Monday, November 23, 2009


IM is a great way to end a season. There really is nothing like it.

Tom and I drove down to Phoenix at leisurely pace, taking in Cedar Breaks, the Grand Canyon and camping on Mogollon Rim with no one around for miles. I ran at over 10 000 feet, rode my bike a bit and rested. It was perfect.

Once in Phoenix we stayed with very good friends, Chris and Randy, who opened their home fully to us and provided a perfect base of operations. Thank you Universe for all my great friends who helped this happen. An athlete is never alone in their accomplishments.

My last workout before the race went really well. I felt better than I ever have the day before an IM... well there was the nip I got from a dog on my run but he barely broke the skin. Tom rode with me on his fixie, kept me out of the wind, reminded me to drink lots and was my pack mule the whole weekend. I love you Tom.

Race day was tough. The water was very cold and the swim very physical. I lost my nose plug right away and although I usually am very happy in the water, even I started to have a bit of a panic attack brought on by a lot of heavy physical contact with other swimmers. I had to slow down and breathe deeply to make it go away. Then I continued at a slower pace making my swim time about 5 to 8 min slower than what I had hoped.

My first transtion was slow, it was a long run through and my feet were completely numb. I found out later that other swimmers had to DNF due to hypothermia.

I fought hard the first lap to hold a 6 hour pace for the ride. Maybe too hard, it was windy and I couldn't feel my feet at all so I don't think my pedal stroke was efficient. The next 2 laps were slower as I began to realize that I was working too hard for such a long day.

The run was horrible for the first 5 miles. I usually feel bad for the first 3 but then things straighten out. My back was cramping and I had nothing in my legs. Then somehow things got miraculously better. I swear that what allows me to do well at these races is that I don't fall apart as quickly as other people do. It sure isn't because I'm fast. My last 5 miles on the marathon were the fastest of the whole run. The marathon at IMAZ was the funnest run I have ever done thanks to the great aid stations manned by pirates, Wizard of Oz characters and Cowboys.

In the end I finished in 12:11 and change. In my age group I was 18th in the swim, 36th on the bike and 33 on the run. Not bad for an age group of 119. I didn't get the 11:30 race I had hoped but I smiled most of the way and basked in the feeling of knowing how lucky I am to be able to race like this at all. There is no such thing as a bad Ironman day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

IM approaches

Sometimes I worry that I'm unidimensional. Sometimes I wonder if I'm so self absorbed that I'm missing out on life. Then I realize that I've got the IM psychosis.

I think of little else. Work is busy and all I can think about is how it is hindering my taper. Not that I trained enough to warrant a taper but hey... one can dream can't they.

Tonight as I sit by the woodstove, eating kale crisps I am counting down the days when it will be over. Why do we do these things if they are only accompanied by dread? What is it that makes endurance athletes tick? Why am I happy when I finish a 7 hour and 30 min ride that includes the climb over FSR 44 when really for a good part of the ride I was miserable and wanted nothing more than to be off of my bike?

I don't have any answers. But I do have a link to a good song...

Good night.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A great IM Training day

When my friend Leanne told me about this workout I thought she was insane. Why would someone put their body through that kind of hell just to train. Going through hell on race day to get to the finish line is one thing. But to train for 9ish hours in one day...!!???

I decided to try it and here's how it went:

Bike 27 miles, run 6 miles, bike 27 miles, run 6 miles, bike 16 miles, run 3 miles.

Originally the plan was to have 3 rounds of 25 to 27 miles on the bike followed by 6 mile runs but we ran out of daylight and had to shorten things up a bit. Since the last ride was shorter, I tried to do some really hard efforts a few times for a couple of minutes at a time. The last run segment went similarly. I ran hard for the last mile up a slight grade.

This was a fantastic workout. I got in a lot of time on the bike and run but never got bored. Part of that was the nature of the workout, part of it was having friends there to help. I'd highly recommend this type of workout 4 to 6 weeks before a big event like Ironman. It really built my confidence up and I feel like I'm ready to race.

Next weekend is mountain biking for fun... let's see how many bruises I come home with.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'm soooooooooo hot. My metabolism is through the roof. That's what happens when you ride your bike for 98 miles, 7 hours in the wind and cold. This may be my last looooooong ride before Ironman Arizona. From here on out I'll start to shorten things up and do combined workouts, bike followed by run.

But before that happens... one more long run tomorrow.

The road to IMAZ has been interesting. I haven't trained as consistently as I have in the past. No written plans, only 2 other races this season. So it'll be interesting to see what happens. I've trained intuitively and haven't spent the last 6 months flirting with overtraining. But I don't feel like I've trained enough. November the 22nd will tell the story.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The little things

I had a great weekend. I am happier than I have been in as long as I can remember.

