A wise woman named Madonna was once quoted as saying "If we took a holiday. Took some time to celebrate. Just one day out of life. It would be, it would be so nice." I've put her challenge to the test over not just one day, but the last several. I've gotta say, it has been so nice. However, training over the holidays has its advantages as well as challenges. Here are my top 5 of each: Advantages 5) We're staying at my parent's home in a small mountain town called Midway, away from the usual hustle and bustle of this time of year. It's a very peaceful setting, and the streets are traffic free. Many of the few motorists I've encountered while running actually wave as they pass! 4) Training partners: I've biked on trainers set up in the basement with my wife, dad, and brother in law on separate occasions. I've also pounded the pavement a couple times with my brother. 3) I always enjoy running through uncharted terrain... new roads to explore 2) Not thinking about my day job = less stress 1) On that note, more time to get workouts in... don't have to fit into a 60-90 min window
Challenges 5) Crazy sore after playing some intense 1on1 bball against youngbloodsat the rec center 4) Glitter in my bike shoes from daughter's sparkly Christmas princess dress (dress --> floor --> feet --> bike shoes) 3) The main staple of my daily nutrition has been Reeses peanut butter cups 2) Local aquatic center closed for repairs... snuck in a swim Friday at a nearby "club," but had to pay a ridiculous price for a single dip in the pool 1) Rethinking the whole triathlon thing after watching my brother, sister, and their respective others replicate this 1980's aerobic performance as part of a family "talent show." It's really shaken me up... I want those moves.
For years I've seen ads for Road ID, often stuffed in the pre-race swag bag of coupons and goodies. They usually have Craig Alexander standing there sporting his, with a saying like "Husband. Father. Professional Triathlete... It's Who I Am." Crowie gives a little more insight on the Road ID website:
Q: "Why do you wear Road ID?"
Craig: "At home, I have a wife and two children who count on me and worry about my safety while I’m 'at work.' I think it's important to do whatever I can to give them the peace of mind that if something was to happen, they will know about it and I will receive proper medical treatment. For us, Road ID is not just a piece of gear…it's peace of mind."
Anyways, while I've always seen the value in such a product, I had never pulled the trigger on getting one. This changed over the Christmas holiday, as my sister from Texas got me one. Similar to the example below from the Road ID site, it has my name and emergency contact info, as well as blood type, allergy info, and the saying "Pain is Temporary."
My initial reaction was "cool, this is probably a good thing to have," and I told my sister "I hope I never have to use this, but thanks!" After a minute of looking at it on my wrist, however, I realized that I would be "using" it every day I wore it as a source of inspiration. I pictured myself down in the aerobars and glancing down at it every so often, being reminded of my family and the fact that pain is temporary... get after it!! I'm always looking for things to get me motivated & inspired, and sometimes they come in unexpected ways. Perfect gift, Ali... nailed it!
We are thrilled to welcome Arizona's Kristen Lodge as the latest addition to the Triple Threat team. I figured there was no better way to get to know her than to showcase her on the blog... thanks for the time, Kristen!
What’s your background, and how did you get into triathlon? I have been an athlete all my life. I played softball and tennis growing up. In high school I played basketball and softball. It was only after high school that I started swimming, biking, and running in various degrees with no consistency and I never raced. I remember swimming laps in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire YMCA pool and thinking about triathlons. The problem was I never followed through with anything back then. When I was 34 I moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Everyone was a runner or cyclist. Steamboat had a running series and I started running all the races; even winning 3rd place for the most points one year, mostly because I ran many of them to get points. I started meeting triathletes and the next thing I knew, I was one.
How would you sum up your 2013 season? What was the highlight/lowlight?
2013 was a fun year racing. I finished my first 50K trail run in March. In May, I raced the Triple T in Portsmouth, Ohio, a weekend of four triathlons: one super sprint, two Olympic distance tris, and a half Ironman distance. The Triple T was the highlight of my season and I met amazing Ironman athletes who use this race as prep for the racing season. Ironman Wisconsin was my A race and while I didn’t finish with the time I wanted, I know everything I did wrong in my training. I don’t want to repeat that, ever.
