Sunday, September 30, 2007

Week In Training-Sept. 24-30

A perfectly perfect day biking out on the trails at West Mag today. There were small patches of snow on the side of the road on the drive up from Nederland to the trailhead but the trails were dry, sun was shining, and temps. warmed up to be perfect. Jeanne's husband Rusty joined our little girlie trio and came up with some nice routes for us. I still don't know the trails well enough to find my way, it was good he was there but I wish I had been paying better attention. I was too distracted by the bright yellow shimmering stands of aspens and the impossibly blue sky. I swear, none of it looked real. Knowing that these trails will be covered in snow soon made it all the more special. Fall is my favorite time of year, have to enjoy every moment I can. I'll confess I was struggling a bit with the 9000 ft altitude at the start but I soon forgot about it and had a blast. Agility nationals are coming up in 4 weeks so I was even more conservative than normal but still had plenty of fun anyway.

Tri Training

Monday: 2200 yards/1 hour swim at masters

Tuesday: 3 mile run in the a.m. with Strummer & Cody, agility practice w/ Lola in the p.m.

Wednesday: Rest day (1/2 hour agility lesson in the pm)

Thursday: 4 mile run in the a.m. with Strummer & Lola (forgot my swim bag so missed
masters, went to agility practice instead)

Friday: horrid 3 mile/20 minute bike ride in the a.m. from car dealer to work on scary busy
rural highway (ugh, missed my planned lunch time ride due to work related
circumstances beyond my control)

Saturday: 4 miles/1 hour trail run (Wonderland to Foothills to Hogback trailhead and back)
Agility practice in the a.m. w/ Cody & Lola

Sunday: 12 miles/2 1/4 hours (approx.) mountain bike w/ Jeanne, Sabina & Rusty

Total: Swim: 2200 yards, 1 hour
Bike: 15 miles, 2 1/2 hours (mountain bike/trails)
Run: 11 miles, 2 1/2 hours (approx.)

6 hours total

A light week but mostly due to scheduling problems. O.k., memory problems as far as forgetting my swim gear goes. I'm on a new fall schedule and still working out the kinks. Sometimes I zigged when I should have zagged.


Just 4 weeks until USDAA Nationals so I've been focusing on our biggest weaknesses and letting the little stuff go. I've been mainly working on weaves and my timing for both dogs and contacts for Lola. I'm following a video I got from Clean Run called 'World Class Weaves', we'll see how it goes. It requires an awful lot of weaving and I've had to break it down into short sessions because it's too much both mentally and physically for both dogs. The entry training has 7 jumps arranged in a semi-circle around the weave poles at the entrance, typical stuff most people do for teaching entries. However there are 5 exercises per jump (dog on left, dog on right, dog on left rear cross, dog on right rear cross and standing at the end of the poles facing the dog and calling the dog through). And that's just 'Level One'. It would take 35 jump/weave combo's just to make it through the first level and that's assuming you have 100 percent success and don't have to repeat anything. So far we've made it through 5 jumps spread over 3-4 practice sessions. It will take forever to make it through all the levels but we'll keep plugging away and see if it helps. I may eliminate the 'recall' step because I don't see the point and the dog's have the most trouble with it. Lola's breezing through the program so far but Cody's having a little trouble with the off side weaves unless I really guide him in. Thinking about it Lola's never had much of a problem with entries, I did a lot of work with that when I first trained her. I think she simply needed a little refresher course. Cody needs more practice though since he was the first dog and I never taught him as well.

I've also been taking weekly 1/2 hour private lessons with Joy and that's been working out great. I get the most out of these short sessions that are focused on me and my issues. Private lessons are an extravagance though and once nationals are over I may go to once every other week. Joy's been giving me lots of good simple exercises to work on things like my timing and tightening up Cody's turns. They're very quick and easy to set up too, maybe I can take a homemade jump and my lightweight practice tunnel to work so I can practice on my lunch hour. The dogs need short sessions throughout the day, not big mega sessions and it's hard to schedule them into my already busy schedule but I'm going to try. We've got a USDAA trial next weekend so we'll see if the practice will start to pay off, esp. with the weaves.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Night Masters

North Boulder Rec.
Coach: ???

