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The riding season has begun

January 18, 2011

The bike is officially road worthy.  Rob chose a nice blue color and a dear friend arranged to have it plated and powder coated. Accurate Finishing, in Santa Clara, was kind enough to do the powder coating for free. They even asked if it had been built by a professional welder.

We were hoping to have it completed and under the tree for Rob on Christmas morning, but the tear down, paint and rebuild  took longer than anticipated. (That seems to be a common theme in our posts.) It was done the week after Christmas, and it took Dave a day to put it back together.

Throughout our holiday time off, we would ask Rob, “What do you want to do today?”

His usual answer was, “Go for a bike ride.” Last weekend, we were excited to be able to say, he could go on three rides.

Saturday, he and Dave, and two neighbors, made the seven and a half mile trip to the Sonoma Chicken Coop for lunch and beers. Rob was in great spirits and Dave filmed much of the trip. 

Sunday, Dave and Rob went by themselves and managed an eight mile ride.

On Monday, Rob, Dave and I rode for five miles.

This was a huge workout for Rob, whose legs shook involuntarily in the evenings. Monday night, during a particularly long session of shaking, Rob quipped, “I must be getting a phone call, I’m vibrating.” The shaking is not painful for Rob, just an indication of how much his muscles worked that day.

We’re looking ahead to increasing the length of Rob’s rides. He is motivated and willing to go farther than the current eight miles but, we notice that he has difficulty keeping his legs in position when he is tired and they start to rub against the tires. Our goal is to complete the Livestrong ride in Davis in July of this year.

Lisa & Mary at 12 Hours in the Papago

January 7, 2011

Hey 2010 CarboRocket fans! Lisa and Mary will be racing in the 12 Hours in the Papago to kick off the 2011 race season. We’re racing with two other women on a relay team that is sure to dominate (in least in terms of laughter). Call us “Chicks on a Roll” because that’s our team name.

Mary will be live tweeting from the event, so follow her @marycycle for all the nitty gritty details. She may allow Lisa to guest-tweet.

7am to 7pm.

This mountain bike event takes place in a big park in Tempe, Arizona–morning temperatures in the 40s, with afternoon temps in the low 60s. Beautiful Arizona winter day!

A Team CarboRocket Year in Review

December 28, 2010

What a year 2010 has been!  I feel so lucky to have been a part of Team CarboRocket this year, and to have shared in the experiences and accomplishments of my teammates from all parts of the country!

When I was selected for the team, my main goal was to get off the sidelines, and get back into competitive mountain biking (as well as fit into a Fat Cyclist jersey without being considered a “fat” cyclist).  I certainly got back into competitive events, and made significant progress towards my weight and body composition goals.  Along the way, I learned about and got re-connected with the process of being a competitive athlete.  Here are some other things I learned this year as well:

Diet and exercise are not all or nothing, they are a lifestyle.  Small decisions made over the course of the day take you toward or away from your goals.

I like tilapia (and quinoa too!)

Riding 100 Miles to Nowhere (exactly 34 times around my block) is a great way to meet new friends (Mary and Marianne)

I am competitive (I think I always knew this, it was good to re-discover it!)

BootCamp classes can be fun (in a twisted way at 5:30 AM)

Having goal events motivate me

I really, really, really like triathlons

Riding my bike still makes me feel like a kid

I (yes me) am a runner!

The top of Mt Tam has the same gorgeous view it had 10 years ago (and mountain biking to the top is still amazing)

I love swimming

Yoga is good – for the body, mind, and soul

Water skiing is fun

It is VERY important to listen to the athlete’s meeting before a tri

“I can’t” is not an option

I am so grateful for having the opportunities that I have had this year, and to the people who helped support me along the way.