Have you planned out any races yet for 2014, or still in the works?
Now that it is approaching the new year, I've finally planned my 2014 season. In January, the Colossal Duathlon at Colossal Cave Mountain Park (Tucson). In February, 24 Hours at the Old Pueblo (Tucson) mountain bike race. In March, the Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon in Oro Valley. In May, Ironman 70.3 St. George. I am still considering Silverman 70.3 in October and the Tucson Triathlon series (3 races over the year all sprint distances at the UofA).
As you alluded to in your team profile, the triathlon scene is fierce in Colorado… was it intimidating to pick up triathlon [racing] there or did you find it welcoming?
Note I lived in Steamboat but would race in Boulder. It is completely terrifying to race in Boulder as a newbie. I remember seeing Craig Alexander win Boulder 70.3 the first year I did a half Ironman in 2005 or 2006 (the pros started a few hours after the amateurs). Despite the competition there are so many nice triathletes that help you if you need a wetsuit zip or have questions about the course.
What’s the triathlon scene like in your current home of Arizona? What’s training like through the summer as well as “winter”?
Tucson has a vibrant triathlon scene. Cyclists ride all over town, year round in very colorful kits. Earlier this year I was passed by Hillary Biscay on the Rillito River Path and she was so friendly (star struck!). The University of Arizona organizes a sprint triathlon series with three races during the year. Chris Lieto has the course record: 50:42 from March 2007. There is a USAT duathlon in the fall in Oro Valley and a triathlon south of Tucson at Patagonia Lake in November. This is my second winter training in Tucson and it is nice to sleep in on the weekends and start rides at 9 or 10 when it is about 45 or 50 degrees (and NO SNOW on the ground). I try to ride my bike at lunch time when temperatures reach 70 or higher. I swim at the local YMCA in the outdoor pool all year long. I have a great tan on the back of my legs and back. In the summer I wake up at 5am to bike and run while it’s cool and by 8 pm I am ready for bed. What motivates you to swim, bike, and run?
I am a goal oriented person. I like having a plan and checking off each completed run, bike or swim, then logging time/miles on Dailymiles.com. I love the feeling of accomplishment after training and finishing a race. I love all the possibilities of going longer and getting faster. Both would be nice (LOL). I have met the most interesting people through triathlon - from Steamboat Springs, to Winter Park, Colorado, to Tucson, Arizona. I love the camaraderie and inspiration I receive from the athletic community regardless of event type.
What were your Ironman experiences like at IM Coeur d’Alene & Wisconsin?
IM Coeur d’Alene was the best, first Ironman experience I could have hoped for. I was living in Granby, Colorado at 8,000 feet while training. I trained in snow, wind, and cold and it prepared me really well for my first race. Going down to 2,100 feet to race felt amazing. I wrote about this experience in my book, Continental Quotient in the chapter, How I Got This Way. Driving home from that race I knew this was the lifestyle I want to live every day and I knew I would do another Ironman. I thought about how I knew I was never going to be a Top 10 age grouper and I might not ever qualify for Kona, but I love the life of swimming, biking, and running and the people who join me along the way. Ironman Wisconsin was a great experience because I met my friend Mark in Madison, and we raced it together. Sharing the Ironman weekend with Mark (who I met at the Coeur d’Alene Ironman on race morning and stayed friends with over the years) was so fun and we helped each other get rid of the nervous energy before the big day. I love destination racing because you get to see a part of the country you might not have a reason to see. I had never been to Wisconsin and racing Ironman was a great way to see the capitol and surrounding areas. Ironman Wisconsin has a tough bike course; I should’ve raced that one after training in the Colorado mountains.
What do you enjoy most about triathlon?
I love that my clothes fit better. I love the people I meet when looking for training partners. Most importantly, signing up for races and traveling to them takes me out of my comfort zone and allows a venue where I can push myself to reach goals.
What was the inspiration for your book, and can you tell us a bit about it?
