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Monday, March 24, 2008

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...I wish

It's 2:00 am Sunday morning & I can't sleep...this seems to happen to me a lot lately. I don't really think it's a sign of anything other than my brain turns on & I just can't shut it off again...Thoughts of biking, running & swimming just seem to invade my sleep & I can't seem to make them go away....

According to, there are 4 main categories you can work on to improve sleep. Some helpful tips are imbedded in each category:

  • No napping
  • Limit caffeine & alchohol
  • Don't smoke
  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight
  • Exercise early in the day
  • Check your iron
Ok, so I don't nap, drink alcohol (very much) or smoke...I exercise pretty much every available hour of every day (usually in bright sunlight) & I'm sure my iron is in the laundry room so I think I have great daytime habits...

  • Make sure your bed is large & comfy
  • Make your bed primarily a place for sleeping
  • Make your bedroom peaceful & comfortable
  • Hide your clock
Alright, I'm not really certain what to think about these points...I do have a very large & comfy bed which I use pretty much only for sleeping (and maybe reading) & it's so boring in there that it's certainly peaceful...maybe if I could combine my better daytime habits with my better sleep environment I'd get better sleep...more exercise in my large & comfy bed...hmmm...

  • Keep a regular schedule
  • Incorporate bedtime rituals
  • Relax for a while before going to bed
  • Don't eat a large, heavy meal before going to bed
  • Bedtime snack can help (especially milk, peanuts & turkey)
  • Jot down concerns & worries
  • Go to sleep when you're sleepy
  • Avoid "over-the-counter" sleep aids
Okay - I'm totally regular...all that exercising & veggies does the trick...I don't really have any bedtime rituals but I guess I could start. According to the Pagan Library, there are many to choose from...or suggests aromatic oils combined with massage - that one could be fun:) I certainly don't eat heavy meals before going to bed & I eat more peanut butter in a day than anyone I know...

  • Try visualization
  • Get out of bed if unable to sleep
  • Don't do anything stimulating
  • Get up & eat some turkey
  • Change your bedtime
So the visualization thing just wakes my brain up more - guess I'll have to work on better fantasies....I am out of bed & not really doing anything stimulating...turkey? You must be kidding me.

I don't know...I have all these things I can work so I guess I'll just go visualize about eating a turkey sandwich (but not too heavy of one) while I check on my iron, massage myself with aromatic oils & perform Brigit's Blue Ass of Inspiration Ritual...huh? I'm feeling tired already.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saddle Slut

TODAYS SONG (click here)

So I go through saddles like some women go through men (or wish they did)...a new one every couple of weeks (or so it seems). When I first got my Felt F75, I used the Felt Race-Lite Saddle that came on it for about a week. The thing felt (no pun intended) like I was sitting on a 2x4. Definitely not comfy! It squished all my girl parts:)

After taking off the "hard as a brick" Felt, I put my old saddle from my hybrid on. This was a Terry Liberator. Now, I must admit, this thing was kind of like riding with a pillow shoved between my legs. All big & fat (and kind of ridiculous looking on my bike). Worse, though, I couldn't get comfortable on this one either. I thought soft would be better but it's like I had sunk into the saddle & couldn't get any support. Boo!

I decided to turn to my favorite Bike Mechanic, Brian, for help & he set me up on a Devo Saddle. It was okay but I could never get as comfortable as I wanted. More squished parts & it was a little too wide in the front. My legs rubbed the nose of the saddle. I could live with it on short rides but for 112 miles followed by a 26.2 mile run - no way!

In frustration, I went home & researched saddles on the internet. Somehow (and I really don't remember now), I came to the conclusion that the Selle Anatomica would work for me. Kind of like the reputably wonderful Brooks saddles but with a cutout that I was sure would relieve the numbness I was getting in all my private parts. When it first went onto my bike, I thought I had hit the jackpot. Every part of me was rejoicing over the comfort of my new saddle. No more pain! Then....Brian & I went out for a 60 miler right after Christmas. We probably weren't 10 miles into the ride when things started to hurt. I'm sure I looked really attractive pulling my tights up, down & around trying to relieve the discomfort. The more I wiggled, the worse it got. By the time we ended the ride, I was totally raw & blistered in places where you just shouldn't be. Going to the bathroom was painful for days after. I thought maybe I had created this problem by wearing tights over my bike shorts so I actually tried the saddle a few more times at trainer tour wearing bike shorts only. No go, it's like this saddle had teeth. Ouch!

