Friday, July 30, 2010

Time Flies...

... when you have fun OR a race on the weekend.

I am glad it's already Friday, but can somebody explain to me where the week went? This is crazy!

Oh and I forgot to attach that to the last post, but I actually took a picture of the turtle that I scooped off the road yesterday morning. The turtle still had the head out when I picked it up, but as soon as I pulled out the phone to take a picture... Well, you see what happened.

And to extend the list of wildlife we have around the house, Karma (the dog) and I almost ran into a snake on our evening walk. I noticed it way too late and first thought it was dead, but Karma as nosy as she is got pretty close and the snake lifted the head up... And then I turned around. ;-) I assume it was a rat snake, but I am not really that great at identifying snakes.

Oh the wildlife... You gotta love it.

Anyways, let's get back to taper week. This is what I did:

Monday: 1h 20mins ride*
Tuesday: 30 mins ride and 40 mins run
Wednesday: 30 mins ride and 40 mins run

Thursday: 30 mins ride and 25 mins run

*was supposed to be 1h ride and 20m run, but the thunderstorms prevented the run

All workouts were done in the evening. I was in bed early (10pm) every night and got a good 8 hours of sleep in. I watched what I ate throughout the week and my only slip was the ice cream social at work yesterday. Reduced diet coke intake and didn't have any since Wednesday (I think). I am stretching and rolling like a mad woman. Actually, I was scheduled to have a massage yesterday, but that unfortunately got canceled... So Terry tortured gave me a massage again. (Thanks, baby!) I am still super tight in my legs... I was screaming when Terry put pressure on my ITB and saw little stars floating in front of my eyes.

Today was rest day and more stretching and rolling.

In general, I would try to stay off my feet tomorrow as much as possible, but I signed up to volunteer at the Youth Tri at Furman tomorrow morning. I got put on the run course which means I am going to be out there until the bitter end. Oh well. If I can squeeze it in somehow, I will also try to get a little swim in, to shake things out.

Looking at how I handle taper week, one could think I am going for records on Sunday. But really, I try to not have any expectations on this race. It's going to be my first international distance triathlon and therefore will be an automatic PR. I do have an idea of what I want to accomplish in each leg, but I choose not to share it here, because I don't want to put myself under any pressure. This one is for fun and will be largely determined by how much I can keep my head in the game* and by the weather/ heat.

*I won't give too much away when I say that I hope to finish this race between 3 and 3.5 hours. That means I am going to race so much longer than what I ever done before... We'll see if my mental toughness can keep up.

Have a great weekend and so long! ;-)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday Thunks: Drawing In The Sand

Joining in for Thursday Thunks on this lovely day. I am in vacation mode mentally, but no vacation in sight. SIGH.

1. Do you draw anything or perhaps your name in the sand when you go to the beach?
I don't think that I am a creative person. So most of the time when at the beach, I don't draw stuff in the sand, but like to stick me feet in it and dig them in.

2. What is out your back door?
A big wooden deck, a big driveway and then a lot of yard and trees. We do live in the middle of the woods. So on top of all the trees we also have TONS of wildlife in our back yard. Squirrels, frogs, rabbits, geckos, lots and lots of birds (e.g. woodpeckers)... Actually, just this morning, I rescued a turtle from the road.

3. Do you prefer the beach, a pool or a lake? Why?
I think I prefer a lake, because it's something Terry and I can agree upon. He doesn't care for the beach or the pool and a lake always gives him more options for stuff he enjoys like fishing etc. So there is something for both of us in the mix.

4. What is something recently that happened to you that you are REALLY excited about?
Isn't every day exciting? ;-) But no, nothing happened to be REALLY exciting... I guess I would be able to remember if hmmm? ;-)

5. Are any of your great-grandparents still alive? If not did you ever meet them?
I never met my mom's parents, but my dad's parents and my family actually lived in the same house until they died when I was age 14 and 16.

6. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group? Tell us about it.
I haven't done a speech or a presentation in quite a while. But at work I have to constantly speak before larger groups in trainings and meetings. Nothing worth talking about anymore. Fortunately, even stuff like that becomes routine at one point. But I do remember the first presentation that I had to give in college and that gave my nightmares back then.

7. Have you ever bungee jumped? Would you ever bungee jump?
No and I doubt it. I don't even ride rollercoasters, so bungee jumping just seems too far out for me.

8. How strong emotionally do you think you are?
On a scale 1-10, I think I am a 7. I sure have my moments, but at the end of the day, I was always able to hold it together so far. But I also have to say, that so far *knock on wood* I didn't have to go through major emotional heartwrecking situations. I know, that I am lucky. Believe me!

9. What is the first thing you notice about people when you meet them?
The way they talk! I listen a lot to try figure things out.

10. Who do you mess with the most?
I am not sure what that is even supposed to mean...

11. Who was the last person you talked to on a landline?
For private purposes, I can't remember. I don't even know our landline phone number from the top of my head, because I never even give that number to anybody. At work, I still frequently use the landline.

12. What was the last movie you watched long after it came out and loved?
Harry and Sally? I do love that movie and I don't think I was already alive when the thing came out first.... Okay, maybe that was an exaggaration, but you get my point. I am not a movie person... At all.

13. What did you dream about last night?
No idea... But fortunately, no nightmares about the race on Sunday.

Happy Thursday everyone and so long! ;-)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Midweek Inspiration: Motivational Quotes

Because sometime, we just need a little quote to set us straight and get the head back into the game.

This is a random assortment of quotes that I have seen over the last couple of days/weeks in random places like people's blog titles and signature lines etc.

“Don’t be concerned with what you can’t do. Work on what you can do – then count your blessings.”
Alan Robinson, 56-year-old partially paralyzed marathon runner.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."

"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot."

Eleanor Roosevelt 

"You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy."
Arthur Ashe

"It's not whether you get knocked down; it's whether you get back up."
Vince Lombardi

 "There are only two options regarding commitment; you're either in or you're out. There's no such thing as life in-between.
Pat Riley

"Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
John Wooden

"Some people say I have attitude - maybe I do... But I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does - that makes you a winner right there."
Venus Williams

With this, I'll send you on your way to conquer the second half of the week.

