Sunday, April 29, 2012

From the Ocean to the Mountains

"If you're lucky enough to live in the mountains, you're lucky enough."

Last weekend was spend close to the ocean and this weekend, we decided to mix it up a bit an head to the mountains instead. Actually, we bought a LivingSocial deal for 2 nights at the Mountain Harbour Bed & Breakfast  in Roan Mountain TN.

Mountain Harbour B&B, Roan Mountain TN
Crossing a little creek to get to the B&B
We struck gold with that B&B. The setting is beautiful, the owner are super nice, the breakfast is seriously to die for and the homes a pretty and clean. The bonus of the place is, that it's popular with hikers, because it's so close to the Appalachian Trail and they also offer hostel accommodation. On both morning, we didn't only get really good food, but also great conversations with people hiking on the trail for a weekend trip or a several week long trip.

Since we were so close to the trail, we thought it was about time to finally hike a fraction of the trail.

Carvers Gap to Yellow Mountain Gap and back (10 mile round trip)

Start Point: Carvers Gap

From here to the B&B (US 19E) would have been just a little longer.

First unobstructed views were a little cloudy.

Trail is framed by rhododendron. In bloom in June.

First speck of sunlight on the mountain.

Hey there.

View from the turnaround point.

Quick break at the turnaround.

The day started out overcast and fairly cold. We decided to just hike out for 2.5 hours and then turn around. The picture above is at our turn around point, right after Yellow Mountain Gap. After that, the sun came out to play and warm us up. On top of it, the way back was more uphill and the way out, so that way we had to work a little harder too.

Sun came out to play after all.

Jane Bald

Trail snaking along the Grassy Ridge.

 Especially the views from "Jane Bald" and "Round Bald" were great on our way back, once the clouds had cleared a little.

We were really surprised by the amount of people on the trail. Sure, it was a weekend and the weather was nice and it's high season for through hikers right now, but I still just didn't expect so much traffic.

It was so much fun to discover a little of the A.T. and hopefully we'll be back to see some more soon.

The next morning, I headed out for a little out and back run from the B&B... To offset the breakfast, I was planning on eating! ;-)

After the run and the breakfast, we packed up and headed home... We still had one more item on tap.

Open Water Swim Time!!

Somebody looks excited! ;-)

Ready to head out.

The weather was beautiful and what better thing to do than cap of the weekend with a good open water swim?

I thought, I will just cruise along for a little swim, but my training buddy Stacy gave me a run for my money. I actually had to work. Stacy is doing her first Ironman in three weeks and girl got STRONG! Can't wait for her to put it all together on race day... She will do great.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Alea iacta est

Alea iacta est (Latin: "The die has been cast") is a Latin phrase attributed by Suetonius (as iacta alea est [ˈjakta ˈaːlea est]) to Julius Caesar on January 10, 49 BC as he led his army across the River Rubicon in Northern Italy. With this step, he entered Italy at the head of his army in defiance and began his long civil war against Pompey and the Optimates. The phrase is still used today to mean that events have passed a point of no return, that something inevitably will happen. (Source)

Terry is officially signed up for his first ironman distance race.... And since they have a half ironman distance as well, I am now signed up for another half ironman distance... You know, since I'll be there anyways!

I am sure, I will regret this decision at some point a couple of months down the road, but right now, I am just super excited! I am still so high from last Saturday's race, I am all giddy to keep on training and racing throughout the summer. There will be low points for sure, but there are always low points.

Here are some more pictures from the last race:

Looking kind of peed off at the swim exit.

Looking focused on the bike.

Looking happy to finish running! ;-)

Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bridge Runs

If you have ever been to Charleston SC, this is a familiar sight.

I love the bridge... I think it's just so pretty!

Back in 2009 (pre blog), I ran the Cooper River Bridge 10K. That's one of the biggest 10K's around the country with close to 40,000 participants every year. I don't like big crowds. They make me nervous.