Next stop was another saddle sitting around in the garage, the Serfas Tri W. This saddle supposedly had all these really great features designed to make the female triathlete feel good (is that possible?) about sitting on a thin piece of hard material, sometimes leaning forward, for hours on end. It was engineered specifically for triathletes, had a slightly wider back area, has gel inserted in the nose of the saddle, & has an extra-long/extra-wide nose design that allows the cyclist to locate ideal comfort...

It was that extra-wide nose that did me in again. Some might think that wide & hard are what every girls' dreams are made of, but I can promise you - not so much when it comes to bike saddles. More rubbing. Maybe I should just take the hint & either lose another 10 lbs or get liposuction on my inner thighs!

Beginning to despair that I would ever find that "right" saddle for me, I decided
to participate in a Demo Program that Competitive Cyclist has. For $75 they'll send you 11 of their best selling saddles to demo on your bike (read - best selling guys saddles). If, after sending them back, you purchase one, they'll give you a $35 credit. Pretty good deal considering how much I was spending on saddles. During my demo period, I tried out several of the saddles & settled on the Selle Italia SLR Gel Flow. For the first time ever, I felt like my butt & not my crotch was sitting on my saddle. Already a big improvement. Also, after several rides, life was at least bearable after I got off my bike. No more bow-legged walking for me:) I did develop some new, weird pains & bruising - especially in my tailbone - but overall I was more comfortable. Not perfect, but better.

Fast forward a few weeks to my bike fit a couple of weeks ago. After moving pretty much everything around, Marcus from Train Smart was still not happy with the way I was sitting on my saddle. He said I kept pushing myself off the back of the saddle to get my butt on the widest part. Also, even when I did this, my sit bones were actually falling on either side of the saddle. I think he was trying to tell me I had a wide ass, but I can't be sure...He was absolutely right though...the saddle was actually too narrow for my sit bones. So off I went, in search of something new....

This time I decided to take a more scientific approach & began the process by measuring my
sit bones. This involved a squatting down kind of position while I attempted to measure my sit bones with a ruler. It probably sounds about as weird as it was but I at least discovered that I have a really fat ass. 153 mm across...(from sit bone to sit bone) - I guess it's no wonder that I've been having problems with saddles measuring <150.

Clarksville Schwinn, an LBS, sells them at great prices so I
went over there to check them out. When I mentioned getting one to Chris (my sales guy), it was all he could do not to all out laugh in my face..."you want to put one of those on your race bike?" he asked incredulously...Well, yes, I did...after all I have spokey dokes, a bell, a saddle bag...what else would help dork me out more? Seriously though, it really did look like the best option. Clarksville didn't have any B-17's or Team Pros in stock so I decided to order from Harris Cyclery. After looking at both, I decided to go with the sportier Team Pro. Several people from the bike club use that one & at 165mm I figured it would work. I did decide to call Harris directly just to be sure & they said no way, I had to get the B-17. Apparently all 165mm are not available for the comfort of my bottom & the wider B-17 (at 170mm) would be better. I'm definitely starting to get a complex about the width of my butt!

I payed for overnight shipping & got my saddle in late Friday night. I covered it (top &
bottom) with proofide & put it on my bike. I'm quite the expert at changing saddles now. Levels & allen wrenches are my friends! So, Saturday morning - the Dishonest Abe Mad Dog Century & yes, I decided to ride all 100 miles on my spanking new Brooks. I figured it couldn't be any worse than what I already have so I slapped on an extra thick layer of Assos Cream & brought along an extra pair of bike shorts in case I needed more padding. I could tell immediately that the Brooks is the right choice for my bottom! Total comfort the whole ride. Other parts of me aren't so sure but I know I have to give the saddle time to break in. Leaning forward into the aero bars definitely leaves something to be desired but all in all I feel way better than I ever have before getting off my saddle. Today (Sunday) I went out for another quick 25 miler & still feel great. No blisters or other yucky stuff so I think I may finally have it right! Keep your fingers crossed for me:) I think I'm finally ready to settle down!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I am completely so tired it hurts to walk, talk & keep my eyes open & I'm only half way through my 3 "hard" weeks before I get an easy week.