Today I rode my bike to work, in the sunshine with a skirt on and clompy Danskos. My bike has a new SRAM shifter for the front derailleur and new grips thanks to Tom. She was riding like a dream, zooming down Belmont with a snow covered Mt. Hood looking over my shoulder. It was one of those joyous moments when I felt like nothing else exists in the world except happiness.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I almost forgot to share some of the biggest work related news I've had in a few years. I can use needles at work again!!!!!

The PT licensing board has declared dry needling to be within the scope of practice for a PT if they have the appropriate training. That means I can use acupuncture again as an adjunct modality in my practice. I'm very excited. My clients are very excited and I have already seen some good results in pain relief and swelling management.

The wonderful spin off is that my renewed use of acupuncture has spurred me to review some of my Tradtional Chinese Medicine books and notes. This in turn has motivated me to spend more time meditating and centering myself.

I feel as if I've been released from a cage.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Training adventures

I've been wanting to post something about this for a while because I think it's a really fun way to get in a lot of miles on the bike with good support and allows you to go places you can't if you solo.

Here's what we (Tom, George, Terri and I) did this weekend. We all piled into the Race Across Oregon van - with Amelia of course - and drove to BZ Corners WA. We then rode for many miles. Each of us taking turns riding and driving in the van. I logged 75 miles the first day with about 6600 feet of climbing, Tom logged 95 miles and George and Terri each got in 50. The next day was a little shorter but no less challenging in terms of climbing.

The great part about this kind of riding is the social aspect. Good quality time with friends. Then there is the distinct advantage of riding with a support vehicle. For me it means I can push a lot harder than I normally would because I know that I can always get more food/water or even a ride if I completely explode. It also meant that I didn't have to ride the crazy gravel downhill that Tom conquered in the rain!! The man is insane.

I can't wait to do this again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ring of Fire Time Trial - Maupin OR September 12, 2009

The plan was to ride my bike for 12 hours. The hope was for 160 miles. The reality was very different.

Well, it started out with a stomach ache and trouble with nutrition. The first 60 miles of the course is at least 80% climbing and I was much slower than I had hoped. I was OK with that, I had all day to pull through as long as I could get my stomach to straighten out. At about 5 hours I finally got a long enough descent to back off substantially and get some food into me. My stomach started to feel better and I hit the next climb with some oomph, still not fast, but better.

Then I had fun for about 1 hour.

Then came the heat and there was carnage all over the race course. Someone with a temp gauge on their cyclocomputer said the heat got up to 97 deg at about 3 PM. Cyclists were stopped at random spots all over the course just because they were too hot to keep going.

I got seriously overheated. Relying on SAGs and self supporting did not help. By the end of my big loop of 112 miles, I was struggling to go 10 mph on a flat road with a slight tailwind. I should've been cruising easily at 18 mph. I hurt everywhere, had a terrible headache, flashing lights in my field of vision. When I got into the checkpoint and tried to talk to one of the volunteers, I wasn't articulating well and I knew I couldn't go on until I had cooled off substantially and got my electrolytes and hydration squared away.

While I was trying to do this Tom came in off the 24 hour course with a DNF. He ended up very overheated as well.

That's when I decided I was done. The cost seems too high to go back out. People were throwing up everywhere, many racers had DNFed, one went to the hospital and had an IV of 3 litres of fluid. He still wasn't quite squared away.

So I got an official finish and I seem to be recovering in a timely fashion. I'm still a little whacked out but my legs are better. No significant signs of anything serious. I'm very glad I decided to pull the plug when I did.

Not sure I will solo this race again. I certainly would not do it without support if there is any chance of heat. I was definitely not able to carry enough water to keep hydrating well between SAGs in those temps.

Tom and I are thinking that a 2 person team might be the way to go next year. :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

So this blogging adventure has not gone as planned. It's been tough to keep up. All I can say is, like everyone here in The Gorge, summer is sacred and should be enjoyed to it's fullest. I haven't had much free time at my computer.

Today however, I woke up to the sound of pouring rain. So I've ditched plan A which was to ride the Ring of Fire Time Trial course. It's remote, it goes up high and it's 112 miles. I'll be racing on that course next weekend. I've now gone to plan B, back to bed. It's cold, wet and apparently the snow level is down to 6000 feet. Yup bed sounds good.

Here's a quick summary of an exciting summer:
Butte to butte run and epic (yes I'm using that word appropriately) ride to Moon Point in Oakridge OR.
Tom raced but unfortunately did not finish the Cascade Cream Puff. He was exhausted from June.
July Mountain Bike Oregon. I got to do a trail side reduction of a dislocated shoulder!
XTerra Portland for me... I got my butt kicked but came back the next day with a 5:37 century in Newport OR.
Then back down to Bend OR to watch Tom take 3 in the SS category at the High Cascades 100!
And last weekend, up to Penticton to watch Ironman Canada and sign up for next year.

