Crater Lake: Ride Around The Rim!

30 Sep

Crater Lake could possibly be one of my favorite places in Oregon. I have been a few times. I haven’t been in about 7 years. It is sort of a trek to get there from Portland. I am astonished with how many people I talk to who have never been. It blows my mind!!

One of my 2013 Goals was to ride the rim. It never happened but when I heard they were doing 2 non-vehicle days in September. I quickly asked Erica if her and Nik would be interested in going down and riding. We planned for it. Here it is September!! (Dan was supposed to go but he hurt his back and decided against it) :(

Last week the forecast was seriously crap-ola for Saturday’s big ride. We almost bagged it but decided to go even if the weather was indeed going to be bad! The weather gods were with us and it was going to be cold/sunny/cloudy! That certainly beats the rain!

We arrived last Friday night. We stayed in Mazama Village. (3 miles South of the rim) Stayed in the cabins. They were perfect! Definitely cheaper than the lodge. We got up Saturday morning to a “crisp” 37 degrees. Holy smokes it was cold. We decided to go have breakfast and let it “warm-up” a bit before we started our adventure!! We were in no real hurry so we took our time getting ready.

At noon we opted to just ride to the rim, instead of driving the 3 miles and parking, it worked out perfect.

We were off.
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The climbing began immediately. It was gradual until we actually got to the rim. Once we hit the rim it was 4 miles of switchbacks to get us to our first look of the lake. Everything that I read about riding the rim was to start at the visitors center(right at the junction of the west/east rim) and ride clockwise.

We made it. Rim Village. It was Erica and Nik’s first time to the lake so it was that much more special!!
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The entire East rim (24 miles) was closed down to ONLY CYCLISTS. What a treat. It was so great to just ride in the middle of the road and not have to watch for cars!
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Discovery Point.
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Grouse Hill/Steel Bay Overlook.
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Grotto Cove.
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Don't we look cute without our helmets and sunglasses?

Don’t we look cute without our helmets and sunglasses?

Phantom Ship Overlook
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What.A.Ride!! Absolutely gorgeous. We had so much fun!! This ride really is no joke but it was definitely do-able. We saw lots of people on mountain bikes and hybrids. The lake is at 6000 ft elevation. That already makes it difficult. To make it even more difficult, we climbed 4300 feet in 40 miles. We knew it would be hard. We stopped a bunch of times(obviously) and had lots of snacks(which we didn’t really eat because we had such a big breakfast)!!

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Would I do it again? Probably not. It is a long drive to get there and it was more of a bucket list item. Would I recommend it? Absolutely YES!

Have you been to Crater Lake? What is your favorite National Park?

Training This Week!

25 Sep

Well another long run in the books this morning. I wanted to tell you a few things before I get into the run. I typically take Thursday as my rest day and my long run on Friday. (Because of the sufferfest Crater Lake ride on Saturday I decided to run long today and take tomorrow as my rest day. I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea or not. I was very nervous for multiple reasons!

Nervous:
Obviously because I didn’t have a good long run last week!
I had a strength work out yesterday morning. I was happy that we only did a few low body exercises. It was mostly upper body.
I did a longer shake out run then I wanted to with Becky and Chloe yesterday! (more on that in a minute)

Excited:
To try again
I had just gotten a new Oiselle tank that I wanted to wear.
I had just gotten a shipment from Gu with root beer and caramel macchiato. I wanted to try them out.

Here was my instructions:
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I do not know what my corral is but I will likely be in the 2nd or 3rd corral(there is only 4). I was planning on leaving at about 10 but I was up early on a whim and did not want to sit around all morning. I opted at leaving right about 9. It was cloudy and cool. I was positive and confident.