Thank you Brad, for pulling us together, and giving me a sense that my personal accomplishments were important enough to have a forum and a support group.  Thank you Kerri, for always being there to support me, and putting up with my wild plans and ideas (kudos to you for completing The Phoenix Women’s ½ Marathon that I signed you up for without asking you!).  Thank you to my fellow Team CarboRocket teammates, your aspirations and accomplishments were truly inspirational throughout the year.  Thank you Susan and Christine for helping me push myself farther in the gym and yoga than I ever thought I could (and for not laughing at me (most of the time) when I completely butcher a pose!)  Thank you to all my friends who in one way or another have supported me along the way this year – BJ for pulling thorns out of my leg after an unfortunate tangle with a cactus during the Wahine Warrior; Karen for the continual and consistent support texts; Mic and Lisa for telling me how my accomplishments have been motivating to them (which helped motivate me even more); the Stewarts – for getting me out to a triathlon, and then supporting me in a very foreign environment.

Sooooo, what about 2011, you may ask.  I am starting off the year with a bang – competing with 3 other gals (including Team CarboRocket’s very own Mary Reynolds) at a local 12 hour MTB race here in Phoenix in January.  After that, I am targeting a couple of sprint triathlons, working up to completing an international distance tri next fall (I have my sights set on a half IronMan for 2012).  I am sure I will work in a couple of running events, as well as some local mountain bike races as well.

My journey continues, with the realization there is no final destination – only the great experiences along the way. Thanks for riding along with me in 2010, and I wish everyone a healthy, happy, and goal achieving 2011!

Wrapping up 2010

December 24, 2010

As the year comes to a close, we reflect on the progress Rob has made. Being on the CarboRocket team has definitely made a difference.

After months of work, Dave’s part of the bike is done. Like any project, there were loads of small adjustments that were needed. Rob’s helmet had to fit his headrest. Dave had to make sure the chain wasn’t rubbing against Rob’s legs or ankles. Luckily, Dave and Rob were able to start riding before the bike was completely finished.

The bike has been taken apart and is at the painters.  

We were hoping to have it done and under the tree Christmas morning, but like many of our goals, we are realizing that more time and patience are needed. We expect to have the bike back in a week or two. Dave will put it back together and then regular riding will begin. Currently, it’s too wet to do much biking any way.

Even though there wasn’t much riding this year, Rob’s improvement has given us so much encouragement. His first ride was less than a block. After just a few months, Rob can bike eight miles. The improvement is constant and we believe that Rob and Dave will complete the Livestrong ride in 2011.  Both Dave and Rob are excited about that.

 

Rob continues to make progress on his goal of walking. During last week’s physical therapy session he walked 10 laps of the parallel bars in less than 40 minutes. His therapy has been extended through February because of his continuous improvement. We are thrilled about that. 

 

 

We’ve also noticed an improvement in Rob’s short term memory. On weekends now, he often asks if he can ride with Dave. For someone who doesn’t always remember what month it is, that’s a big step.

So, although Rob didn’t reach his goal in 2010, we are more certain than ever that he will. We are also certain that his interest in biking will continue to motivate him.

Longest. Day. Ever.

November 18, 2010

Ok, this is it, possibly the longest story ever…the tale of my Big Adventure and the days that led up to it.  Please take this moment to grab a snack and something to drink because I can’t promise this will be a short story, yep, I can pretty much guarantee that it won’t be.

Friday – 11/5/10 Registration Day

I was lucky enough to have my brother Mike and sister-in-law Lisa show me the ropes since this was their third Silverman race.  First stop was Registration – how exciting!  I’m now official…I have a number and wristband that would serve as my ‘golden ticket’ for entry to all events throughout the weekend.  It was fun getting told the official run-down from my friend Robin, who was volunteering with her daughter Sarah.  For an event known for their swag, this year was no exception – a super nice backpack and visor were among the goodies that were too many to mention.  Afterwards we checked out all of the booths at the Expo and did a little bit of shopping. =)  Friday night was a pasta dinner at the Loew’s Hotel in Lake Las Vegas.  Mike, Lisa, my husband Tom and I mingled with other athletes and filled up on yummy pasta and cupcakes.

