Sunday, August 28, 2011

Xterra Lory 2011

'It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.'
-Andy Warhol

1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 4.8 mile run
6500' elevation, Lory State Park, Fort Collins area

I love this race.  It's a beautiful course, well organized, fun atmosphere, a great way to finish out my triathlon season.  My main goal for this race is to take some time off the bike.  I did the course at a pace of 9.0 mph 2 years ago (bike course was different last year) and the realistic goal is for 9.4 mph but my secret stretch goal is 10 mph.  I know it'll be a hot day, predictions are for 90's and the sun is already blaring at 7:00 a.m. so I don't want to push the swim for maybe a minute or two of time gain.  I know the run will be tough in the heat but I'm going to keep my focus run it as hard as I can.  I'm frustrated with my running this year and this is my last chance to improve.

I don't have any goals for placements.  There are 12 people signed up in my age group and I know 2 are way faster than me but I don't know about the rest nor do I know who will actually show up so setting a placement goal is pointless.

For the second weekend in a row I'm headed north up to Fort Collins in the pitch black and hoping not to run into any drunks or deer.  Or drunk deer.  I start off the journey by watching a guy next to me start to turn into oncoming traffic on a 55 mph highway as I wait at a red light.  I honk at him not knowing what else to do and this works in that he stops but he doesn't back up out of harm's way and I can see cars starting to come at him off in the distance.  He sits there for a bit sticking out in traffic then finally decides to do a U-turn in front of me on the red light with the oncoming traffic getting ever closer.  Thankfully he pulls this off and takes off in the opposite direction.

I arrive to the race 15-20 minutes later than I normally do (6:40 a.m.) and while I still have plenty of time I arrive at the same time as everyone else and the busyness is a little on the frazzling side for my sleepy brain.  I get a nice spot in transition but it's crowded and eventually a guy with a huge bike racks next to me and his giant handlebars block me in.

Busy Busy

I'm #97

Then I go down to the end of the transition area to take a picture of the swim course and see a ton of empty racks so I grab my stuff  and relocate.  The transition area is neutral meaning it doesn't matter where you rack, the only advantage is being on the main row and not in a row that's off the main runway.  I can't believe my luck and as people head down to the water they comment that they should have come down here too.

This never happens in a triathlon

Last year I didn't wear socks and got horrific blisters on the arches of both feet.  They were horribly painful and took weeks to heal.  So this time I'm planning on wearing socks but nonetheless I glob a ton of Bodyglide and Aquaphor onto my feet and especially on my arches.  It seems like ridiculous overkill but no way I'm getting blisters this year.

I had originally planned to leave a cooler in transition with 2 big bottles of ice water but the cooler was too heavy to carry on my bike the long way from my car to transition so I grab the small cooler packs out of the cooler and place them on top of the bottles then put my backpack over that in transition.  If not for this simple thing my race would have had a much different outcome.

There are lots of dogs milling about with spectators.  This one reminds me of Lola a bit.  She's wagging her tail at anybody who'll pay attention to her.

Swim (880 yards)
The water temp. is a balmy 75 degrees but I stick to my guns and wear my wetsuit. I'm glad I have it and I don't get hot at all.  I'm in the 5th of 7 waves and they're putting around 6 minutes between waves so I have plenty of time to warm up.  There's a huge area to warm up in right next to the start line so I'm able to swim right up until the start of my wave.  This year the waves are organized by a combination of our swim times and biking ability so instead of being in the old lady wave at the end of the race I'm in a wave with all manner of hooligans.  Men, 20 year olds, a mish mash of everybody and most of us supposedly close to each other in swim ability.  This is a good idea to eliminate congestion on the single track trails for the bike.  However it means I'm swimming in a mass of humanity for about half the race.  I get bumped and swum into a bit and I've got to swim around all manner of people breast stroking, back stroking, etc. and no way to pass them but to swim into the mass.  Normally this would send me into a panic but I've been working on this outside of the water, and I'll write more about that later, and I'm not the least bit worried, just keep siting to find an opening somewhere and keep moving forward.  I try to find feet to draft off of but they all end up being way too slow and I have to pass them.  I'm so preoccupied with managing the crowds that the turn-around buoy comes up before I know it.  And once I turn and head back to shore there's suddenly no one in front of me.  So weird.  After a minute or two I feel like I've somehow drifted way off course but after looking at photos of the buoys I realize it's just the way they positioned the buoys.  I make it back to shore without incident and stop for a moment in the water to take off the top part of my wetsuit and get my clothes underneath as wet as I can.

Swim (880 yards):  16:44 mins. (1:54/100 yards), 2/8 in age group, 150/273 overall

Dash to T1:  58 secs.

T1:  2:03, 5/8 age group

Bike (12miles advertised, 12.3 miles by my cyclometer)
My brain is a bit muddled after coming out of the water and I think I can get on the bike as soon as I cross the timing mat out of transition but I see a bunch of people running way past the mats so I start to get on then think I can't and get off and run a bit more then realize, duh, I can, I don't know what these people are doing.  And I was supposed to be working on quick, cyclocross style bike mounts this summer but I can't even figure out when to get on the bike.

There is only one woman in my swim wave that's also in my age group and though I'm out of transition before her she quickly passes me on the flat road before the single track.  I plan to at least keep her in my sights but she's way too fast for me and I have to abandon that strategy early on.  The race is a little crazy for the first lap with people trying to pass me as well as me trying to pass other people but for the most part it works out o.k.  There's only one woman who gives me a little bit of a hard time about letting me pass because she's already fallen once trying to let people pass.  But there's soon a group of people built up behind her and she's going to have to let us by at some point.  She eventually slams on her brakes to a stop in the middle of the trail with no warning then makes her way to the side.  I have enough time to stop but the guy behind me nearly runs into me.  Everybody else is really nice about letting me pass or nice about passing me so for the most part it's not a big deal.  It always seems there's one person that you pass back and forth several times and for me it's a tall skinny 24 year old woman who I'm guessing might be doing her 1st triathlon because she did the swim with no wetsuit and wore a swimsuit for the whole race.  So I try to be extra nice to her when I need to pass and at a couple points I get caught up behind her and don't try to pass because it seems more trouble than it's worth.  But at some point near the start of the second lap I pass her and take off and get way ahead and that's the last of my passing difficulties.

My average speed for the first lap starts out at around 10.1 mph then goes down to 9.8 at the slower part of the course with the hills.  With a possible 10 mph ave. speed in my sights and the course a bit more clear I attack the second loop, using my new bike handling skills to works around the turns and get as much speed as I can on the downhills.  I can't ride the switchback/drop on the first loop because someone's in the way and there's also someone there off her bike on the second loop but she steps off the trail to let me by and I cruise down it no problemo and the person I pass is from my age group.  I pass one other person from my age group on the bike but there's no sign of the person from my wave that passed me at the start.