My book, Continental Quotient, was written about all the mountain towns I lived in from 1999 to today. Even though Tucson is a big city, it is surrounded by mountains and sometimes feels like a small, mountain town. After I finished writing the essays, I realized I was celebrating adventure, friends, family, and landscape. The people in the stories formed the backbone of the book and the book became a call out to the world to take each adventure as it comes. I realized that each time I moved to a new place I was taking a risk and in each place I found a new part of myself. Ironman is like this; it is one big adventure and your true self comes out in the end. And, the stories…. the stories are so fun to tell over and over again.
What advice would you give to those new to the sport?
Start with a sprint triathlon. Train for three months and see how you like that distance. Consistency in training is the key as a new triathlete, and as a seasoned athlete. I’ve seen people race their first sprint and hate it because they felt terrible the entire time. When you train with consistency you feel good racing and want to race more. The best way to love the sport is to put in the time: swim, bike and run. Be careful – it’s addictive!
Learn more about Kristen on her website,and check out Continental Quotient on Amazon.
Disclaimer: this is a rare post not centered on triathlon, but hopefully you enjoy it and can find something to apply. As I’ve mentioned in a few posts, I moved with my family to France halfway through high school, attending the American School of Paris. We moved there from a small town in Indiana, which was a great place to grow up. However, coming from a place without much diversity to speak of, it was a great learning experience to live in Europe and attend a school with many nationalities. Our basketball team was mainly comprised of Americans, but guys from Morocco, Brazil, & France were among our best players. Our coach was a Texas native named Charles Beacham, who had started coaching and teaching at the school following a professional basketball career in Europe. Charles was hilarious, but also tough. Excluding the times he was yelling at us, he was always smiling. I loved playing for him and was terrified of him at the same time. That said, as I look back now I only have great memories of our time together.
Charles passed away last week following a bout with cancer. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since, and thought I’d chronicle a few lessons I learned from him:
Get After It
In Indiana, my coaches were all about the fundamentals. Practices had a military feel to them, and any display of “razzle dazzle” was rewarded with a spot on the bench.
On the other hand, Charles cared more that we were being aggressive and attacking the other team than how fundamentally sound we were. He wasn’t politically correct, and our teams had some swagger for sure. He’d often say “the guy guarding you might be the worst defender in the world, but you’ll never find out if you don’t test him!”
One quick example that comes to mind is Charles yelling at me during a game in Antwerp, Belgium for something along those lines. Out of the corner of my eye I see the backup point guard get off the bench, and I thought “oh, I’m getting a shot up here.” I hit it, then managed two more in a row before the next dead ball. When I looked over, I saw Charles had rewarded me by making the kid go sit back down... exactly the opposite of this famous scene from "Hoosiers" (the real life Hickory High was Milan High School, only a couple miles down the road from where I grew up!)
Life Won't Hold Your Hand
In addition to basketball, Charles helped out with the track team as well. At our big International School final meet of the year, I ran my best 1500 meter time ever but finished 4th. As I’m gasping for air at the finish line, Charles’ quote was “boy, I don’t see no iron” (translation: you didn’t medal). By now I knew that Charles would say stuff just to push your buttons… he knew I still had two events to go, and it was effective. His comment pissed me off, and I made sure to get some “iron” in both!
As a teenager I’d occasionally get migraines brought on by dehydration, leaving me with blurry vision and a pounding headache. I got one after playing every minute of back to back tournament games, including a hard fought win over Vienna to advance to the semis against the American School of London. I remember getting some medicine, a bottle of water, and sitting in a pitch black closet with a wet rag on my head. The next game was only a few hours away.
I started the game on the bench, still feeling terrible, and didn’t expect to play. We got off to a rough start, and Charles looked over and said “Collin, we need you.” No hand holding. Suck it up and get out there! I said “ok, let’s go,” and never came out. My vision was still cloudy, but I played a surprisingly solid game and we won in overtime. We went into the finals vs. Athens as the clear underdogs, but came out the aggressor and won handily. The next year we had a great run as well, coming up just short in the finals and taking silver.
