Friday, February 29, 2008

Swimsuit Heaven!!!

Anyone sensitive to over-consumerism, quit reading now.

One of my very good friends, Nadine, has a fabulous friend who works at Jantzen. She was awesome and got us into a sample sale today. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but had swimsuits on the brain for the last couple of days in anticipation. I was OVERWHELMED when we walked inside. Racks and racks of swimsuits in size 8 and 10. My size!!! In fantastic brands like Nike! And...a posted sign with the price of the suits. It went something like this:

One-piece suits -- $2
Matching two-piece suits -- $2
Single tops or bottoms -- $0.50
Shorts -- $2

I just kind of stared in disbelief at the whole scene and slowly walked around the room not quite sure what to do with myself. Then I just started grabbing anything I was remotely interested in. When I couldn't possibly hold anymore, that was my cue to check out. As soon as I got home from work I went straight into the bedroom and started trying everything on. I started laughing hysterically when I counted 22 suits. And then I almost started crying when I put them on. THEY ALL FIT!!! Swimsuits never fit me! I added up all of the price tags for a grand total of $1444 (retail price). My price? A whopping $44. Nadine has been completely forgiven for the whole New Year's costume incident.

Monday, February 25, 2008

2008 Jack Frost Time Trial

I competed in my first ever bike time trail yesterday. It was a blast! Here's my race report. For the full set of photos, go here:

Race: Jack Frost Time Trial
Location: Vancouver Lake, WA
Distance: 20k (12.4 miles)
Time: 40:51:00 (pace = 18.26 mph)

Pre-Race: People from my club, Lacamas Swim & Sport (aka The Headhunters), attend this event every year. I came along for my inaugural time trial and I ended up being the last person from the group to race. So I brought my camping chair, warm clothes, and lots of munchies to keep me comfy during the day. It was a cool morning and had rained the night before, but soon the sun was shining and drying everything out. Coach Denise brought hot (homemade) chicken soup to share with everyone. One of the Headhunters (Mike) brought a fire pit…and very large fire starter…to keep us all toasty warm. After checking in and getting my number, I pretty much sat on my tushy for a couple of hours and chatted with other club members. It was pretty much like a fun camping trip!

Fellow Headhunter, Natalie, and I were the last to go so we were able to watch everyone else warm-up and take off from the start line. This was entertaining, but we also had the most amount of time to work up our nerves. For whatever reason, I was more anxious for this event than I was for either of my two triathlons last year.

K-Dawg dancing, er, showing off his race number:

The Swimming Sperm (aka, Denise and Bob Croucher):

The boys warming up:
Warm Up: Put the bike on the trainer for about 15 minutes. Mostly just spinning, with a few minutes of harder tension. Right around this time my Mom and Ken showed up – I was really happy that they were able to make it out to watch me start.

Then I did about a mile on the road to make sure everything was in working order and that I still knew how to handle a bike. This was only going to be my second ride outside for the year so far!

Natalie and I warming up:

The Ride: I was in the Women’s 4/5 category, which can also be translated to “women who probably don’t know what they’re doing, but are too young to enter the Masters category”. Unfortunately for me, most of the other women in my group knew exactly what they were doing and were sporting fancy shmancy machine with matching race garb. I definitely had some bike envy going on.

We were sent off one person at a time spaced 30 seconds apart. A volunteer holds you upright from behind the saddle while both of your feet are clipped in and another volunteer tells you when to go. Then it’s basically balls on for the next 20 kilometers until the finish line.

I had a pretty good start considering this was my first time trial. And I was able to settle into a nice cadence right away. I didn’t wear my HR monitor (on purpose) and I never switched the bike computer to MPH. I monitored my RPMs and tried to keep my cadence between 85 and 95. This seemed to work well for me and kept me from fretting about my average speed. After the turnaround there was a bit of head/side wind to contend with that was blowing off the Columbia River. I was tempted to see how slow I was going, but instead just shifted to an easier gear and tried to hunker down on the aerobars while keeping my cadence up. It was around this time that some of the other girls from my category started passing me. Guys from the next wave also started flying by me like I was standing still. That bummed me out a little, but I still made sure to say something nice to each person as they rode by.

I was surprised to see a “1 km remaining” sign posted towards the end of the course. I was even more surprised to find that I was able to down shift a few gears and still maintain a high cadence without much effort. I held this pace through the finish line. I guess I probably could have pushed it a bit harder than I did…

Me starting:
What would I do differently?: Ride faster. :-)

Warm Down: Crossed the finish line, and then rode the half mile back to the parking lot where my Mom, Ken, and other Headhunters were cheering us on. Denise and Bob had cooked yummy grilled chicken and sausages for everyone. Mmm...

Me, Stormy, and Nadine after the race:

Event Comments: This was a fun experience. It was great to watch how other people ride and to look at all of the wildly expensive bikes and accessories that everyone had. I had set a secret target of finishing under 40 minutes and this was the first time that I missed my goal. I was a bit bummed about that, but someone said to me “if you hit all of your goals then maybe you’re not aiming high enough”. I’m going to work hard this summer and I’ll be sure to beat my time at the end of the season!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My First Physical Therapy Appointment

I had my first physical therapy appointment today for the knee. I was diagnosed with patellofemoral stress syndrome, as well as ITB syndrome. Basically, my ITB is so tight that it's pulling my knee out of alignment and causing tightness around the patella. So the friction on the cartillage behind the patella is what has been screaming at me for the last 4 months.

The therapist did a basic evaluation where she checked everything out, had me do strength tests, looked at my (lack of) flexibility, walking, etc. Then she went in for the kill...massaging both IT bands. I may have some scar tissue build-up on the left side and when she was working on that I was pretty much bawling into the pillow. It's been awhile since I've had a good cry, so at least that's out of my system. My appointment was followed up with ultrasound on both sides. And an appointment card for 2-3x/week for the next 5 weeks. Good thing I have a job (and insurance) to pay for all of this...

Here is my post-PT face (I cried all my makeup off -- don't judge):

Sunday, February 17, 2008

First Bike Ride of the Year!

It was a glorious day for an outside ride. An OUTSIDE ride!!!! The sun was shining and the roads were dry. Aside from an annoying wind that popped up every once in awhile, it was the most beautiful day we've had this year. About a dozen of us met at the club at noon and did the 12-mile loop around Lacamas Lake. I wish I had a camera with me, because as we were finishing up the ride and heading down Lake Drive, you could see for miles. The lake, the green hills, the forests, the snow covered foothills in the distance... Beautiful!

It was a great warm-up for the Jack Frost Time Trials next weekend. That's gonna hurt.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

La Knee-na

I have a renewed sense of hope about the furious storm that's been brewing south of my waistline. I'm talking about my KNEE people. Hee hee. I had an appointment with a fantastic sports med doctor at OHSU on Friday morning. Aside from a scarily thin cartilage under my patella (either from genetics or the trauma from my volleyball days), the rest is fixable. I apparantly have "the tightest IT band known to humankind". Since this was spoken while the doctor was near my backside, I wanted to say, "why thank you very much doctor, but I hardly know you" but I resisted the urge. So anyway, I'm off for 2 months of physical therapy and then a follow-up visit. I should be good as gold in the near future!