I get over the final hill before transition and there's a mile, maybe more, and I'm at 10 mph ave. speed so I try to go even faster on the remaining downhill because maybe I'll exceed my stretch goal!  I get off the bike and my cyclometer reads 10.1 mph!  I'm so happy and I realize I've taken 10 minutes off my bike time from 2 years ago.  But when I see my official results my time is only 8 minutes faster and my ave. speed is 9.8.  I realize my cyclometer only records time and distance when the bike is moving so the time I wasted mounting the bike at the start and stopping to let people pass is about 2 minutes.  But still, I know my actual riding time was 10.1 mph, can't help the stoppage time for letting people pass, and I'm very very happy about it.

Bike (12 miles advertised, 12.3 miles by my cyclometer):  1:14:48, 9.8 mph official time,
                                                                                              5/8 age group, 184/273 overall

 T2:  1:29 (ouch), 5/8 age group

Run (4.8 miles)
T2 took a little longer than normal because I had a hard time racking my bike with no other bikes to weight the rack down and the rack moving all over but also because I took the time to dump one of my ice water bottles over my head.  I was already starting to overheat on the bike, temps. were high eighties pushing into 90 degrees for the run.

I carried my other large size water bottle with me on the run.  The ice packs had kept it cold enough that there were still loads of ice cubes even without the cooler.  It's heavy though and throwing off my stride.  After only half a mile my hip is starting to ache and I consider abandoning it on the road by the cars before I hit the single track up the steep hill.  I'm cool enough from the water I poured on my head in transition and it feels like it's slowing me way down.  But I remember how badly I struggled in the heat last year and I was already overheating on the bike this year.  In the end I decide to keep it.  And I'm so glad I do.

My plan is to wait until mile 2 then dump half of it on my head and take the rest as I need it.  But soon after the 1 mile mark I'm already struggling with the heat.  The hill is steep and goes on for 2 miles or so and there's no shade, the sun is beating down and I start to see how valuable this water will be to me.  I end up squirting small amounts of it on my head, face, arms, chest, etc. every time I start to feel myself overheat.  I take the occasional sip as well.  I ration it out and it lasts until maybe the 3 1/2-3 3/4 mile mark.  The heat effects me for sure but the water makes it possible for me to run the entire course unlike last year where I was sick and dizzy and had to walk a good portion of it especially at the end.  My race would have been miserable without it.

Lots of Runners pass me on the uphill but no one from my age group.  I used to be a Runner and it kind of makes me sad that I'm not anymore but I can't worry about that and I focus only on the trail in front of me and moving up the hill and forget the heat and the other people.  Somehow despite the heat and my diminished running abilities this year the top of the hill seems to come faster and easier than any other year I've done this.  But I notice what feels like a blister starting on the arch of my left foot.  I can't believe it but what can I do but head down the hill?  At least it's only 2 miles or so to the finish.  I pick up some speed going down and pass back some of the people that passed me on the way up.  The downhill seems longer this year though, I think I'm slower on it than 2 years ago because of the heat.

I get to the bottom of the steep downhill part and after a bit I can hear and see the finish line but it still looks so far off that it's actually discouraging.  I hit the 4 mile marker, only .8 mile left, but somehow this is discouraging too.  Can I hold on for that long?  I'm so hot and tired.  But again I forget all that and look only at the trail in front of me and next thing I know I'm off the single track and at the last water station.  The volunteer dumps water on my head and I take another quick glass even though I'm minutes from the finish.  It only costs a few seconds and it tastes so good and gives me a little boost for the finish.

That last stretch down the dirt road to the finish seemed so cruel last year but this year it zips by and soon I see the finish and the ridiculous Slip-n-Slide with the filthy tub of water at the end.

Thankfully there is not a little kid blocking my way at the finish.  I think I probably would have thrown him out of the way if there was I was so thankful to be done.

I'm planning on avoiding the Slip-n-Slide this year but I'm so hot and I see a woman spraying a hose down the ramp.  The announcer tells me that I'd better go faster than that or I'll never make it to the end and he's right but I don't care.  I make it about halfway down and lay there in the spray of the fabulous hose.  Feels.  SO.  Good.  I get up and climb over the side to get out so I don't have to get in the horrible filthy brown pit of doom.

Yes I do know how funny that looks, didn't take the photo on purpose but oh well.

Run (4.8 miles):  1:09:21, 13.53 min./mile (not great but better than I though it would be given the heat)

Finish:  2:45:19, 5/8 age group, 56/99 women, 199/273 overall.

So very happy with this race given the conditions.  My finish time 2 years ago was 2:44 but the swim was maybe 100-150 yards shorter and it was overcast and in the high 50's.  My bike was 8 minutes faster and run was only 5 minutes longer.

Compared to last year's race the swim was exactly the same time (freaky!), bike was 8 mins. faster this year, run was 9 mins. faster this year in similar hot conditions but the bike course was much harder last year so I'm not sure it's fair to compare those 2 races.

No hardware this time but it's o.k., this race was better for me than any of the races that I did manage to place at.  The woman from my wave that passed me on the bike right out of transition ended up in 3rd and it was her first off-road triathlon.  First and second place went to the 2 super fast people.  I was only 7 1/2 minutes behind 4th place and 5th place was over 1/2 an hour behind me.  I was 46-47 minutes off of first place and 1/2 an hour off of 3rd so nowhere close to placing.  But I'm happy about the improvements over previous years and holding up physically and mentally in that heat.  Fun day out on the trails despite the hot run.

The only downside to the day, aside from the heat, was the finish line food.  No food at all for vegetarians, just fish tacos and chicken burritos, some gross puffed fries and oreo cookies.  Funny thing was I asked if they had any vegetarian options and when they said 'no' the 2 girls standing next to me also groaned, 'This is Fort Collins, how can there be no veggie food?!!'  The caterers were apologetic and said they did have veggie burritos at their restaurant but weren't told to bring any.  They kindly gave a coupon for a free veggie burrito to the women but this didn't help us right then and there.  I did have energy bars in my car but my key was about 1/2-3/4 mile away back in the transition area.  I missed the raffle and a good portion of the awards going back to transition then coming back to my car and the finish area.  I did get to see the sides and roof of the Slip-n-Slide collapse though and it is a beautiful finish area.  Can't complain too much when there's blue skies and red cliffs.

Was tired and bonky on the way home but I eventually made up for the lack of finish line food no problem once I got home.  I wonder if I can spend the next week just sleeping and eating?


Swim (880 yards):  16:44 mins. (1:54/100 yards), 2/8 in age group, 150/273 overall

Dash to T1:  58 secs.