I haven’t gotten along with every boss I’ve had, and some have definitely been what others would call “tough.” However, playing for Charles prepared me well for the real world.
As I mentioned earlier, Charles almost always had a smile on his face. To this day, he’s one of the most charismatic people I’ve ever met. He loved people. He found humor in the smallest things, and his laughter was contagious. Although he was tough at times on his players, he was also a friend. I’m sure he’s still flashing that big smile of his somewhere.
I vividly remember the day I decided I needed a new bike saddle. It was the dog days of summer, a blistering hot Saturday in July of last year. My wife was out of town with our son & daughter, so with the day to myself, I decided to drive out to the bike course of a race I’d be doing six weeks later.
Unlike the vast majority of races in the area, which require at least some climbing, this half Ironman (56 mi / 90km) course is pancake flat. You can pretty much get down in the aerobars and let it rip the whole time… or, as I discovered, for as long as you can handle. Less than halfway into the ride, a certain part of my anatomy (who will remain nameless) started getting increasingly angry. This was hardly the first time this had happened, but this ride was particularly memorable. Each passing minute became more and more unbearable in the aero position, until I ultimately gave up trying. I rode the last half or so upright and even out of the saddle on several occasions, despite the flat terrain. This wasn’t incredibly comfortable either, but it was the best alternative.
For the record I had a decent saddle at the time, one that by all appearances was “anatomically friendly,” with a small cut-out section in the middle as many saddles these days have.
After this experience I decided it was at least worth a shot to try something else, opting for the ISM Adamo “Road” saddle after doing some research. I’m still not entirely sure if the company is called ISM, Adamo, or ISM Adamo, but whatever it is, I’m happy I made the switch. Let me be clear that everyone is different… what works for me doesn’t guarantee it will work for you or anyone else. Case in point, I bought mine “used,” having been ridden by a guy for a week who gave it a try before switching to something else.
For myself, however, I’m much more comfortable than I used to be. In my races this past season, I was pretty much able to stay aero for as long as I wanted. Honestly, my new Triple Threat tri shorts contributed as well, with a far superior (yet still light) chamois compared to what I had before.
ISM/Adamo has grown a lot in popularity lately, so I’m hardly the first to discover it, but I thought I’d give my 2 cents on some pros and cons if you’re considering a switch.
Pro: plain and simple, the big cut-out section relieves a ton of pressure. This allows many riders to stay aero for a longer period of time, resulting in a faster bike split.
Cons: in the beginning there was a sensation of falling off the front… it took some getting used to, and I wouldn’t recommend switching in the middle of your season. That said, after a couple weeks (and since) I don’t think I could go back.
The most common complaint I’ve heard is regarding the saddle’s width, that it rubs the inner thighs of some riders. This may be due to some people riding too far back on the saddle, which is designed to be sat on the front third only. I’m guessing it would look too small and scare people away if they cut the back off the thing, but you really don’t need it. Adamo also makes several models with varying widths if this is a problem for you.
It’s not the lightest saddle if you’re concerned about every last gram.
In summary, for me personally the one huge pro outweighs any cons.
Trevor Wurtele is a professional triathlete from Canada who is coming off a breakout 2013 season. His wife
Heather shares the same occupation, and for the past five years the two have
rumbled around North America, living and training out of a 23-foot (~7 meter) Ford
Regal RV. In addition, he has the funniest race reports in the business.
Thanks for the time, Trevor!
