Well, the time has come! Trakkers is launching itself into the triathlon world this year. They are unveiling their product at the inageral Rev3 triathlon in Connecticuit this year. It’s pretty exciting stuff. If you haven’t seen my previous posts, Trakkers has developed a devise that you wear during your triathlon that sends your stats (location, HR, speed, etc) to a website where your friends and family can watch online. There will be a map, and it will be real time. And, the devise is pretty cute ;).
Trakkers has just announced that they are looking for applications from athletes interested in a sponsorship opportunity. They have made it clear that you don’t have to be a pro, age groupers are allowed to apply as well. Here is the link to the application.
Having worked with Trakkers in the developmental phase of their product I can say that they are a top notch group, and fantastic to work with. I think the Rev3 triathlon will blow expectations out of the park and may just usher in a new way of watching and being a part of triathlons! I wish I could go, but Steve-O says back to back 1/2 Ironmans are not such a good idea one week apart. Maybe I should kick Kansas off the schedule?
Any-Hoo! Check out the sponsorship opportunity and join me this year racing around the country with a Trakkers devise strapped to you.
So my parents planned this great ski vacation for Christmas break. I’m sitting up in Summit county in a hotel in peak ski season and guess what? I’m not skiing. My knee is giving me some trouble and I am letting it heal. Getting in proper ski position hurts it the most, which makes me think I hurt it skiing rather than running. I have never had a single knee issue in my life, so this is a little disheartening. So, instead of hitting the slopes with my dad and Troy, I’m hanging out in 3 degree weather with Annie and my mom.
I’ve been catching up on my reading, in fact I just finished A Million Little Pieces. Wow, I just could not put it down. This book was all the rage a few years ago, but when accusations surfaced that the author skewed the facts it got a bit of a bad wrap. I had stayed away from it because of what I had heard. My mom gave it to me a few months ago and I just got around to starting it. I keep a stack of unrad books in my bookshelf and the ones I’m less excited about always seems to stay on the bottom of the pile. BUT, when I am reading a lot I end up with only the books on the bottom and sometimes I am so surprised at what gem I let sit there for months. I could not put it down. I don’t read in the car b/c I get sick, but I read it on the entire drive up to the slopes. I couldn’t put it down for three days. The author refers to a book called Tao Te Ching. I had never heard of it, but apparently it’s well known. I really liked all the quotes he used from the book, ones like this:
Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self requires strength;
He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of will power.
He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present. (chap. 33, tr. Feng and English)
The book is supposedly a memoir about the authors time in rehab. I am content to see it as fiction, and even in that light, it holds it’s own. I was very fond of the style of writing. Good Book.
Next up, The Sound of Butterflies. Two chapters in, and I’m really excited about this one. It’s old-worldly and descriptive. I’m excited.
AND…after that? Humm. I’m really in the mood for a good non-fiction book. Not quite sure what type. Nothing political, or war related, but maybe something finance, adventure, or self discovery-ish. I would like to know more about Coasta Rica as well. Anyone out there reading have any good suggestions?
Yup, found that out yesterday! Yesterdays run was really hard to prepare for mentally. It felt like such an endeavor. I mean really, running 46 miles to Boulder in the dead of winter? What was I thinking? After trying to wrap my head around the run, I finally gave up and went to bed. I slept really good and that morning decided that I was just going to not think about what I was trying to do. The plan was to just start running, stay in the moment, and keep running, until I happened upon the town of Boulder. Yea the average temp that day was 22 degrees, but geez I have all these great cloths from Beyond and Core Concepts, so I can do cold.
I woke up quite sore from the previous day of skiing at Vail (most fun EVER, video to come in a couple days). Troy helped me load up the car and we were off to Steve’s. The plan was to have Steve, and Anthony, and I’s food/cloths/etc in the VW with Troy following us the entire day. Lots of people had mentioned they would like to run with us along the way, but it was 17 degrees out that morning and you just never know who is going to decided to stay home. We were all prepared to do the whole 46 with each other, assuming nobody would join, and Troy was ready to drive the car to all the aid stops, shlep Annie along the way, and field all necessary phone calls.