T1:  2:03, 5/8 age group

Bike (12 miles advertised, 12.3 miles by my cyclometer):  1:14:48, 9.8 mph official time,
                                                                                              5/8 age group, 184/273 overall

 T2:  1:29, 5/8 age group

Run (4.8 miles):  1:09:21, 13.53 min./mile, 6/8 age group, 255/273 overall

Finish:  2:45:19, 5/8 age group, 56/99 women, 199/273 overall.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Get Hypothermia in an August Heat Wave

I have a triathlon tomorrow so of course we're having a heat wave at the end of August.  Last year I blew up in the unseasonable heat in this race and conditions look like a repeat for this year.  I've also been struggling a bit with swimming in the Rez in my full wetsuit in the warmer weather.  I'm o.k. for a lap but by the second lap I'm getting too hot.  Or at least I had been for the past few weeks.  Once I even took off the wetsuit for the second lap and was a little chilly after I got out but was mostly o.k.  I didn't even own a wetsuit when I did my first couple of Olympic Distance (1500 meter swim) triathlons in the Rez way back in the day.  So I came up with the idea of not wearing a wetsuit in the race tomorrow in the hope that I might be a little chilly when I get out of the water and I won't overheat too badly for the rest of the race.  It's only an 880 yard swim, how cold can I get?

I was a little toasty after my first 1100 yard loop of the Rez yesterday morning so I thought I'd test out this theory and take my wetsuit off for the second lap.  The coach suggested I just do half a lap but I told her I'd done this a few weeks ago and was fine for a full lap.  Unfortunately I'd underestimated how much the Rez had cooled down in the past few weeks and I was cold as soon as I took my wetsuit off.  But I needed more yardage and there's no way I was getting the suit back on while it was wet so off I went figuring that the sun was blaring warmly on the water and I'd warm up once I got going like I did a few weeks ago.  Except I never quite warmed up.  I probably swam my fastest loop ever though even without the advantage of the wetsuit.  Even when I got to the place where I could head back to shore for 1/2 a loop I stubbornly kept going, need more yardage, can't turn back until I get a full workout in.  I was already cutting the workout short by doing only 2 laps.  I made it back to shore and thought I was o.k. and even changed into dry clothes at the car but when I got in the car to drive home I starting shaking, well beyond shivering even.  I blasted the heat and luckily the Rez is close to my house because it was an interesting drive home.  I got in a hot shower and 50 minutes after getting out of the Rez I finally felt o.k.  So the plan for tomorrow is to wear my wetsuit because the water will likely be a couple of degrees colder even than the Rez.  At least I figured that out before the race and didn't have to try to navigate a mountain bike on single track while shaking uncontrollably.

Unlike last year I've been training in the heat this year so I'm better prepared.  My plan is to have a small cooler in transition with a bottle full of ice water to pour over my head before the run and a small water bottle to carry with me on the run to pour over my head as needed.  Last year the water supplies for those of us at the back of the race weren't so great.  There aren't many aid stations which is understandable but when I finally did get to one they gave me a cup of water filled maybe 1/4 of the way.  I think they let me have 2 cups but it still wasn't nearly enough.  I hate to carry a bottle, it's such a nuisance and extra weight to haul up the hill, but I don't trust the race to provide enough water and I'd rather be sure to have it.  Also I can have it when I need it and not have to wait so long between water stations.  I'll be able to go faster if I can keep coolish so it'll be worth it.

This race is not an 'A' race, it's a fun end of season go out there and enjoy race.  But I am going to race my hardest, especially looking to improve my running.  But I haven't been training in earnest, no more 2 a day workouts, no more intervals.  I did the bike in 1 hour 22 minutes for the last 2 years, weird since the courses were different each year, and I plan on cutting some time off of that.  And I'm always trying to better my swim.

In other news Strummy finally got to go play at agility this morning.

If you throw the ball I might forgive you for ignoring me all summer.

I finally got him doing some dogwalks.  Set-up was curved tunnel on one end, jump on the other.  If he hit the contact he got his toy, if not I kept going until he did.  He got all 4 reps with the jump at the end, all 4 perfect contacts.  However he only got 1/4 with the tunnel at the end and it was the 4th tunnel rep that he finally got.  I ended there but played with him a bit so he didn't think hitting the contact with a tunnel there meant the end of his fun.  Even at 7:15 am it was too hot to do any more dogwalks after that.

Then my training partner and I worked on a little exercise that was already set up.  We managed to work everything in - weaves, teeter, table, A-frame.  Strummy was pretty perfect except for leaving the teeter when I moved ahead to front cross.  His teeter had been so good but was getting sloppy at the last trial so I'm back to working it in practice.  Weaves were pretty awesome even with coming at them at speed out of a tunnel and me doing a rear cross.  Good practice over all but it was quickly too hot to do too much.  Bring on the fall!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

USDAA Jumpers Run

Thanks to Julie for taping our advanced Jumpers run from this past weekend.  I couldn't find anybody before our run but she was in the stands and had a great view.  Those handling errors are so easy to spot when you have video.  A big part of the problem with the run is that Strum broke his start line for maybe the second time ever because he was freaked out by all the flies in the arena.  This was the last run of the day and he was at the end of his rope with them.  He was jerking his head around to snap at them while sitting on the start line and actually I can't remember if he broke the start or I saw him fussing and released him before I had led out to where I wanted to.  In any case it threw me off my plan and I got  a bit behind setting a poor line and causing a run by then a back jump.  That rear cross towards the end though, ugh, I'll have to practice that set-up some more.

I tried more rear crosses this trial then I normally do, mostly because they're a weak spot that I've been working on in practice and I wanted to see how they held up in a trial.  I'd say the results were mixed.  In some cases I really prefer a front if I can get there but sometimes I can't get there no matter how hard I hustle or I can get there but it isn't pretty.

I realized I have only 3 trials left for the whole year, all of them DOCNA.  At least with the exception of DOCNA Champs. they're all 20-40 minutes away.  Now if only it would cool down a bit so I could practice.  It's not fair having 90 degree weather so far into August.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Drove HOW Far for 2 1/2 Minutes in the Ring?

That would be about 4 1/2 hours total thank you very much.  The majority of trials I do these days are less than an hour from home but I made the exception to go up to Laramie, WY this year for one day because they were having a measuring judge.  And it was totally worth it because Strummy measured 20 7/8" for his final CMJ measurement.  SO happy for that.  At this point it's not even so much about him getting to play in Championship as it is the ability to put him in 16" Performance when he's older.  But we don't have a single Starters Standard Q so we may as well start over in Championship.  I figure it should be easy enough to get 1 leg in each of the games then if I'm still lagging behind in Standard we can play in Perf. at the upper levels that he's already earned his way into until we catch up in Championship.  Unfortunately there are only 2 USDAA trials left this year and I'm not entering either.  One is a 2 ring trial in a confined space and when I looked up some videos from Regionals at the same site last night I about had a heart attack at how close together the rings were and only some skimpy survey tape between them.  There's no way I'm taking a chance with that.  The other trial is too far and the weekend after DOCNA Champs. so I'll be too fried for a nearly 2 hour drive and overnight stay and another 2 ring trial with only survey tape for a barrier.