For the half, we stayed at the Mt Pleasant Red Roof Inn. The hotel is half a mile away from the bridge foot/ bicycle path. I was planning on running anyways, once we get to the hotel, so what better way to get your last run in before a big race than visit this beautiful sight? And don't have to share it with 40,000 other people!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera on my Friday run... So of course, I had to return on Sunday to snap a couple of pictures... Friday it was blue skies and Sunday... it wasn't. Darn.

Just like Rocky, but on the top of the bridge instead the top of the stairs.

While I thought it was crazy to even attempt to run on Sunday morning, I am glad we rolled ourselves out of bed and got in a couple of miles. I felt so much better right away.

Recovery is going well so far.

I have done easy swimbikerun workouts every day since Saturday. No intensity and pretty short workouts, but just tried to keep on moving.

The soreness is pretty much over at this point and all that is left to do is to also mentally recover and refocus.

I may be still high from the race, but I am exciting to see what the rest of the season brings.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Race Report: TRY Charleston Half

1.2 mile lake swim - 56 mile bike - 13.1 mile run

Results (based on chip time):

Swim 36m 36s (1:44 min/ 100 yards) GR 21/83 AG 3/13
T1 1m 44s
Bike 2h 53m 11s (speed  19.4 mph) GR 40/83 AG 9/13
T2 2m 28s
Run 2h 11m 05s (pace 10:00 min/mile) GR 41/83 AG 9/13

TOTAL 5h 45m 03s GR 34/83 AG 7/13
GR= gender rank AG= age group


We both had Friday off, so after (sort of) sleeping in, we packed up the car, had a last minute chiropractor appointment, had breakfast and then hit the road.

We got to Charleston an hour before packet pickup opened, so by the time we had lunch, it was time to hit up packet pickup. From there, we went straight to the KOA Campgrounds where T1 was going to be. The race organizers strongly recommended checking in the bike on Friday and that's what we did.

Getting the bike ready for check in.

After taking the bikes out for a quick spin, to test the gearing one more time, we dropped them off and then headed to the hotel.

Since I was sitting on my butt most of the day so far, I headed out for a quick run to shake out the legs. The rest of the night was spend with elevated legs in compression socks, watching TV. Lights were out by 9pm.

After a fairly good night of rest, the alarm went off at 4.30am. We brought banana walnut muffins, bananas and almond butter along for the trip and just had breakfast in the hotel room. We also took care of the body markings before we headed out... One thing less to do at the race site.

We then drove to T2 to set up transition there, then shuttled to T1 to finish setting up transition there. Picking a point to point course for our first half was completely unintentional and a lot more logistics then I thought it would be... But hey, we like a challenge around here. ;-)

Round about one hour before race start, my transition was set and all that was left to do was stand around and wait, hit the porta potties (again) and pass the time talking to my team mates. Since the Malone Coaching girls won first place female team at the SC series last year, we are all at the same rack in a prime location for this season. SWEET.

Finally, it was time to wiggle myself into the wetsuit and head down to the swim start.


The swim was a double loop around the lake at the KOA Campgrounds in Mt Pleasant and I was not a fan. The complete swim just felt crowded from start to finish. It didn't feel like a washing machine, but I hardly ever had longer stretches was good rhythm. I also got one good kick into my side, that's always fun. With the double loop format, things just never stretched out properly and when the participants from the sprint distance also got into the lake... As I said... Crowded, crowded and more crowded.

Other than that, I felt like I had a good swim. Not an all out, air sucking type, but more the "I can keep doing this for a while" sort of swim.

The swim exit was also a bottle neck and a little backed up, but eventually, I had solid ground under my feet again and started running. Next stop were the wetsuit strippers and thank goodness for these guys. The suit was off in no time and I picked up my stuff and ran into transition.


I am fairly pleased with my T1 time. It felt like I was in there forever, but it really wasn't all that bad. The biggest task in transition was not leaving anything behind and pack everything up in a plastic bag due to it being a point to point course. Fortunately, right before the swim start, Melinda told us to just roll up the wetsuit instead of trying to stuff it in and with that advice, I was able to pack up pretty fast.


The bike is one open loop and it's super flat. I heard that the winds can get really nasty on this course, but we lucked out on race day!