At 7:05 the three of us took off. It was quite chilly and took some time to warm up, but as soon as the sun came up we warmed up a bit and got cruising along. We were giddy and excited and I almost peed my pants a few times from the jokes that were being thrown around, always a good start to the day. 6 miles in we encountered Troy and Annie at the first aid stop. We grabbed a few things and rolled right through. I could tell Troy was going to be great support throughout the day.
A couple miles later we see someone running towards us and it’s Rob. He’s here to run the next 8 with us, and it was super fun to have him along. He’s a really chill dude and kinda silly too. I liked his company for those miles.
Aid stop 2 and Troy was proving to be quite the SAG! He was pulled into this little gap in a wall behind a box store right off the bike path. The back of the VW was open and we only had to veer off the trail 30 feet to grab some aid. He was quite the scout. Annie waved ByeBye to me and didn’t cry at all (I think Troy has been working on that) and we were off again. This time I grabbed some rice cakes and potato chips. I figured potato chips were totally allowed!
The next few miles were really nice. We got into quite the groove and the bike path took a break from being right next to the highway. So we talked without the traffic zooming by all the time. It was a nice reprieve. We rolled into the Conoco on Morrison Road just ahead of our projected 10 minute pace and Troy was there waiting. Rob was done here and Tyler was waiting, but told us that he would hop in at 20 miles. It was nice to know that in 2.5 miles he would be with us. I love training with Tyler and today he was going to attempt to run 26.58 miles. His longest run before this was under 20, so it was quite the goal!
The next few miles things started to happen. We broke into a pace line where each person takes a turn leading for 3 minutes. This is supposed to allow the other two people to shut their brains off and just run mindlessly. I was game for it. So we got it going and you know…it’s stunk. We had been so social up to this point and then I felt like we all just went into our own world b/c we were running behind each other. At mile 20 we grabbed Tyler and Steve asked how the pacing was working. I said I hated it, he asked why and I told him my reasons. One of them was that when we are all talking the time flies by, but when we are in pace line, something is happening every 3 minutes and it makes me feel like I have to be more conscious. So Steve asked if we could switch it to 5 minutes. Oaky? I started fishing out my iPod. The next 7 miles were really hard for me. I spent 2 miles just staring at a little circle on the back of Tyler’s shirt. I felt like we were running really fast and I asked Steve if we had picked up the pace (I don’t have a Garmin) and he said “no”. So, I started to tell myself that it wasn’t my day. I wondered if the skiing was too much on me the day before. I continued to feel like I was going to get dropped off the back of the pace line. I tried to take my pulls so that I could slow things down but after every stoplight someone else would take the lead and start pulling. I was just hanging on, barely. Troy had paused at mile 24 to make sure we were okay and I wanted to stop so bad for some aid, but the group wanted to continue on, so on we went.
Getting close to the next aid stop at 27.5 I was pretty sure I was done for the day. I was sweating, and I was blowing up. The pace was too hard for me to keep and I was thinking “I’m done”. We rolled into the 7-11 and the tears were welling up in my eyes.
BUT, oh my goodness. I first see Hillary and Ben (Hill is my very prego great friend). Then there was Keith, Beth, and Nicole waiting to hop in with us. I was recouping a little and I looked around and everyone was smiling at me with these huge grins. Here I am feeling *really bad*, not wanting to go on and I could see how supportive Hill and Ben were, and how excited Keith, Beth, and Nicole were. I was telling Troy and Hill that I wasn’t doing good, but the looks on all of their faces was so supportive and compassionate that I knew I needed to keep going. I had to find a way to stall a little bit. So I got out my compression socks and proceeded to take off my shoes and socks and put on the compressions socks. That bought me time. Steve was raring to go, and Tony was ready, but they all waited for me. Once we were off again I knew things were going to go up from here. I knew that even if I fell behind, that I would finish and that I had people to run with me.
Tony and I chatted a little about the last section and we conferred that we were running faster. Tony said there was a few 8-something miles in there, and things started to make sense. I made sure to slow back down to 10’s and tried to allow myself to regroup. Steve came back to us and asked what was going on, I think that we was feeling so good that he didn’t understand why we weren’t right there with him. He finally figured out that any “quickening” he wanted to do, he was on his own. And…off he went. Kieth tried to catch him at one point and couldn’t do it. Steve put 20 minutes on the group in a span of 6 miles, and we were running 10 minute pace dead on.