I had such a good time running Grand Prix though, I think the focus next year will be USDAA because the courses are interesting AND we finally get to play in Championship.  I'm especially looking forward to the International classes.  I won't go to USDAA Nationals and I don't care about titles but I'm sure I can come up with some sort of goal to keep me motivated next year.

As for the trial, on the one hand my handling felt good on the more complicated courses.  I felt some good teamwork coming through from the wee Strum man.  No bars down either!  On the other hand his contacts fell all to pieces.  0/2 on the dogwalk, 1/3 on the A-frame, even had some bad teeters.  Sheesh.  Weave poles were perfect though all entrances were very easy and after the first jump or the table so he didn't have any speed going.  Still struggling with pulling him off jumps on lateral sends.  It's a matter of figuring out how to balance those cues and it's just a matter of more practice.

Here's some video of his Grand Prix run and part of Starters Standard

I guess this doesn't look so good on paper but I don't know, the runs felt good, just little things here and there and those darn contacts.  Guess I better get back to the practice field.  If only fall would come and bring some cooler temps.

Trial Stats

No Q's or titles

Dogwalks:  0/2 (0%) 

A-frames:  2/4 (50%)

Weave entries:  3/3 (100%)  No pop-outs (Yay!)

Knocked bars:  0 (Yay!)

Teeters:  Lost track

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Crazy Mushroom Lady Finds Some Zombie Food

I did have an agility trial in Wyoming yesterday and I'll get to writing about it.  The important thing is that Strum got his final measurement under 21" (20 7/8"!) which was the main reason I drove up there to that trial.  So happy about that!

In the meantime I think I might be turning into a Crazy Mushroom Lady.  Because apparently I don't have enough quirky, time consuming hobbies that might kill me already.  I found myself noticing mushrooms on the side of the trail during my triathlon a couple of weeks ago and wishing I could stop to check them out.  I didn't but it surprised me that it took some restraint.  Today however I had no such time pressures and I pulled off the trail to check these guys out.

Brains.  Perfect for if you ever have zombies over for dinner.

I was squatting in the dirt digging them up when a woman on a bike saw me and she and her dog came over to see what the excitement was about.  Turns out she is also a Crazy Dog/Bike/Mushroom Lady and she knows exactly what they are-Albatrellus Confluens-and she also knows that they are edible.  This saves me a lot of time and aggravation because it turns out they are not in my mushroom book and she warns me that you don't often see them in books.  But I memorize the name (Albatross confluence) and Google helps me out with the spelling when I get home.

If I only had a brain . . .

She warns me that they degrade quickly and are often full of worms but this doesn't deter me and I stuff a couple into my backpack.  I think I'm going to have to get a bigger backpack for my mushroom hauls, I could only fit 2.  I washed them as soon as I got home, sliced them really thin, sauteed them in butter and ate a few slices.  Because apparently I'm o.k. with trusting my life with a total stranger that I met in the woods.  It's been an hour or so and so far no tubes down my stomach.  They tasted very mushroomy, so good.  The house smells like mushrooms.  I suppose this could be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.

I can take them or leave them.  Maybe if they came with a nice steak.

We had a nice but short ride.  I felt o.k. when I woke up but when I hit the trail I was more tired than I realized.  I hate how agility trials wear me down like that without even providing any training benefit.  Jonny took me on some different trails for a change.

The wildflowers are starting to fade a little but there are still a lot.

More about the agility trial when I get my video uploaded.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lory State Park - Getting Ready for Next Weekend's Xterra

Today was my birthday so Jonny took the day off and we went for a ride up at Lory State Park. Jonny had bought me a lesson with former Olympic mountain biker Ann Trombley during the week and I was itching to try out my new found skilz. Which included how to go down a drop-off. It's sort of like riding a horse over a jump. Ann started out showing me some simple drills to do to feel what it's like to shift my weight around on my bike. She also showed me the 'Attack' position which is how I'm supposed to ride downhill from now on. In just over an hour she had me riding down a steep rocky hill into a ledge/drop off with a turn right after it. The trail is near my house and all these years I've always gotten off my bike and walked down that step/ledge because I never knew how to ride it and now it's no problemo. Plus I feel much more stable on the downhills since she showed me the proper position to be in so I can go faster and feel more in control. Very cool.

Anyway, I wasn't planning on going up to Lory to pre-ride the course again but I thought what the hey. Normally it's too hot this time of year, no shade at all and it's only at around 6600 ft. so it's not much cooler than in town which was supposed to be in the low 90's. However we had wonderful cloud cover and mid-70 degree temperatures - perfect for one more chance to check out the course.

And I'm glad I did because I found out that they've done a bunch of trail work and smoothed over a bunch of stuff including the only downhill portion that I couldn't ride so now with the exception of a very tiny piece of technical uphill I can easily ride the whole course now that I have my fancy new downhill skilz. Even some stuff that wasn't really technical but maybe bumpy/rocky or tight switchbacks or whatever has been smoothed out. It's going to be a fast and furious race for a lot of folks.

This is the one downhill part that used to be tricky, a drop-off on a switchback. I was so proud of myself riding down it using the skills Ann taught me then Jonny realized some trail work had been done and it was now much easier. But still, so happy I know how to ride it now even if it is easier.

Looking downhill

Looking uphill

Easy Peasy.  In fact I wonder if I could ride this part all the time and the part with the steep drop off is somewhere else and has been re-routed or somehow filled in.  I seem to remember it was rockier with a much steeper drop off.

This is the uphill that I can quite make it up.

It's hard to show the true steepness of it.  I can make it almost to the top then get stuck at that last ledge of rock.  It's sort of possible to go to the right to the smooth part to miss out the rock but it's a very tight turn and you need a lot of strength to have enough speed/momentum to carry you into the turn and I couldn't quite make it.  Riding over the rock at the top is also possible but I simply don't have enough leg strength.  Jonny can do it but he said it was a bit hard even for him.  He watched me trying to do it and said I was in too easy of a gear so couldn't get enough power going to make it up.  I don't have the leg strength to push much harder of a gear so this challenge will have to wait until I can build up more strength.  I'll only lose a few seconds having to get off for a few steps so no big deal.

Lovely singletrack heading into where the transition area will be.

Hello Eltuck Bay.  I'll see you next week.

Bike course felt fast and easy today, pace was 9.1 mph for the second loop.  The first loop I stopped several times to take pictures of parts of the course and re-ride the 'tricky' parts.  I rode this course at 9 mph during the race 2 years ago.  My goal is to be faster this year, maybe 9.4-9.6 mph.  Maybe even 10 mph!  That would be cool.  In any case I'm excited for the race next week.