It all started Monday with that long 1600 swim, I felt great after the swim but the 40 minute treadmill run right after was tough. Probably because I had run 11.2 miles the day before. Then Tuesday, Monica (my weight coach) beat the shit out of me with pushups, pullups & other sundry forms of torture. I followed it up with my scheduled bike workout. I actually felt okay yesterday after all the working out but I only slept about 5 hours last night.

Then today, I had a really hard 2500 yard swim. It included 10x100 on 2:15 which means I get 2:15 to complete each one (including rest time). Doesn't sound so bad but it was taking me 2:00 to complete each one & I was working really hard on my breathing which really raised my heart rate so the 15 seconds left over for rest was just not enough. That combined with my arms workout from the day before made the swim very challenging. (Also, I got to do the 10x100 on 2:40 last week so this was a big decrease in rest time).

After I recovered from my swim it was time to move on to running. Let me start by saying the weather was fabulous today & it's not supposed to be this Saturday so I decided to swap run days. That gave me a 12 mile run today. I went over to Seneca Park & ran through Seneca and into Cherokee making enough detours to get in my 12 miles. For anyone not familiar with the route - it was very hilly. By the end of the 12 miles I was done for (and had 2 huge blisters). Probably not my smartest move to make this change to my training plan but at least the rest of the week will be pretty easy! I've only got one 70 mile bike left, one 1800 swim, one 45 minute run & one 30 minute weight workout! Not so bad with 4 days left in the week!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Becoming a Fish

So it was just last August that I had my first swim lesson with coach Nancy. I could only swim 1 25 meter lap without feeling like I was going to die. I can still remember hitting that wall and just gasping for air. Sure, I knew how to swim - I just didn't know how to breathe.

As of the end of the year, I was still stringing together breast stroke with freestyle on my continuous swims & at the end of January I had finally strung together a 400 continuous freestyle swim (although I was totally spent by the end & couldn't have gone 1 yard more). I was convinced that I'd be doing the Ironman using breaststroke & was wondering if I would make the cutoff.

Well....yesterday, I had my longest continuous freestyle swim ever - 1600 yards. I comple
ted it in 39 minutes & finished feeling like I could have kept going - pretty fucking incredible. For the first time ever I actually felt confident I could complete the swim portion of the race! I may not be the fastest swimmer in the water but in my usual slow & steady fashion I think I'll get there!

Just as an aside- it could have actually been the purchase of my new (much smaller) bathing suits that made me so fast. They're so tight they actually make me look 10 pounds skinnier - apparently that's how they're supposed to fit! & they're pretty colors - there is no missing me when I'm in the pool:)

Sunday, March 9, 2008


So our weather totally sucked Friday & Saturday. We had such good weather on Thursday that it was almost impossible to believe that a winter storm was actually coming. I have to say, sucky weather totally stresses me out when I start trying to get my workouts in...I initially planned to run & swim Saturday & then ride & swim Sunday. However, the weather gods had something else in mind...Friday morning it started to snow, and snow, and snow....It snowed all damn day. Unbelievable as it is, the weathermen actually got the forecast right - 8-12 inches of snow. It kind of took a little break sometime during the day but then it snowed more. It snowed all night & Saturday morning it was still snowing. All the Saturday bike rides were canceled, the Saturday runs were canceled, & I finally had to break down & join the Y since all the other pools were closed.

As I drove slipping & sliding through the snow on the way to the Y on Saturday, I was still holding out hope for Sunday. I did get a semi-decent swim in - I had the pool all to myself but for some reason I was unable to swim a straight line. No I hadn't been drinking but I felt like it by the time I got out of the pool - I think their multi-colored pool lines were creating some weird optical illusion in my head. I ruined my Motorola Q by talking on it with wet hair & then got in a weight workout before heading home. Fun times!

The city actually did a decent job clearing the roads so I was really hoping I
would get to run & ride on Sunday. Unfortunately, the Sunday rides all got canceled (I'm still convinced the afternoon ride would have been fine) but Howard & Harry agreed to come out & run with me Sunday morning. We got together at 9 & managed to get in an 11.2 mile run without killing ourselves or being hit by a car (there were maniacs on the road today). After the run, we were going to celebrate Tammy's bday (another group runner), but for the 2nd year in a row, Howard brought a cake but Tammy didn't show:( We got the cake out anyway & wished her a happy bday in her absence...I think it took 6 mos last year for her to actually get some cake. Hopefully it won't take so long this year!