First order of business on the bike was getting something in my stomach, so I had my one and only gel for this race. Even though I had several gels stored on the bike and stuffed into my race vest for the run. But for whatever reason, I felt more comfortable eating my Fig Newtons and Sunrise bars.

I also started drinking water like crazy even though it was pretty foggy still at that point and not very warm. I really think I over hydrated the first half of the bike, because I had to take a potty break at the second aid station right around mile 30.

To be honest, I was a little worried, about the bike and how long it's going to feel, but once again a lot of worries for nothing. The bike really flew by and I was happy with my five mile splits popping up on the Garmion. I never felt like I was working super hard, just kept a really steady pace.

The biggest problem on the bike was super tight hip flexors on both sides. I tried to stand up every once in a while and also sat upright every now and then. So I used the potty break to also to stretch out those hip flexors for a couple of seconds and felt a little better after that. The other problem was my stomach... I was just a little crampy off and on, but fortunately, I had some TUMS on board to help with that.

Back in March, when we rode the course one weekend, we were whining about this one stretch of really rough road... Well, they cut that piece of the course out... I was one happy camper! This way, the bike course was on smooth road 95% of the time.

I am very very happy with my bike split, but at the same time, I am a little surprised that I didn't have a better split compared to the rest of the field. I guess there were some strong chicks on bike on the course on Saturday.

By the time we approached transition, I was ready to get off the bike and stretch out my legs a little.


It took me a second to locate my rack in T2 and I really didn't rush all that much. I even sat down for a second to wipe of my feet and put on socks and shoes. I still had the grass and sand on my feet from T1 and while that doesn't bother me on the bike, I sure won't be running a half marathon like that.


The run is a double out and back and is also super flat. There is not a ton of tree coverage on the course, so I guess this run can get really miserable on a hot and sunny day. Fortunately, we got so lucky with the weather yesterday and the sun only made an appearance every now and then. It even started drizzling for a minute once. While I put on sun screen in the morning, I still have a couple of burned spots and I don't even want to imagine, how I would look if the race was on a sunny day.

Getting off the bike, my stomach felt a little funky, but not all bad. I didn't feel tired yet and just started plucking along. First I put the Garmin on, but then decided to stuff it in one of the pockets on the race vest and just run by feel and don't worry about my time, just find a sustainable pace and keep it up.

Terry passed me at around mile 3 on the run and just flew by, looking so strong. While I didn't care too much for the double out and back, I did enjoy seeing my team mates all over the course and being able to cheer for each other. What I absolutely hated about the out and back was passing the finish and having to head out again.

Starting at the first turn around, I picked up a cold towel at each aid station and there was one about every mile. Cold towels are awesome and really helped to keep the core temp down.

My stomach never settled down completely, but never got really bad either. I am glad that I carried my own water, because I was told that the water tasted like chlorine and I know that stuff like that screws me up.

While I was never super speedy, I was very steady during this run and that makes me very happy. I felt mostly good (besides the stomach stuff) and only walk once at mile 11. For whatever reason, I thought mile 12 was coming up and seeing the mile 11 mile marker just deflated me for a second, so I took a short walking break through the aid station. I also started to feel hungry, so I had a pack of SportBeans at mile 11 as well and I should have probably had something to eat much sooner, but I was just to afraid to put anything in my stomach.

Eventually, I figure out, that I will be doing this thing in under six hours and that gave me a second wind to just bring it home.

All that was left to do was smile big and cross that finish line!!

Thanks to Nicole for capturing my approach to the finish line.
Post Race:

Terry waited for me at the finish line. Turns out, he beat me with five minutes!

After walking around a little bit, we headed back to transition and then to the car to take a baby wipe shower and change into dry clothes. Then we hit up the post race buffet and talked with our team mates.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at an ice cream shop.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and with eating! ;-)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Post Race Food Coma

I finished! I had a great race. There will be a race report, once I wake up out of my post race food coma.

Moose Tracks Sundae


Moose Burger and Duck Fat Fries at the Tattooed Moose

Healthy eating will be back... tomorrow!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ta-Ta-Ta-Taper Time


You know it's taper time when..

... you have actually time to do your laundry.... and clean the house and organize stuff.