Tomorrow I get up at some unspeakable hour to drive to Laramie, WY for one day of a USDAA trial.  The only reason I'm going is that there will be a measuring judge there so Strummy can finally get his very final measurement.  He has 3 measurements under 21" from regular judges and one just over and one just under from CMJ's so hopefully the CMJ tomorrow will measure him under.  If so I may do more USDAA in the future since I'm tiring of the 'sameness' of the DOCNA courses.  I signed up for 4 classes and I'm driving the 2 hours, 10 minutes back the same day so will be a long day.  I love this trial, the site, etc. but it's such a long drive.  Ah well, it'll be fun anyway.

Monday, August 15, 2011

This Charming Man

Strum had a pretty good weekend on paper.  Hit all his dogwalks, 5/5, and all his teeters.  Didn't get called on any of his 6 A-frames but on the video it looks like he might have gotten a gift on one of them.  I made a compilation of his dogwalks and most of his A-frames for the running contact freaks.  SO so happy about those dogwalks, first time he's ever hit 100%.  And one of those was at a distance in a gamble!  He was such a Mr. Awesome Pants.

Running Contacts Compilation

He had 5/6 Q's on Saturday (maybe we can forget about the 0/4 Q's on Sunday) and finished up his Specialist (Masters) Jumpers and Standard titles.  He also had only 1 bar down the whole trial and thankfully it was during a run where lots of other stuff went wrong as well.  I think the footing at that trial a couple of weeks ago isn't the best for Strummer.  It's hard packed dirt and while I've trialed there before and never thought of it as being a problem I just can imagine why else he had so many bars down.  In any case I'm glad to see the issue was an anomaly. 

Saturday's Jumpers and Standard Runs

I have video for the North American Challenge and Traditional Gamblers but it's not posted to vimeo yet and it's not all that interesting though he did get a distance gamble with a dogwalk which was something of a miracle.

On the one hand I suppose I should be happy with all the Q's.  On the other hand my goal for the weekend was to have nice smooth runs that were truly clean, ie no refusals or missed weave entries, and we didn't have a single such run.  A refusal here, a missed weave entry there put us out of all the placements for the weekend.  Even our most awesome Trigility team came in 2nd by fractions of a second because I had a refusal in my Jumpers run while teammates ran clean.  Thankfully the 1st place team had my same 2 teammates so I didn't deny them their 1st place, just shifted it to their other team.

Weave entries were iffy on Saturday.  One of them looks like a handling error but the others, I don't know.  No refusals on Sunday but I was tired and came out of the nine zillionth pinwheel of the weekend on a Jumpers run and briefly forgot where to go next.  I hate getting lost, especially during Jumpers.  Then called him a fraction of a second too late and got off course tunnels in both Standard runs.  Mr. McSpeedypants needs to hear his name before he takes off for the jump before the turn.  I had just practiced this on Friday too.  I was tired by Sunday, I didn't finish Saturday's runs until 6 pm and even Strum was tired for once when we got home.  Sunday I left after 4 runs at around 11:30 a.m. and it was a good decision.  Sitting around for 4 hours in the heat for 1 run is not my cup of tea.

Sunday's runs

I know, deliver me from Pinwheel Hell.

Anyway, I was so hoping to have nice smooth runs before Champs. in Sept.  The courses were so easy if not repetitive and tedious.  SO many pinwheels this time.  We can do pinwheels no problem but they're oh so boring.  Especially by the 6th run.  I'm hoping we'll see some more challenging courses at Champs.  And hopefully not so many pinwheels.

I'm starting to wonder if the announcement of an Arizona Champs next year will also effect this year's entry in Grand Junction.  Maybe the AZ folks won't bother to come up this year because they know it'll be in their backyard next year and they'll wait and go to that.  I guess we'll find out in Sept.  I know, I should be bitching to the folks at DOCNA not to you folks but I think they're busy w/ Champs. stuff for this year right now and it seems easier to pick a different agility goal for next year than to kick up a fuss.  There's always something to do on any given weekend.

Final Stats

Specialist Traditional Gamblers Q-6th place (re-did the weave poles due to pop-outs 3 times so lost a lot of points)

Specialist Standard Round 1 Q-4th place (missed weave entry and a spin on a poorly managed rear cross)

Specialist Standard Round 2 Q-5th place (missed weave entry and run by at last jump when I let up at the finish)

Specialist Trigility Q-2nd place (We had a refusal in Jumpers, partners ran clean)

Specialist Jumpers Round 1 Q-4th place (lost time due to a refusal)

Completed Specialist Jumpers Title

Completed Specialist Standard Title

 5/5 (100% baby!!!)

6/6 (100%)  Technically perfect but I think we got a gift on one of them.  All the others looked great though.

100% , very happy w/ his teeters

Correct weave pole entries
6/9 (67%)  Three of these were with the weave poles as the first obstacle

Weave pole pop-outs
3/9 (33%)  Popped out on 3 runs

Bars down
Only 1 bar down out of 10 runs, pretty fantastic

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Little Touched in the Head

You all are setting goals for next fall already aren't you?  And by next fall I mean 2012.  I got an email from DOCNA that sent a pebble in the pond ripple effect for my plans for next year.  Next year they're adding another trial to 2012 DOCNA Champs (right now there's an East and West Championship) in Sedona, AZ which will effectively turn the Champs in Denver into a local trial.  Sure, they'll combine the results of the NAC but that's about the only connection between the 3 events.  The thing about a Champs event for me is the actual experience of the event.  I want to see a bunch of dogs competing that I don't normally get to see and I want the atmosphere of a bigger event.  That's a big part of what makes a Champs event special and fun for me.  I don't care about combining a bunch of numbers on paper and declaring someone a winner.  I had to choose this year between DOCNA Champs and Xterra Nationals and I wisely chose DOCNA because no way am I good enough for Xterra Nats. at the moment.  Not even in the ballpark.  But this new format of DOCNA Champs doesn't interest me in the least.  If I have nothing else to do I'll probably go because it's only 40 mins. away but if Xterra Nats. are on the same weekend again and in a fun sounding place or in Utah again I think that may be my new goal for next year.  Don't know what my agility goal will be but I'll come up with something.

Which leads to the next bit of insanity-Xterra Epic Iron Mountain.  It's an Xterra but twice the distance of your typical Xterra-1500 m swim, 34 mile mountain bike, 10 mile trail run.  There were only 2 in the country so far that I could find and one has already happened but this one is in October and not only would count for points for next year's Nationals but would count as extra points because it's so long.  There were only 3 women total in the other Epic race and none in my age group and while who knows who will show up to the Arkansas race there's a good chance I could get a lot of points just for showing up.  Which is the world's stupidest reason for entering a race if you ask me but the idea of this long course race is intriguing.  There's no info. on how technical the bike course is so it's hard to say but this could easily take me 7-8 hours.  If I'm lucky.  Which is kind of stupid.  Here's the other part of it that's stupid-15 1/2 hours of driving.  To go to Arkadelphia, Arkansas.  Any loyal readers out there from Arkadelphia, Arkansas?  I would love to know what this place is like.  And I'd only have 2 1/2 months to work myself up to those distances.