Saturday – 11/6/10 Drop-off Day

A funny thing happened Friday night when Tom and I were doing some last-minute maintenance on my bike – I noticed my rear tire seemed, for lack of a better term, blistery.  I don’t remember it looking that way before but it was late and I’d have to ask Mike to look at it Saturday.  But before that, Saturday morning I met Mike and Lisa for a pancake breakfast that was sponsored by a local church, then we had to attend a mandatory athlete meeting to remind us all of the ‘do’s and don’t’s’ on race day.  Once the meeting concluded I decided to show Mike my tire – needless to say, his response made me happy that I didn’t notice it on Sunday.  It looked like the outer shell of the tire was separating from the main construction and he was kind enough to show me with a little pulling on it.  So, turning our bikes and transition bags in will have to wait until we have Starbucks then hit a local bike shop for a new tire.

Whew, with disaster averted we were able to head over to Lake Las Vegas and the Start/T1 area.  This would be our first chance to check out swim start.  This would also be the first of many ‘Holy $#!&, what have I done?’ moments.  Here was the dock we would have to jump off and swim over to the starting flag line, the buoy’s we’d have to swim past until the turn around which was soooo far away, then back to the little dock that we’d have to pull ourselves onto then the long run thru the entire transition.  In the pre-race meeting, it was labeled as a 5 minute transition (just in travel time).  We wandered around for a bit, placed out bikes in their home away from home and turned in our transition bags.

Saturday night, after a delicious pasta dinner and frozen yogurt for dessert, my best friend Kathi and I headed to the Loew’s Hotel to spend the night closer to the start.  Kathi’s primary goal was to keep me laughing and the panic attacks to a minimum.  As always, she pulled through with flying colors.  I would have been a sleepless, nervous wreck otherwise.

Sunday – 11/7/10 The BIG Day

I’m not surprised that I woke up before my alarm went off, luckily it was only about 10 minutes early.  I mixed up a strong batch of, what I’d like to call, CarboRocket PURE EVIL for the bike and packed a bag with my wetsuit, bike bottles, goggles, etc. all while trying to choke down a protein bar for breakfast.  My drink of choice for the bike was none other than CR’s new 333 Half Evil.  Since I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make any new bottles of it while on the course, I doubled the mixture, converting Half Evil to PURE EVIL and decided to take a small drink every 10-15 minutes, followed by a bigger drink of water.  It ended up being the perfect nutritional source to get me through the bike course without bonking.  Sorry, getting ahead of myself…back to the swim…

Kathi dropped me off at the swim start around 6am, I wasn’t sure how I would kill 2 1/2 hours to the start, but somehow the time flew by.  I quickly got in line and met a nice graffiti artist to do my body marking.  Really, she made a small smiley face within the ’8′ of my race number – that qualifies as graffiti, right?  Next was the timing chip table, then a careful walk down the hill to set up my bike, look for anyone I knew, find Mike and Lisa, pace, check out the porta-potties, wander around in amazement staring at the amazing athletes, pace, watch the full distance racers start, take pictures, put on wetsuit, pace, then finally heading towards the water so Christy’s Big Adventure can begin…

Sitting on the edge of the dock before jumping into the water, I thought my heart was going to burst out of my wetsuit. I think Mike said something like ‘Ok, let’s do this’ and into the water I went.  After a short warm-up I made my way over the starting line to find a spot along the outside edge and wait for the start air horn to go off.  After that, I took a deep breath knowing that whatever training I had or had not done didn’t matter at this point and I just had to go.

And so I went – keeping focus on my form, but then something happened, I couldn’t get a rhythm, I couldn’t get angry, I had no idea what I was doing and it showed.  Honestly, that swim was so hard it took an eternity to get from buoy to buoy.  I was extremely grateful to see one of my swim coaches Kara on the kayak, she was so encouraging, so I kept on going.  Swimming slowly but surely, stopping when I needed to and didn’t need to, I kept going, kept trying, kept pushing through the leg cramps and eventually with no regard to my swim form (sorry Coach Kara and Coach Paul) I made it to the finishing dock. (Wow, re-reading this it sounds really bad…yes, it was.  Even with all of the classes and lessons I had the form down, but didn’t have any recent practical Tri race experience.  I had all of the tools, but didn’t know or remember how to effectively use them when it really mattered.  Rookie Mistake and valuable lesson learned!)