First of all, I checked out the Vernon BC
Wikipedia page and was appalled that you and Heather aren’t on the
“notable people” list… if Ironman Canada champion (and others) isn’t enough,
what’s it going to take?? What was it like growing up there, and what’s your
Haha, you did some research!! Yes, we did indeed grow up
in Vernon. Me a bit more so than Heather. I was in Vernon from the time I was
in Kindergarten, Heather moved there when she was 15. I come from a downhill skiing family. My dad was the head
coach for the men's national downhill team for 7 years, through the Calgary
Olympics in 1988. I definitely had dreams of being a great downhiller, but by
the time I was 15, road cycling started to take over. When I was a Junior
cyclist I would spend the summers racing in Belgium. After high school I spent
a couple full seasons racing as an amateur in France and Italy. By the time I
was 20 I had had a pretty solid ass-kicking in Europe and didn't really see
cycling taking me where I wanted to go. In hindsight I'm so thankful that I got
out of that sport when I did. After that time I went back to school for a few
years, and I did some running and cycling for enjoyment. I met up with Heather
again (we were friends in high school), then we worked our way into triathlon
Were Canadian triathletes such as Simon
Whitfield and Peter Reid on your radar at all before discovering triathlon for
yourself? How did you get into the sport? I watched Simon win gold in Sydney. I bet we
all did. Even then I had absolutely no idea what triathlon really was, nor did
I think I would ever do one. Swimming was pretty low on my 'things I enjoy'
list growing up, so I always balked at the idea of doing a triathlon. But then
I saw video of Peter Reid winning Kona in 2003. That got some blood flowing and
with Heather's help in the water I managed to pick up my swimming enough to do
a triathlon - really with the goal of doing an Ironman. I qualified for Ironman
Canada 2004 at a local triathlon in Victoria, grabbed the spot, and was totally
pissed that I didn't do very well... so I had to keep going back! :) Continuing your steady progression from
Top 10’s to Top 5’s, to a win at IM 70.3 New Orleans in 2012, you had a breakout
year in 2013, with many great results including the Ironman Canada crown. To
what do you most attribute your success? If I had to pick one defining moment that has brought me
from a top 10 guy to a guy who can compete for the win it would be finding a
coach (Paulo Sousa) that steered me in the right direction. In fact, he found
us. After a dismal end to 2010 with a decent result here and there, he came to
our RV after Ironman Arizona and pretty much told us straight up that we were
doing things wrong. That winter, December 2010, we started working with him and
joined up with his new squad (thetriathlonsquad.com). Since then, for
the past 3 years, he has been pushing us to work harder than we ever thought
possible, and really taught us how to be real professional athletes. "Be
committed, do your job" is one of his mantras that has helped us grow over
the past few years.
Trevor & Andreas Raelert
I’ve read that in 2010, your earthly
possessions included $3K, your RV, and your tri gear, without any sponsor
support. I’m sure Heather’s breakthrough success helped alleviate some
financial stress, but did it cause you to put more pressure on yourself? Yes, we were in dire straits after Ironman Hawaii 2009.
In retrospect we should not have sunk the money into going to Hawaii that year.
We had some smaller sponsors, but it was purely product at that time, maybe a
small bonus contract from 1 or 2 if I remember correctly. Thankfully Heather
won Ironman St. George in 2010, which was a relief for sure. But did I feel
pressure from that? No, not at all. We've always been stoked for each other’s
successes and I think Heather winning that race felt like we both won. For sure
there's always the feeling of wanting to hold up your end of the 'team', but I
certainly never put any undo pressure on myself because of her win. If anything
it gave me the fire to keep going, dreaming, and believing in myself. What was your strategy going into Ironman
Canada? Was it especially rewarding to win your first Ironman close to home? It was definitely rewarding to win that race. I focused
my entire season on winning that one and started thinking about it in December
2012. Plus, I had reached a point in my triathlon career where I believed I
could win it - that makes a huge difference. Not just SAYING you believe in
yourself, but TRULY believing you can win it. Even the little voices in the
back of your head, when those say 'you can win it', that's when real belief
sets in and can help you do great things. My strategy going into Ironman Canada was to start the
run with the leaders and rely on a good run to get the win. There were a couple
different scenarios I had played out in my mind for how the bike portion could
go. Having Matt Russell ride up to me was certainly one of them. When that
happened I knew I'd have to keep him in touch and not give him a head start on
the run. He was one of the few guys that would have been able, and fresh enough
(a few notables had raced Ironman Mont Tremblant the week prior), to run a low 2:50 marathon.