Somewhere around mile 28 my friend Laura found us. We were running right by her house and it was during that time that I was trying to recover from my futile attempt at throwing in the towel. She came bobbing along with all the words I needed. Laura has competed in ultra mountain bike races so she knows about bonking and recovering. By the time she departed at mile 33ish I was back on track and feeling great.
The miles from 33 to 41 were awesome. I felt really good and we were pulling out 9:15 and 9:30 miles and it felt easy. Everything was “sore” but nothing “hurt”. It was a great feeling. Nicole, Tony, and I separated from Tyler and Beth, and Keith bounced in-between the two groups. We had so much fun during this stretch and when we came over the hill and could see Boulder spread out below us we all thought we had died and gone to heaven.
Mile 41 was the last aid stop. Hill and Ben were here and Ben was suited up and ready to run into Boulder with us. It was pretty fun to have him along, he had raced a 5K that morning, so he too was getting addicted to the Practical Coaching “crazy-bug”. John was here as well but waited to run with Tyler and Beth.
The last 5 was fun. Anthony was giddy and so was I. We just couldn’t believe we were going to do it. I had to make a stop in a Subway to use the restroom and the guy gave me a look like “No Public Restrooms”. I told him “I just ran 45 miles, I started in Highlands Ranch at 7am” and he just exploded with “Wow, oh my gosh”. When I ran back out of the bathroom all the employees were clapping. It was awesome.
Running the last mile was crazy-fun. So giddy, so happy. I never did wrap my head around running that far. I love to run and the miles seem to fly by. I still don’t quite understand how I made it, but I did, and I’m stronger because of it.
Thanks to all my friends that helped pace us. It made the run much more fun to have them along. Tyler came in 5 minutes behind us, tears rolling down his cheeks with Beth and John pacing him along. Troy was there with the seat heaters on and blankets to wrap around cold bodies. How can one man do so much for me? I digress.
So, we had a lot of people bring up the “Your crazy” comments on the run, but somehow, what we did on Saturday just felt like a good days training. The number sounds pretty big, but the experience was much larger, more fun than work, and more giggles than tears.
For your viewing pleasure (if you can’t view the YouTube video, go to YouTube and search on swieck).
In two days we have another LONG run planned. This is the big push for Steve, Anthony, and I before the Catalina 50 miler in January. We are going to run from Highlands Ranch to Boulder, a little over 46 miles. These runs take some serious planning. Troy is SAG support all day and he will follow us in the car and stop at our predetermined aid stops. We have a rolling aid station that will be set up in the back of the car where runners can pop in, grab aid, and continue on. Since this run is entirely on bike paths and roads we plan to go at a little faster clip. We don’t have the altitude gain that we are used to so it’s more about just getting the miles in, staying warm, staying hydrated, and keeping a solid mental outlook.
Several of my teammates have expressed interest in running with us for certain sections of the route. I hope nobody gets scared away by the cold temperatures, because we will still be out there…running away.
Are you interested in joining us for a few miles? It’s gonna be slow, like 10 min miles, but if you don’t have anything better to do and want to come watch the carnage, let me know. Send me an email and I will give you the low down. Troy will be keeping track of our pace and projected time of arrival at our water stops (7 of them), so you will be able to call him and get an ETA on certain locations.
These runs take work to prepare. I just got together all the food that I am bringing and the new addition this run is boiled potatoes to dip in salt, and seran-wrapped loggs of mashed potatoes with butter, cream, and salt. I have heard a lot of ultradistance runners like these two foods so I thought I would give it a try.
I also picked up a new running pack. I can honestly say that I wore out my fuel belt! The elastic is over-stretched so it barely stays on, and it bobs around a lot. I did lots of research on the web and decided on the GoLite HydroSprint. It carries one bottle and a gel flask. It has two pockets that are stretchy and can fit lots, including my camera. I’ll let you know how I like it. Getting it was quite the adventure. Not a single store in Denver carries GoLite packs. So, I got on a webchat with GoLite and the guy told me of a place that I could go to in Boulder to pick it up. I called the place, and they said I had to make an appointment. So I made an appointment and drove to Boulder. It was like the underground GoLite shop. I bought the pack and as I was walking to my car I noticed that the price was $16 less than I was looking to pay online with shipping. I was one happy chick-A-dee.
