Sunday, May 20, 2012

California Classic Weekend - The Run

You know what three quarters will get you at my house?  A massage from my two girls.  It was fabulous, and just what I needed after riding 100 miles.  I had to get the legs ready for 13.1 miles of running the next day, right?  Totally.  They were tired, but free from aches and soreness, which made me super happy.

For the century ride I had the Chrissie Wellington* Ironman breakfast:  two pieces of toast with full-fat cream cheese and jam.  Breakfast the next morning before the half marathon I only had an orange.  I hadn't ever had more for any of the long training runs and didn't think anymore about it.  I should have had more.

It was a lovely morning- the weather was crisp yet still cool, and not a cloud in the sky.  We got there in plenty of time to experience the port-o-potties, stretch, chat with friends, warm-up a little.

At one point we were comparing our tan lines from the previous day's ride, which was hilarious.  Ray (Who is another 'bird brother.  He was on the men's cross country/track team)thought it best to wear shorter shorts than his tan line to show it off; Pat wore a sleeveless shirt to show his farmer tan line.  Me, I tried to cover the line that wound around my thighs!  I also got to see Mark and Sumer Jackson, as well as a mom-friend from the kids' school.  Right before the gun went off I saw an old FPU friend, Dave Castro.  The gun went off, we had a quick hug and started running!

Ready to run! (Well, kind of)

Our plan was to run the first few miles kind of easy (around 8 minute mile pace), and see how our legs felt.  We started fine, knowing it would take that many miles to work the kinks out anyway.  We would check with each other how we were feeling, and Pat kept saying he felt "great" in, honestly feeling good.  What was wrong with me, then?  Why wasn't I feeling "great"?  Around mile 4 I was finally feeling "good enough".  At mile 5 there was an aid station, so I gulped a Roctane gel.  It was pineapple flavored, and really yummy. 

My favorite part was getting to run through the zoo!  Between miles 6 and 7 the route made it's way through the actual Chaffee Zoo.  I love the zoo anyway, but how cool is it to get to run by a bear, giraffes, kangaroos and zebras?  Seriously, amazing! 

I knew I was in trouble at mile 8.  At the aid station I walked, and Pat had to wait for me.  Again we checked how we were doing.  Again he said "great".  So I told him to not let me hold him back; if he can have a good run, then I want him to do it!  Slowly I fell behind, desperately wanting to be able to keep up, but also keeping the situation in perspective.  As we climbed the hill of the overpass, I lost Pat for the rest of the race.  I was determined NOT to walk on the hill.  Oh no, no, would take more than a little overpass to get me.

At mile 10 there was finally another aid station (in my opinion there should have been one every mile, especially the last half of the course).  I took out my 2x caffeine gel...this has to help, please let this help!  It was getting hot on the course, so dumping water all over my body felt really good.  It gave me some rejuvenation.  As I was walking through the aid station a guy passed me and said, "Just a 5k left!"  Oh, is that all?  I can do a 5k!  That's right, there are only three miles in one of those. 

Fortunately the route wound us through downtown Fresno, which offered a lot of shade from the tall buildings.  I was fading faster than before...what happened to mile 10's optimism?  Why wasn't my caffeine-infused gel kicking in?  It certainly had my permission to do so.  Any minute.  Really, now would be a great time.  It would also be a great time for an aid station!  Where was the water? 

Finally at mile 12 there was another station.  I was one of THOSE know, the one that the volunteers feel so sorry for.  The one that they feel the need to have pity for and tell you that there is only one more mile.  I had my name on my race bib, so they were even calling me by name.  Aw, how special I felt!  I not only walked in that aid station, I stood there.  I waited for the volunteer to give me the other cup she was holding after I dumped the other one all over my head.  The girl with the Gatorade cups probably appreciated me standing too, this time to drink the Gatorade instead of spilling it all over her.  I tried to throw my cup away but missed the trash can.  "That's no problem," I was nicely told by a male volunteer.  "That's what we're here for.  You go get that finish!"  Ok, that sounds like a great idea.

One more mile.  I got this.  I was even shocked I could swing the mile pace I was running.  Getting in the 1:40's would definitely happen.  I was having fun even though I didn't know how much longer my legs could propel me forward.  A couple men on the sidelines cheered for me as I ran by, "Go, go, go!"  I laughed and yelled back, "I AM going!"  They laughed back, and cheered some more.  This was fun.  Painful, but fun!  There was one more band, so I gave them a "rock on" hand gesture with my tongue hanging out as I passed by.  They seemed to appreciate it.