Warm Up:
150 yards swim
150 yards kick
150 yards pull
150 yards swim
straight through

Main Set:
100 yards swim, moderate pace, on 2:00
25 yards swim, moderate pace, on :40
50 yards swim, build pace, on 1:10
25 yards swim, sprint, on :40
Repeat 4x
(swam 100’s at 1:53 ish)
200 yards swim on 4:00
2x100 yards on 1:50
(yeah right, I did the first one at 1:48-1:49 and the second at 1:56)
4x50 drill, IM order, 5 secs rest after each 50
4x50 swim, IM order, 15 secs rest after each 50
Total: 2200 yards
This was my first time in the pool since my race 2 weeks ago and I was sure it would be a disaster but it didn’t go too badly. Luckily I had the lane to myself so I didn’t have to try to keep up with anybody. I’d like to try to be able to do 100’s at a 1:40 pace on a 1:50 interval by mid winter. Seems reasonable if I can keep up with twice a week workouts and make some improvements to my stroke. I’d also like to be able to breathe on both sides, every other stroke by next summer. That may be ambitious, I’ve been working on that for years but we’ll see.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Crested Butte-West Maroon Pass

I'm on vacation this week and spent the past few days hiking in Crested Butte. These photos were taken mostly from the top of West Maroon Pass at around 12,500 feet in the Maroon Bells Wilderness Area. You can also reach this pass from Aspen, a hike that we did several years ago. It's much easier from the Crested Butte side, shorter and not nearly so steep. Still, it was 8 miles round trip with the last mile to the pass being a pretty steep climb.

We were fortunate to have perfect weather and little to no wind at the pass so I took a bunch of pictures. When we did this from the Aspen side the strong wind at the pass was so cold and horrible that we barely spent a few minutes at the top before beating it back to lower and warmer ground.

The hike is completely exposed except for a few minutes through some woods at the very start so you're treated to beautiful unobstructed mountain views in all directions for nearly the whole hike. Jonny and I both agreed that this was one of our favorite hikes ever. We ran into a woman from Oregon who said she hikes a lot in the Cascades but that this was a truly amazing experience.

My knee held up no problem, most of the hike wasn't that steep. I'm not even sore today, just a bit stiff from the 4 3/4 hour drive back to Boulder. It was a wonderful vacation and I was thrilled to be able to take all 3 dogs (they were all so good!) but it's great to be home again. I'll try to get more photos posted later to my Flickr account but I've been having some problems with it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Heil Ranch

It was a girlie day on the trail yesterday as I met up with a Jeanne and Sabina to check out the brand spankin' new Wild Turkey trail at Heil Ranch. We still had to ride up a good portion of the old rocky, eroded trail to reach the new trail but it was well worth it. The new trail is beautiful smooth singletrack that was trickier to ride than it looked. Big lush meadows, nice shady woods, a viewpoint of the Continental Divide and valleys below at the end, this trail has it all.

We kept running into one of the guys who was instrumental in getting the trail built and he was a bit excited, asking everyone what they thought of the trail and trying to recruit people to help build yet another trail that will connect Heil with Hall, another popular mountain biking spot. He was also passing out swigs of Wild Turkey to anyone brave enough to accept. I declined, mountain biking is challenging enough but Sabina, who did take some, was flying down all the horrible rocky parts with a big silly grin on her face so maybe it wouldn't have been a half bad idea.

We spent a bit of time re-riding some the of tricky parts and helping each other out with our skills, or lack thereof. Just like with agility, it helps a lot to have a few sets of eyes to help you out with your technique.

Next weekend it's Lair o' the Bear in Morrisson, near the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Tempting as it is, I think I'll leave the Wild Turkey at home.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Race Photos

Some race photos from the Glenwood Springs Tri: here and here

Some race photos from the Indian Peaks Off Road Tri: here and here

I'm afraid I get more excited about pictures of the dogs than pictures of me so I won't order any but it's nice to see that I didn't look totally miserable out there on the Glenwood run , esp. since the photographer was right at a spot where I was forgetting to have fun out there.

A bit stiff and sore today but not too bad. Gonna try to run an agility course with Cody tonight, hopefully I'll be able to move.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Glenwood Springs Triathlon 2007

This is one of my favorite on road triathlons. The swim is in the Hot Springs pool, the bike is on the interstate but very scenic (trust me) and the run follows a path along the river. This is my fourth Glenwood Tri and I know it will be my slowest, the only question is how much slower? Three years ago my time was 1:57, I guessing this year will be something between 2:10-2:15. No matter, this race is more of a treat to myself than a horse race and I intend to enjoy it.