So long! ;-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits: Taper ROCKS!

I read a lot about "Taper Madness" and such in blogs and I really don't get it.... sorry! People are just different and for some, dropping a lot of volume leading up to a race makes them antsy... And others... Well, they just enjoy all the extra time that got dropped in their laps. I belong to later type.

Here is why:

  • The workout that I talked about in Sunday's blog post... Didn't happen. I didn't feel it... It was just way too hot! Also, my knees and shins just felt really crappy. Normally, I would have grinded it out anyways since I wouldn't have had the time to catch up... But oh glorious taper: I had a scheduled off day on Monday and so things just got moved around a little.
  • Work outs are getting shorter and less intense. I don't have to exercise two hours a day every day to be happy... I don't have to gut out intervals to smile! Believe me... I enjoyed the easy ride on the trainer last night.
  • Did I mention all the additional time that I have available due to that... I might even try to clean the house! Okay, that's probably taking it too far! ;-)

But taper is also there, to take care of myself and rest up:

  • make sure to get plenty of sleep
  • CLEAN diet ALL week!
  • drink LOTS of water!
  • stretch, stretch and stretch
  • don't pack your stuff at the last moment
One tidbit that is not taper related:

Last night, I fed the dog some watermelon. Well, I never thought she would be into watermelon, but I dropped a piece cutting the melon up and Karma mopped the floor clean, so I'll let her have a couple more pieces... Healthy dog and stuff. What I didn't think of though was, that eating watermelon late at night equals having to go pee during the night. Guess who got up to take her out! I can only blame myself.

I hope everyone has a good week.

So long! ;-)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Science Book, French I Took...

Anyone know this line? It's out of Sam Cook's "Wonderful World".

Saturday during the bike ride, I remembered a story from a while ago. You know, one of the stories that you will remember every now and then sitting down with friends. Well this is one of those:

Way back when I was young and restless and in college, my best college friend got an assignment from her dad. Her dad owns a leasing company for cars (or did at the time) and for one of their customers the lease was up. The customer lived up in Hamburg which is a 7 hour drive to where we went to school on a good day (= no traffic jams). So we got the assignment to bring his new car to him and take the old car back and while we were up there, we were able to spent some time with her mother. Win, win and win. The ride up was a breeze. We had a brand new Mercedes C-Class (if I remember correctly) as a ride and just had a blast road tripping and having girl time.

On the last day of the trip we drove into a surburb of Hamburg to exchange cars. The guy was older and if I remember correctly a doctor. While we were handling some of the paperwork, we had some issues with a fax machine (paper jam) that he tried to remedy it by stuffing even more paper into the machine. It took forever to take care of everything and I can't even remember anymore what exactly the holdup was.

When we were finally done, he gave us the car radio that he had removed, because he didn't want to tempt anybody to break into the car to steal it. Even back then, nobody was getting into the hassle of breaking into a car to steal a regular radio plus tape deck. Once we were in the car, we stuffed the radio back into the console and had to find out that the security system works and that thing wouldn't play unless we entered a PIN... And of course the PIN was nowhere to be found. We ended up driving home for at least 7 hours (I think there were traffic jams, but not sure) with no music. Zipp. Nada. Nothing.

Since I was the passenger, I felt like I had to entertain my driver on this looooong tip. So I started singing... A lot... Random songs... Just a couple of lines each time, because (of course) I don't know so many song lyrics from the top of my head. Let me say that my playlist was shorter than one of the local top 40 radio stations. You get the picture. For whatever reason, I had the line "science book, french I took" going around in my head and it probably took me half the trip to remember the melody and the rest of the song.... But whenever I hear the song or remember the line, it triggers all of those memories about this trip.

How did I remember this random story while being on my bike? Well, I don't use iPods and sometimes, when I am on the road all alone, I entertain myself with singing. Well, maybe not singing but squeezing out a couple of notes between my huffing and puffing. And the funny thing is: I am NOT alone. We live at a fairly well frequented cycling route and you would be surprised by the amount of cyclists singing to themselves! We sure seem to be on the road to happiness on our two wheels! ;-)

Other than that? It's Monday.

So long! ;-)

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Triathlon is challenge, that's why we do this right? We are not happy with just swimming, biking or running, we have to put it all together in one event. That's the beauty of it, right?

Right! But sometimes, things just get a little rougher as usual and then you just have to watch out that your mental toughness (what?) isn't going down the deep in.


In the last week, I had the opportunity to do a training triathlon twice. Last week at the AOC course preview (even though that wasn't in the correct sequence) and yesterday at Lake Rabon in Laurens. Sure, the current heat wave doesn't help, but it feels like I am moving from "running is my weak suit" to "two out of the three sports is going to suck at any given day".

Last week it was the run (of course) and the bike less than stellar due to that hip/butt issue, but the swim felt really good.

Yesterday we started off with the swim and it sucked. The water was warm like a hot tub and I got stuck into the fast people group that started last. Well, only that yesterday I wasn't one of the fast people. I just didn't get into a rhythm and was constantly out of breath. What the heck?? So I fell off the back and at one point just cut across the lake to join the group again... There was just no sense in trying to do the whole thing yesterday.

The bike was great! The course was great! I finally seem to have my bike legs back or at least I had them yesterday. There was some general soreness going on and starting at mile 20, I had to stand up a couple of times to stretch out the legs, but other than that it was a great ride. I averaged 17.7 mph over a 29 mile course. That made me a very happy camper.

And then the run. Oh this crappy run. Funny enough, my training runs are going great. No complaints. I do what I am supposed to do at the paces I am supposed to do it and I hit it. But after riding the bike for close to 30 miles, I just don't seem to have the endurance to have a good run. At least I don't have it now. Of course it didn't help that by the time we started running, it had gotten hot, hot and hot and the run course had several stretches with only little shade.

