Off-Season

Ironman Wisconsin was 7 weeks ago.  The post-Ironman blues hit HARD.  I went from training 20+ hours a week before the race to basically not at all.  I thrive off of having workouts in training peaks that need to be completed and races on the calendar to train for.  I think it is fairly obvious that I don’t do well with down time.

So what have I done with all of this down time in the last few weeks?

Ran my First Trail Race:

Approaching the first aid station
Approaching the first aid station
Part of the 10 mile trail run course (photo courtesy of The Runner's Flat 50K Trail Run)
Part of the 10 mile trail run course (photo courtesy of The Runner’s Flat 50K Trail Run)
It wouldn't be a trail race if someone didn't eat dirt ;)
It wouldn’t be a trail race if someone didn’t eat dirt 😉

Walk the Dogs:

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Hike at Ledges:

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Visit Breweries:

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Ride Bikes for Fun with Friends:

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Long shadows with the setting sun.
Long shadows with the setting sun.
Chasing the sun on our bikes.
Chasing the sun on our bikes.

Hayrides at the Berry Patch:

IMG_0311 IMG_0310 Playing Frisbee with Basil:

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Being a competitive, determined, driven person is amazing (although the Iron Hippie may disagree with that).  It is the firework that motivates me to train in early hours, to train when it is dark and dreary, to train when it is cold and windy, to train when it is hot and muggy.  It compels me to test myself, to improve and be better than I was yesterday.

Because of my “type A personality,” it is time to get back into a more regular workout routine.  Nothing super strenuous, but a routine with some structure.

How long does your off-season last?  How do you enjoy your off-season?

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Century Ride in the Books

Yesterday we hopped on the bikes at 8:15 am and set out on an adventure.  Our goal was 100 miles of saddle time…and to have a little fun along the way 🙂  We weren’t concerned about pacing.  We weren’t concerned about keeping our stop breaks to a minimum.  We weren’t concerned about taking our time to finish the ride.

The farthest we had gone so far this spring prior to this ride was 52 miles, so we knew this would be a big jump in distance and saddle time for us, but we had all day to get it done.

The first 40 miles were really fun.  Sure it rained on us for a bit, but we were just getting started, so we were feeling good and we had the winds at our backs for the most part.

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The Iron Hippie and Dr. Chris taking a quick break to refill our water bottles.
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Allen taking a quick break to refill water bottles.

Shortly before mile 40, we saw a sign that looked like this:

IMG_1475This would be the first of many (I lost count after #4)…”Twister Hill” was the first BIG hill that we would encounter on this route.  Unfortunately in central Iowa, we always go down the big hills first and then have to climb back out of the river valley.  “Twister Hill” is where some of the filming took place in the movie “Twister.”  What goes down, must come up…225 feet of climbing over 1 mile.  For central Iowa, this is a fairly big hill 😉

We had a few more of these big hills to descend and climb before we got to mile 50 where we would take our 2nd longer break to refill the water bottles.  We finished the first 50 miles in just under 3 hours.

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Once we were back in the saddle, we knew we were going to have some headwinds to fight, a couple more of those big hills to climb and lots of rolling hills to overcome.  As a result, we decided to start off a bit easier than what we had been riding for the first 50 miles.

At mile 80, we knew we only had 7 more miles of suck until we could turn around and have the tailwind for the last 15 miles home.  These next 7 miles would prove to be VERY challenging…more mentally than physically, but we conquered them!!

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We finally made it to mile 87…now it is time for the tailwind.

We easily averaged over 20 mph on the return trip to Ames, without even trying.  It was awesome!!  When we pulled into our driveway, we were super excited to get off our bikes, relax in the lawn chairs and eat the homemade beef stew that had been cooking all day in the crock pot 🙂

Total Ride Time:  6:33:08

Total Distance:  102 miles

Average Speed:  15.6 mph

Total Elevation Gain: 2,956 feet (the Ironman Wisconsin bike course is 2,890 feet of climbing over 112 miles)

Average Power: 121 Watts (upper Zone 1…I need to work on getting more solidly into Zone 2)

This morning I received a text message from Allen with the following quote that I feel sums up our century ride almost perfectly:

“I was thinking about our ride yesterday and it was rather sadistic.  Let’s start with 40 miles in the rain to get soaked and going, then throw in 35 miles of climbing in and out of the Des Moines river valley because we are bored, then for more fun lets finish up by riding straight into a headwind for a bit more enjoyment.  I am not sure we could have chosen a harder 100 around here and still end up in Ames.  Good work 🙂 “

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Knee Update…I am still unable to run, but cycling does not bother my knee at all.  I am going through active release therapy and am still holding out some hope that I will be able to run some at our upcoming 70.3 race on June 8.