My right knee, the one that had the surgery, was bothering me badly last weekend so I decided to rest it as much as I could this past week. It felt a little gimpy on Saturday but that was probably from the 3 hour drive to Glenwood. Nothing to do with agility practice Saturday morning, oh no. I was prepared to DNF and skip the run if I had to, I didn’t want to be laid up for the next month because of a race but I knew I could handle the swim and bike and decided to see how I felt by the run.

Could I Be Any More Disorganized?

Thursday brought a couple of surprises, first of all an unscheduled site visit to Winter Park on Friday for work then after work I just happened to find out that the closing date for USDAA Nationals is Sept. 24. Yikes! It meant I had to decide, like now, if I wanted to go to Nationals so I could put teams together. I made a quick executive decision that yes, I want to go, and immediately advertised for teams. Mind you I'm also trying to find teammates and pairs partners for an Oct. trial with a Sept. 25 closing date. Of course I was away from the computer all day Friday and spent Friday night frantically sorting out teams & parters. When the dust cleared I had it almost all sorted out except Cody's teammated for Nationals. I had a woman interested but she's really good and I wanted her to know that Cody is inconsistent and told her to think about it, let me know on Sunday. I was tired from my 4 hours of mountain driving plus climbing around at the construction site and dealing with a problem they had. I still had to pack up my tri gear and get stuff ready for agility practice first thing in the morning before I left for Glenwood. At 9:45 pm I realized I didn't even know where to go to pick up my race number/packet. At least I was remembered to look it up before I hit the road.
Needless to say that by the time I made the 3 hour mountain drive to Glenwood Springs I was tired and dizzy and preoccupied with all the Nationals hassle, trying to think of team names and worrying about all I'll have to do to prepare to go. My head was not quite in race mode.

One of the few things I like about traveling is that you're away from your house and your crap so there isn't much you can do about all you have to do. I had a luxurious 45 minutes to kill before the pre-race course meeting so I sat outside on the lawn at the meeting place and read a book. Yes, that's right folks, I sat reading a book and put everything else right out of my mind. It was fabulous. I wasn't quite in race mode yet but at least I was out of frantic, overexcited mode.

Race Day

I don't sleep well in hotel rooms, especially when someone gets some kind of delivery at 2:30 am and makes all manner of noisy racket for a full 1/2 hour. I managed to get back to sleep an hour later but had weird fitful dreams and woke up tired and grouchy when the alarm went off. My stomach was a bit unsettled so I decided to skip breakfast. I had a late pasta dinner the night before so I figured I was good.

Da Swim-825 meters (902 yards)

The swim is my favorite part of this race. It's 7 lengths in the Hot Springs Pool and let me tell you 80-85 degree water is pure heaven compared to the high 50's that I had in my other races this summer. Air temp. was high 40's, low 50's so while I waited for my heat to start I warmed up in the soaking pool which is really hot like a hot tub. My stomach was playing up even worse but it calmed right down when I hit that nice warm, soothing water with all the healing minerals. Soon it was time to be off though and the regular pool felt freezing after that so I swam a bit to warm up before the gun went off.

Usually I don't have a problem with other swimmers and crowding but for some reason this year it was like being in a giant washing machine and it didn't abate even after 2 lengths so I finally made my way to the outside of the fray. On the plus side I had feet to draft off of nearly the whole way. Hard to say why but I love swimming in that pool. Maybe it's the soothing minerals or maybe because I have the security of swimming in a pool but the fun of swimming in a group in an open water format as opposed to swimming in lap lanes which would probably bore me stupid. I can focus on my stroke and enjoy the feeling of the water without the worry of a lake swim. I tried to savor the swim but it was over way too soon. I exited the pool in a big pack which is also unusual. They did a good job of grouping us all according to predicted swim time.

Da Bike-15 miles

The bike course is an out and bike on the interstate which sounds horrible but is actually pretty nice. Traffic is sparse at 8:15 on a Sunday morning and the rising sun turns the surrounding mountains bright red. It's a perfectly gorgeous morning, sunny blue skies and beautiful mountain scenery. What more could you ask for?

The first 3 miles are downhill and somehow I ran out of gears right away, leaving me spinning my cranks and getting nowhere while tribike after tribike go flying past me. What's the deal?! I don't remember this happening in previous years. I check my rear cog and it seems like I should have lots of gears left but try as I might I can't get the shifters to move the chain. All I can do is tuck down into the drops, get as aero as I can and coast. Finally after 3 miles the shifters start to work but at that point I've run out of hill. I haven't changed the cables in the 10 years or so that I've owned the bike so clearly it's time to pony up for some new wires. Of course the bike would wait until a race to crap out on me. Must be revenge for stabling her all summer while I rode my mountain bike.

