Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Getting Feisty

"My staff told me that I'm getting feisty." - Ryan, Executive Director of Genesis Home (aka Robyn's husband)

After being on vacation all of last week, Ryan came home on Monday from his evening staff meeting at Genesis Home and said that his staff thinks he came back pretty feisty. At GH, it's that whip-cracking time of year: the summer lull has passed, quarterly staff reviews are coming up, fundraising is in full swing, families are actively working on their plans to move into homes of their own.

With 11 days left until our goal race for the year, we're feeling a little feisty too! This week's workouts include our last race pace efforts before next week's taper. We're hitting our swim t-paces over and over again, running hard at tempo speed to remind our arms and legs of how fast they can actually move, and revving up our bike cadence and power - all while visualizing what's to come. Next Saturday we want to harness all of the feistiness we've shown in training - when it really counts!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Support Crew Report: 55- Mile Endurance Ride

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot

Last week's various road trips ended with a visit home this past weekend to Asheville, NC to play support crew to our Dad and his horse Tshield who competed their second 55-mile endurance horse ride. The 2007 Mountin Hopes Fall Fling took place on the hundreds of acres surrounding the Biltmore Estate, along the banks of the beautiful French Broad River. The early fall mountain weather could not have been better.

Much like triathlon, endurance riding takes speed, skill, strategy, knowledge of anatomy and physiology and the ability to just keep going - on the part of both horse and rider! Rides range from 25 to 100 miles and can take over 24 hours to complete.

This course consisted of 4 loops that each ended at the crew support site or "transition area" as we called it. We first saw Dad at the close of the first (and longest) 18 mile loop. As riders come into transition, their crews quickly help cool down the horse by removing the saddle, sponge-bathing the horse with cool water, and allowing him to eat and drink. The horse's heart needs to be below 64 bpm before they can clear the mandatory vet checks that follow each loop. Since Tshield's heartrate monitor was broken, we used a little tri-ingenuity and measured his cooldown using our own Suunto monitors, which worked perfectly!

Following a passing vet check, each horse and ride must wait at least 40 minutes before they can continue. During that time, we continued to feed and rest Tshield - and Dad! Endurance horses- like endurance athletes - need their electrolytes replaced throughout the day. Dad usally gives Tshield a syringe of electrolyte-laced applesauce during each transition - and on Saturday, we added a litttle ELETE to his water, just like we use! After the mandatory rest period, horse and riders are off for another 1-3 hours.

While Dad was out riding, we used the downtime to get in a 2:45 brick - cycling on our bike trainers at Dad's campsite amid the manure and running on the same trails the riders were using. It required a little family-balance creativity to both be able to support our Dad AND get our last big workout in - but we did it!
After the final ride loop, horses are required to undergo one last vet check. If they do not pass, the ride still counts as a DNF! Can you imagine if that were the case in triathlon?!! Dad and Tshield finished in just over 12 hours, coming in 39th out of 58 younger and more experienced entrants.
It was so much fun to spend the day hanging out with our Mom (aka The Crew Leader) and cheer our Dad on at the beginning and end of each loop. In endurance riding, the sport motto is "To finish is to win." Thanks for that reminder Dad!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Training and Traveling

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." ~Lin Yutang

We're off again! This year -in addition to our home turf - we've trained in:

And we're now off to Chicago (Ray - for fun with her girlfriends) and San Francisco (Rob- for work with her colleagues).

You know training is a truly a lifestyle and a priority when you pack your running shoes first and are more worried about whether or not you have enough GUs and Clif Bloks to get you through your trip than you are about whether or not your business suit is dry cleaned!

We'll be back next week!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Getting Real

"Running makes you real." - Molly Barker

In Endurance magazine a couple of months ago, Girls on the Run founder Molly Barker wrote a piece on how running makes you real. In summary, she said that when we run there's no faking it. We either can or we can't. We either get up and go for it or we don't. We either worry about what others think/do/say, or we sweat and grunt and gut it out - throwing caution, self-doubt, and others' perceptions to wind.

We were reminded of Molly's wisdom during this weekend's preview ride and run of the Pinehurst olympic tri course. With one month to go before we race our final tri of the season - and our longest tri to date - Sunday's preview made everything very REAL.

The lake is protected and beautiful. We can't wait to see what it looks like on race day. The 40K bike rolls nicely and was somewhat easier than we anticipated. We hope to really be able to build speed and drop time here. Then, there's the run: 10K of seriously rolling hills - with one final steep hill just before the finish line.

As we rode the run course before running a bit of it, we kept looking at each other with ominous stares that said: Whoa. This is gonna be REAL.

Real as in really tough, really a test of all of our training, really a call to focus - and sweat and grunt and GUT IT OUT and NOT give in to inner doubts and mental fatigue-- and really an opportunity to maybe, just maybe, SHINE.

Ignorance may be bliss in some cases - but we'll take the truth and remind ourselves that we're REAL enough to handle it.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

An Inspirational Life

"Jane's mission in life was a simple one: to make the most of every day and to help others..." - Prime Minister Gordon Brown

In celebration of the life of Jane Tomlinson, fellow blogger Dread Pirate Rackham has posed the question: What would you do if you knew you had 6 months to live? An inspirational post for any athlete, fundraiser, cancer survivor, person currently living in a homeless shelter, human.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Rest for the Weary

Rest when you're weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” - Ralph Marston

After finishing up an intense build phase of our training program that included our longest runs, rides, and swims this year, we're very much enjoying a week of relative rest before we begin our final month of training for the season. Sleeping in, stretching sore muscles, keeping our heart rates relatively low, and generally not running around like crazy multi-taskers -- we're basking in it!

The rest will end this weekend when we travel to Pinehurst, NC to preview October's race course and begin visualizing this year's finish line -- or at least the next transition!