The heck with it! Taper starts TODAY ("only" a 1h bike ride and a 20 minute run and OFF tomorrow!) and I am trying to schedule a massage for early next week to get rid of this tightness that I have in my legs for the last couple of weeks. I should have gotten a massage much earlier.

I hope with all of this, I will have the spring back in my step by next Sunday...

So long! ;-)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ready To Be Done With This!

It is fascinating to me, how people train for Half Ironman and Ironman races or really marathons for that matter. I am working towards an olympic distance triathlon and now at the end of the training cycle, I am just ready to be done with this.

I am officially at a point, where I start to dislike the swim-bike-run. I am pretty sure that this is just temporary mood, since I remember feeling the exact same way during the last weeks leading up to the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (that never happened).

And of course, I already have the next "big" event in my calendar which will be the Spinx Runfest Half here in Greenville. The training plan ist already imported in my log. After "Assault On Cherokee", I will take a week off anything resembling structured training and probably won't do anything at all. Not because I think it's going to take so much out of me that I need to recover for a full week, but really do give me a mental break.... To make sure I don't lose the joy for the sport in the process.

I am looking forward to having a little more time for non exercise related activties and other forms of exercises that I haven't been doing for the past couple of months because a day has just 24 hours. I also expect that things are going to get a little more stressful at work with planning ramping up.... So everything seems to fall into place, at least from what I know today and we all know, things are constantly changing.

But since the race is not over yet, I have one more big day ahead of me... Which really isn't that big anymore compared to what I did last weekend. So on Saturday, I will join a training triathlon (1 mile open water, 29 mile bike and 3 mile run) and I can't wait - not! ;-)

So long! ;-)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Open Water: Mentally Staying In My Happy Place

I heard it's a good idea to NOT do your first open water swim on race day. ;-) Sounds kind of logical and I was happy that I had a chance to swim the course for the race during our Sunday preview - my first open water swim.

Well, technically, it's really not my FIRST open water swim (OWS) ever, since I swam in lakes and oceans growing up. But I never considered these "open water swims", but play time. They had nothing to do with continuous swimming for any length of time... And there normally was a floating device* nearby and you didn't get disqualified when you paddled on said device for a while.

*Speaking of floating device: Let me share a story of one of my summer vacations way back when. I think it happened during a vacation somewhere in Croatia. The beach was always packed with other German kids, so we had tons of people to play with. One day maybe ten of us where playing on a surf board around 100 yards off shore. We just jumped off the thing and climbed back up, dove off etc. At one point I jumped off the one side of the board and when I came back up out of the water, all the other kids jumped off the other side of the board and therefore pushing the board towards where I was and I got smack right in the face by the edge of the surf board. I had a shiner for the next couple of days, but other that that, nothing major happened. Actually, I still managed to swim back to shore on my own.... Oh blissfull memories! ;-)

I thought I would be more nervous about it... but no. Nevertheless, the pep talk that Stacy (training buddy) gave me was more than welcome! We decided to stay together since she is the OWS pro and I am the newbie... She also had a stop watch that I forgot in the car.

First order of business when I was in the water, I stuck my head in it and was relieved to see that I didn't see much! Tinted googles are my friend! And soon after that, we took off for a warm up lap from the dock on the right side of the lake to the dock on the left and back. Funny enough, the only time that I swallowed water was when treading water to regroup on the other side of the lake.

There were three kayaks/canoes for safety and also to mark the turnaround point on each side. And this was also part of the practice, to still find your way even if you don't have a black line to follow. The sighting practices that Coach Katie had us do during the tri swim class really came in handy and I never really veered off the course much. I almost bumped into people every now and then... Oh well.

In general, I actually thought it was a really fun experience. Much more fun than swimming in a pool could ever get. I also took it fairly easy, just to make sure that I am comfortable doing this for an amount of time without having the chance to cling on a wall to take a breather. So every now and then I breast stroked some, I also had to fix my googles once, which is also good to know that I am capable of doing this while treading water.

The only thing that I had to watch out at times was, to make sure that I mentally stayed in my happy place and pushed away thoughts about:

  • river monsters

  • water snakes

  • grabbing into sea grass (which is probably the only reasonable "fear" here) - it grosses me out!
Also thoughts like: "I wonder if they counted how many people are in the water and make sure that all get out again?"... Stuff like this is not very productive! ;-)

So long! ;-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Damage Control

As the title of this post already suggests... I am in damage control mode.

Since the sprint triathlon on Saturday was more or less another workout for me, to test out some new equipment (Garmin quick release), nutrition (practicing to drink enough, gel blasts) and pacing on the run, I was planning to do another ride in the afternoon and Terry wanted to join. SCORE! Having my best buddy as training partner. SWEET!

We took off to do the "Green Valley" Loop, which is a little over 20 miles from/to the house. I was planning on riding comfortably and not pushing too hard. Everything was alright, if you ignore the continued no-show performance of my legs. During the bike leg of the race that morning and also on this afternoon ride, I felt a little pain in my left buttock. That's the side that I have constantly piriformis issues, so I just ignored it. UNTIL ignoring it was just not possible anymore, because it felt like somebody was stabbing me with a knife. What the heck??? It got so bad that I got off the bike at one point to stretch, but it really didn't do anything. I still had a couple of miles to get home and the rest of the way I took it super easy and fortunately didn't get another attack of crippling pain. But something was just not quite right.

On Sunday then, a training buddy and I drove up to Kings Mountain State Park again, to join the Rock Hill Tri Club for another installment of a course preview. I was able to keep up during the first 10 miles, that are fairly flat, but as soon as the rolling hills started, I felt the pain creeping up on me again and the only thing that seemed to keep it at bay was sitting really upright (think beachcruiser upright) going up the hills and don't push it. As soon as I tried to generate power with my glute muscles, the pain got worse. Fortunately, nothing like the day before, but that was also due to the fact that I didn't try too hard. Of course I wasn't able to keep up with the group, but that's okay. At least I saw the course another time and hopefully by the time the race rolls around, I don't have to worry about stabbing pains in the butt anymore.