I don't know, I think someone needs to convince DOCNA to go back to having a real Championship so I don't do something Stupid.  In the meantime I have a mountain bike skills lesson next week that Jonny bought me for my birthday.  I'm going to learn to ride downhill from a real Olympic mountain biker.  And I have a DOCNA trial this weekend.  I suppose I ought to dig my weave poles out from the climbing weeds and cobwebs.  It's finally cooling down a bit and I'm itching to go back to agility training and poor Strummer is practically climbing out of his skin.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Crazy Triathlete Lady does Indian Peaks Xterra

Indian Peaks Xterra
1000 m/1100 yard swim
14 mile bike
4.1 mile run
9400 feet elevation (9646 feet max. on bike course)
I live at 5400 feet

Ready for Action.

Not a great photo but it was not a day for stopping to take photos.  My hair is still going feral before the race even starts.

Thatsa lotsa mountain bikes.

One more transition photo and that's it for photos.  I tried to get down to the lake to take one and almost got there but realized I wouldn't have enough time to go back to transition then back to the lake for the race start.  Oh well.  Most scenic transition area?  Maybe highest transition area at 9400 feet.

Race went well except for the run.  Was way slower than I thought I would be.  Weather conditions were perfect, 70's & sunny with a nice stiff breeze at times.

Swim-1000 m/1100 yards

The swim is in a little lake just before the Eldora ski resort.  Normally it's cold.  Very very cold.  This year was probably the warmest year in the history of the race.  I'm guessing the water temp. was around 63 degrees.  I debated about wearing my swim socks and in the end I decided to wear them and was very glad.

It's a time trial start and you're seeded by a combination of swim and biking ability.  I'm number 204 out of 280 bib numbers (not sure how many did not start) so I have to wait awhile before I get to start.  In fact the first swimmers are out of the water about 5-10 minutes or so before I get in.  I warm up a bit but I'm a little worried about missing the start and end my warm-up way too soon.  I'm plenty relaxed when I start but it takes me a while to get going.  After a few minutes somebody runs into me trying to pass me and takes their time so I think they're not too much faster than me and I try to hang onto their feet.  But I guess the pace is too fast because I'm soon feeling out of breath.  I stop for a moment to catch my breath and feel that panic brewing just below the surface but I start back swimming at a nice steady pace and push it out of my mind and I'm fine for the rest of the race.

I've been experimenting with breathing to both sides in practice and it makes me swim way off course and then when I try to breath to one side I also swim way off course so one of my goals for this race is to swim a nice straight line between the buoys.  Mission accomplished on that front and I think I do manage some alternate breathing.  Swim goes better than expected, finish in 21:11 mins./1:56 per 100 yards (predicted time was 22-23 mins.).  When I did this race in 2007 I swam a pace of 2:07/100 yards for 750m/820 yards.

Dash to Transition-650m/711 yards

It's a good distance uphill on a steep rocky road to transition so we we're encouraged to leave our running shoes at the swim exit.  The swim socks take barely a moment to remove and I get the top half of my wetsuit off at the start of the dash.  If you want to learn how to run with short little shuffly strides so as to avoid heel striking I suggest wearing the bottom half of a wetsuit.  I had no idea they were so hard to run in but last time I did this I took the wetsuit off before the dash and it was a pain to carry.  No leaving it behind or handing it off to somebody, you have to transport it yourself.

Dash goes o.k., 6:45 mins. (predicted 6 mins.)


The wetsuit is a struggle on the leg with the timing chip.  It's huge, like I'm on house arrest or something.  And the strap is very flimsy, one of those plastic bracelets that they give you at bars at all ages shows so you can drink.  Lots of money to replace your timing chip if you lose it.  This is called foreshadowing.

I'm surprised T1 is only 1:47 with all the wetsuit drama (predicted 2:00 mins.).  Thank you tri-suit.

Mountain Bike-14 miles

Crazy Triathlete Lady is not too happy to find herself hitting the bike trail for her first loop as the crazy fast people are starting their second loop.  I'm talking the front of the pack, pros, etc.  Crazy Triathlete Lady's nerves are a little jangled as bikes go flying past left and right.  The only saving grace is that these are the people with the crazy mad biking skilz so they're able to pass me no problem and without endangering me in any way or coming too close, it's more the unsettling speeds they're going that gets to me.  As predicted I have to get off and walk some parts that I probably could ride because of other people but it's not too bad.  Some of those hills are so steep and short and rocky that it's almost as quick to walk up them anyway.  At first I swear I'll never do this race again as long as it's 2 loops but after a while I fall into a rhythm and realize no one's going to hit me and I get used to the mayhem whirring around me.  You've all seen the 'Honey Badger' video, right?  I'm embracing the spirit of Honey Badger, I don't care about anything, crazy fast cyclists flying past, cobras, whatever.

I pass some guys on the rocky uphill up the Rising Sun trail (a black diamond cross country ski trail) but they go flying past me on the downhill on the Fatty Mills trail.  Oh Fatty Mills, how I do not love that trail.  Tight twisty singletrack with mud and slippy slimy roots (a guy in front of me falls off the trail and utters many bad words after riding a technical part then slipping on a wet root) and some good drop offs.  I have to stop and pull off the trail to let a stream of fast people go, it wouldn't be fair to block them as I pick my way down at Crazy Triathlete Lady pace and there's no way for them to reasonably pass me.  I end up running down the technical bits of trail, is easier and doesn't cost a whole lot of time since they're so short.  Finally the crowd thins enough and I can ride again.  Once past the steep drop off it's mostly rideable.  All that's left is the 'ditch' section of trail and I manage that o.k.

'Ditch' section of trail at the bottom of Fatty Mills (photo taken on the pre-ride)

After Fatty Mills mostly everything is ride-able.  I choose to get off at a couple of short super steep places to conserve energy but all the rest of the downhill is o.k.  Twisted Tree trail is a favorite of mine on skis but it's not so fun on the bike.  It's wide but steep and some sharp turns and loose, gravelly rock surface.  Not so fun on a bike.  Especially with people flying down it on all sides of you.  Remember Honey Badger don't give a shit.  Yes, I'm o.k. now.