With the swim done and as one of the last racers to finish, the next challenge was to get OUT of the water because there was a little dock that we had to almost jump onto.  After that stressful swim I didn’t have much upper body strength left to hoist myself out of the water on the first try but after what seemed like an eternity, I was out and trying to get rid of my sea legs to get to the wetsuit strippers then over to the changing tent and finally to start the bike leg of the race.

As far behind as I was from the swim, I knew I’d have to work pretty hard to find other 70.3 racers on the road and I’d be lucky to find any to pass.  The bike course started with a steady climb out of Lake Las Vegas before turning towards Lake Mead Recreational Area – I quickly realized just how zapped of energy I was from the swim but I remembered to drink a lot of water and CarboRocket and to find an easier gear than what I thought I should be using.  The last thing I wanted to do was blow through any remaining energy I had 5 miles into the 56 mile bike ride.  At approx. 4 miles in I approached a cyclist but I was too busy paying attention to the road I didn’t look to see if they were a racer or not, either way, I was happy I wasn’t last.  It turns out she was also completing the triathlon because we leap frogged each other a few times on some of the climbs and we were both cheering on the other racers as they were flying towards us on the other side of the road.  I was thrilled to see Mike, Lisa and my other SwimLV friends doing so well!  At some point around mile 10, I heard the tell-tale sound of the police motorcycle – the sweeper, the baby-sitter, the reminder that you’re the end of the pack…I watched him check on a cyclist that had stopped just ahead of me and I found a good stretch of road and started to push towards the 15 mile turn around and first support area, leaving the woman I was riding with behind.  At the support area I just had to stop, stretch my legs, use the porta-potty and get some fresh water.  I thanked the volunteers, exchanged a few words of encouragement with the woman I had been riding with and was off and riding towards North Shore Rd.  Five miles later I heard that sound and couldn’t believe my ears – he confirmed it as he pulled up next to me – the woman he was following had decided to call it a day at back at the support area and he was going to hang with me until the turn around on North Shore Rd.  I may have said something that was inappropriate to say in front of law enforcement, but he stared at me through his aviator glasses and told in his best cop tone to not be so hard on myself and that I was ahead of everyone else that did not finish this race.

It took a moment to digest those words and from that moment on, I decided that I couldn’t feel sorry for myself and I needed to keep moving regardless of how much in pain I was, or the pain cave as I was referring to it, I could either be miserable, quit or do my best to make the most of the experience and have fun.  So, race, but have fun…don’t complain, don’t listen to the negativity brewing…in the end, I needed to finish.  I needed to finish because, well, because of this really cool team I’ve had to opportunity to be a part of, plus I bought a really cool hoodie and baseball cap that I won’t be able to wear unless I finish!  That’s my rule, silly as it is, it was one of the things that kept me going.

Back on the bike course I was able to talk to my new motorcycle ‘buddy’ on the flatter stretches while keeping a decent pace.  I laughed that I felt real special and he was almost like my own personal security.  His name was Jim and all he was missing was a paparazzi on the back of his motorcycle.  We even had an encounter with a fan in my friend Robin who had also volunteered to be on the bike course.  It was great seeing a friendly, encouraging face.  She was even nice enough to take an action shot of Jim and I.  Jim was nice, warning me of fast downhill sections and how fast I was going (thanks for not giving me a ticket for going 42 in a 35 mph zone.)  I could even tell he was getting tired and needed a break when I stopped at a support area…well, it sounded good at the time even though he didn’t believe me.  After we turned on North Shore, Jim stopped to talk to some volunteers and I headed towards the turn around point.  On my way back he passed me, making sure I didn’t cheat, I assured him I hadn’t and joked that he was moving on and tossing me aside.  With that, off he went to find the last of the full distance racers and I was off to tackle the last 20 miles, starting with the infamous 3 sisters on the River Mountains Trail.  These 3 beauties are set within a half mile of each other and are short, super steep, evil hills that top out at a 15-17% incline. They are brutal on fresh legs let alone these things I was trying to pedal with.  With those out of the way, the next challenge looming was the wind, it wasn’t bad at the beginning of the ride, but now it had really picked up and was a full-on 20ish mph headwind on the trail.  I was really struggling along with the other cyclists and it didn’t seem like it would ever end, but eventually that part of the trail ended and the route was now going downhill towards T2, I was almost 2/3′s complete!