The final straight-away, and there was a man yelling out "600 yards left, you got this!" to the two men who had just passed me.  He also added, "She's behind you, she won't catch you!"  Ummm...are you referring to me?  I reassured the man running that I would not be making any moves to try to catch him, he was safe.  C'mon, don't ruin my fun by rubbing it in that I can't pass a man who appeared twice my age! 

Then a miracle happened.  "Is that Kerry Sue?" I heard behind me.  I turned and looked, and there was Dave Castro.  He fed my ego with compliments.  "Where were you a mile ago?" I jokingly asked him.  "I saw you, I was trying to catch you," he replied.  He kept encouraging me on the last couple hundred yards.  "All the way, you're almost there!"  And with that we crossed the finish line together in 1:45...not exactly the 'bird brother I was expecting to finish with, but a 'bird brother just the same!  Thanks, Dave!

I found Pat, discovered that he was able to finish in 1:42!  We both had a super race, hoping we would get in the 1:50's before, and doing so much better!  Now off to pick up my bag and get some more water.  Like the girl I am, I started spontaneously crying for relief, from exhaustion, and amazement of what we just did in two days. 

Then, I had the weirdest thing happen as we were sitting on the cool ground of Chukchansi stadium.  My fingers started getting tingly, as well as my lips.  Hmmm...this is weird.  I sent a text to my parents, brother and husband letting them know I did better than I was hoping for and I was safe.  Maybe that was premature, because my fingers went from tingling to not being able to move them.  And now my tongue and roof of my mouth was tingly too.  My fingers went straight, and I could not bend them.  Pat told me the medical tent was just around the corner if I wanted him to help me get there.  He said to let him know when it wasn't just my hands.  He asked if I wanted the gel that was in my bag?  It would probably help.  Not yet, I told him.  Not long after, the tingly started going up my arms, I panicked and started crying again.  Pat gave me some napkins.  My mom had texted back, but I couldn't use my fingers to answer her question.  Why is my whole face shaking?  And my arms?

Soon it passed, and we decided I needed some sugar, fast!  He helped me up (my legs were totally fine, so bizarre!) and we came upon the Cold Stone booth.  "Free ice cream for runners!" I heard, and swooped up a cup.  And by swooping, I mean using both hands to grab it, since I didn't yet have full function of my fingers.  After the first bite I felt immediately better!  We found a seat in the stadium and watched more runners come in.  We even caught the excitement of seeing a guy getting loaded into an ambulance.  Glad I wasn't THAT guy! Instead, by this point, we were having a good time, laughing about the past two days, and finally got a descent "selfie" (a picture that you take of yourself):

Pat reminded me what I had for breakfast that day: an orange, and some coffee.  He suggested I eat more.  I should totally stick with my Chrissie Wellington breakfast! 

Besides ice cream, you know what you get to eat without guilt after burning 7,000 calories in two days?  How about this:

  It was a great morning.  This is probably the first race I have run where I did not even care about what place I was in, or that I was the person being passed at the end instead the one doing the passing.  Maybe I'm finally growing up and maturing.  Nah...let's hope not... in that department, anyway!  After all, I did still care about my time!

Here is the link to what the Garmin recorded.  Just remember...Pat ran faster! :)

*In case you don't know who Chrissie Wellington is, she is the most phenomenal female Ironman athlete ever.  Check her out:

California Classic Weekend- The Ride

(I am skipping the Week in Review for 5/13 - 5/19.  It was boring anyway, with tapering for this event and all.)

The California Classic Challenge...that is what the event is called when the same person does the century ride (100 miles) on Saturday and the half marathon (13.1 miles) run on Sunday.  Well, I have been officially "challenged"!  Wowzers...let me explain.

The Ride:

The Food:
The night before the ride, I set out everything I might possibly need for the ride.  I set out what I expected to carry as fuel- if you remember a previous post, you will know that I tend to have a fear of starving.  Here is what I am planning on stuffing in my pockets:

And this is what I looked like (with the addition of my phone, camera and some extra sunscreen):

I felt like a backwards kangaroo all day! And in hind sight, I didn't need hardly any of it.  The aid stations were so fantastic!  Check out the aid station at mile 53 (they even had Subway sandwiches!):

I indulged in some M & M's...they totally hit the spot!

I kept the food and drink coming at least every 45 minutes.  At about mile 80 I started fueling every 30 minutes because I could feel the legs getting tired. 

