Thursday, October 1, 2009

TransRockies Race Stage II: Vicksburg to Leadville (via Hope Pass)

12,510' max elevation (holy crap) with river crossings
10Miles: Finish time 3hrs 3min.

It was a chilly morning as we were bussed to the start line. We had just enough time to jump out, run to the restroom, snap a pic, and push through the chute. About two miles down the way we both stopped at the first aid station to strip down to our base layers then begin the climb towards Hope Pass.

Along the way up I realized I had passed a familiar face: ISWIMBIKERUN. (in red)
Wow, I was getting to put a bunch of faces to the blogs I had been following! He was such a trooper! His teammate suffered an injury early on and the two of them still trucked on like champs, finishing each day with a great time and even better attitude.

The trail to Hope Pass turned to scree.

Then cleared up and started the big ascent. Surprisingly, this was very very runnable and fun.

I came across a guy from Florida (Matt) who was looking pretty rough from the altitude. He had trekking poles and was just chugging along. I gave him a little pep talk and did my little nurs-y once over to make sure he wasn't going to fall out on me, then kept running. Later I met Matt's teammate Kyle- both were super cool guys and were our "tent neighbors".

I admit, on my way up Hope Pass, I started to get a little teary. The view was beyond description and my words would not do it justice. It was expansive, beautiful, and humbling. I thought about what an amazing world we live in and how very few actually take advantage of the things outside their little bubble of life. I thought about my past and present failures/accomplishments and the emotions just swelled up in my throat. I wanted so bad to have a family member or good friend right there next to me so I could turn to them and share "my moment". To have someone there to be just as awed as I was. To just stop, sit down in silence, and live in the moment of quietness. Then the tears started to swell thinking about how I was here alone...and then I forced myself to snap back into race mode and keep going. "Suck it up & stop wasting energy" I told myself sternly. I had a mission to accomplish and I wanted to see the top. I had four more days to run after this and, by golly, I was going to finish this beast.

I started to chill a bit at the top but waited for Steph. I knew she would want a picture. We made it!
The mountains seemed to just open up for me and beckon, "Come on, tear this trail is a beautiful flight down!" And so I did just that... as cautious runners picked their way down the trail I opened it up and just let my legs tell me where to go.

river crossing!!!

The finish line...the skies opened up just a few minutes after we crossed the finish line. It became chilly and drizzly while we waited for our bus into camp. Once in camp we showered, napped, and then took a walk into town for a much needed latte at Provin' Grounds.
We stopped in a way cool gear store called Sawatch Backcountry. We ended up at Tennessee Pass Restaurant and decided to skip dinner at camp to eat here. We ordered a TON of food (Eggplant and goat cheese tapas- to DIE for...seriously). Our waiter was a young kid who's eyes got huge as we ordered. He seemed to look around to see if anyone else was joining us. "Nope, just us" I said with a sweet innocent smile. I think we truly messed this kid up.

Freebies tonight included a Windstopper scarf (as displayed above).

TransRockies Race Stage I: Buena Vista to Vicksburg

Let the games begin!
20.1 miles: 5hrs finish time

We woke up after a great night's sleep, took one look at our facebook pages, furrowed our brows, and exclaimed, "what the hell?" then burst out in a fit of giggles. The previous night we had been discussing our "little piggies" and how we do positive vs negative self talk and motivational "power" speeches to get us through difficult sections of our races. It is amazing the amount of physical pain you can endure when you override your mind and just let your body flow through the motions. It is very zen-like once you get to that point...the endorphins kick in to protect from the attack on the pain receptors in your body and push your mind into a euphoric state. Everything is greener, brighter, happier, richer, vibrant. Not many get to experience that feeling because they are afraid of the pain, they give in and give up to the pain too quickly. Our favorite saying during the Coastal Challenge was, "No little piggie, that isn't fear/pain you are feeling, that is excitement!" Needless to say, our facebook comments were very random and silly reflecting this idea. It went something like this:

and so we meet again my little exciteable piggie. no you cannot massage out my knotty spots...

thanks to my very special peeps giving me kick ass shout outs and revvin' my engine. these bitches be craaazy! see y'all on the flip side...


We ate a good breakfast at the hotel lobby, loaded up our luggage, then headed over to race start and grabbed a few more bites there. Black coffee for me, thank you very much. We were both dealing with nervous bladders so made frequent trips back and forth to the ladies room. Eventually it became such a congestion of runners that we joined forces and just shared bathrooms with the sexes. There were men in the women's stalls and vice versa. Yeah, cuz that's how we trail runners roll.