Oh yeah, I've been working quite hard on getting my coaching company up and running. That's been quite a learning process.

And there was that fire that threatened my little home of Mosier OR. You can see more about that here
This experience is worth a whole blog post of it's own. It was one of the scariest things I've seen and one of the most educational. Thank you, all of my dear friends and family, for your support. A huge thanks to the firefighters that saved our little town.

A pretty busy summer by anyone's standards. I'm looking forward to fall. Less travel, more Ironman training, cool temps...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pacific Crest Half Ironman

OK, I haven't trained for a while and I really shouldn't have expected much but... I still really wanted to beat my time from last year when I had that horrible stomach issue and I didn't. I did get through it though. So here's my advice on how to survive a Half Ironman done off the couch.

Find a good draft on the swim and use it as a warm-up
Ride at a low heart rate and focus on your pedal stroke
Expect the run to hurt. It's gonna suck. There's a reason why people train for these things you know!

The final result was 6:03 I think. 9th in my AG. 3rd out of the water for my AG, 14th or so on the bike and 8th on the run. So I guess I need to ride more. Bummer ;-)

Sure wish I could walk today, good thing I can still ride my bike.

Success at RAW.

I had no idea. The summary is that we came, we saw and we kicked... well, you know how that goes.

RAW stands for Race Across the West. It's the first 1044 miles of Race Across America. It's a killer ride with lots of hills. Thank goodness I was crewing and not riding.

Tom entered as a 2 man relay team with George Thomas. They rode 58 hours and 56 min to get them from Oceanside CA to Taos NM. I sat in the van with 2 other people for all those hours, taking care of Tom with a little drivng and navigation thrown in when Lisa and Ken needed to be spelled off. The average shift on the bike was 1 hour at a time but got as long as 3 hours if the other teammates needed a sleep and a lot less if it was hot. Some of our rotations were as short as 30 min leaving us barely enough time to get Tom off the bike, into the car, fed, massaged, driven to the next hand off, dressed again and ready for the exchange. It was a really tough job but we did great. Tom and George made it to Taos before anyone else. Granted they had the advantage of being a team but even if you only compared them to other teams they kicked azz.

For those of you that have thought about crewing for an event like this...

Crewing for a team is MUCH harder than crewing for a solo rider. It seems counter intuitive, but it is. I've done both now, trust me.
If you volunteer to crew, embrace the silliness that comes with sleep deprivation, it makes it more fun.
Finally, stock your vehicle really well with snacks, decent food can be really hard to come by, especially when you're crewing for a team and your down time is minimal.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What a trip!!

Wow. To say that I was busy while I was in Europe would be a serious understatement.

Here's the Reader's digest version of the trip....
We arrived in Lisbon having survived the drive to Vancouver WA, train to Seattle, plane to Heathrow and connection to Lisbon. We were jet lagged, hungry and missing Tom's bike. Fortunately the bike turned up the next day. The Race Relations person, Louize, picked us up and took us to the Hotel Barcelona. The next day or two was spent eating, resting and more travel, this time by bus to Braganca. More prep time and the race was on.

The first 3 days were insanely hot and to a serious toll on all the racers. Tom had a very difficult first day but rallied back the second and was doing well by the third. Then the weather cooled and he just got stronger. While Tom was racing my days went something like this: get up, big buffet breakfast, go to our first checkpoint with my check point partner Patricia. We then sat for hours watching the racers go by noting times and numbers. Then off to the stage finish where I'd set up for massage. Massage would go on until about 7:30 or 8 until we had another amazing buffet style meal, then back for more massage. Often I wouldn't get back to my room before 11 PM. Then Tom would finally get his turn and off to sleep to do it all over the next day.

As the race went on, problems started to crop up. At least one third of the riders, if not half of them, had developed saddle sores from the heat, sweat and grit. I ordered dressings for the sores and spend what spare time I had distributing them to the riders, explaining in detail how to use them and even applying dressings for the ones that couldn't reach them on there own. Of course all the jokes started to come out... Cassie is covering everyone's ass... the rider's are really a pain in the ass... Cassie the queen of the butts... you get the idea.

Yes I was busy and yes I was exhausted at the end. But I wouldn't have had it any other way. I got to be part of the team, I had updated info about how Tom was doing all day long and I got to meet a bunch of really great people. I can't think of a better way to see the countryside and I would do it again... maybe even race it one day.

Tom placed 9th overall, much better than expected and he would've done better yet if he hadn't struggled so much that first day. He even had several days when he placed in the top 5 and one day when he came in 3rd after the 2 very fast racers competing for the overall win. It was amazing to watch.

We had 4 days to recover in Portugal, then 2 days checking out London with Paul, another racer from Portugal. He was a great tour guide and we had a blast.