... laundry doesn't accumulate at the speed of light.

... you have the time and the patience to book hotels for a two week road trip along with doing research about activities do to each day and also map out the driving time between each location... after a friend wrote the complete itinerary for the trip.

... you have the patience on top of everything in the previous point to also find out when the sun sets on our planned day at the Grand Canyon North Rim, so I can call for dinner reservations at the Lodge to see the sunset over the North Rim from there.

... you start to fuss about last minute race details like: what kind of hydration system will be taken on the run course (handheld, race vest?), how you will put all the food on the bike, since the pockets on the tri top are smaller etc etc.

... you have the time to give the dog a shower.

... you are out on your bike and your legs start yelling at you whenever you try to push the pace just a little bit.

 ... the last two digit run you did before the race was simply a slog fest.

... somebody has time to put the new hedge trimmer to work.

... somebody else had time to re-pot plants.

 Last week, I put in another 13 hours of swimbikerun. This was the last week before taper. Normally at this point of training, I am just ready for taper, because so much stuff has been accumulating and I am just mentally ready for it. This time around, I was fine and thought that I have still something left in the tank. That was until our bike ride Saturday. That didn't feel so hot and neither did the 10-miler on Sunday.

We already had much less on tap than the previous weekends, so we got a ton of stuff done (see above) that should have gotten done for a while already. Oh well.

All that is left to do now, is getting a couple of shorter workouts in, figure out the last couple of race logistics, rest up, eat well and get this show on the road.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Greetings from Lake Robinson

Happy belated Easter everyone!
I hope you enjoyed your weekend and got to spend some time with family and friends.

Beyond spending time with the family (long talk with mom & dad over Skype), I chose to spend my Easter Sunday with a bunch of strangers on a relaxed ride. It wasn't in the training plan, I was actually supposed to be off or do yoga yesterday. But when I saw the ride posted, I just couldn't resist. It was a loop in the Lake Robinson area (remember our kayaking adventures a couple of years ago?), so I knew it's going to be a pretty ride, no matter what. It was also posted as a slow and beginner friendly ride and while I don't think that I am slow or a beginner anymore, I just wanted to ride for the sake of riding. Lately, all rides have been about something, be it mileage or cadence or intervals or speed... It was about time to just go on a ride. And in order to not look to intimidating when unloading the bike, I chose to dust off my poor roadie (that hasn't been ridden since October) and really found myself enjoying being on the roadie for a change as well.

We ended up with a little over 28 miles... Just enough to shake out the legs... Funny, how your preception of distance changes when you are getting used to log higher mileage.

Speaking of high mileage and volume... Looki here:

This is my weekly minute volume for the last five weeks.... With the Charleston Half just two weeks away, the training is in the bank. FYI: the "sports" minutes in the graph are mostly doggy walks.

We topped off the training with a 65 mile bike run, followed by a 5ish mile brick run on Saturday. My nutitional medley of Fig Newtowns, Sunrise bars and Honey Stinger gels is still working, so I guess that's going to my plan for race day. Other than that, I had one more revelation on the ride: Don't rely on the Garmin course, because Garmins sometimes screw up (What do you mean, I am 5,782 miles away from the course???). I should have written out a cue sheet, but so far, I always got lucky and the Garmin worked... until last Saturday. Because of that, we fell back on the 55 mile Happy Cow loop, that we can do in our sleep at this point and of course tagged on a couple of miles here and there to make it to 65 miles in total. The run afterwards was alright, I was getting really hot at the end of it and had to battle some side stitches. It can't be rainbows and unicorns all the time.

Because I was off for Good Friday, I switched my rest day to Thursday and did my Thursday workout on Friday. The run and swim was nothing earth shattering, but got it done and out of the way between running errands and getting some house work done. Seriously, the house probably suffers most with all this training! ;-)

Almost on the home stretch now for the race. This week is still pretty packed with two double workout days, but we are going to significantly cut mileage Saturday and Sunday... I can smell taper just being around the corner.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Follow-Up on "The Bet"

Remember the bet?

In short: Terry is going to go vegan for a week and if he makes it, he'll get a hedge trimmer.