Last night, I headed out for a very easy recovery ride on a flat course, just to move a little bit... There was only very little discomfort and right now, I am not sure, if this is just soreness from rolling out that area so much over the last couple of days. Funny enough, I don't feel it during running at all. That's a good thing.

My damage control mode looks like this: stop when it hurts, don't push through the pain.... I don't think right now that I need to stop cycling, but have to make sure to keep it at a level that doesn't aggravate the muscle more.

Then of course I keep on drinking healthy smoothies: recoverite, spinach, acai berry juice and frozen mixed fruit:

Ice, ice baby.

Rolling, rolling, rolling.... Terry is torturing giving me massages with the roller.

And I look at cuteness. Cuteness can cure anything! ;-) Side note: Karma claimed the couch in the downstairs living/ exercise room that nobody uses anyways. If that means that she doesn't bother me at nights, she can go right ahead.

So long! ;-)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Tom Hoskins Memorial Sprint Triathlon

Oh boy. Where to begin? I am so tired from my monster workout weekend that I can hardly think straight. I am so ready for taper... You have NO IDEA! Funny thing was, when I clicked on the "new post" button, I mostly thought about writing down Sunday (first open water swim, biking with butt pain etc) and then I realized that I get WAY AHEAD of myself.... I almost forgot that I did a sprint triathlon Saturday morning with everything else that was going on last weekend.

So a race report it is then! ;-) Oh and it's going to be a long one, so you might want to grab a cookie or something.

350 yards pool swim - 13.9 mile bike - 3.1 mile run

Results (based on chip time):

Swim 5m49s (pace 1:40m/100y) OA 31/126 AG 3/10 GR 6/60
T1 1m55s
Bike 45m35s (speed 18.3 mph) OA 43/126 AG 2/10 GR 7/60
T2 1m24s
Run 31m30s (pace 10:10 min/mile) OA 79/126 AG 4/10 GR 22/60

TOTAL 1h 26m 15s OA 56/126 AG 3/10 GR 12/60

OA= overall, AG= age group, GR= gender rank

After work on Friday, I headed straight down to Columbia to stay with a friend. On my way there, I stopped by the Irmo YMCA (host) and picked up my race packet. On the way back to the interstate I drove along the running course... rolling hills... yummie.

It was around 7PM by the time I finally arrived at Leigh's house. Since I was never in Columbia before (just passed by on the interstate), we decided to head out for dinner and I was craving sushi (I think, I might found my perfect pre-race dinner). According to my friend, we were at the best sushi place in town (Inakaya on O'Neil Court) and I think she's right.

After dinner, we sat down some more and chatted and played with one of her cats. The other one preferred hiding under the couch! ;-) I made some final preparation like putting my bib on the race belt, number tags on bike and helmet and then went straight to sleep... I was so tired and it was a pretty long day.

Alarm was set to 5AM (I love to not have to rush) and seconds after the phone rang with my backup alarm clock (Terry). I had a small breakfast and played with the cat... The one that doesn't hide under the couch when a stranger comes to visit. I was out the door by 5.30AM which gave me enough time to also drive the bike course (more rolling hills) before setting up transition and pick up the timing chip.

The guys that were next to me in the transition area were also right behind me in the time trial swim start. Transition racks and swim starts are assigned to you based on your estimated swim time. We kept on chatting back and forth since we three were back at transition around the same time every time. Actually, I crossed the finish line side by side with the guy that started behind me. We were all lined up and ready to rumble when they delayed the start for 15 minutes. So I grabbed something to drink (I wanted to make sure this time that I am drinking enough) and had two Powerbar Gel Blast (rasperberry flavor, very yummie!) and made a pit stop for the 100th time.

What always surprises me is, how relaxed I am at a triathlon start. I might have nightmares the night before and show a temper on my way there, but once I am in the water or even while lining up, I am just calm. I got this.... well, at least the swim portion! ;-)

And then I was off in the water... plugging along. The swim was back and forth in the same lane and it got quite crowded at times in the beginning. After I was passed by the three guys that started behind me, I latched on to the feet of the one that started right behind me and was able to draft off him for the remainder of the swim. That made for a pretty "relaxed" swim for me. It's amazing how much energy you save by drafting!!! Once again, I have to give it to Coach Katie to make us practice drafting during the tri swim classes earlier this year!!

Out of the water and jogged to the transition area. It went smooth, but I could seriously rush a little more next time. I ran out of the transition area with my bike and before I got to the mount line, I looked down and noticed that I was in a big gear and the mount was on a small uphill. CRAP! Mental note for the next time: make sure that I am in a small gear when I rack my bike. Fortunately, a volunteer gave me a big push, so I was able to get up and over that hill and to the road fairly quickly.

So the bike... well... It felt kinda crappy. It felt like my legs were not quite there, especially on the climbs and normally, I am a climber. So I just did as good and as fast as I was able to that day. Not having tapered for this race at all, might have played a role in the no-show performance of my legs. At the turnaround point, I looked down on my Garmin and I was just setting my personal goal for the bike course to have an 18ish mph average and that was what I was working for the second half. This time I also paid extra attention to drinking and eating during the bike leg. One more note on the Garmin: My two previous triathlons, I didn't use the Garmin and I have to say that it was mentally a huge support for me in order to gauge what I was doing and how I was doing.

Nothing out of the ordinary here. This time, I put on socks and sure didn't regret it... Once again, I might want to rush a little more the next time.

Oh the run... My weak suit as you might see in the results. While I was top 10 in both swimming and biking, the running not so much. I know that and I am working on this. The run leg at the MTY Tri was a desaster since I seemed to have walked more than I ran due to the fact that I didn't pace myself at all. This time I had the Garmin with me and I had it set to beep at me if I am faster than a 9:15 minute/mile to ensure that I won't crash and burn. Well, I accomplished my goal of not walking (just walked through the water stop), but I actually think I played it too safe. Proof for this is, that my average pace at the MTY was still faster than this run's average even with all the walking!!! So now I have to find a happy medium between not going out too fast and not pushing enough... What a thin line.