Now we're on the last leg of the journey. We're here in Oceanside getting ready for RAW. There are a lot of details to take care of before we start the race on Wednesday. Speaking of which... it's time to go.

To be continued.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day One in Braganca.

We´re here. A little jet lagged still. Tom´s made it through registration and his bike is built. I have my staff ID and T-shirt.

It´s HOT. There´s a castle on the hill, blooming Jacaranda trees and lots of really nice bikes!!

The racing starts tomorrow. I have today to relax a bit then the work begins. While Tom is racing, I´ll be helping with check in during the day. Massage starts at 5 PM and goes until 10 ish. They are going to be Looooooooong days!!

Off for some paella and wine. Yum.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

All packed and ready to go...

Good night to everyone. I hope to keep this blog up while we're on the road. We'll see...
7 hours until the true travel begins!!!
At worst, I'll be back in 4 weeks.

With metta,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Class 5 in the living room

My room mate is a paddler and travels a lot. Before every big trip the living room turns into a class 5 rapid of packing. Well, I'm not a paddler but I can say I've achieved class 5 in the packing department.

Everything is out in piles to make sure I don't forget something. A pile for running gear, a pile for "working" gear, a pile of beach gear, a pile of crewing gear... on and on and on.

My advice:
Lists are good and I do mine by category of activity. When I make my lists I start from my feet and work my way up the body to make sure I don't forget things like socks or goggles. Then I make up other categories like "paperwork", "electronics" and "toiletries." 

That usually gets me pretty well set for my trips. It leaves the house looking like a disaster zone for a bit as everything gets pulled out and set in piles but if I can't see it, I stress about it. Once I'm satisfied, it gets packed away and I let go of any worry about what I forgot. Not that I don't forget things. I do. I just remind myself that's why we have credit cards. :)

I'm starting to get excited!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Another great training camp!!

What makes for a great training camp?

6 strong riders, dedicated volunteers, great camp organizers, 500 plus miles of remote Oregon roads with spectacular views... in 4 days!!

This was my second year crewing for George and Terri in their Race Across Oregon training camp. It was even better than last year. I had lots of fun with my crew mates. Thank you Ken and Hugh, you were so helpful!! We had a great group of cyclists, Martha Walsh is my new hero. She rode 500 miles total and was right in there with the boys. Best of all Tom was there and we got to ride together a fair bit. I managed to squeeze in about 130 pretty high intensity miles over the 4 days between driving a SAG van, serving lunch and doing massage in the evening. Tom rode strongly all weekend. In the end he managed 463 miles in some heat with a high average pace for the terrain and defended his reputation as a climber.

The highlights where a night in an interesting hotel that including every issue of every hunting and fishing mag you can imagine and a sitting room full of taxidermied animals... even a Kodiak bear. OK, maybe that wasn't a highlight. But I have to say that the B&B in Fossil was excellent and the breakfast amazing!! I got up in the morning and rode up the Fossil climb with Tom, flew back down to the B&B, hopped in the van and drove to the top of another spectacular climb, rode down to Tom, turned and came back up. The scenery was stunning. The company great.

I'm looking forward to doing it again.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Getting ready for the big trip.

Well, the last ticket has been purchased for the big trip. "Planes, trains and Automobiles" has nothing on us.

Here's the plan...

Phase 1. May 27th drive to Vancouver WA, catch a train to Seattle, have lunch with a friend and then catch a plane to London. Timing of the next bit is confusing because of time zones but somehow with one connection at Heathrow we'll end up in Lisbon Portugal on May 28th. The next day we'll bus to northern Portugal where I will work as part of the medical team for Trans Portugal, an 8 day stage race done on mountain bikes that runs the entire length of the country. I've got the easy job, Tom's racing.

At the end of the race, we'll hang out for a few days in Sagres, Tom asleep under a parasol and hopefully I'll be on the water windsurfing. Then back to London for a day of pubbing with a friend before we jet back to the USA.

Phase 2. We land at LAX on June 14th, will bus to downtown LA to catch a train to Oceanside CA where we'll meet up with a bunch of other crazy bikey people to get ready for RAW - Race Across the West, the first 1000 miles of RAAM. Tom will be racing on a two man team with another friend of ours. I'll be in the van crewing with two other people. The race starts on June 17th and hopefully 60 hours later we will find ourselves in Taos NM.

Phase 3. Drive to Denver and send people home on airplanes to head back to their work lives. Sigh. Well all of us except Tom. He's gonna ride his bike in Fruita CO, cause the boy just can't get enough.

But first... training rides this weekend, Race Across Oregon Camp next weekend (working again, not riding)

And Tom and I will do the 12 hour Lewis and Clark Ultra as a 2 person mixed relay team the next weekend before we fly out.

When am I going to find time to pack?