Friday, November 9, 2012

Norseman 2013

I got a spot in the lottery!  I'm still in shock...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Going out in a blaze of glory...

Well, Redman was about 4 weeks ago. Perfect conditions, great course, tough competition, this race had it all. Except that I didn't finish.

To make a long story short, I went over my handlebars at an aid station around mile 11. (I was probably going too fast, but I don't remember exactly what happened.) I woke up in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, where I was diagnosed with a concussion and some intravetricular bleeding.

I had a few minor scrapes, but no other problems. My helmet was toast, but my bike and wheels were fine. Louis Garneau did give me a replacement helmet for free, which is surprising considering that the product is "meant" to be used. 

I am now allowed to do the following for exercise: 1) walk and 2) ride the trainer for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Quite a change from my previous training regimen. So I have lots of spare time on my hands now.

But it was the end of a very successful season, so I'm very thankful that I was generally OK and can give myself the time to recover. Big thanks to the Redman volunteers for their quick thinking!

(One side note on the Redman race itself: If you live anywhere near Oklahoma City and want a half or full IM event, you should consider this one. This was the first race I have done twice. Well run, but a lot less stress that the WTC events and you don't need to sign up a year in advance.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Totally worth it...

The trek to Vegas was fraught with peril -- my pedals and skewers fell out of my bike case at the KC airport and then the hotel didn't have my reservation. Yikes! But I was lucky that the Ravella (which is a fabulous hotel, by the way) still had rooms available. And JT's Bicycles in Henderson carries Speedplay Zeroes. Crises averted.

Here's my bike setup, complete with the necessary replacement parts:

But getting to the start line healthy and then surviving 70.3 miles on a brutally hot course has it's rewards.

Sure, the giant finisher's medal was cool. (Look at that thing -- it's like a boxing title belt!) 

But I have to admit that my picture with Faris has to be the highlight.

Anything that cools you down is also a big plus. The people manning the hoses and aid stations deserve sainthood.
(They were polite enough to check that people wanted to be sprayed down. My response was usually "bring it!")

What a great experience -- incredible competitors, a challenging course, and a great result.  Can't really ask for more.

Next stop: Oklahoma City for my last race of the season, Redman Half!

Monday, August 20, 2012

An unlikely breakfast

People usually wonder what I eat before races. My usual routine is baked sweet potatoes at 3 hours before race time. They're especially good with tahini, or almond butter, or cinnamon.

But since I've got three out of town races in September, this could have thrown a wrench in my plans. So before today's race, I tested out my brilliant idea:

Baby food.

Specifically, two jars of Gerber #3 sweet potatoes.  120 cals, 25g carbs, and 3g of fiber each. Don't need refrigeration and travel friendly.

Granted, not the most enjoyable breakfast, but it worked great. That is a huge relief!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Finally race season!

After a long winter of road racing (Topeka to Auburn, Garmin Half-Marathon) and bike racing (the Spring Fling Criteriums and the Joseph Sheehan Road race), it is finally time to get back to swimming, biking and running.

I have enjoyed the change, however. Running races require almost no equipment! Cycling races are so low key! Both of them don't typically start at the crack of dawn and you certainly don't have to get there super early to claim your spot in transition...

But it was nice to finally get to put all that winter training to the test. I did the Kansas City 5150 race a few weeks ago and was very pleased with how much I had improved.

Next up: Kansas 70.3 in Lawrence!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

AAA #2 --

I would have to say that Trainer Road has probably been the most beneficial training tool for me over the off season.  The site offers interval workouts that are based on percentage of your threshold values, so it is really pushing you to improve.  Their "virtual power" is a neat idea, but since I don't have one of the approved trainers, I used my heart rate instead. There are even plans that cover 6-8 week training blocks, so it was like having a coach writing stuff out for you.  And the best part was that some of the workouts talk you through pedal stroke drills, cadence workouts, and strategies for riding -- all the things that I had almost no clue about.

What you'll need:
1. laptop computer
2. ANT USB stick (I had one from my Garmin 405)
3. A Garmin that supports bike cadence and distance
4. Cadence/speed sensor
5. Trainer
6. A towel, a fan, and lots of water

What an outstanding program! Highly recommended for people who want to improve their biking in the most efficient way possible.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ann's Awesome Alert (AAA) #1

I've noticed that I probably say "awesome" too much, especially while I'm on the phone with total strangers during my workday.  Nevertheless, there are things that are really outstanding -- so I thought I'd pass them along.

So for the inaugural AAA, I've chosen my bike fitter, Mike.  You can find him at  If you are in the Kansas City area, this is one of the best bike investments you can make.

I found Mike on Slowtwitch, since he was the only listed FIST fitter in the KC area.  I actually first contacted him while I was still in Poland and scheduled my fitting before I even returned to the US. I wasn't in any pain while riding, but I didn't have confidence in my fit, especially given the addition of the aerobars and the Fast Forward seatpost.  (Being a complete newbie to cycling and the language barrier made me doubt almost everything.) I was super impressed when he busted out the lasers to check my kneecap tracking. So when I bought my new tri bike, I obviously called him up.  I am now much more comfortable on the tri bike during long rides.

In addition to being such a great fitter, Mike was a great resource in my hunt for a tri bike -- I could e-mail him my questions and concerns and he would respond with in-depth answers so I could make smart decisions.  It was great to have a 3rd party "consultant" who wasn't swayed by trying to sell a certain brand of bike.

So as I said, if you are anywhere remotely close to Kansas City, Mike is the man to call!