After the finish, I walked around for a couple of minutes to get my heart rate down and then signed up for one of the free 5-minute-massages they offered. I talked to several people in the finish area, saw my co-worker coming in and then started to pack up my stuff and grab a shower. I was just done in time for the awards ceremony. I didn't expect to place, but they raffled off a wetsuit and that was incentive enough to stay. I didn't win the wetsuit - number 22 got it and I was number 23.... oh so close. I was really surprised when I heard that I placed 3rd in my AG. SWEET! More price money for ME! ;-)

Originally, I planned to get a ride in around Newberry according to my monster training weekend plans, but Terry said he would join me for my ride and so I ended up driving home, we grabbed some lunch at the Mexican place, I relaxed a little bit and unpacked and then we headed out for a 20ish mile bike ride... But that's a whole other story! ;-)

So long!

PS: Once again no pictures, but there was a guy taking pics on the course and at the awards ceremony, I hope that I will find them online somewhere to post them.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Not Crazy About That Mojo!

The title says it all hmmmm?

This place opened up a couple of weeks ago in the new strip mall close to Cherrydale and without knowing anything about the place other than they serve burgers, we just walked in last Sunday.

Mojo's Famous Burgers & More on Urbanspoon

My first reaction was "Oh, is this a fast food place?" No it really isn't, but you order on the counter and then they bring the food to you. The burgers can be customized with whatever you like. Right from the get-go the place felt like a "Five Guys" place with a different interior design.

I ordered the mushroom/swiss burger with lettuce and tomatoes and Terry ordered the bacon/cheeseburger and we split a mountain of fries. Sorry, I don't have any pictures of the food, so you'll have to take my word for it.

The burgers were alright, but that was about it. I wasn't crazy about it and I don't think we'll be going back. The juiciness factor of it, was just not there and that what makes a really good burger for both of us. Seriously, since the place was similar to "Five Guys", I guess I just expected a burger that was as good as theirs and that just didn't happen. Maybe the cook had a bad day?

What I really liked about that place though was the outside sitting area in the back, but obviously, we were the only ones that found that appealing that day! ;-)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

MONSTER Weekend Ahead!

Sometimes, I feel people blogger completely overuse the word "epic"... It's seems to be, how the cool kids talk. Instead of referring to my weekend ahead as "epic" training, I prefer the word MONSTER... because I'm a 'lil scared! ;-)

Over the last couple of weeks, my training was good. Not only did I manage to get most of my workouts in, but also was able to hit the goals for most of them. This weekend is basically going to be my last high volume training weekend before the Assault On Cherokee (AOC) International Tri. It's a MONSTER! Currently my plan is to race the Sprint Tri in Irmo on Saturday morning, then get at least another two hours on the bike in while I am in the area (I looked at a couple of routes close to Newberry). On Sunday morning I will once again make the trek up to Kings Mtn State Park and participate in the second pre-view of the AOC bike course. Fortunately, I will have some company since a swimming buddy of mine is coming along for the trip. She also plans on doing this event! It's always good to see a friendly face on race day.

This time, I will also pack my swim gear to do my first open water swim EVER and after that, if anything at all is left in the tank, I will attempt to run the course too... Hopefully this time the entire course and not the abbreviated version I did last week.

So all week, I am watching to fuel properly and hydrate well  in general, but I will have to take extra care Saturday and Sunday.

So far this week has been high volume in running and I feel it in every bone and muscle from my waist downwards. I foamroll like a nut, but the tightness just doesn't seem to go anywhere. Just to give you a brief idea what I have been doing: Sunday 2hrs, Tuesday 1h30m and yesterday 1h. My current training plan prescribes duration and not mileage, but either way... This is a lot of running for me.

Fortunately, I had a chiropractor appointment after work today... Things definitely feel looser now. Originally, I also planned a swim, but the pool was packed, so the swim is postponed to tomorrow morning.

Now I have to pack my stuff for the race since I will leave for Columbia right after work tomorrow and stay at a friend's house. I have scheduled another restaurant review post to publish tomorrow, but after that, we'll see when I make it back to posting.... Maybe Sunday afternoon, while lying in bed in compression socks and covered in ice packs! ;-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So Close And So Good!

I am no gourmet by all means, but I like food.... And I am not a big cook and mostly also under a little bit of time constraint... Call me a whiner... Whatever.

Anyways, since I like to share and mostly my opinions, I thought about introducting a new category on this channel about our restaurant experiences.... The good, the bad, the ugly.

Let's hit it off* with something good... really good actually: Taicoon Ricefire and Sushi Bar

*Well, to be exact, I was writing something resembling a reveiw about the Bavarian Pretzel Factory a couple of weeks ago, so this is technically already my second post in this category.

Thaicoon Restaurant Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

On Friday nights, Terry and I normally go out for dinner. Last Friday, I was craving sushi, but Terry is not a big fan, so going to Taicoon was the obviously choice since they offer Thai food and sushi and it's around the corner from the house, so it's also super convenient for us.

We split three pieces of spicy tuna and three pieces of spicy salmon as an appetizer:

I also had the Tom Kha Gai soup... I have this soup every time I go there, it's so good!

Terry had the Chickeen Stir Fry... His go to comfort food in this place.

And I got my sushi on with the Super Crunch (my new favourite) and the Rainbow Roll.

The food was yummie,  the portion size was just right and the service nice as always. I also like the interior design of the place, with the lighting and separate booths.

No complaints... Would recommend it anytime.

Just one quick reminder for the fans of adult beverages. They are outside the city limit and therefore don't serve alcohol on Sunday!