I had decided on 2 x 9 mile loops. So I could stop at home to do a water bottle change and grab more Gu. I changed up the direction on the 2nd loop. I wanted to target 10:30-10:40 pace on the first loop. Target 10:20-10:30 pace on the 2nd loop. I also wanted to negative split. I have been working on negative splitting my long runs. I really want to make a solid effort at having a faster second half than the first half of the race! Hello…what a concept! Everyone keeps saying practice on the bridges. I am sure that the bridges here in P-Town are not like the bridges in NYC but I can still practice. I was going over 2 bridges with a good incline. (2x)

My first loop went really well. I really tried to hold the reins on my pace. Patience. Patience. Patience. I felt amazing at mile 7 and if you recall from last week I wanted to quit. BAD!! Miles 8 and 9 were a little faster than I wanted it to be but I thought what the hell! I did my water bottle change and thought here we go.

The sun showed its face just as I was starting. Miles 10 and 11 were a little slower than I would have liked. I am not sure why. I felt almost like I had low blood sugar. It was really weird I thought I would keep going for a bit and see what happens. I got back over to the eastside and really forgot about it. It was probably the headwind that I was now facing. Then promptly had a much faster split so maybe it was just my watch. (I did feel like it was faster and wanted to not speed up until I got back to the westside (a little over 15 miles).

I sped up a little more after crossing the 4th bridge. I can’t say that I was still feeling amazing but decent. It was warm with the sun out. I finished really strong and happy to report that I averaged 10:24s with a 75(ish) second negative split.

The rest of my training was good this week too. I think that last weeks 16 miler was just a fluke. I do think that my dinner was part of it. I always eat pizza(homemade) before a long run and last week I had pasta. #fail

I met up with Becky and Chloe from the Oiselle Flock on Wednesday night. We did a 6 mile easy run. Chloe is also doing NYC marathon and Becky did it last year. We got a bunch of tips and had a fun run. I do almost all of my running on my own with the exception of Dan joining me once in a while. It was nice to meet up with the girls. Plus Chloe and I are similar pace and are going to do our 20 mile run together next weekend! #holla
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I also have to admit that I cheated. I got a well deserved Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwich. It was delicious and well worth the cheat!
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Anyone else do their long run during the week?!

5 For Friday!!

19 Sep

1. Well I spoke to soon when I was talking about my long runs yesterday. I went out for 16 this morning and it was hard right from the beginning. I am still not sure what happened. I did not get out there until 8:30ish. It was “hot.” The sun was out and it felt blazing. My tank was soaked within miles. I am not sure if I wasn’t fueled up enough. If I needed more salt. I didn’t feel tired. I had to give myself multiple pep talks. I wanted to quit at about 7. I was a mile from home and thought I could sub this run for the run I was doing on Sunday. I kept trucking up the hill.

The run was hilly and hard. I kept thinking I am just going to turn around and go do some flat. I kept going. Just get to the top of the hill. Get to the water fountain. One more mile to the top of the next hill. Get to the next water fountain. I just kept telling myself I could do this. I finally got off the hills. I was almost home at mile 12.3. I thought well I can go home and get some more fluid with calories(my Nuun and Gus were not cutting it) or just keep going. I was afraid if I went home I wouldn’t leave.

I kept trucking on. I was going to the east side to catch some shade. It was hard and miserable but it was flat. Something was off and I am still not sure what. Was I dehydrated? I did all the same fueling as I usually do. The run wasn’t any harder than the last time I went out for 16. Dang it. I finished and it was not pretty but I never gave up. I just have to put it aside and focus on the next run!! :)

2. NUUN!! If you buy some Nuun this weekend you get a free cowbell!
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Use the coupon code: nuunbassadorfriend for 20% one purchase.

3. I finished Year Of No Sugar. It was so good. I totally recommend it. It was a fast read too.
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Eve and her family of 4 gave up sugar for one year. Sugar was defined as added sugar. Fructose to be exact but they could eat fruit which has natural fructose in it. They set a couple of rules at the beginning. The whole book was different stories on how they handled it throughout the year. She just wants to bring awareness to the sugar epidemic. Sugar is in EVERYTHING. It is totally true. If you don’t look at the ingredients of the food you buy you should. There are so many different sugars. Sometimes I think the manufacturer wants to trick you. THE MORAL OF THE STORY: to eat whole foods and make things from scratch!