Ironman World Championships 2013

Saturday afternoon, the Iron Hippie and I rode our bikes in the pain cave while watching the Ironman World Championships 2013.

Ironman World Championships 2013
Ironman World Championships 2013

Yes…I know I was told by the doctor that I need to rest, but she did grant me permission to try to ride my bike EASY for one hour on the trainer on Saturday.  If there was any pain, I was to quit.  The good news…I had NO pain!!  🙂  The bad news…I really wanted to push the pace and do a more challenging workout, BUT I followed the doctor’s orders and only rode 12.44 miles in one hour.  I was EXTREMELY happy just to be exercising… 🙂

So happy to be exercising...even if it was an EASY ride
So happy to be exercising…even if it was an EASY ride

Since Ironman Wisconsin is only about 10 months away, I could use a little pick me up…especially while I am temporarily injured.  Watching the Ironman World Championships is incredibly motivating and a reminder on so many levels for why I am racing Ironman Wisconsin for a 2nd time!!  It was also a reminder that even though I’m injured, there are still many things I can be doing to exercise while resting my legs.  This was just the motivation I needed to start waking up early in the mornings again and go to the gym!!

Two States Bike Ride

This last weekend, the Iron Hippie and I went to Okoboji to visit my parents.  We had an AMAZING run on Saturday and followed it up with an AWESOME bike ride on Sunday.  The Iron Hippie was scheduled to ride for 60 miles and I was scheduled to ride for 2-3 hours.  I knew that I would not be able to ride 60 miles in that 2-3 hour time window, but figured I would come close, so we mapped out a route.

70 mile bike route surrounding the Iowa Great Lakes area, including Iowa and Minnesota saddle time.
70 mile bike route surrounding the Iowa Great Lakes area, including Iowa and Minnesota saddle time.

Living in central Iowa, we rarely get the opportunity to ride in two states in one day, but since Okoboji is only about 15 miles from the Minnesota border, we decided to map a ride that would take us into Minnesota.  We have also never had the opportunity to completely circle the Iowa Great Lakes region by bike, so we decided that we would accomplish this goal on this bike ride!!  In order to completely circle the Iowa Great Lakes area AND bike in Iowa and Minnesota (safely), we had to make our route a little longer than 60 miles…it ended up being 70.5 miles.  We definitely could have made the route shorter, but we would have had to ride our bikes on some roads with really heavy traffic and decided to opt out of that option.

We donned our bikes at 6 am and headed out in perfect weather…low 60s, less than 5 mph winds, full sun…couldn’t be better for cycling!!  The 6 am start time would allow us to get most of our ride done before the Iowa Great Lakes region woke up 🙂

On the north edge of the Iowa Great Lakes area, there is a stretch of road that is right on the Iowa/Minnesota border.  Since we were the only ones on the road, we decided to take a picture of us riding down the road…my husband was in Iowa, while I was in Minnesota!!  Not everyday you can zig zag across the road and switch the state you are in so quickly 🙂

My husband is in Iowa on the left and I am in Minnesota on the right.
The Iron Hippie is in Iowa on the left and I am in Minnesota on the right.

During this ride, I could definitely tell that I had raced hard the week before.  My legs were a bit sluggish, but I just kept pushing forward!!  We finished our 70.5 mile route in 3:55:00…giving us an average speed of 18.0 mph…I have become stronger and gotten faster on the bike and I am super stoked about it!!

We LOVED this route, the smooth surfaces and the little vehicle traffic that we encountered!!  This is definitely a ride we will be doing again in the future!!