It was great to see all the families at the start line: Little blonde pig-tailed girls in summer dresses doing twirls at their runner mommy's feet, parents pushing strollers alongside their running spouses in support, boyfriends and girlfriends cheering each other on and giving last minute smooches. It was a calming environment; not the hard-core competitive feeling you get starting a road race. Intense focus and negative splits of road races are replaced with eagerness and excitement to get on the trails for some amazing panoramic views, great billy-goat hill climbs, and deliciously fast downhills. You narrow down your target finish time to full and half hours instead of minutes and seconds. Negative splits I say? Toss those out the door! It is nearly impossible to gauge exact time and "negative splits" for trail races due to the dramatic changes in elevation, technicality, and trail quality.

We lined up, scanned our ankle chips, and shot out of the shute a soon as the gun went off. We started off slow (probably too slow but we figured we had six days to run right?) in an attempts to calm our excitement/nerves down. The run was beautiful! It wrapped around a mountain and ended up alongside a river at camp. Mostly dry dirt roads with a bit of plush sandy stuff (not a fave but I'll take it over concrete). Very sunny and a little desert feel to it.

Salomon was offering cameras to runners to shoot their theme of the day "Are We Having Fun Yet" in hopes of some great prizes that night. Steph and I grabbed one and had a great time running and shooting to our hearts desire. Some great photos we had were:

1. Steph literally wrapping her body around a lamppost in protest to starting the race. I had one leg braced against the post and my arms attempting to tear her off the post. It was probably the best pic hands down of the day. As it looked very un-posed and theatrical.

2. Me hiding my body in a Recycle bin with just my eyes peeking out.

3. Someone had dumped some water out of their bottle which produced a little trickle of water on the cement. I crouched over it as if I was taking a leak and pasted on an "oh my" expression. We had runners behind us laughing at this one.

4. Mid run in a very desert-like area of the trail we came across a well picked animal skull with a spine attached. I laid down next to it and pet/kissed the little guy. We cuddled for a bit then ran on. (oh and I got a pic of Steph peeing off the side of the trail too...unbeknownst to her).

5. There was a dead end sign branching off the trail. Steph laid under it pretending to be dead.

6. At the last aid station/check point we met "John" who was to become one of our bestest buddies at the race....oh and he was good looking to boot! He was shirtless and we got our pic taken with Steph and I on either side of him. At the last minute I asked if I could pinch his nipple...and he said yes. So we snapped a pic of that:)

(ok you caught me if you noticed that we are wearing a totally different outfit. We lost the original pic to the Salomon camera "crew" so had to have a re-do the next day. John saw it in his heart to allow us to pinch his nipple yet again....)

7. During the last 7 miles of the course we were on a back cement road. We had befriended a guy we named "L.A." who was a military dude. He was having altitude sickness issues so we decided to walk with him for a mile or two. During this time we had him take a pic of us attempting to hitchhike to the finish line. A car actually stopped for us so we got that pic too.

L.A.'s partner showed up and started drilling him on trying to run faster (ignoring the fact that the dude has altitude sickness and this is the first day of SIX). It got a bit uncomfortable and I whispered to Steph, "let's run!" and so we did.

Crossing the finish line was the best feeling. We were a bit sore but spirits were soaring. We had seen some amazing views, some good conversations, and had one hell of a runners high. It was at this point that I discovered tuna fish mixed with crunched up plain potato chips. Yep sounds gross right?! I KNOW!! I normally wouldn't eat this (in fact there is a childhood story about me and tuna fish that involves projectile puking in my father's brand new truck that has followed me ever since so I don't really eat canned tuna much) but for some reason I devoured this after each day of the race. It was delicious, salty and packed with protein.

We found a creek off the side of a big bridge and eased our way into the freezing waters to help mend our legs. Soon other runners joined us and it became a bit of a bonding experience. Again we did this after every single day of running. It was intensely painful to get in but once your lower body became numb (yep even the girly bits) the pain evaporated and you stayed in another five-ten minutes. Only then did you pull your body out of the frozen depths to a brand new set of legs. It was great.

Not only did we have a great day running, but we had so much fun and silliness too. Unfortunately, and totally against our beliefs, we didn't win a singe picture!

Leslie from Banff Trail Trash- this was her third time at TRR and this time brought her husband.