So long! ;-)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits Vol 9

  • I normally don't mind getting up at 5am to get my workouts done, if it means that I am free to do whatever in the evening and also don't have to workout in this heat. BUT this week it's kinda weird. I just don't want to get up early.... Tomorrow, I have a 1 hour ride and 1h10m run on tap and I seriously consider to do BOTH in the evening, just so I don't have to get up early.
  • Some administrative information about this channel: I will be cleaning up the tags of blogs in the next couple of days, so if you use an RSS feed reader, it's possble that old posts are going to pop up as unread. Sorry for any inconvenience this might cause. What I am trying to accomplish is that the tags on the sidebar reflect some of the recurring themes in the post: tuesday tidbits, midweek inspiriation, thursday thunks etc.
  • Still torn about joining the second pre-pride and swim for the AOC this Sunday. On the one hand, I would really really like to give this course another shot with knowing where I have to go and also would like to try out the swim... On the other hand, I am racing the day before in Columbia and it's a 1.5 hour trip up to King's Mtn... Descisions, descisions, descisions...
  • I am pretty happy right now about the quality of my nutrition on most days.... The quanity though is a completely different subject.
  • Currently my plan is to finish up my triathlon season with the Assault On Cherokee and focus on my running events for the late summer/ fall (BRR and Spinx Half). That should carve out some time in my schedule for other things like HIKING and YOGA.
  • I am thinking about putting a little challenge on myself for the month of August: 10 minutes of core work PER DAY and yoga ONCE A WEEK.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Trail News

This morning, I did my long run on the Swamp Rabbit Trail as usual. You might roll your eyes now and think, what the heck is she going to tell us now... We know that the trail is open now alright!

Well, things are still changing/ improving as more and more people use the trail. Just two weeks ago, I shared with you that Williams Hardware in Travelers Rest opened up their bathrooms to trail user and you can fill up your bottle. Isn't that a good to know piece of news?

So today, I discovered another opportunity to get some water etc on the trail. It's called AlleyKat's Watererin Hole and it's on the piece of trail between Watkins Bridge Road and Sulphur Springs Road.

It's says on the "menu" that the proceeds are going to the "Shriner's Hospital".... No clue about the "store hours", but certainly something to keep in mind for future trail trips.

The other piece of trail news is unfortunately not that new anymore... The intersection where the trail crosses Bramlett Ave is currently closed due to some safety concerns about the railway crossing. In order to avoid this intersection, please watch this video from describing a detour for this area. Please use the detour, because you can be cited for trespassing!!

That's all I got for today!

To round things off: I had a good long run today. Nothing crazy, but good. Was able to squeeze out a 9:30 minute/mile effort at around the 2 hour mark of the run. SWEET!

Enjoy the remainder of your Sunday!

So long! ;-)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

And I Thought Our Rednecks Were Crazy

OR "Pre Riding The Assault On Cherokee Bike Course"

Another early Saturday morning wake-up call. The pre ride for the Assault On Cherokee International was set for 8am and it's almost 1.5 hour drive up there from the house.... So I was in the car by 6.15am.

May I introduce you to Mr. Moose? He has been hanging on my rear view mirror for at least 10 years (different cars). He used to be brown, but now he is all bleached out to this pretty shade of purple. Mr. Moose has seen quite a bit of the world... ;-)

I was up at Camp Cherokee around 7.45 and there were two other cars in the parking lot. That didn't look like it's going to be a big group, but by the time we finally left for the ride (maybe around 8.15am) we were at least 30 people.

On off we were. To describe the course in short: Save the best for last! The first 10 miles are nice and flat to rolling. This is were you can really bank some time. The next 10 miles are rolling hills, but for a big portion of that stretch, the pavement is really really bad. The last 8 miles has some really long hills on them, but also some nice long downhills to rest up a little.

This is a pretty course. The end of the course is nice and in the shade. In a couple of stretches, traffic was a little crazy. But maybe the craziest/ scariest part of all of it, was the dumb a$$ that threw a firecracker in our crowd while we were waiting there to regroup. Two girls that were still on the road did get a firecracker out of the same truck and on top of it, they the passenger stuck out his naked butt out of the window. Oh boy.... You think you saw it all and then this. Fortunately, nobody got hurt.... But I assume that the picture of this big white butt is going to produce a couple of nightmares!

Around mile 10, I felt like I was riding over a bump every couple of yards. When we stopped to regrouped, I had a look at it and my tire had a bubble. We had technical support riding with us and he said, I'll be fine, but I have to be careful on the downhills, because it will be just a question of time until I blow out my tube. On my way back home, I stopped by at Sunshine and they switched my tire out.... It was a warranty issue and I didn't have to pay a thing.

After the ride, the group went down to the lake to also swim the swim course. I didn't know that this was planned, so I didn't have swim stuff with me. But I walked down with the group to at least have a look around.

Later they said that there is a lot of seaweed in the water and the water is also pretty warm. The distance from swim exit to transition is 1/3 of a mile and it's partially uphill on pretty loose gravel. So you have to have shoes there.

After that, I set out to run the run course. I ended up not doing the whole course, just 2/3rds of it. By the time I should have turned to run the out and back, I just had a little bit of water left in my bottle and I was also pretty hungry.

I am glad, that I had the opportunity to go up there and have a look around. They have another pre ride and swim next Sunday, I'll see if I am doing that trip again.

I just had enough time to drive back home (stop over bike shop), grab a shower and then head out to watch
Germany playing Uruguay for 3rd place in the World Cup! And they WON!!! Sweet!

Okay, I am dead tired and tomorrow is yet again an early wake-up call, because I want to get my long run out of the way before church.

So long! ;-)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Finally! It's Friday!

How can a four day work week feel sooooo long?

First things first: Germany lost against Spain in the half final! Sad, so sad! Somebody has to get a hold of this octopus and fry it! But at least he foretold that we are going to win tomorrow. If he continues to be right, we can rethink the frying plans. Once again, we'll huddle around a tv screen and cheer for our team... That was quite a summer sporting event... A lot of FUN! With the World Cup almost over, I may finally be able to focus a little more on the Tour de France! ;-)

After my 5 hour-ish ride* on Monday, recovery took me a little longer than I thought. I guess, I didn't expect the ride to take so much out of me. Well anyways, Tuesday was pretty much a blur. I had the glassy eyes going on and just felt completely exhausted. When I got home, Terry said that he thinks I am running a slight fever, so rest it was for that day.

