splash factor.  It was fine once I got used to it, but I would have been in trouble if I had not practiced in open water before my race.  
    • Make like this walrus and float if you need to.
    • Be prepared to start off slow and know what to do if you start to feel panicky.  If you start off too fast during an open water swim there is no place to take a rest.  So I think you should start off your swim nice and easy.  Also, it is reassuring to know if you need to take a rest you can switch your stroke or simply float.  Practice this and it will give you peace of mind.  Remember, if you start to feel panicky just flip to your back, float, breath, calm down, and continue when you feel ready (and by the way you can also do this during a race).       
    • The most important reason you should get into the water before the race day is just to gain a sense of confidence that you can do it.  When you see the buoy markers it is going to seem reeeeeally far.  Knowing that you can accomplish the distance will make you calm and confident on race day.
    So how did I do on my first open water swim of the year?  I did not do so hot if I am going to be honest.  The water was super murky.  It was a big green mess when I looked in.  Instead of swimming the buoys I just got accustom to swimming front crawl in the water.  It was the first time I swam with my head in open water and it is going to take some getting used to (last year I swam in it, but not with my head in the water).  So I stayed close to shore to help my anxiety and swam back and forth.  Next time I will go farther but for me and water it is always baby steps (or strokes I guess).

    Saturday, July 9, 2011


    I really don't know why it is called a brick, but when you bike and then immediately run it goes by that name.  I had no idea such a thing existed until last year when I started training for my first triathlon.  Every bit of training advice advocates doing bricks to get ready for race day.  And this makes a lot of sense because when you do a triathlon you get off your bike and start running.  So you need to practice doing just that.  Here are somethings you can learn from doing them:
    • Switching gear.  What do you put on?  What do you take off?    
      • Head gear.  Well I guess you could run with your bike helmet on, but I suggest taking that off.  I switch to a hat because I like running with a hat.  
      • Shoes.  If you use bike shoes you need to take those off and put on your running shoes.  Lots of advice tells you to undo your bike shoes and leave them clipped into the bike.  I am sure this would work for some people, but it sounds a lot like what I would tell the paramedics I was doing when I sustained my massive injuries.  No thanks.  I am sure it might be a bit faster but it also increases my risk of being in a full body cast.  If you are more graceful than me (very likely) then give it a go, but either way you do need to experiment with getting in and out of shoes.  
      • Source of hydration.  I have water bottles on my bike and I use a hydration belt for running (even short distances).  I like to be hydrated.  I feel better and I perform better.  So I put on the hydration belt.  I haven't decided if I will do it for the race or not, but I do use it when I train.
    Here is a diagram of the muscles that will be sore.
    • Switching Muscles.  Both cycling and running use your legs but they use them differently.  It is good to get some practice going from one to the other.  Running a 5K is different with tired vs. fresh legs.  Get your body used to running on jello legs!  This will also give you an idea of how fast you will do your run portion.  Don't expect it to be as fast as a stand alone run because (unless you were totally slacking in the other two events) you will be tired.   
    • All out or Burn out?  How hard should you push yourself?  If you go too slow you won't be able to make up that time even if you have a good run.  If you go too hard you will be crawling to the finish line.  So how do you know how hard to ride your bike?  Practice.  The only way to know is to do some bricks and figure out how hard you can push your ride without sacrificing your run performance.
    So today I went out and finally did a brick.  I have to follow my own advice, right??  I learned from this experience that I need to do some more. . .like a lot more before my race (which is 4 weeks from tomorrow!!!).
    This is how I felt after I finished.  I have a lot of work to do

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Confessions from an addict

    I am realizing I might have a bit of an addiction.  I think I hold back a little because of the cost, but if money wasn't an object, I know I would do it all the time.  Hi, my name is Katie, and I am a race-aholic.

    I guess it could be worse.  I could be addicted to crack or online gambling.  As far as addictions go, I suppose it is a rather healthy one.  But I am realizing that I scour the internet looking for upcoming events I could try.  And in true addict fashion I have added two more races to my calendar: The Denver Rock and Roll Half Marathon (10/9) and the Urban Assault Ride (7/24).  And of course I am still training for Tri for the Cure (8/7).  See, I have a problem.

    I am really excited for the Urban Assault Ride because it just sounds too fun.  My bestie and I are going to tackle this one together.  You have teams of two, who ride around on bicycles, solving clues and completing obstacles.  Um, awesome!  I have no idea how I could even train for this, so it will be purely for kicks.  I know Susan and I will have a great time.

    My husband likes to remind me that I (constantly) complained about Half Marathon training.  I know, I know, I whined. . .a lot.  But at the end of the race I was so happy that I had done it.  To be honest I was looking at doing the full marathon, but decided I wasn't there yet.  My friend Audrey asked if I wanted to do the half with her and well I just couldn't say no.  Of course I said yes ( I told you.  I have a problem)!!  I am really excited about it and I will start training soon.  My goal this time is under 2 hours. . .but we will see!

    I am also training for Tri for the Cure which complicates half marathon training. . .or maybe it is the other way around.  I should say "training" because I haven't been doing bricks, open water swims, or really even riding very often.  The race is a month away and I really need to get on it!  But training for both events means I need to do at least one brick a week and one long run.  So. . .that is just kind of a lot.  My goal time for this race is under 1:30. 

    To top it all off I did a race today.  But this was a virtual race which is great for two reasons.  1) I didn't have to drive anywhere and find parking.  2) No entry fee!  And a chance to win prizes!  I did this through Let's Move it Momma's blog.  She had a lot of great sponsors and I am crossing my fingers that I win something (especially because it isn't based on your time.  Now that is a race I can get behind).  I have been having issues with the treadmill so I mapped out a 5K route on and it just so happened that three times around the block was 5K.  My time was 26:45 (8:37 min miles).  Not my best time ever, but still ok for me.  Here is the map and some pictures to go with it.

    Official time from the heart rate monitor
    Running to the finish line with Mason