The Fun:
Did I have fun?  Oh, yes I did!!!  Here is the starting line (there were even more cyclists behind our group):

I was part of a group called "Remember Haiti" cycling team.  We raised money for Christian Friendship Ministries ( and spent the first 15 miles together. 

As part of the course we were able to ride on Highway 168 for about 10 miles.  That was very cool!

I just had to call out "car back" while we were on it.  Totally fooled someone too, which made it all the more fun.

The course also took us on some beautiful scenery:

Cattle grates are not very fun to ride over.  The worst one to cross was when we were going uphill, so the speed was slow.  I thought I was going to get stuck in one!

Pat and Wonder Valley...just before our "little" climb.  It really wasn't that bad, thanks to some hill training and Pat being informative that the hill would be over by the time we reached mile 50!  He had also warned me that there would be people stopped in the shade and walking their bikes.  Sure enough, there were!  The hill wasn't that steep, just three miles or so long.  But three miles without a break...those are some long three miles!

One more fun part is pictured above: The Ironbirds swooped near the nest!  Yes, that's right...the course took us right by Fresno Pacific on Chestnut Avenue.  It was fabulous to be back in the old 'hood!  We were right around mile 95 at this point.  The course took us straight down Kings Canyon, to downtown, and finally to the finish!

Woop, bam!  One HUNDRED miles later... but really we rode more than that.  Let me explain.

The Folks:
Our series of detours began early on.  At about mile 20 there was an accident ahead of us on Herndon.  There was a fire truck, an ambulance, and bicyclists congested.  There was also a street that would take us right, there was a group of cyclists ahead of us who turned onto it, so Pat had the "brilliant" (see sarcasm) idea of turning too.  We knew where we were, but soon realized that the group ahead of us were not associated with the century ride!  Woops!  We got back on course on Academy, but noticed we would be about 1/4 mile under the official distance.  Somehow we would have to make sure 100 miles showed up on the Garmin afterwards!

There were a lot of cyclists out there, and it was nice to see some familiar faces along the way.  Sure enough, we caught up with my tri friends Amanda and Becki.  I was able to chat with them a little bit and saw them again at the mile 25 aid station.  Fabulous folks, indeed!

Around mile 60 we met some less than fabulous folks.  This is the introduction for detour number two.  Pat and I were riding in a line, minding our own business when a group of four cyclists came and jumped on our line.  That's a fine, totally normal thing to do.  It's called drafting.  Pat was leading and noticed we had company, and was working hard to pull all of us.  At about mile 64 I offered to lead, and Pat accepted.  The cyclist behind me offered for Pat to fall right behind me, but Pat decided to go to the end of the line (because that way they would have to take a turn eventually at leading, and because he needed a break- it's easiest at the end!).  At about mile 65 there was a right turn on the course...guess who didn't see it?  And guess who didn't say anything? 

Picture this:  Kerry Sue riding along, wrapped up in the responsibility of leading total strangers.  The group of strangers make the turn, Kerry Sue keeps riding like crazy, Pat is screaming "KERRY SUE!!!" over and over.  Kerry Sue finally turns around and notices there is NO ONE behind her...wait, no, there's Pat!  Why is he so far back? he giving the sign to turn around?  No way.  That's what you call "bonus miles." 

Fortunately, the rude folks part ends with that story!  On the last 10 miles we met two more men who joined our line.  These guys were nice enough to take their turn leading.  It's really just common courtesy.  They even helped us out during detour number three.  We missed another turn once we got into downtown, but quickly turned around and made it to the finish. 

Here is a link to see our ride and details:

Besides having issues with my butt hardly ever feeling comfortable, and my left toes cramping fiercely, it was a GREAT ride!  I still can't believe it was 100 miles.  There was some great scenery, met new friends, saw old friends, and forged confidence for the Ironman!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

This thing is getting expensive

My first official "worn out" item in the Ironman journey are my shoes...not a surprise!  These babies have a few hundred miles on them!  They were really cute, too.  You can tell your shoes are going out when things start hurting more than usual.   Fortunately I scored some amazing deals and have two pairs waiting in the wings.  The cost of both pairs together is around $60. 

A surprise, though, was waking up to my bike helmet being half eaten by our dog.  She had made her way into our garage (the side door was left open by an anonymous little person) and chewed it beyond use.  I was really mad and irritated.  My brother bought that for me just last November, and it was supposed to last me a couple of years (barring no accidents)!  Ugh!  For now I am using my oldest son's helmet, since his bike isn't working.  Cost to replace the helmet?  Probably around $50 to get a comprable one.