*I forgot to mention another first on Monday's post and that would be that I crossed a state line for the first time on the bike! ;-)

Other than this additional unplanned rest day on Tuesday, things go pretty good these days when it comes to my workouts. Actually last week, I was able to complete ALL of my planned workouts and it looks pretty good for this week as well.... Of course there is always some moving around of workouts involved, but who cares.

With my first international distance triathlon approaching fast, I still have to tie up some loose ends. The race organizers are helping out with that by offering a group ride tomorrow and next Sunday on the race course. So tomorrow morning, I will be heading up to Blacksburg to ride the 28 mile loop around the Kings Mountain State Park and after that, I want to at least run part of the race course as a brick workout. I don't think I did any bricks since the MTY sprint tri back in June, so it's about time. Also a big X on my training schedule is a 2 hour run on Sunday. The last big thing to get in before the race is an open water swim. Looking at the alternatives I currently have, I think I will join GoTri at the open water practice at Paris Mountain State Park next week or the week after. They also offer a group ride after the swim, so that would give me a swim/bike brick.

Here is a map for the bike course from the race website:

And here is the run course:

I'll definitely take my camera with me, so I can hopefully show some pictures afterwards!

Heading out for some sushi now and then take it easy for the rest of the evening..... Tomorrow is going to be another early morning for me.

Happy weekend everyone! ;-)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thursday Thunks: Heatwave

Once again, I am joining for the current edition of "Thursday Thunks".


It's it fascinating, that where ever in the world you are, people like to talk about the weather. And it's always too cold or too hot, too dry or too rainy..... The weather just doesn't seem to be able to make things right for more than one day in a row! ;-)

Anyways... Yes, we do have a heatwave.... But I am loving it! And that comes from a person that currently doesn't have an A/C in the house! HAH!

Here we go:

1. The temperature in Mooseheadville, Canada was 34 below. Most of the U.S. is in a serious heat wave. In Connecticut, it was 92 degrees in the shade. What do YOU do to beat the heat?

Don't beat the heat! Embrace the heat! As women, we do have it a little easier, since it's socially accepted for us to show legs in the office. A dude with shorts doesn't fly most of the time. Other than that... Make sure to take in lots of fluids.... water if possible and take things easy. Also, an advise that a friend gave me on a vacation in Brazil... "Just don't think about the heat!" Sounds pretty simple, but it actually works, because once you start focusing on how hot you are, you are going to feel more and more uncomfortable!

2. What is your favorite summertime song?

Fastball - The Way

3. Besides nude beaches what's your favorite outdoor summer activity?

With our recent kayaking adventures, I think that is my new favorite summer activity. Followed closely by a nice long bike ride.

4. I'm inviting everyone to a cook-out. What should I cook for you?

I think I just recently had my perfect cook-out food.... Chicken and veggie kabobs, Terry's (famous) baked beans and warmed up naan. Other than that, I am a sucker for pasta salads and a good old burger every now and then!

5. When selecting your swimwear do you go for sexy or practical?

Practical. I hardly go swimming without it being a workout and I normally don't bake in the sun. So when I am in the water, I am more concerned about comfort and not giving a free show at the YMCA pool.

6. Back in the day, did you ever have a summer fling? If yes, do tell. (Names not required.)

I am sure there was a different fling every summer, but seriously, I can't remember any details. It's quite fascinating how much of a memory loss I suffered over the years.... Some people would probably say, that I blocked these memories... Possible... Very possible.

7. Do you know anyone who hates air conditioning? If yes, what is their reasoning?

Probably the person that is most opposed to A/C that I know is myself. I am not saying, that there shouldn't be A/C, but I think it's ridiculous that in some places the A/C is set on 65 degrees throughout the year. It's not only a waste of energy, but also doesn't make sense health-wise e.g. A/C cold etc. Believe me, I would like to have a A/C in our house right about now, but fortunately, I have alternatives in the house and just spend most of my time downstairs where it's about 15 degrees cooler.

8. When and with who was your last skinny dip?

See number 6 and my memory block!

9. How sick of LeBron James are you?

With half of our office being more concerned about the World Cup, I just heard about this whole LeBron stuff a little bit. But my understanding is, people start getting a little peed off about it... Oh well, it's not like you can't avoid the news! ;-)

10. When you were a kid, what was your best summer?

I think we had many good summers as kids. Most summers, we would go on vacation for three weeks close to the beach and the rest of the summer, we just spend in and around the public pool. We had three TV programs, no computers, no cell phone.... No reason to stay inside and at home. One of the more prominent memories from family vacations I have, is the summer when we rented a house in Spain with another family. I think there is still some video footage out there from that time. That was also the summer when our Dad decided to buy water skis and teach us without never having done it himself. But we figured it out and it was a ton of fun!

11. Belly up to the bar. We serve ANYTHING. It's 100 degrees. What should we pour for you?


12. Is there a favorite meal that you like to have in the summer?

It's not really a meal, but I am digging my fruit smoothies right now after my evening workouts. Nothing brings me back to life faster!

13. Do you think they will solve the oil spill in time for the Gulf states to enjoy summer?

I hate to be the pessimist here, but I highly doubt that they find a solution for this mess anytime soon.

Enjoy the heatwave and have a great day!

So long! ;-)

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Need A Long Weekend! ;-)

Yes, I am completely aware that I am just at the tail end of a long weekend.... But boy, it was quite action filled. I already told you all about Saturday.

Sunday was a little more relaxed. A fairly short trainer ride in the morning before church. Then after church we took right off on another kayaking adventure on Lake Robinson. After uploading the GPS information from our trip on Saturday and looking at it in Google Earth and seeing how far we already got, we thought it wasn't completely unreasonable to try to cross the lake... In two hours... Because we had a little time constraint due to a planned BBQ that night. The day before we were on there for two hours as well, but we did several breaks, this time we were moving! We still didn't quite make it through but close enough.

But when we encountered a water snake on our back, we of course made a little photo stop! ;-)

Don't worry, it looks much bigger on the picture than it actually was... I just cropped it, so you can see it better! ;-)

It was so much FUN once again, but I faded bad the last 20 or so minutes. We really have to start searching Craig's List!