The turnaround comes up so soon I can hardly believe it. I've been a weekend warrior on the bike this summer and most of those rides were on trails so I was sure my bike was going to be dismal but my ave. speed was 21.3 mph at the turnaround, not bad. Of course, when I make the turn I'm greeted by a hellacious headwind. I had this same wind the last time I did this race in 2004 so I wasn't terribly surprised. I was surprised to pass up a bunch of people who had blown past me in those first 3 miles. I suppose in a way mountain biking works some of the same muscles you need for powering against the wind so maybe I was better prepared than I thought I was. I end up trading places a few times with a tall guy who's got his work cut out for him in this wind. He passes me and I don't try to pass again but rather let him pull me along mentally.

The plan was to have some gel at the halfway point but my stomach's still way too queasy so I decide no food for this race. It's short enough, it shouldn't be a problem and I can tell nothing's going to stay down anyway so why even try? I made it about 3/4 of the way through my water bottle by the 2/3 point, was hoping to finish a whole bottle but all of a sudden my stomach finally feels better at just about the same time I unexpectedly puke up a bit of water and food. Yes, while riding. Food?! Where did that come from, I haven't eaten a thing since last night's dinner. Then I remember I had forced down half an energy bar while I was setting up in the transition area. I did it purely out of habit and forgot all about it. Oh well, I felt o.k. so I brushed off my shorts and kept on riding. I've never had that happen before and hope it never happens again.

A few miles to go and my tall guy is slipping away. I'm pedalling as fast as my little legs will go but it's no use, I can't reel him in. I think to myself, 'Yes dear, it's called training, you should try it sometime'. But I can tell from my bike computer that the ride isn't going to be quite the disaster I was imagining. Not a PR but way faster than I thought I'd be. Before I know it I'm back in town and it's on to the run.

Da Run-5 miles

I've been devoting most of my training to running, partly so I can exercise the dogs but also because I knew this would be the hardest part. I was running 4 miles several times a week no problem but hadn't quite made it up to 5 on a regular basis. It's not because I've been slacking but rather because I have to be so careful about adding mileage or I end up injured. I was happy enough that my knee felt good enough to attempt the run and best I could hope for is that it would hold up the whole way.

The first part of the run goes around the Hot Springs Pool and a volunteer says, 'Don't forget to have fun'. Uh oh, do I look that bad already? The first 1/2 mile off the bike is typically challenging for me but I don't feel like I have spaghetti legs or any unusual fatigue. The run goes through downtown Glenwood Springs then cruelly passes the finish line and heads out of town to a bike path along the river. I watch the people finishing from earlier heats but somehow I'm not jealous. Am I actually looking forward to the run?

Once I'm out of town and on the bike path I start to hear the pitter patter of feet as the runners start to pass me. There's not much I can do about it, I'm doing the best I can and all I can do is ignore them and run my own race. The first mile ticks off in 10:57, ugh. This is bad even for me. My only real goal for the run is to run a negative split and with such a slow mile maybe it will happen. This is kind of a cheater goal though because the first half of the course is more uphill than the last half.

At about the halfway point I run into Duane and give him a quick hello. He was looking pretty strong at that point, much better than I felt for sure. I kept plugging along and soon enough I was heading back to town. Each split was getting a little faster but not by a lot and I never had a single mile under 10 minutes. In 2004 I averaged 9:36 per mile so yeah I felt super slow this year. Nonetheless I finished with no cramps or knee problems. I even had a wee bit left in the tank for a little bit of a kick to the finish line. The race finishes downtown and the locals are out there at the finish line screaming their heads off for you and ringing cowbells whether they know you or not.

Post Race

There isn't much fuss at the finish of this race, just some cut up pieces of bagel and bananas, because there's a nice catered picnic and awards/raffle ceremony in a park a little ways out of town after everyone has finished. I force down a few pieces of bagel, don't ask me why, force of habit again I guess but they stay down o.k. I don't push my luck though and head back to transition to pick up my bike.

On my way back to the hotel I pass the finish line again and take a quick peek down the road. As luck would have it I can see Duane heading towards the finish line so I stop to cheer him in. He's looking great and has some loyal fans also cheering him in. Duane's quite the rockstar btw, those involved with the race took time at both the pre-race meeting and the awards ceremony to tell his inspirational story. Go check out his blog, he's got some great photos of the race and his own race report.