4. I scored a spot on the Oiselle Flock.
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I am super excited. I love Oiselle and what they stand for.

5. Speaking of scores: I also scored an opportunity to run The Nike Women’s 1/2 marathon in San Francisco in October. I really wanted to do the race but decided that I should not. Then I got the opp and thought what the hell!
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They changed this course this year. Should be interesting. But it will be nice to run some different areas!!
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What are you MOST EXCITED about this FALL??!!

Training as of Late!

18 Sep

countdown
I realized the other day that I have not really talked about my training for the New York City Marathon. About a month before Ironman I was thinking how I can not believe that I have to train for a marathon when I am done with the Ironman. After some recovering and easy runs I started “training” for the marathon. We decided that we would take the training conservative because I had beaten up my body enough with the Ironman. I had enough endurance for days. I would do 3 runs a week. Plus some biking and little swimming. I would work on tempo or hill repeats, longer “base” runs with speed built-in, and a long run.

Let me step away from the marathon and tell you about our bike ride around Crater Lake. A bunch of months ago we found out that Crater Lake would have 2 days of 24 miles of NO-CAR roads.
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AWESOME!! I have been wanting to ride the rim for a long time. The rim is 33 miles but it is not for the faint at heart. The elevation is about 6000ft and we climb 3000ft. Here is what the cycling brochure says:
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We plan to take it super easy. Take lots of stops and enjoy the scenery. Take lots of snacks. Have fun. Take lots of pictures! Next weekend is the big adventure! I am a little nervous but we keep saying this is for fun and we are going to take it easy! :)

We have been on a couple of rides. I have been doing mostly inside stuff. Erica, Stephanie, and I took advantage of one of our last nice weekends of dry weather!
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I swam a couple of times but nothing serious on that front. I usually like to take a long hiatus away from swimming after the big race. I guess to let my shoulders have a break for a while. Once I am done with the big ride I think I will go back to the pool more. When I went the other day I thought I might die so maybe it is time to go back at least once a week.

Back to the marathon. My running has been good. I am very excited. I am going into my last block of “big” training before I go into taper. I am trying to keep the momentum alive!! I am really enjoying my runs these days as well. It helps that I am not training hard for 3 sports. I am not tired all the time nor hungry. What a good feeling!

44 day countdown to having dessert again NYC Marathon.

How is your training?!

More S’mores Please!

13 Sep

Since IMC it has been a battle with the desserts. Some weeks have been good and some not so much. I decided last weekend we should quit desserts (but I had just made chocolate chip zucchini bread) until after NYC marathon! Dan was ok with it because he isn’t working out as much and doesn’t want the extra calories anyway! He proceeded to tell me that the said bread was considered dessert. I begged to differ but said ok we will eat the bread and Saturday we would quit! Today marks 50 days until the race.
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Well we got invited over to a friends house for a some fire pit action last night. I thought yes. S’mores. I haven’t had a s’mores in years. That would be my last hoorah!

Last week I presented: How to build an ice cream sandwich. This week will be how to make an epic s’more!

You are probably thinking: yeah yeah yeah. You put the chocolate on the gram. You roast the marlow. Put the marlow on the chocolate and a gram on the marlow. EAT!! —> That is the long story short!

Here is what you need!
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My s’mores are different kind of. You will not be surprised when you tell you this! I made 4. They each had another marshmallow added. I used a variety of chocolate.

This was the sequence of the third one:
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Here is the MOST important part:
You have to put the entire s’more on the stick and put it back in the fire!
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Only for a few seconds but it will melt the chocolate!
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You can finally eat it! Be careful! It is messy!!
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My 4th and final one was OUT OF CONTROL:
I roasted 4 marlows! Hello! Here is the aftermath!
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So messy!! So good!!

Here is the BEST picture of the night!
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Here’s to 50 days until the New York City Marathon!! 50 days of NO treats!! Here we go!

How do you like your s’mores?

You Really Want To Do An Ironman?

12 Sep

I have been wanting to write a: How to decide what Ironman to do? I finally sat down to write it!!