After our little quasi-celebration, I headed out for the club (Milestone this time) for a swim. Amazingly I had my own lane the entire time & had a great (very straight) swim workout. When I finished I had just enough time to change clothes & make it over to Betsy's Hot Yoga for a Bikram class. The place was absolutely packed! Great class though. Ever since I started riding centuries, I've been having problems with my upper back & neck hurting. I figure the deep stretching at Yoga can only help...time will tell.

So I made it through the week & somehow managed to get my training in. It took a lot of reshuffling & moments where I just didn't even know if it was going to happen but somehow it all came together in the end. The weather is supposed to be great this coming week so I hope it will all go more smoothly. Between my training, my husband's travel, my daughter's lacrosse & one of my son's basketball, there's not a lot of wiggle room when things don't happen when they should.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Squeezing It In

Right now we're under a winter storm warning & they're predicting several inches of snow tomorrow & into Saturday. This seems to be the trend lately - decent weather until just before the weekend when it snows & sleets & screws up weekend rides. This totally sucks since I was either going to do a century Saturday or a 70 miler on Sunday.

Because of this, several of us were out today seemingly trying to accumulate as many miles as possible in advance of the storm. First up was a 41 mile ride out of Westport Park. This ride is the first in a series of rides led by Larry Preble intended to help people get into shape after the winter. This was a great ride! It had almost 3000 feet of climbing over the ride and offered some incredible views of the countryside. The sun was out & the weather was pretty warm - I'm really glad I did this ride & will try to make his next one in a week.

After the morning ride, I spent a few hours running around picking up kids & stuff before heading off for a 25 mile night ride. A bunch of people from this morning were there too. We had a pretty big group & good (although cold) weather. As part of this ride, we went to the top of Iroquois Park. What an incredible view! With the relatively clear skies, you could see all across the city. The lights were great! I've run through the park a bunch of times & had no idea this top loop was up there. Like the morning ride, this one is a keeper! I won't be able to go a lot over the next couple of month's because my daughter has Lacrosse games almost every Tues/Thurs but I'll go as much as I can.

So here I am, worn out for the day but really glad I fit it all in. I'm also hoping that the weathermen are wrong & we won't get so much snow. Even if Saturday is a bust, I've gotten a babysitter so I can ride on Sunday if the roads are clear. I'll keep my fingers crossed & hope for a ride this weekend!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


This song perfectly describes me today - Am I the Only One?

I find myself looking at my life & wondering when I changed from being a smart, successful woman to being a live-in housekeeper, laundress & chauffeur...I used to have a career, I made real money, I was successful....I guess I used to feel important. I wonder, would anyone notice if I disappeared tomorrow? Probably the kids because no one would do the laundry & they wouldn't have rides home from school, my husband maybe because he wouldn't have his resident secretary to give "to-do" lists to and possibly the Fedex guy who waves at me when I run. My kids sometimes make comments about me "doing nothing all day" & how their friends moms have real jobs. When did my husband's career so take over our lives that who I am was sucked into it too? Even my parents point out the my husband is a CFO, my brother is a DR & my sister-in-law is a CPA...they leave off there but I know they're thinking that I'm not, well, anything.

There was probably a little piece inside of me thinking about this when I signed up for the Ironman this year. No, I'm not any of those important things that they are, but I'm going to accomplish this really hard thing that they can't do & maybe, then, my they'll look at me less like a piece of furniture & more like that accomplished lady I used to be. Somehow, I doubt it. Running 2 full & countless half marathons didn't do the trick & they've all made it clear that there's really nothing I do in my life that interests them but a little piece of me hopes...and then I wonder, do I really care?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Pool Update

just a quick note on the pool...while at Milestone today, this gross guy was swimming in the lane next to me hacking up snot & spitting it into the gutters at every lap...even though I pointed out to the guard how gross & inappropriate I thought it was (you know, the water gets in my mouth), she wouldn't say anything to the guy...go figure? Good thing I had a short swim today!

Monday, March 3, 2008

I need sleep...

On Saturday I ran a 10k. Nancy (my coach) had instructed me to run it all-out so I pushed it as hard as I could - my time was 53:56 (my fastest by about 2 mins) and my average HR was 178 (really & she didn't even freak out about this). Spent doesn't even begin to say it.