Final results compared with previous years:

825m 15 miles 5 miles
Swim T1 Bike T2 Run TOTAL

2007 17:42 1:59 52:58 1:24 52:36 2:06:37

2004 16:54 2:35 51:31 :50 47:46 1:59:41

2000 17:35 54:13* 51:08* 2:02:56

1999 19:03 4:03 51:39 :45 44:26 1:59:56

*transition times included in these numbers

Mile Splits for the Run:


I got my negative splits.


11/24 in age group
55/110 overall women
146/227 overall (men + women)

Very solidly in the middle of the pack, better than I thought I'd do.

My worse finishing time ever but 4-9 minutes faster than I was predicting and not so bad considering the fractured pelvis and knee surgery in the interim. Maybe next year I can think about improving but for now I'm happy enough for the simple joy of being able to race.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Powerpups Agility Clinic

I went back up to Windsor last weekend for an agility clinic with Alan at Powerpups. Though it went on all day I signed up for only one class focusing on line and crosses. Video of my runs and Dartfish analysis can be seen here. There are 3 runs to view and they take a bit of time to load. Run 1 is the white circles on the course map, Run 2 is the black and Run 3 is #9-12 of the black but using a post turn instead of a reverse flow pivot to get the threadle from #9-11. Surprisingly the post turn worked much better for both me and at least one other person with a fast, big strided dog.

This clinic was something of an eye opener for me as it contradicted much of what I'd learned at the Marco Mouwen seminar last spring. Marco's method involved setting the dog's path so you alternate wide/tight/wide/tight etc. from one set point (contact obstacle, tunnel, etc.) to the next. Alan's method was to try to set the tightest line possible everywhere. At first I was skeptical of this primarily because Alan runs a small, flexible border collie that can turn on a dime and bend its spine like a pretzel. However there were 3 of us there with relatively fast, big strided dogs and all of them managed the tight turns with no problem. Well, Cody didn't make the weave entry from #4 to #5 (white) but that's because I've never trained such an extreme entry. I was amazed at how close he came though with setting a straight line from the tunnel to the weaves. One and maybe both of the other big dogs actually made the entry. Trying to set a wider line and better approach to the weaves caused Cody to take the #8 (black) off course jump.

So now I'm confused about what method is best. I may try setting up smaller parts of these exercises at Biscuit Eaters and videotaping them to see what way works best for both dogs.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Where's The Camera When You Need It?

I keep meaning to leave the camera in the living room where Strummer often provides way too much entertainment with some of the shenanigans he gets into. Last night he came strolling in wearing my purse slung jauntily over his shoulder. He looked like he was ready for a day of shopping on some fashionable big city high street. I'd better check the credit card account just in case.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tips For Tire Removal

Can't get that stubborn road tire off your wheel? Here's a list of what doesn't work:

1. Swearing
2. Baby Powder
3. Forcing the second tire lever on once the first is already in
4. Swearing in a foreign language
5. Stretching the tire out over and over in the same place
6. Swearing very loudly in both English and a foreign language while sweat pours down your forehead and onto your wheel.

Here's what does work:

1. Utility knife to the sidewalls
2. Give up and wait for husband to come home

I very nearly chose option #1 but I managed to find my quiet place (see all those stupid yoga classes were good for something) and waited for Jonny to return. If nothing else I was hoping he couldn't remove it either so I wouldn't feel so stupid. I change tires all the time and felt pretty pathetic not being able to manage this one. It was a struggle for him too but finally he managed to get it off by putting both tire levers on the bead and pushing them down at the same time. I decided the tire was crap because I got it out of the bargain bin at Performance's House of Crap. I tried putting one of his tires on the wheel and got it on no problem but once again couldn't get it off, even with the 2 tire lever method. Once again it was Jonny to the rescue and once again he got it off with the 2 tire levers very close together (closer than spoke to spoke distance). So now I'm on a mission to find a tire that'll fit properly. The one that was on there came off no problem but it has a split in the sidewall and of course they don't make them anymore.

Oh yeah, and I have a race on Sunday. My bad knee is sore at the moment and I haven't put in nearly as much training as I wanted because of the disruption and ensuing fatigue of a 3 day agility trial and the 3 weeks of nausea/fatigue I went through trying to adjust to some prescription drugs. The lack of a front tire is the least of my worries at this point.