Trevor was all smiles before and after Ironman Canada
Let alone the intimidation factor, I think
the RV setup can make a lot of sense for pro triathletes… financially,
logistically, etc. How does it
also help (or hurt) you from a performance perspective? We've been extremely lucky with this RV. We bought it off
a website called Repot-Depot. The grand total came to $22,000. That was almost
exactly the amount of money we received after all was said and done when we
sold our condo in Victoria. From there we worked for 5 months while living in
the RV and saved as much money as we could. I think we left Canada with $13,000
in our pockets in February 2009. That dwindled quickly despite living on side
streets and parking on friend's and family's property. All said, it is cheap if
you do it right. After our initial massive drive south we drove as little as
possible and just set up a training base for a couple months at a time.
a Ford Regal RV
The RV is a great alternative and a pretty amazing way to
see new training grounds. That said, the key is to make sure to not travel too
much. If you're constantly looking for places to park, trying to find pools or
new training routes, ultimately your training and recovery will suffer. It's
important to get into a routine that you can hold for weeks on end in order for
training to really give you the most benefit. Also, if you're going to do it
with a significant other, make sure you can live in close quarters! Heather and
I don't need much personal space - away from each other anyway.
At the moment we're parked in the driveway of our Squad
house. This is great for us because we have access to a shower, laundry, and
can start all the workouts together without having to commute. The only
downside is we don't have a way to dump our black and grey water tanks. Those
fill up quickly if we're not careful. That said, after 5 years, do you ever get
annoyed with life in the RV, or by now is it home sweet home? Where do you set
up shop throughout the year?
For the most part we're always in the RV. We had a break
from it last winter while we house sat for Heather's parents in Kelowna, BC.
Plus trips to races like Kona or Abu Dhabi. Locations where we set up shop for
good chunks of time are San Diego, St. George, Whistler (prior to Ironman Canada
for 4 weeks) and we're usually in Kelowna for the summers.
Funny you ask if we're getting annoyed with it after 5
years - we are indeed. We're actually thinking quite seriously of moving into a
more permanent home of our own in Penticton, BC. Stay tuned for that! :) Either
way we'll keep the RV for trips south in Spring and Fall.
What are your top 5 favorite races in
terms of course/venue?
Ironman 70.3 St. George is a pretty amazing course. It's
stunningly beautiful with all the sandstone cliffs and surrounding desert
Ironman Canada is also an incredibly beautiful race through
some amazing mountain scenery
Wildflower is one of those races that has an all around
'super fun' vibe. If you go there, definitely camp and take in the whole
Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant - another extremely well done
event. The atmosphere in the village around the finish is incredible
When I was an amateur I did Ironman France. That is one
race I'd love to get back to
“Some water, a knife, or even matches can
mean the difference between life and death. And those things only come from
sponsors. And to get sponsors, you have to make people like you.” – Woody Harrelson AKA Haymitch from The Hunger Games
Or from a pro triathlete’s perspective:
“Some shoes, a bike, or even goggles can mean
the difference between life and death. And those things only come from
sponsors. And to get sponsors, you have to make people like you.”
What’s your sponsorship situation like, and how do they
help you towards your goals?
That's funny, I hadn't made that connection to my own
life before. But yeah, you could draw some similarities. It is important to get
people to like you for sure. On both sides of the fence - sponsors need to like
you, and athletes who the sponsors are trying to target need to like you as
well. Hopefully for more than just your results. Really though, I think it's
important to just be yourself. Both sponsors and 'fans' can see through someone
who's fake or trying too hard to be something they're not.
We are extremely lucky to have found sponsors
that are both top of the line product wise, and a pleasure to work with. It
took some time to put together our current team, but we couldn't be happier
now. We've been with First Endurance Nutrition the longest and are looking
forward to a new 3 year contract with them for 2014-2016. We believe they're at
the top of their game as far as nutritional research and quality product.