As most of you know I have done 4 Ironman races. They were all M-Dot sanctioned races. I had little to do with any of my selections. Let me explain:

I was talked into decided on Ironman Canada 2009 about 3 months before the race. I remember vividly the day Sheryl talked me into it. We were running 15 miles on Wildwood trail. It was a gorgeous morning. She said why don’t you do Ironman Canada with us in August. I thought Please. No way. I barely knew what an Ironman is. Well the bug was already in my head and I knew if I did not sign up I would regret it. I spent the next 3 months training for 140.6 miles. Knowing what I know now I can not believe I got into the race without A) going to Penticton to volunteer/sign up B) signing up a year in advance.

Another friend Shannon had already gotten a group of us to sign up for Coeur d’Alene 2010. I was just following the pack. I went to IMCdA to volunteer and sign up in 2009 for 2010. This was my first big experience with an Ironman. I couldn’t believe that I was going to do this in 2 months. I had signed up for 2 Ironman races and I had never even done one! What the What?!!

I survived those 2. A friend, Christine, wanted to do a “flat” Ironman. She was going to sign up for Arizona 2012. I thought flat is boring but I signed up anyway. That is where I had a huge PR!

My fourth and what I thought would be my LAST Ironman was Ironman Canada but really Whistler. (I still don’t know why they did not just name it Ironman Whistler.) If you don’t know Ironman Canada was in Penticton for 30 years. They changed it to Whistler in 2013. We were actually set to do Lake Placid until we learned that Tri-Bike Transport did not serve Portland to IMLP. We schemed, talked, and eventually voted and decided to do Whistler instead. I still wanted to do LP but the group voted and we were set! (We were happy to be in Whistler and not Lake Placid after we heard about the weather as we were getting ready to swim early that morning of July 27th!)

I tell you this because picking an Ironman is a big decision. There are so many things to think about!

FIRST!
You have to decide if you want to do an “M-Dot” sanctioned event or if you want to pick just a 140.6 mile “iron-distance” race. You may or may not know what I mean by this. Let me explain:
A M-Dot race: a race put on my WTC(World Triathlon Corporation) In my opinion they have the monopoly on 140.6 distance races. When you hear the word “Ironman” this is where it comes from. If you are hoping to qualify for Kona then you have to do one of their races.
Iron-distance race: the same 140.6 miles you do in an “Ironman.” But put on by someone different than WTC. (Challenge, HITS, Beach To Battleship, Vineman, etc)

In my opinion anyone who has raced 140.6 miles is an Ironman. Some people think differently!

SECOND!
You have to decide where you want to race. Somewhere you can drive to? Somewhere close enough that you can train on the course? Do you want to fly with your bike? Do you know about Tri-bike Transport? (I think there is other transport companies but I don’t know about them) Can you pack your bike up in a bike box and travel with it?

Those are huge decisions. 3 of 4 of mine were driving distance. 2 of 4 I trained on the course 4-6 weeks before the race. I used Tri-bike Transport for IMAZ. It worked perfectly. Very easy! Not one complaint!

Third!
Other things to consider.
The swim. Not just mass starts anymore. After Ironman(WTC) put out a SwimStart Initiative there are some rolling and wave starts now. If the swim is not your cup of tea then maybe you would want to find a race that is not a mass start. But if you are die-hard and want a die-hard Ironman then maybe a mass start is what you have prepped yourself to do since you started dreaming of 140.6 miles.

The bike. There are courses that are flat, rolling, and lots of climbing. Pick one that you think you will like the best. Ask yourself: Are you a strong cyclist? or a weak one? Do you like climbing? Do you like cruising flat?

Personally the bike is my strongest event. I like climbing. I like hills. 3 of 4 of my races where climb fests. Everyone talks about how AZ is flat. They are wrong. You definitely have a incline on your way out on the Bee-Line Hwy. You are not climbing by all means but it is not flat! I did like AZ. I had a fast bike split. Depends on what you are looking for in a ride. (You also have to think about where you live and where you will train.) If you have no hills to train on then it is probably better to do a flat course.