I finish my first lap in just under an hour.  And then I get to go do it all over again.  At first the thought of this makes me want to weep.  But this time around the fast folks have finished and the trails have cleared out a bit.  But I still have people to ride with.  For a while I follow a guy and let him  pace me.  Then a faster guy passes us and I latch onto his wheel and leave the other guy behind.  Fun!  It actually feels like racing rather than survival.  I keep up with the faster guy for awhile, we pass another guy then he takes off and he's gone.  I'm alone climbing the steep rocky Rising Sun for the second time but because of this I can ride nearly the whole thing.  I gain a lot of ground on the guys I've passed but unfortunately there's Fatty Mills to contend with again and at least one of them passes me back.  I ride a lot more this time though.  I also ride a lot more of the remaining miles until finally I'm back at the base, back to transition, finally done.  Except not quite.  There's the pesky business of the run left.

I finish in 1:58:02/7.1 mph (predicted time is 2 hours).  Second lap faster than first but I don't know by how much.  When I did this race in 2007 my pace was 5.96 mph for 10.9 miles.  The course was different though and there was a steep, long, hike-a-bike section.


I'm out in 1:07 (predicted time 1:00).  I ran past my bike rack and had to look a bit to find it.  Rookie mistake but I was tired.

4.1 mile trail run

I feel o.k. energy-wise coming off the bike.  Tired of course but I've done a lot of run training off the bike this year, more than I've ever done before so I'm familiar with the drill of how it feels.  In my head I'm running at a race pace but in reality I'm shuffling along.  My hamstring is nagging me, not debilitating but sore for sure and I'm protecting it as much as I can by keeping my stride short.  I try to have a fast turnover to make up for the short stride but I haven't got this mastered yet.  Then there are the hills.  I stick to my strategy of power hiking the hills and this helps a lot but still I'm so slow, it almost feels dream-like trying to run fast yet somehow my legs not cooperating.

The trails are beautiful though and I do my best to enjoy them while slogging ever closer to the finish.  For a while I'm pacing a guy who's chatting a bit to me but we hit a technical part that doesn't even seem like trail, just little ribbons in the trees marking where we go and there are big roots and rocks to jump over & navigate.  He goes ahead of me at this point and I'm glad to let him navigate.  Trail running and riding are so mentally draining, it's hard to pay such attention for over 3 hours never mind the physical exertion.  And then I hear a weird clatter noise and I see my race chip go bouncing away into the woods.  The thin plastic wrist bracelet thingy has broken and now I have to chase down my chip.  No way I want a DNF when I'm so close to finishing never mind the King's Ransom they'll charge me for the thing.  I chase it down and have to carry it the rest of the way.  At least I heard it go and I didn't lose it in the lake.  Shortly after this a woman passes me and asks me if I want a jelly bean.  I must look in much worse shape than I feel.  Or maybe she's just generous with her beans.  I decline but wonder if I accept if she'll give me just the one or offer me a few more.  Or maybe I hallucinated the whole thing.

The miles tick by and finally I can hear the finish line.  I pass the Nordic Ski Hut and I realize all I have to do is cross the big parking lot up to the main ski lodge and I'm done.  I can hardly believe it.  And it's just as well because the course designer has a cruel joke left for us.  I pass the transition area in the parking lot and start to head to the ski lodge when I'm redirected back onto a huge, steep hill.  We have to go up this hill and then into the ski lodge.  I can hardly believe this.  But somehow I make it.  I reach down to run my chip over the timing mat because I'm not sure if it'll read if I'm holding it since it's supposed to be down on my ankle.  I hear the tell tale beep from the mat, phew.  I finish in 3:31:06 (predicted time is 3:10-3:25).  Run time is 1:02:12/15:10 min. per mile (predicted time was 53 mins.).  In 2007 my pace was 12:48 min./mile for 3.1 miles.  My run at Xterra Lory last year was 16:17 mins. per mile for 4.8 miles but it was super hot.  But Lory is much lower, 6000 something feet vs 9400. 

The post-race food made me so sad after the feast we had at the Lookout Mountain Triathlon.  Cold congealed pizza and some weird kind of chips, Pop Chips or something.  It was all I could do to force it down but all I'd eaten for the whole race was one gel, about 100 calories.  I know, BAD, but there were not good places to eat on the bike and I was worried about stomach issues if I ate while running.  I never felt too bonky but maybe I could have run faster if I'd eaten a little more on the bike.

Felt good about everything except the run.  But to be fair my running was minimal and guarded.  No intervals, no hard hill running.  I have 3 weeks until Xterra Lory and I'm going to focus on the run but not so much that I injure myself.  Will find the balance and have a better run there.  The bike will be way easier but the run is harder and longer so it makes sense to focus my remaining training in that direction.

Overall a fun but long day.  Wish I'd done better in my age group but oh well.  I was 45 minutes behind the next woman and an hour off the podium so I wasn't even close.  But at least I finished and it didn't feel like a death march.  Felt a lot better than I did in 2007.

Photos from Ski Pix

The bike course was a lot prettier than this.  This was one of the least scenic parts and it was very short.

Bike 1

Bike 2

Looks like I'm heel striking which would explain the sore hamstring.  Oh well, have to keep trying to get that nice mid-foot strike.  Hard to say what I was doing through most of the race, this was a downhill to the finish.

Run 1 (this one's my favorite because of the background)

Run 2

Run 3

Final Stats

Swim:  1000 m/1100 yards, 21:11 mins./1:56 per 100 yards

650 m/711 yard Dash:  6:45 mins.

T1:   1:47

Mountain Bike:  14 miles, 1:58:02 hrs./7.1 mph

T2: 1:07

Trail Run:  4.1 miles, 1:02:12 hrs./15:10 min./mile

Total:  3:31:06

195/209 Overall
52/64 Women
7/7* Age Group

Swim:  6/7* Age Group, 55/64 Women, 184/209 Overall

T1: 4/7* Age Group,  29/64  Women, 104/209 Overall

Bike:  7/7* Age Group, 52/64 Women, 185/209 Overall

T2:  4 (tie)/7* Age Group, 32/64 Women, 101/209 Overall

Run:  7/7* Age Group, 56/64 Women, 196/209 Overall

*Does not include DNF/DQ.  For some reason the specifics of the DNF's/DQ's weren't listed in the results, only that there were 3 men and 3 women.  I did add them to the overall and women's numbers.

Friday, August 05, 2011


I love getting all my gear ready for race day.

I used to think it was a monumental chore and I'd get stressed out with it all but after discovering the nightmare of dog agility trials this is a piece of cake.  And I don't have to obsess about whether or not my mountain bike has taken a dump first thing in the morning.

I decided on a tri-suit to save time in transition because I'm for sure wearing the swim socks and those will cost me some time to get off.  Socks but no gloves.  2 swim caps.  Too bad I can't go with 2 wetsuits.

I have some very rough goals but that last race taught me that it's hard to anticipate pace when you're dealing with mountainous courses.  I think a better plan is to have a strategy and the times will fall where they will.  I'm going to go fast enough on the swim to stay warm but not get too aggressive.  It's going to be a long day and a 'fast' swim will only earn me a couple of minutes.  Better to save it for the bike/run.  Another reason not to go out too fast is that the race is at around 9500 feet elevation.