Knowing we'll be with them for at least the next 3 years (and hopefully longer)
is huge for us. We started working with Cerveloin 2013 and look forward to our
future with them. It's hard to argue the amazing difference they've made to our
bike splits. Same with Saucony, another great company that has helped us avoid
injury and run some of our best run splits ever. All of our sponsors are
absolutely a big part of our career, including:
I will probably structure my year in much the same way as I have in previous seasons. Typically targeting the half distance events starting in February, all the way through June or July, then into a couple full Ironman events to end the year. I would find it very hard to skip out on Ironman Canada 2014 in favor of a full on focus for 70.3 worlds. For me I think it will have to be either one or the other. Heather is planning to do both of those races, but I think that jumping into a Championship 70.3 race, 5 weeks after Ironman Canada, would not lend itself to a successful race in my case. Heather has come off Ironman races and into 70.3 events with no problem before. For me it takes a bit longer to find that top end power on the bike again. That said, if I'm having an amazing year at the 70.3 distance I may just hold off doing an Ironman until after 70.3 worlds so I can give that race a fair shot. It's a great course, in Canada, amazing support from the community and province - pretty hard to pass up. Like I said though, equally hard to skip out on Ironman Canada. That will be a judgement call based on how the season progresses.
Thanks again, Trevor! Follow Team Wurtele on their quest for world triathlon domination.
Last week was one of my worst runs in recent memory. Everyone loves a good train wreck, so I thought I’d share it. First of all, I had gotten a 90 min bike ride in the night before, in addition to doing a few squats. That’s my usual routine, and it wasn’t a particularly hard session, but my legs felt fatigued. In my neck of the woods it’s also been extremely cold lately. I wanted to get a long run of 8 miles in, and being a particularly light day at my day job, I thought I could pull it off over lunch. That would maximize the temperature (the high was still only around 15 degrees / -9 C) and allow me to run in daylight. The last alternative would be the treadmill that evening, which I usually try to avoid... I just don’t enjoy it much. In addition to the cold temperatures, we’ve got a lot of snow on the ground out here in the Rockies right now. I put some thought into planning my route, attempting to be crafty. Trails and most residential streets would be covered with ice and snow, I thought, so I decided to stick to busier roads with wide shoulders. The snow plows would have hit those hard by now, and the roads should be clear. I settled on my route, which started very close to the office in order to maximize time. My first obstacle was finding a place to park. Big mounds of snow were everywhere on the side of the road, and two commercial parking areas had threatening “VIOLATORS WILL BE TOWED” signs, which I swear are new. I wasn’t really in the mood to risk it. I drove a little further, found an isolated spot, and threw on my mariposa pants, two base layer type long-sleeve shirts with a third shirt on top for good measure, hat (no double decker), gloves, and asics, and was on my way.
I was still cold, but told myself it would get better as I warmed up. A couple minutes into my run, it was clear my planned route was not going to work. The roads were clear, which was great for the never-ending stream of cars whizzing by. Unfortunately the shoulder of the road was covered with snow and ice. While attempting to tip toe my way around icy landmines, passing cars repeatedly sprayed me with dirty slush. Just as I was about to scurry back to the car, a road that looked promising appeared to the right… I decided to press on for at least a few more minutes. The roads from then on out were better, but far from great. I found a long straight road and would run in middle of the lane until a car appeared on the horizon, then hop over into the wintry mix, and repeat. It was a game of chicken I would never win. I was careful, but I don’t recommend it. Get your thrills in other ways. All along the way my legs felt like two anchors being dragged, and never could get going. I could've used a nod of approval from a fellow runner, but alas, all I got was dirty looks and slush from angry motorists.
I ultimately cut the run short. It wasn’t very fun, but sometimes I guess you gotta take the good with the bad!
As you may have gathered from the Trash Talk post, I've always had a strange fascination with changing lyrics to songs. If you compile all the silly stuff I've written for my little brother alone over the years, there's at least a few albums there. In another life, I may have been the Weird Al Yankovic of my generation (sigh). I heard this song for the first time in a while today, and since it's called "Run," I figured it was blog worthy.