I followed this up with my 2nd Century on Sunday (more details to come). It was reasonably flat (with one big hill) & I had a great time, but it seemed to take forever to get done & I was pretty tired when it was over.....BUT, there is no rest for the wicked because Nancy was putting on a bowling party for all of her athletes & their families so I went directly from the ride to the bowling alley where I met the rest of my family...

By the time we got home & got the kiddos in bed, I felt like a walkin
g zombie - I just wanted to take a quick shower to wash off the road grit & go to bed. Unfortunately, this wasn't meant to be. Although I was in bed by 10, I never really could get to sleep & by 2, I was up again because I was sick of pretending to sleep. Nothing hurt but nothing was really right either, my legs felt weird & my brain wouldn't turn off. Watched "Little Children" with Kate Winslet until I finally fell asleep around 4. When the alarm went off at 6am this morning I was not happy.

I've been kind of dragging all day. Again, nothing really hurts (except my butt
from all the time in the saddle) but nothing's right either. Did my swim this morning but struggled every lap. I was actually surprised when I finished the whole thing since I kept fantasizing about quitting. I pushed off my run until tomorrow but when I saw it wasn't going to pour down rain as forecast, I decided to try and make the outdoor Monday night "recovery" ride. Even though it was going to be raining a bit & was after dark, the ride captain assured me that he'd be there. Yeah - I felt that the short spin would do my legs good.

The rain was picking up but was sporadic as I headed for the ride start. The ride was scheduled to start at 6:45 but at 6:40, nobody was there...guess everyone was going to wuss out. I pulled out my phone to order carry-out from PF Chang's when I saw a lone rider pulling into the lot. It was Scott, the ride captain! We talked briefly about what to do & decided we both needed the ride after the century so decided to take a quick jaunt through th
e park. We called a couple of other guys (Perry & Eric) that usually show up rain or shine & heckled them about not coming but it looked like it was going to be just us. Just as we were about to leave, Micah (someone way crazier than us - he had actually ridden 20 miles to the start), pulled in. With 3, we were off.

So riding in the dark, in the rain, was a new experience for me. It was a little disorienti
ng because I couldn't see the road very well & I definitely need a better headlight but it was fun. We did about 9 quick miles through the park before making it back to the lot. My legs actually feel much better but I can say that when my butt first touched the saddle it was not a good thing:) Soaking wet, I drove my tired self home, got changed, cleaned up my bike & collapsed on the couch.

So now it's time to try's hoping I'll sleep tonight because I have a ton of workouts tomorrow & I NEED SLEEP!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Choppy Waters

A little complaining...

I use two different local pools to get my many swim workouts in each week. If I'm only swimming (no weight or run workouts) or I have a lot of drill work, I'll swim at the Mary T. This is an Olympic Size Pool that's part of the Louisville Parks System. Lots of triathletes swim there & I always get a lane to myself & a really good workout in. However, if I'm combining multiple workouts into one outing, I'll swim at my health club, Milestone. The actual facilities are much nicer at Milestone but they dedicate at least half the pool to water aerobics & I almost always have to share a lane when I swim. Now, I'm not so selfish that I'm incapable of sharing, but at Milestone, instead of sharing with serious swimmers, I often get to share with walkers. You may wonder how hard it could possibly be to share with a walker - right? Well, it's awful. They often jump into the lane without first telling you they're there (common courtesy), they often don't like to get their hair wet so they get mad if I make any splashes, they like to walk in the middle, but worst of all, they often hold chat fests with their friends making it impossible to swim around. When I swim at Milestone, I do my best to schedule my swims around the times when I think there's not going to be a lot of these people in the pool.

With this said, I'm sure you can understand why I go to Mary T. when I can....bad news, though, last week Mary T developed a serious leak that's going to cause the pool to be closed until the end of March. Now, while I'm happy that I have Milestone to turn to, they have apparently offered a deal to all the Mary T. swimmers to come swim at Milestone! Even on the best of days, it's tough to get a good swim in there. Now, in addition to all the walkers & water aerobics chicks, we're going to have to deal with the added Mary T traffic. I know, I'm totally selfish, but I am paying out the bucks to belong to Milestone & now swimming is going to totally suck for the next month! I have 4 swims planned this week with one of them being over 2000 meters...I'm hoping I'll be able to get it in without strangling a walker first! Maybe I'll just kick extra hard as I go by & they'll get the hint:)