New GoLite pack, ready to run.
Here is my food spread for Saturday, all packed and ready to go:
Wild times here at the Wieck house! So, the big news here is that we are DEBT free. We worked our tails off these last months in order to make it by the end of the year, and after counting every nickel, dime and quarter in the house, along with some serious pantry consumption, we don’t owe anyone, anything! Now we can continue to give back to all of you with a clean conscious! How may I be of service? Need someone to look at your running form, or to acompany you to a swim workout?? You found your girl!!
Triathlon, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Running, Ultras…they are expensive, especially when you are have some great success with them. I could break any households budget just attending “National Championships” in the sports I frequent. Troy and I knew that in order for me to continue to live my dreams in this sport we had to be debt free. We had to learn to budget, we had to be frugal with all other aspects of our lives. 2008 was the year we set out to learn how to do just that. The frugal living will continue for life, but because of that I will have the luxury of chasing my dreams outdoors, training and racing with you all, and (my favorite) staying home with Annie!
Being that it’s NEGATIVE degrees out today, and in celebration of our debt free-ness, here are my top 5 ways to stay warm for CHEEP! Don’t turn up the thermostat, heat the person, not the room:
Number 5 – Take a Bath: Better yet, take a bath with someone you love. I always hop in Annie’s bath when the water is filling the tub for a quick warm-up.
Number 4 – Do the Dishes: By hand! At least do the big pots and pans. You have no idea how warm you get by putting your hands in warm water for 10 minutes.
Number 3 – Wheat Bags: I spoke of these earlier in my blog. Take some wheat berries from Whole Foods (bulk section) or rice and make a heavy pillow with them using an old piece of clothing. Put it in the microwave 3-5 minutes at a time. Put it in your bed a couple minutes before you crawl in or stash it in your lap while hanging out. If you need more detailed instructions email me.
Number 2 – Sit Ups: Okay, this is an age-old mountaineering trick. It’s the “cheep mountaineers sleeping bag heater”. When you are laying awake and cold in your tent at 16,000 feet, you do sit ups. Try them at home when you are cold, 20-30 should suffice and the side effects are quite desirable.
Number 1 – Dancing: Yup, when you get desperate, close the blinds, turn up the tunes, and dance like it’s your freshman year of college. Dance with a kid, dance with your “other”, dance with your dog, doesn’t matter, just shake it like a Polaroid picture!
It has come to my attention that everyone thinks I am going to Catalina for the 50 miler THIS weekend!! Oops, no no no! I race on the 17th of January. But I sure am getting excited about it, hence the blog entry! I still have a considerable amount of training to cover between now and then, including a 45 mile run from Denver to Boulder, so be patient with me.
Annie is having a weekend getaway with grandparents and Troy and I are going on an adventure. I LOVE adventures. Pack minimal stuff in a back pack and we are off.
First: fly 831 miles from Denver to LA.
Second: Take a shuttle 23 mile from LAX to the Port of Long Beach.
Third: Cruise on a 22 mile ferry ride to the city of Avalon on Catalina Island.
Fourth: A short walk to our Seaside hotel.
The next day I endeavor in my first 50 mile ultra race. I’m excited and a little nervous. Troy plans to get me off and running and then head out for a run himself, followed by a relaxing afternoon, probably on the beach with a good book, while I slowly doddle myself 50 miles around the island. The race travels over to Two Harbors, a section of Catalina that is rarely frequented. I remember taking a boat trip over there when I was in elementary school (I attended summer camp twice on Catalina Island). I remember being told that Two Harbors is a isthmus…meaning at high tide the little gap completely fills with water and makes Catalina two islands. I can’t wait to get back.
The salty sea breeze of the Pacific brings back so many childhood memories. I can’t wait to dredge some of them up and reminisce about summer camp, day and night time snorkeling, garabaldi fish, morey eels, and horn sharks. What’s even more exciting is the luxury of taking Troy along on this adventure. Time to relax, reconnect, and enjoy each others company.
Oh yea, and the 50 mile part. Well, you never can predict what sort of adventure that will be!
Annie immediately took a liking to the Aruba Sport Sunglasses.
Base layers. Travel Bag, Team Coat, Team Jersey, NEOS Overboots, Gloves, Hat. You name it, and these sponsors made sure that the US Snowshoe team will be warm, and cute this season.