A couple of days ago I took my bike in to get it looked at.  I have had it for 8 years and never replaced anything but tubes, tires and a rim liner.  It's also been about three years since it's last tune-up.  So, I was expecting the worst.  Which is a good thing, because my mental estimate was not too far off the actual quote. 
Here is the plan:
Premium Tune-Up, replace brake pads, replace chain, replace gear coils, and possibly replace rear derailer and cassette.  Total? $274.  Ouch!  Hopefully the derailer and cassette won't need replacing and will be $100 cheaper.  I'll take it in next Tuesday and get my bike back safer and better than ever!
(Final cost was "only" $223)

My wetsuit split at a seam.  I will have to get it repaired, because there's no way I can buy a new one!  I have no idea how much that is going to cost me.

I am a couponer.  I shop sales, check ads, and try to get the best deal.  I peruse ebay, craigslist, and listen to other's when they mention deals.  I am really trying not to make this Ironman thing a financial desprarity issue.  I've been stocking up on Gatorade and Powerade as much as my storage allows!  Last week Powerade was on sale for only 57 cents each!  That was so nice!  So I bought 10.  A few weeks ago Gatorade was on sale, $2.99 for an 8 pack.  So I bough six.  I still have some lingering 30 oz. Gatorade bottles around, but not for long I'm sure!  I like fruit snacks on my shorter bike rides, so when Save Mart had boxes on sale for 88 cents each if you bought multiples of four, I bought 12 boxes (each box contains 10 pouches).

I would like to get tinted goggles for swimming.  Speedo Vanquisher goggles, to be exact.  The cheapest I have found them for is $16.95.  The swim at IMAZ starts at 7am sharp, and the route takes you due east.  Guess what time the sun rises in Tempe in November?  Around 7am.  And as you hopefully know, the sun rises in the east.  Yep, we'll be thrashing, sighting, and breathing with the sun nice and in our eyes.

Being a baker and not afraid of trying new recipes has led to some great discoveries!  Making my own bar alternatives will save me some major moo-la in the end.  The other nice thing about making your own goodies is you can control what goes into them.  I like to add chia seeds to anything I bake.  They are known to be super antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.  Apparently the Aztecs would munch on them a lot as runners. 

Then there will be the other inevitable replacement things here and there.  I'll let you know as I go.  Boy, oh boy, this thing is getting expensive....

Week in Review 5/6 - 5/12

A week more full of running than any other week before (5 times this week! Usually I keep it at 3 times), but probably not what you think.  Not high in miles or intensity, but kept the legs busy for sure!

Sunday- Recovery run from yesterday's long bike ride.  Three short, slow miles before we head to the beach for the day!

  •  Fun Ironbird Interval: 4 x 1000m; Besides totally losing count of how many we had done, it was a great run!  We kept our pace between 6:20-6:30 mile pace on tired legs, so we were happy!
  • Swim: Ok, so I think the coach of the group I go to has read my blog, because he actually payed attention to me tonight.  Maybe it had to do with only a few other people showing up (there are usually about 20!).  After completing the first round of given intervals to swim, he showed up at my lane with a weird-looking contraption.  It was a pole with two waist floats wrapped around the middle of it.  He said he wanted me to stroke while holding the pole out in front of me; I keep crossing my arms to the center when I stroke, instead of keeping them shoulder-distance apart.  So I didn't get any good distance or speed training in...if I don't have an efficient stroke, it doesn't matter!  Thank you, Coach Rich.  I really do appreciate it!
  • Short 13 mile ride because I had things to do...namely take my bike to the shop while my kids were still in school.  I took my two youngest with me the week before when I had the mechanic look my bike over.  They make me so nervous in a store filled with very expensive equipment!  So I just dropped off Silver to the shop owner's capable hands and came home. 
  • Since I didn't get much from swimming the night before or the ride earlier in the day, I decided to accompany the one athlete who showed up for the track workout.  We did 4 x 800m, doing negative splits; then 2 x 400m at 6 minute mile pace.  He did great!  I couldn't keep up with him by the end!
  • Ran 6 miles with Jodi at a smooth, steady pace.  She's getting better and better, I'm so proud of her!
  • I got to pick up my bike, and also had them adjust my shoe cleats to prevent my feet from cramping.  The bike looked so nice and shiny everywhere!  A new chain, brake pads, rear derailer, fixed front derailer, tune-up and tires rotated and I'm ready to go on a safer Silver!
  • I just HAD to try out my improved bike with a little ride today! :)  I rode the 20 miles to my friend Sarah's house for our weekly check-in.  Everything on the bike worked so nice and smoothly.  The only problem is that Sarah and I are super chatty and I had to try to be speedy on the ride back to be on time to pick up my preschooler.  With a couple of minutes to spare, I made it!
  • Open water swim at Lake Millerton with the Team.  The head coach had us do several starting simulations, followed by a nice, long swim.  As I was putting on my wetsuit, s-p-l-i-t it went at the knee on a seam.  I was told that I could get it repaired at a swim shop in town.  I sure hope so; man this thing is getting expensive!
Friday- Crazy busy day taking care of family responsibilities (a.k.a. my full-time job!); no training.  Drove the girls and I to Chico so I could be with my mom for Mother's Day.  What a treat!