As I turned into T2, I instantly started looking for some friendly faces.  First I saw my friend Brian, then Kathi and lastly my friend Theresa, I looked quickly for my Mom and husband but I figured they were at the Finish Line waiting for Mike and Lisa to finish because it was around their estimated finish time and sure enough, Theresa confirmed they were there and would let them know I had just finished the bike course.  I still had 13.1 miles to cover and I could hardly walk after giving my bike to the volunteer!  Limping was more like it…my left calf was the worst and it felt like it had been ripped out, placed in a VitaMix then put back.  I’m guessing because I never had a chance to really stretch it out after cramping on the swim then not moving much during the bike there wasn’t much I could do about it now.  I headed into the changing tent and threw on my cap, running shoes and tied a long-sleeved shirt around my waist since it was getting cooler as the sun was setting.  I grabbed a bottle of water and exited the tent to start my walking/limping/jogging adventure.

That’s exactly what I did, it hurt to walk, it hurt to jog so I compromised by jogging lightpole to lightpole, then from orange cone to orange cone because they were closer together.  Unfortunately, the jogging intervals became less and less and I was left with a fast limp and the encouragement of the volunteers and other racers to keep me going.  There were support tables set up a each mile where I had water then either Gatorade, warm chicken broth or Hammer Gel.  At mile 2 I heard a car honking, cheering and some cow bell – it was my Mom, step-dad Gary and Kathi.  It was great seeing them and talking to them for a few minutes while traffic backed up behind them.  I told them to go home, have dinner, take a nap and come back in about 4 hours because my pace was just that slow…The next 4ish miles were pretty routine – walk/limp, jog, drink each mile, thank the volunteers, cheer on the other racers.  Around mile 6, my routine was shaken up when I saw my brother Dave, sister-in-law Roseanne and their daughter Rachel do a drive by cheer and Dave jumped out of the car and ran over to me.  We started walking together and talking about my day, the pain cave I was in and that I was determined to finish.  I knew I was at risk for getting a penalty for having an outside ‘pacer’, but at the limp speed I was going, there was no chance of anyone helping me go faster without risking further injury, plus the prospect of a time penalty when I was already out there for so long, actually cracked me up. (Note to any race officials, I’m sorry for breaking the rules.)  I almost felt bad for Dave because after no music (iPods are not allowed) and not having a true conversation with anyone for hours aside from thanking the awesome volunteers and police support, I’m sure I talked his ear off.  Dave veered off before the last 1.5 miles so he could gather the troops and head over to the finish line.  I couldn’t believe I was almost done!

I was so excited as I got closer and I could tell I was getting a little emotional.  I pulled it together enough to jog through the finish line and I didn’t even cry (which I’m known for)!  Actually, I told my family and friends that crying wasn’t an option because I didn’t have anything left in me to muster up a tear…I was beat!!

All in all, I was the last official finisher for the half distance race at 12 looonnnggggg hours and 24 minutes.  My goal was 10 hours, but considering how I felt after the swim, I knew it probably wouldn’t happen…until NEXT time!  I have to show that an old girl can learn some new tricks, because trust me, I learned A LOT!

Monday – 11/8/10 The Awards Day

The final event of the Silverman weekend was a breakfast at Loew’s Hotel followed by trophy presentations for the age group finishers in both the full and half distances.  I felt a little relief that I wasn’t the only limper at the breakfast, LOL.  Lisa and I had a great time swapping stories with the other people at our table and clapping for all of the award winners.  I thought she was joking that they gave awards for the Clydesdale and Athena divisions (male and female racers over a certain weight limit) so you can imagine my surprise when they called me to get my 3rd place Athena 40+ trophy!  I was just happy it wasn’t for being last!  Afterwards, we said goodbye to our new friends and headed back to reality.