The week was up on Sunday and on Tuesday, my husband bought himself his new hedge trimmer... despite some "accidential" consumption of animal products (no meat, but cheese, milk & butter that was in some of the things he had) during the "vegan" week.

What I have learned out of this: Don't just make a silly little bet while walking the dog... No... sit down and write down all rules & regulations for the bet, otherwise there will be new hedge trimmers in your garage.

Funny, how that happened.


On a more serious note: Going vegan shouldn't be taken lightly and also brings the need to educate yourself. Sure, there are 5,000 definitions out there and every person in the end has to decide on what is their definition of the vegan lifestyle is in questions such as:

  • Is honey vegan?
  • Is sugar vegan? I would have never questioned this one, if Wendi hadn't commented on the original post, that bone char is being used in the sugar production. I had no clue!!
Quite honestly, because I never considered a vegan diet for myself, I never even thought a whole lot about these things... And Terry didn't either... I don't think he had a clue what he was getting himself into.

So while he stayed fairly vegan (I bet every vegan reading this, is cringing by the thought of something being "fairly vegan!), I don't think, he fed himself properly with enough calories and enough protein during that week. It all culuminated at our Sunday afternoon swim, when he finished the swim utterly exhausted. Sure, we did have a big weekend in the books and we were both tired, but I do believe that this state of utter exhaustion wouldn't have been reached if he had fueled himself properly. After the swim I was at the point of saying, screw this stupid bet, get your hedge trimmer, I don't care anymore... Just eat properly!

Have you every tried to go "vegan"??
How do you make sure to get enough protein on a vegan diet??

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Last week, was a big training week. When you are four weeks out from your A race of the season, that's kind to be expected. I haven't trained for a half ironman distance yet and there are different approaches to the whole thing, but coach prescripted big mileage on all three fronts from the past week. But the biggest bulk of it all would be on the weekend.

Between Saturday and Sunday I swimbikerun'ed around 8 hours! EIGHT HOURS! In I loved (almost) every second of this! I think what I love most about training for this race is, that Terry is training for the same race and that we do our workouts on the weekends together.

For Saturday, we had 70 miles on the bike and a 4 mile brick run on tap. Actually, the brick portion of the workout was optional, but I decided to do it anyways, because 1) I wanted to redeem myself for last week's sluggish brick, 2) try out a different fuel option and 3) didn't want to sit in the truck waiting for Terry to get done with his brick.

In order to work on points 1) and 2), I actually carb loaded Friday night. Last week, I had a longer talk with a co-worker that also runs and bikes about my experience from last week and how crappy I felt and she urged me to carb load. When I got home from work Friday night (super late), I had two muffins and called it a night... Probably not the best choice of carbs, but it worked. For breakfast Saturday morning, I had wheat blueberry pancakes (Thanks, Terry!) and almond butter. For the ride, I took eight pieces of Fig Newtons, four Sunrise bars and four Honey Stinger Gels. I demolished the Fig Newtons and the Sunrise bars, but didn't need the Honey Stingers. I felt great during the whole ride and I felt great during the run.... No tummy troubles whatsoever and my energy levels were good the whole time! I was one happy camper! Even though, we rode 10 more miles on the bike than we did the week before, I was still feeling good after we were done.... AND I ran my 4 miles brick in a (barely) sub 9 minute/ mile pace... SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!! I guess, I am one of those people who need a long warm up (Thanks Melinda for that one! ;-).

For the ride itself, we tried out a new route that went out and back from SCTAC to Hwy 88 and back. We found a modified version of this online and really didn't know what to expect from it, but we both agreed, that it was quite possibly one of our best routes yet. Very pretty roads, not a ton of traffic, very scenic in parts... And when we had to get on busy roads, than it was only for very short stretches. If you are in the area and interested in this ride, here is the link to our version of the route. I even recognized some of the roads we were on from the Greyhound Rescue Ride, that I did in 2009 (no blog back then) and 2010. This route sort of connected the Happy Cow loop that we did a couple of weeks ago with the GRR loop.