Every workout counts, but every morning hurts
We mostly work to live until we live to work I said, you know, there's nowhere else to go Go change your clothes It struck me that the two of us could run
Let’s stay away from cars, and I’m feelin’ short, not far But a little bit of competition helps so much
And a little bit of change is all you’re tryin’ to touch I said, you know, there's nowhere else to go Go change your clothes It struck me that the two of us could run
'Cause running with you, it's the only honest way to go And I could go 2 and if you really want we could go mo’ Honey with you and a little powered radio We could try
So lead my feet away, 'cause they feel like crap today And if you think we’re gonna fly, you’re in for a surprise But what the heck, you know, there's nowhere else to go It might be fun It struck me that the two of us could run
'Cause running with you, it's the only honest way to go And I could go 2 and if you really want we could go mo’ Honey with you and a little powered radio We could try
Like last year, I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my in-laws in St. George. Unlike last year, I didn’t attempt to run shortly after devouring a Thanksgiving feast. That said, I was able to get some good workouts in. St. George is blazing hot in the summer, but it pays off this time of year. It was plenty warm to ride outside, and I got a round of golf in to boot.
There were definitely some highs and lows though related to training, and here’s a brief summary:
Wednesday morning I removed my trainer tire (for indoor riding) from my back wheel and replaced it with a real tire. Once changed, it looked like the tire was bulging out a bit near the valve… I deflated and re-inflated the tube, checking it carefully. The tire still didn’t look like it was seated correctly on the rim in that spot, but I didn’t know what else to try. I headed out, and from the get go something felt off. I couldn’t tell at first if the road was just bumpy or if the unusually tall water bottle I had was just rattling around in the cage. A minute later I realized my tire was making a “thud” with every rotation. I looked down and noticed it was coming off the rim, right by the valve where I had tried to fix. I muttered a few things under my breath and turned back. I don’t know if the culprit was the tube or the tire, but luckily I brought a couple of each and swapped both out.
The new tube/tire didn’t give me any problems, and I ventured out onto the old Ironman St. George course (the “old highway” if you’re familiar with the course). The scenery out there is amazing, and combined with memories from that race, it was a great ride. I got a couple hours in and it felt great.
Many Highs, Many Lows:
That pretty much sums up the IMSG 70.3 run course… it’s a roller coaster. Thursday morning my wife and I drove out to the start. The course begins at its lowest point, and up, up, up you go until finally leveling off around mile 5. I only wanted to run 9, so I chopped some of the course, whereas Lindsay wanted to power through and run the whole 13.1. I’m weak, I know. All in all it was a fun time, and got my appetite nice and ready for turkey and pie!
this is how the week went
Friday morning Lindsay and I went to the local pool. Low is a great adjective to describe how I always feel right before and after jumping in the water. I was better than Lindsay though, who put on an impressive stalling exhibition before finally taking the plunge.
Similarly, high is a great way to describe how I feel during, and especially after swimming. It’s always worth it. I never get out of the pool and think “well, that was a terrible idea.”
On Saturday, Lindsay and I were prepping to head out for a ride. I had planned out a nice route, and Lindsay was excited to get some time in on her new bike. I pumped up my tires, and as I pulled the pump off my rear wheel, the valve stem (the part you screw in) inexplicably broke off and went flying across the garage. Man, cycling can really be annoying sometimes. The tube stayed inflated, but I’m not sure if it’s functional going forward. To add some salt in the wound, about 10 minutes into our ride, Lindsay yells out “is this road really bumpy?” This was trouble, because it was actually really smooth. Long story short, the same exact thing that had happened to me a couple days prior happened to her… right near the valve, the tire had come completely off the rim. I’d never seen that before, and then twice in a row. Weird. We took the wheel off, tried a few things, then re-inflated with a CO2 cartridge… it still didn’t look perfectly seated on the rim at that spot, so we headed for home. Linds told me to just go on by myself, but I wanted to make sure she could get back without further issues.
The tire was holding up so we figured we’d press our luck, staying somewhat in the vicinity of home. I’m glad we didn’t give up on it, because we just kept going. It turned into a great ride.