My adventure was over…well, until the next one, that is!

It’s My Party! Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2010

November 10, 2010

Earlier this year, my friend Theresa called me to tell me about this postcard she got in the mail about the Ragnar Relay and thought it would be really fun to get 10 more crazy people together to do this to celebrate her birthday which was a few days before the event in October.  I was game, mainly because anything at least 5 months prior to the actual event sounds like a great idea…it’s a lifetime away, right?  So, off we went to start recruiting…

For those that aren’t familiar with the Ragnar Relay series.  It’s basically 400+ teams of 12 (or less) runners split between 2 van’s, from there, each mini-team of 6 takes turns running predetermined distances from 3-10 miles until the Exchange point where Van #2 and it’s group of 6 runners take over…for the next 196 miles.  In the end, each person has 3 legs to complete with total distances between 12 to 20 miles over 36 hours.   Sounds fun, right?  

We decided to name our team ‘It’s My Party!’ because there were 3 team members with birthdays within a week of the event which took place October 22-23.   Theresa had some really cool team tech shirts made and I asked my niece to have her middle school students draw us some pictures for decorations – they came through with flying colors:

At one point, our window got ‘tagged’ by Team Mullet, they were also kind enough to mist the runners with their water ‘bug spray’:

I was in Van #1 and our first leg was completely awesome.  You’re rested and energized (even though we had a 6am start time), we were sharing the road with a lot of teams and having fun supporting our current runner/walker and cheering on everyone else.  After Leg #1 was complete, we went to my brother Mike’s house (who was a last-minute replacement, THANK YOU!) for some Capriotti sandwiches and relaxation before meeting up with Van #2 to start our second leg.  

Leg #2 was a cold, dark blur.  We were lucky enough to have my sister-in-law run with a few of us who had some pretty remote territory to cover because the teams were pretty spread out by this point and it was dark, spooky and lonely.  This is my favorite picture of Rhonda all decked out in glow bracelets (the picture was taken without a flash…she was wearing a safety vest and lights too): After this leg was done at about 2am, we went to my Mom and Step-dad’s house who were kind enough to let us take over their downstairs for a few hours of sleep and showers before heading off to the last exchange point at 8am. 

When we reached the exchange area, there weren’t that many teams out on this part of the course.  Even with our faster runners, we had some slower paced jog/walkers (myself included) and some injuries that impacted our overall pace.  We were in jeopardy of finishing the race in the 12 hours we had left of ‘official time’.   After we had the hand-off and sent our next team member Robin on her way, one of the Race Coordinators stopped by to talk to us and the teams that were waiting in the exchange area.  He was super nice and confirmed what we already knew about our finishing times, so he gave us some options to consider to ensure that everyone on our team was able to ‘unofficially finish’, have fun and get out of the race what we wanted to…now, it was personal!  Once he left to find other teams to talk to, we had a team meeting and took a vote and decided to continue, but doubling up the legs for anyone that still wanted to continue.  In the end, I completed my 3 legs, covering 16.4 miles…I was exhausted, proud of our team and full of the knowledge that if (when) I do this again, I can’t do the walk/jog thing, my pace has to be MUCH faster. 

Congratulations to our incredible team, you are all some pretty touch cookies! … Van #1 – Me, ‘brother’ Mike, Cara, Rhonda, ‘trainer’ Mike and Robin.  Van #2 – Captain Theresa, Britt, Stacey, Jeff, ‘green valley’ Mike and Tony.  Finally, Happy Birthday to Theresa, Britt and Cara!  See you all next year!  =)

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!

November 5, 2010

Hi everyone!

Just a quick post to let you know that my ‘big event’ is right around the corner.  Silverman is this Sunday and I’m nervous, excited, scared and just plain giddy about participating in my first 70.3 triathlon.

I’ll have a full report of this event and the Ragnar Relay (which was Oct. 22-23) next week.

In the meantime, enjoy the weekend and send me your best, zippiest, CarboRocket-y vibes!

Christy

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