NEOS chipped in fantastically to make sure that we all had team racing jerseys this year. So kind!
Man will I be toasty warm this year after snowshoe races. This parka is stout!
I want to extend a very big thank you to Mark at the US Snowshoe Association for running such a great ship. If you run a company that has interest in a large winter use market and you are looking for an affordable marketing opportunity, contact me and I put you in touch with the appropriate parties.
We had a killer Masters session today. It took all I had to finish the workout and my arms are TIRED. There is such an interesting phenomenon going on in my lane these days. Luckily we have our pecking order down pretty good and the “natives” seem to have accepted us into their tribe.
For some reason I did not arrive in time to complete the warm-up, despite being in the water at 5:30. I was able to get in 200 swim, 200 kick before Paul was explaining the first set. 16X25 drill work in clumps of 4 (not to be confused with “sets” where you get rest time in-between). When I first started with this masters group I kept getting killed on the warm up set, I could never hang. I was trying to do the drills but never making the intervals. One day I said “Okay today you are just going to try to hit the intervals on the first set, just try to hang one set and whatever happens after that is okay”. Well, I did, and it’s been easier ever since. Now, I totally swim the opening set fast as heck with the girls and I can hang. So we get the 25’s over with.
Then onto 2X200 pull w/o paddles working on stroke count and turnover. Cake, nailed it.
Then the best one: 2×100. First 100: by 25’s: fly kick, fly, back kick, back. Second one (you guessed it): breast kick, breast, free kick, free. It made me think that someday I am going to have to do repeat 200’s where you smash those two together. That would be fun!
Main Set: 4×300. Oooh, Mondays are the worst where he throws these up, but I’m like okay, I can do this. Paul says our interval is 5 minutes. I take off third in the lane. The first two girls are out for blood. We come through the first 100 in 1:28. Wonderful. I hang. I’m lucky that I’m drafting, but I’m fighting to keep the bubbles in sight. We come in at 4:28. Okay, get some rest and take off again. Another repeat…hang on Sonja, you can do it. 4:30ish. Then a third. Whew, hung on for that one too. Lead girls are wearing out 4:40, but I’m still biting their ankles. During the rest on this one we look at the board and there has APPEARED a 3×300 underneath the 4×300. Ouch. Another set. Lead girl says she’s cooling down. I’ll keep my words to myself. Second girl takes off keeping to the 5 min interval. I stay on her. 4:40. She calls it a day.
I stand there for a little while. It’s one of those “moments”. What am I going to do? Well. Can’t stand around too long. I take off and start the next set. It wasn’t pretty, but I tried to stay motivated and gave myself several pep talks while swimming. I get done with two of the three and look at the board. Another MIRACULOUS set has appeared: 2×300. Well, there you go. I finish the 3rd in the set of three and stand at the wall again. Should I? I look at my watch. I’ve got time.
So, into the set of 2, I go. People in the fast lanes are getting out of the pool, done with the workout. I slog on. I don’t make the 5 min interval on either of them, but I do them, and I put what I can into it. 5:12, 5:18.
And when I finish I look at the board again. 1×100 Easy, 300 all out. Really, wow, are you kidding me? I backstroke a 100. I’m pretty much the only one left in the pool. But that’s what you get for being in the slow lane. Swim faster, shower sooner. At least the showers are always warm by the time I get there ;).
So, there’s no use in quitting at this point. I do the 300, and I go all out, like I’m gonna die all out. It’s wasn’t so much a lung thing as a “My arms can’t pull harder” thing. I worked hard, and I came in at 4:43.
So, this interesting phenomenon that is happening in my lane…???? Well, the lead girls get out of the pool at 6:20, I get out when the workout is done at 7. So I end up swimming super hard for the first bit, and then loosing my lane mates. Luckily, the lane that is one faster has 2-3 people that always complete the workout. So I just have to get myslef a little bit faster where I can hang with them. Right now, when I try to swim one lane up (sometimes Tyler makes me), I am right back at the point where I’m getting dropped on the opening drill set. The one nice thing about people getting out of the pool ahead of you is that you always question getting out yourself as well. It’s good for your mental game to have that test, and I can say that on most all days…I pass it.