Saturday- Run: Eight miles of beautiful Chico.  Such a great way to start the day!

I am so excited about the Classic Challenge coming up in just a couple of weeks on May 19th and 20th!  I will be ready! :)

Totals for the week:
Swim: ? Probably only a total of about 2000m between both the pool & lake
Bike: 33.64 miles
Run: 20 miles

Monday, May 7, 2012

Week in Review 4/29 - 5/5

Last week of cranking out the miles before a slight taper to the Classic Challenge weekend May 19th & 20th. 

Sunday-  No miles, nothing, nada.  Had a picnic with friends after church, then came home. Lovely!

Run:  2 x 3200m (2 miles) with 400m (1/4 mile) rest between.  Usually we would do intervals on the track.  Since they were two miles long each, we decided to hit the open road.  I doubted my lap counting abilities, so Pat obliged.  Maybe he was worried about counting too.

Swim: 12 x 150m- Odds build, Evens fast.  The time of year has finally come...I heard rumors it was going to happen...The pool lanes changed from being 25m long (the width of the pool) to 50m long (the length of the pool).  It was lovely!  I wasn't as fast as I would have liked, but did each set strong and steady.  I am such a fan of breathing, however, that it tends to slow me down.  Oh well.  Better to be breathing and on the top of the pool, than not breathing and sink to the bottom!

The Watts Valley Regular ride- 32 miles.  For some reason I felt compelled to try and beat my best time; I had a head wind the last 5 miles, but rode steady up the hills.  I managed to improve my time by over a minute on the course.  Not every training is about speed; just today. :)

Easy 4 mile run.  My legs were tired!  I was subscribing to the coach who wrote the training plan we're following: "Rest with as much intensity as you train."  Ok, got it, coach!

Run: 13 miles @ 8:20/mile average.  Our best average pace to date! 
And here is what I was doing when I got home:
Frozen peas...not just for the convenient side dish!  Oh no, it is the most perfect ice pack, too!
Swim:  Open water swim at the lake; just under 1 mile. 
*Lesson Learned:  Make sure the wetsuit is zipped up all the way.  Water was slushing through the whole way!  I was afraid it had ripped or something, so I mentioned about the water coming in during the swim to a few from the team once I got to shore.  One said, "You're wetsuit isn't zipped up all the way.  I noticed it before we started, but thought you wanted it like that." I made sure they knew they had permission to mention it to me next time.

Friday-  I accidentally took it off.  Ok, wait- let me explain.  I totally spaced that I was supposed to run with my friend Jodi early in the morning.  She sent me a text asking where I was at 5:38am, and I told her bed.  Whoops!  So sorry, Jodi!!!  I thought I would be able to ride on the trainer a little bit in the afternoon, but my daughter's track meet went a couple hours over, and we had company coming over for dinner.  Whoops again!  But really it didn't bother me, because I knew what I was going to be doing the next day...

The big ride day!  Pat, James and I rode a route that ended up being 73 miles total.  It felt great!  We climbed over 3000 ft. total, including a hill that is affectionately called "Wildcat".  It was pretty wild; I was following James and noticed Pat was way behind.  So when we reached the top we took the opportunity and waited for him!  I got a little dizzy, but had some Chomps, drank, and we were back at it.  James reminded me I should be fueling every 45 minutes, not the hour I was going to do.  I never felt like I was going to "bonk", but I do need to get my cleats on my shoes corrected.  My toes start tingling and cramping after 30 miles. 

We took a break in the town of Prather (38 miles), buying more water and Gatorade to refill our bottles.  That gave my toes a chance to recover too, which was nice!  We headed home, with almost no more hills in our path.  A lot of downhill and flats, and the satisfaction that we will not only survive the century ride in a couple of weeks, but might just surprise ourselves, too!

Ironbird Ride by kerrysue75 at Garmin Connect - Details