I'm going to go hard as I can on the bike and not save too much for the run.  The run would be slow even on fresh legs and until I can build up my training there isn't much I can do about it right now so may as well make good time on the bike.  I'll push myself on the run but it'll be what it is.  I'm going to force myself to walk the steep uphills.  Running up them only wastes energy and doesn't gain me much time.  Mentally that's hard for met to accept but I need to be smart and accept it.

Predicted finish time is hopefully under 3 hours 30 minutes, hopefully more towards 3:10 but could be 3:25.  Would love to finish under 3:00 but that's a huge stretch goal.

1000 m (1100 yard) Swim:  22-23 mins.
650 m (711 yard) uphill dash to transition: 6:00
T1:  2:00
14 mile Bike:  2:00 (1:45 stretch)
T2: 1:00
4.1 mile Run:  53:00 mins.

Overall:  3:10-3:25 hours

According to the start list there are 8 people in my age group which is a lot for Xterra.  At least 3 of them are way way faster than me so the chance of hardware is non-existent so no goals related to placement.  It's a time trial start anyway so it's possible I'll never see another woman from my age group for the whole race.  That's happened on several occasions.  I beat a woman at the Lookout Mountain Triathlon by 1 second but it wasn't a run off at the finish line.  Hard to say how things would have turned out if we'd been racing head to head.  So I'll have to focus on my own race and see how it all turns out. 

Weather should be perfect, 60's and sunny, won't have to worry about getting too hot.  A day on the trails is a great day one way or the other.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

DOCNA Prairie Dog Trial

Strummer and I ventured out to the eastern plains for a day of DOCNA fun in the sun.  It got hot, mid-90's, but it was dry and breezy and eventually some cloud cover blew through.  As long as there is Hose, Strummer is happy.  He was a bit subdued with the heat and by that I mean he was sort of approaching a normal fast dog as opposed to a crazy off his head fast dog.  Except for the Strategic Time Gamble which was first class of the day.  He was well off his head for that.  Thankfully I have no video to relive that comedy/tragedy.

Overall he did well though dropped more bars than I'm used to lately.  2/3 on his dogwalk and didn't get called on any A-frames though I saw some gifts from the judge on the video so we'll be working on the A-frame more than I have been which is pretty much not at all.  Missed 2 weave pole entries and uncharacteristically popped out of the weaves on one run.  He did it at practice last week as well.  I have no idea what was going on with the bars.  He dropped one bar in both his Standard runs and the NAC (like USDAA Grand Prix) but kept them all up in both his Jumpers runs.  Nice teeters, at least some training is working.  Seems like I pour so much training time into dogwalks and weaves and we don't get anywhere though 2/3 dogwalks is an improvement.

Standard Runs with slow motion contacts at end

Was mostly happy with the Jumpers runs.  Bars stayed up, my handling was o.k., I was mostly ahead of him.  He had 2 run bys on lateral sends so I'll be going back to basics on those in the next couple of weeks.

Jumpers Runs and NAC

Apparently the contacts had recently been painted with a semi-gloss paint so that could be the cause of his missed dogwalk in the NAC but I'm not prepared to place all the blame on the equipment.  He did have a perfect dogwalk on his first Standard round.

We had the same judge we'll have at Champs and she was nice.  DOCNA courses are the same no matter who the judge is but it's good to know that the judge is nice since it'll be 4 days of showing with her.

Overall a fun day despite the heat and little mistakes here and there.  Was especially pleased with myself for pulling off a Jumpers Q in the heat of the day when I was getting woozy.  I didn't get cranky with the heat either like I did in May.  I think both Strum and I are well acclimated by now.  I don't have air conditioning in my house and I've put in some training sessions in the heat.  I've also taken Strum running with me in the morning when it's starting to get hot towards the middle/end of the run (and by hot I mean 70's).

Next trial is DOCNA in 2 weeks, can't wait.  It could also be hot but there's a lot of nice shade in the park for crating.  I love this particular trial/site so I'm looking forward to it.

I'm not bothering with scanning course maps right now but I will if somebody requests them.  Just leave a note in the comments and I will get to it.

Trial Stats:

Jumpers Specialist Q, 2nd place (lost time due to a run-by)

No titles

2/3 (67%)  Getting better, I'm going to keep up with my training plan.  Still need to work on tunnel after the dogwalk.

6/6(100%)  I'm not counting the 2 the judge didn't call that looked like misses.

4/4 (100%)  Teeter getting better

3/5 (60%) entries, still struggling with this, no amount of training seems to make a difference
1 pop out between the 9th and 10th poles

Bars down
 3 (one in each Standard run and the NAC)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Week in Training

Numbers are way down this week, especially running.  I had 2 rest days, one 2 days after my race and the other the day before my agility trial.  I put in one last day of intervals on the bike on Weds. and I had some tired legs by Friday.  Also starting to taper for my race.  Also the agility trial wore me out.  I don't count it for training but it does put wear and tear on my legs and makes me need more recovery.  My quads were so sore the day after the trial then I went mountain biking.  This week will be more taper, no intervals, no hard work of any kind but I will do a little bit of something until Friday.  The course is open for pre-riding starting Thursday afternoon and I'm debating going up there for that.  On the one hand there's a downhill section I'm itching to see if I can ride, on the other hand I'm not sure it'll be good for my tapering efforts.  I'll see how my legs are feeling on Thurs.  Right now they feel pretty tired.  In fact I feel way too tired for such a small training volume.  Stupid agility trial.  I love agility but a full day of trialing is always more tiring than I think it should be.

Looked at the elevation chart for the bike and the steepest grade I could spot was 8.3% for .27 mile.  The longest climb is as I suspected, the service road right at the start of the bike.  It's .59 mile of 7.0% grade.  There's another climb of 6.8% grade for .53 miles and a 6.1% grade climb for .14 miles.  Terrain is an issue as well, some of those climbs are rocky.  And there are 2 loops so I have to do it all twice.  Distance is 14 miles with a total elevation gain of 1581.4 ft for both loops combined and a max. elevation of 9646 feet.  Overall I'm confident about it.  Swim temps. shouldn't be as bad as the last time I did it.  Should be in the low 60's which is cold but do-able.  Much better than the high 50's anyway.

Run course is 4.1 miles, elevation gain of 430 feet.  Worst climb is 2.7% grade for .22 miles.  There are lots of other little climbs, shouldn't be too bad though, looks like lots of uppy downy rolly stuff, my favorite sort of run because I'm constantly shifting which muscles I'm using.

Swim:  3020 yards/1 hour, 7 mins. (1 swim at the Rez, 1 swim at Stroke-n-Stride)

Mountain bike:  17.16 miles/2 hours, 37 minutes

Run:  3.4 miles/51 mins. (running the whole way, no walk/run)

Total training time: 4 hours, 35 mins.