Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Sign of Spring

Several signs of Spring appeared this weekend. Workouts are definitely getting longer as my base building for Ironman Lake Placid ramps up.

Saturday, McQueen went for its longest ride ever. 81 miles and just over 5 hours long. Deanna L and Scott thankfully joined me for the first 50. We took a busier than I would have liked route from West Creek to Ashland but otherwise, the ride seemed to be going smoothly. My legs felt pretty good and I was able to keep a descent pace. Back at West Creek, I said good-bye to DL and Scott, refueled with an almond butter and jelly sandwich and some juice and headed out for the last 31 solo. I decided to test my legs and add a few hills to the route (since we had only done a few) and tackle the Millers Lane loop. My goal was two fold. First, to make it up the hills and second, to descend the hill from Manakin down Millers without the use of my brakes. To me, descents are far more scary than the ascents. Since I have that 9 mile descent to Keene in my future, I figured I need to start somewhere. I accomplished both goals, but my pace slowed considerably on the last 30 miles and it was clear I was running out of gas. I could not longer get my HR in the right zone because I couldn't seem to get my legs to pedal any faster. They were spent. Once back to WC, I finished my ride with a loop to finish out my workout time. My other proud moment of the day - making it through both gates at Capital One without dismounting or unclipping. I need to work on getting some more fluids in me while riding and next long ride, I'm going to give CarboPro a try.

As I racked McQueen on the back of the car, I saw this:

. . . the first sign of Spring. Worms galore - on the bottom tube of my bike, in my brake calipers, all over. McQueen got a post ride bath and is now just waiting for her new crank and ceramic bearings.

Today's workouts were tough. I was not sore from yesterday but my legs were definitely sluggish. We also had our first really warm day. My run was lackluster and my body was definitely not acclimated to warmer temps. My easy 8 miles felt like a hard 15 and my legs might as well have been made of lead. Even Lulu felt the effects of the warmer weather. She jogged with me for the first mile and a half but contrary to our other runs, she was happy to be dropped off at home to left me finish the work.

Post lunch and a little R&R, I headed to the pool to finish my last workout of the weekend. A VO2 workout in the pool. My main set was 10 x 200 with each 200 aimed at 4 min or less. Although I tried to hold back on the first several 200s so I'd have enough the tank to finish the 10, they felt easy, and I was clocking off times right around 2:50. As the 200s continued, they definitely got harder. I tried to keep form and hang tough. I made all of the 200s under 4 minutes, but one. The last. I missed it by less than a second. Irritating, but it gives me something to aim for at the next swim.

And tonight, its feet up and time to rest. . . that is, until tomorrow. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Some Luck of the Irish!

I ran the Shamrock 1/2 Marathon today in Virginia Beach.

Although the race started a little on the chilly side (in the 30s), the weather couldn't have been better.

And neither could the finish.

A new PR for both Bart and I.

Mine - 2:03:17 and Bart - 1:35:47.

Congrats to Kate, Sharon and Jill on their 1/2 PRs and to Jim, Karen, Fawn and Patty for their awesome marathon runs.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Work and Play in Sunny CA!

My ride for the week.

On Wednesday this week, I travelled out to sunny California for a week of work and a weekend of fun. I am extremely fortunate that my client contact that I am meeting with and another engineer who works for my client are big into cycling. I am even more fortunate that one of them had an extra 54 cm bike that he fitted for me to ride.

Bonelli Park
So . . . Thursday post work, we went for our first spin around Bonelli Park. There is a loop around the big reservoir at the center of Bonelli that is close to 7 miles and includes a mix of flats and small climbs and a slightly larger loop (about 9 miles) that includes a pretty good climb and yes, my favorite (NOT), a twisty fast descent. Apparently, there is a fairly popular triathlon in this park. Raymond, Emmanuel and I rode 2 small loops and one big loop and had a great 22-23 mile post work ride.
Friday, post work, I switched hotels and relocated to Pasadena for the weekend. Bart was supposed to join me, but unfortunately, the flu struck hard early Thursday morning and he was too sick to travel. So, I enjoyed a little bit of alone time and ordered a girly movie, The Women, to go with my yummy in-room service salmon. The seafood out here this week has been really outstanding!
This morning, Raymond, Emmanuel, Emmanuel's wife, one of their friends Ray and I rode 60 miles on the LA river and Rio Hondo river trails into and back out of Long Beach. The morning started off a little chilly (in the low 50s) but quickly climbed in temperature so that I ended the ride in shorts and a long sleeved cycling shirt. The paths were fantastic - wide (so you could in most parts ride over 20 mph), flat and right through the city. Along the way, we passed a ton of horse stables and parks. The "river" isn't much of a river in most places, more of a concrete canyon, but still, the ride was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I was blessed not to have to ride in the cold or on the trainer.

Here is the group in downtown Long Beach around the midway point.

With the Queen Mary in the background.

The prize of the ride was the leisurely pace along the beach and the fish tacos we had for lunch at Wahoo's. They were amazing and just what the doctor ordered to get us back to the start.

I had only one mishap of the day and added a war wound to my new bike helmet and seat when I toppled over towards the end of the ride. Unfamiliar with the territory, I rounded a 180 turn to face a short but extremely steep incline from the path up to the road. I missed the advice to switch my gearing and couldn't clip out fast enough or downshift from the big gear I had been riding the flats in. So. . . down I went. I'd like to call it graceful, but I doubt it was. Escaped with just a few bruises but thankfully no road rash.

My hotel window view.

Tonight, I plan to explore the shops and restaurants of Old Town Pasadena. I could get used to living in CA. Its amazing to be so close to the ocean, yet look out my hotel window and see the mountains in the very close distance. There are tons of outdoor activities, fantastic restaurants, beautiful parks and gardens and an outstanding fine arts, theater and music community.

I'm off to explore.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Its one of those RARE snow days in Richmond. Hope everyone got outside and enjoyed it! Last night was perfect snow ball fight weather.

Lulu, the snow dog!

My ab and arm workout for the day.

Bart, didn't we buy this ergonomic shovel at Lowe's last night for you to use?

Shakin it off!

A winter wonderland.

Our peaceful front yard.