The only mishap on the ride... I was wearing a white jersey and white armers after it had rained all night. You probably can't see on the picture, but I assure you that I looked like a hot mess once we were done. Terry was pulling on the ride for the most part (coaches orders since he wasn't able to run as much lately) and his bike tire threw all kinds of crap in my fact and on my jersey! But since that is my only complaint for Saturday's workouts, I obviously don't have much to complain about!

Sunday, we were up and running before 8am again. 14 miles were on tap that day and I would have 4x 1 mile harder pace thrown into the middle. We picked an out and back route on the bunny trail and not even half a mile into my run, I saw this:

Looks like we are getting a CrossFit box on our side of town! Wahooooo!

The run was going really well. I could feel, that my legs are a tad tired, but I really do think that wearing my recovery socks religously really helps in my recovery.

Overall, I ended those 14 miles with a (barely) sub 10 minute/ mile pace and while this is nothing great for a lot of runners, for me, this is EXCELLENT and I couldn't be happier.

In general, I have to say that things are just clicking right now. I have been seeing consistantly better speeds on the bike and better paces on the run... So whatever Katie is putting in my training plan, seems to work! Another mantra of mine: Trust the plan! Trust the plan! ;-)

Now that all the "real" workouts were out of the way, I could look forward to out first open water swim of the season:

Yes, there were a couple of brave souls present, that did the swim without a wetsuit. Seriously, you couldn't have paid me enought to swim in that lake without one, but I am really bad with cold in general...

I did around 1.5 in the lake (which is one big lollipop shaped loop) at a comfortable pace... really just swimming along and enjoying the possibility to do all this. We had amazing people paddling for us to keep us safe on a lake that had a good amount of boating traffic going on that day. A special shout out goes to Cynthia for defending "our" territory in her jon boat.

Even after all of this, I feel great. There was a little bit of soreness going on Monday, but nothing a quick 25 miles with good friends and a hail storm couldn't fix! I also did a track workout this morning and felt great. We are getting now so close to the race, that I can start tasting it and I was expecting to be kind of over training at this point, but quite honestly, I still enjoy myself... Enjoy that I get to share this with my husband and that I spend a whole lot of time with a bunch of great people.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Month in Review: March

What a great month it was!!

We had some jam packed weekends with some kicka$$ workouts and also put the first race of 2012 in the books.

With the longer rides in preparation for the half ironman distance coming up, we also discovered new routes and new places... Possum Kingdom SC for example:

I also had sort of a break through track workout that made me very happy:

We kicked off the race season in Parris Island:

And then drove over to Charleston to pre ride the half ironman bike course:

In the last week of the month, I also hit my goal weight after really buckling down on my nutrition for a couple of months.


On a different note:

Remember the one resolution that I had for 2012?

No new gear purchases.

About that... I think, the end of the first quarter of the year is a good time to confess. I was good in January and February, but then all the good intentions came tumbling down in one swoop.... But I can explain!

Nike Beanie with Ponytail Hole:

Nope, can't explain that one away... Other than it was one sale (50%) and has a hole in the bag to stick your pony tail through and I just thought that was way cool!

Timex Watch:

Well, I finally got myself a lap watch for the pool after I was once again unable to tell my coach what my splits for the workout were.... Or how she puts it: "Kathrin shows up at the track without a watch." Touche! From here on out, I will know if I am going "fast" or "faster" in the pool!

Aero Bottle:

On my roadie, I was able to carry four bottles. On my tri bike, I was only able to carry two bottles... With rides getting longer and temperatures getting warmer, two bottles just didn't cut it anymore. I chose the aero bottle set-up over a butt rocket option, because I am hoping that it will help me to do better in the hydration department.

Pro Compression Socks:

It was a deal and I am living in compression socks and sleeves right now with all the volume going on!

Woolie Boolies:

And last but not least, I found two pairs of Woolie Boolies on the clearance table at Great Escape (we had some pedal trouble). Those are my most favorite socks for riding and running in the winter.

This was it... It's far from "no purchases", but it's much better than I am usually doing... I am especially happy, that I didn't get more clothes... well, if you don't count socks and hats as clothes... Oh my, I am doomed!