The run. There are hilly runs and flat runs just like the bike. What kind of terrain do you like to race on?

For me: Running is my weakness but I usually can excel on hillier courses then flat ones! (Case and point: I ran a faster Big Sur marathon then I did RNRAZ ’14)

It is also tougher to decide because you don’t know how your legs will feel after 112 miles on the bike.

Those are just some things to think about when signing up for your first Ironman or I guess your 10th Ironman Or Iron-distance!!

IF I decided to do another one here is my criteria:
NO mass start.
No M-dot.
A rolling course (bike/run)

Training and racing an Ironman(or 140.6 miles) is no joke. I think some people sign up for a race thinking it would be “cool” to do. They don’t think about all the hours, blood, sweat, and tears that go into getting ready for an Ironman. There is no such thing an “easy” 140.6 miles. There is nothing easy about the race. You just have to decide most importantly what kind of terrain you want to train and race on. Really ask yourself if this is something that you are willing to prepare yourself for! It is an amazing accomplishment and some what addicting!

What are your thoughts on Ironman vs. Iron-distance races? Any other tips on what to look for when deciding on a race? How did you decide what 140.6 miles to do?

Pints To Pasta 2014 Re-Cap

7 Sep

I did my 8th running of Pints to Pasta 10K this morning!

A couple morning logistics:
Packet-pick up: 6:15-7:15
Shuttles: 6:30-7:30—You are urged to park at the finish line and take the shuttle to the start.
Start time: 8:00

BEFORE THE RACE: We live right by the finish line (Old Spaghetti Factory). We walked down to packet pick up at 6:30. Took our shirts/swag home. Got on the shuttle at 7:10ish. Arrived at the start line about 7:20ish. Used the porta potty. Went out for a 10 minute “yog” to warm up. Did some dynamic stretching. Then it was GO TIME!

SWAG!!

SWAG!!

GOALS: No real goals. I am knee deep into my marathon training. I have been doing tempo stuff but no speed work. I love this race. It is always fun. I thought what the hell! This “race” was taking the place of my tempo run for the week. I had already done 8 miles of hill repeats and a 16 mile long run. I will see what I can do. :)

The start line! (the green balloons behind us)

The start line! (the green balloons behind us)

THE RACE: Here is the long and short of it.
The first mile is downhill: 8:51 (this is about what I usually do)
2nd mile is flat uphill to downhill back up: 9:13 (I wanted to work hard but not sure how hard I was working. I knew I would get a little relief)
3rd mile is short downhill to uphill over the Broadway bridge: 9:32 (I didn’t know if and when I should work harder??)
4th mile was downhill to flat: 8:51 (well that was definitely fast. Could I maintain that the 2.2 miles I had left??)
(The course remained the same but instead of running on the waterfront path we were running on the street. I actually liked it better!)
Mile 5 was flat: 8:53 (WOW! Still fast. I was working hard.)
6th and final mile was flat: 9:00 (It was hard. I was working hard. I was going as fast as I could. I thought I better let it rip. I was sure I would run out of gas before the end of the mile. I was on home turf I knew every curve and turn. I just needed to keep it together. Run hard. Run fast!)
Last .2 miles was flat: 8:19 (I had no idea where I was time wise but I did not want to regret slowing because it was hard.) ;)

56:28!! PR!!! I THOUGHT my PR was 57:20ish. I thought great about 45 seconds. I.would.take.it!! Well turns out my PR was actually 58:27. Hello 2 minute PR. I was super excited!

POST-RACE: I found Dan and some other friends!
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We went over to get something to eat: chocolate milk and Clif Bars. The pasta/salad/bread compliments of the Old Spaghetti Factory. 2 Beers from Widmer. I was pleasantly surprised that they had root beer too. I am not a drinker and definitely not a soda drinker but a few sips of root beer was delicious!
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This was the first year they gave out medals. Pretty nice too!
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Thanks for a great race Better Series! Already planning on next year!! :)

After the race I came home to watch/track Erin and Kecia rock their races at Ironman Wisconsin! Congrats Ladies! Awesome job today!!

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