Moving on to today.

The "only" thing planned for today was a 4ish hour ride. A friend joined me for the tour and we planned on riding from Furman University to Saluda.... Around 60 miles.... That would be without a couple of detours and stuff, because we got a little lost in the beginning. Oh well... What doesn't kill us....! ;-)

Here is the elevation profile to give you an idea:

I ended up with the longest ride for me ever, time wise (4h 55 mins) and distance-wise (68.56 miles) with the most feet of climbing (9,911)... I felt fine up to mile 55 and then things got a little ugly. My neck was bothering me a lot and being sore from kayaking the day before sure didn't help matters. But I stuck it out (really, what choice did I have) and made my way home.

Walked in the house and sat down on the dining room table... After two plates of yesterday's leftovers, I somewhat felt human again.... But since getting back I just laid around being lazy and trying to recover. So glad that I don't have another workout schedule until tomorrow evening. I will have a very early night today... No surprise here hmmmm? ;-)

So long!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Can't Beat It!!!

1. Hill repeats go according to plan*? CHECK!

 *4x up the hill and building into zone 5

2. Germany moving on into the half finals? CHECK!

We met at the Bavarian Pretzel Factory and that place was even fuller than the two previous times that I watched games there. We squeezed as many people as possible on our table. The atmosphere was AWESOME... There was a vuvuzela present... NOT so AWESOME. GERMANY WON!!! What a game!

3. Going kayaking with the family? CHECK!

We really enjoyed kayaking at Hilton Head Island, so we decided to rent kayaks over weekend and took them out to Lake Robinson down the road. That lake is BEAUTIFUL and not a lot of traffic going on there, which made for relaxed paddling!

4. Get a recovery ride in? CHECK!

We went out on the Swamp Rabbit for a very easy one hour ride.... I was wearing COTTON! I looked a little like a beach bun! ;-) Not a problem since I almost didn't break a sweat! ;-)

What a great day.... Time to warp things up and get some rest... Tomorrow there will be more activity! Of course!

So long! ;-)

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Nutty Swap

I am not know for a very clean diet. But things have been looking a little better lately and I made an effort on making good choices more than once a day and also cook a little more often. The last couple of weeks have been fairly successful in this department... there were a couple of slips, but at least the overall picture is going into the right direction.

Aside from everything that I mentioned above, the biggest change in my diet was swapping cow milk with almond milk.

Pic is from here.

I never considered myself lactose intolerant, but with my history of IBS spurs, I previously tried to ween myself off the cow's milk. I tried soy milk instead and found out the hard way that cow's milk might not sit well in my stomach, but soy milk basically just runs right through me. In general, I am not fond of any processed soy products, but can digest edamame without a problem... Go figure! After the soy milk desaster, I returned to the cow milk for the next couple of years, without major issues.

But lately (maybe the last six months), I noticed a queasy stomach sometimes after having my morning cereal that would vanish after an hour or two. Nothing major, just feeling uncomfortable. And since Terry complains about having trouble stomaching milk as long as I know him, I thought it was time to try out something new and bought our first almond milk and seriously, I haven't look back. From a texture standpoint, I actually don't think it's very different from skim milk. The taste is of course different, but still good and I actually enjoy it with my cereal or in smoothies*. I haven't had any of the quesiness going on since I switched to almond milk** and that alone is reason enough for my to stick to it. Thumbs up all the way!

*I also started to put spinach in my smoothies and it's true what everyone say... You can't taste it and you get so many vitams and minerals into your body with this addition... Totally worth it!
**First we tried vanilla flavored, but both didn't like it too much. Then we switched over to the original and liked it so much better. Yesterday, I finally found the original flavor unsweetened and tried it this morning with my cereal and I think that's the way to go!

Have you made any nutritional changes lately and if yes, what did you do??

So long! ;-)

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Maybe I am repeating myself here, but I had a couple of encounters over the last couple of days, which just made me realize all over again in what kind of community I got myself into when picking up the swim-bike-run.

But all of this really started with the Salsa community here in Greenville. You see, as a German transplant, I pretty much isolated myself with other German transplants for the first year of my stay here in the US. There was certainly the convenience factor that supported that behavior, but it also was the whole cultural shock* thing going on that prevented me from reaching beyond my comfort zone for the longest. You may think that cultural shock stuff is just a sorry excuse, but believe me that it is for real and between that and crazy work hours, the thought of meeting new people and maintaining new connections just completely overwhelmed me.

*It is funny to read the wikipedia explanation of "cultural shock" now after so many years and I seriously don't have any problem at all to identify the phases that I went through.

After some degree of adjustment, I felt like spreading my wings a little again and started Salsa dancing. It truely was a blessing in a lot of ways. Not only was that a start for at least a little bit of exercise, but it also led me to meet so many great and amazing people... I also met my husband there. Even though we don't make it out to the club that regularly anymore, we are still in touch with a lot of the people and at least try to attend all the special occasions to reconnect. The Salsa peeps were also a big portion of our wedding receiption and they made sure that the dance floor was properly utelized!

Then in 2008, I started out on my quest to get fit and healthy again and somehow got set on doing a triathlon. Now a couple of years later and two triathlon into the sport and a couple more lined up for the year, I notice every now and then that the benefits of the sport go way beyond the physical and mental aspects... Both Salsa and triathlon have given me such a big network of people that I never thought possible, especially since I started "from scratch" five years ago in a new country, several thousand miles away from home, speaking a different language and having a different culture from what I was used to.

But the tri community doesn't only have a social component, but it's also a lot about sharing training and racing as well as trading knowledge and experiences. Because the truth is, sometimes you just ask yourself: Is this just me? Only to find out in a conversation with a training partner or random fellow cyclist on a trail that others struggle with the same things. I found people in the swim-bike-run of things to share openly what worked for them and what they struggle with. You trade tips and tricks about training, gear and nutrition. You can ask and you will get asked yourself... Give and take!

Most of the time things are not perfect, but it always helps to know that your are part of community and they know exactly what you are talking about.

So long! ;-)