Dancing in the Gore-Tex rain chamber. I actually won a jacket from them! Woot!

That night we both took a hot shower in their AWESOME mobile shower van. Oh yeah, and if I haven't mentioned it already, this race rocked a thousand times better than The Coastal Challenge. I am in awe....
Dinner was fajitas (which we learned we should get to dinner early or you end up with left overs and no sauce for your fajitas). Salomon gave out free enamel mugs for hot cocoa around the campfire along with a pocket flashlite. Steph and I decided that although the campfire was really cozy, we should head back to the tent to get a good nights sleep. Hope Pass had our names written all over the trails:)

Pre Race Madness: TransRockies Report (Finally)

Aug 20th, 2009- Short and Sweet/Down and Dirty Report

Met Stephanie at DIA and give big "bestest of running buddies" hugs. Drove and chatted the ENTIRE time as we headed to Bent Gate in Golden, CO to check off last minute gear buys. Ate at D-Deli then headed home to drop off luggage, throw on some trail running clothes, and grab Argos. We decided to test Steph's altitude tolerance with a gentle 3miler at Gudy Gaskill Trail. Steph did great and no side effects minus her comment of, "I feel like my lungs are a bit on fire and I am taking some deep heavy breaths!" I smiled, gave her a pat on the back and said, "you'll do great! We can always go slow and walk if we have to." We both knew this was just silly feel-better talk and that both of us are way too competitive to just walk:) With that out of our system we went to eat SUSHI!

August 21st

Woke up and joined Steph in the kitchen for some Clean Eating protein pancakes. These were really yummy and will now be a pre-workout staple in my recipe book (*note, I also tried the cottage cheese protein pancakes at a later date and I think these are actually better and more moist).

A final last minute gear run to Denver's REI and home to pack, unpack, repack, and pack again just to make sure. We wolfed down some delicious fish tacos and headed out the door towards Buena Vista!

A couple hours later we arrived at the Best Western Vista Inn where we were getting dropping off. Walking into the hotel we met our very first "obstacle" of the TRR event. Best Western informed us they gave away our room and had no vacancies. AND every single hotel in a fifty mile radius was booked full due to the race.

Ummm yeah. Come again?

Stephanie and I almost lost it in laughter knowing we had no transportation and now no bed. We eyed the hotel's couch longingly and actually pleaded to let us sleep in the waiting area as the hotel clerk (quite flustered over this error) attempted to call the manager and other hotels to find us a room. This is how we first met Drew, the TRR announcer.

Here we are, two runner chicks with a crap-ton of luggage holed up in the waiting room of a hotel looking a tad lost(**). Drew introduced himself and after a bit of conversation told us we would be welcome to stay in his event trailer in the parking lot. We beamed thinking of how cool THAT would be (kinda like a fort for adults right?) but just at that point the hotel clerk somehow found us a room right there in the Best Western. Steph joked with the clerk, "is it a closet?" I poked Steph in the side, "what are you talking about? You totally know if it was a closet we would so take it and just spoon!" She beamed, "You are so right!"

After carefully avoiding giving ourselves hernias piling our luggage into our room, we headed next door for some bison burgers and sweet potato fries at Buffalo's bar/grill. It was all divine...greasy meaty divineness.

**I was very excited at this point at how everything had turned out. I am very much a "roll with the punches" kinda girl and don't get real flustered at the little blips in life. What could have ended up as a heated argument about the hotel giving up our room etc, turned out to be something quite silly and memorable. What I observed of Steph and how she handled the situation (laughing and joking/glass half full) made me feel like the rest of the week would be just fine!**

August 22 Race Registration

We did a lot of walking today and decided unanamously that all the miles we put on our feet negated the planned pre-race warm up we had on the agenda.

As we meandered our way toward the race registration building a gear shop, Trailhead, caught our eye. We each managed to find an assortment of things we just "needed" for the race such as: a tribal turtle sticker for my nalgene (goat sticker for Steph), hardcase waterproof case for my phone, a smartwool beanie, and a DIVA cup (oh my). We both decided to be adventurous and buy one since we were both "expecting" later that week and knew how the stress of these races tend to excellerate such things. Steph ended up being the gunea pig of the group as my little friend decided to be sweet to me and stay away for the duration.

Breakfast was at The Rooster's Crow. Delicious banana pancakes, coffe, and eggs over easy. While we were waiting for our food we noticed a little crack o' heaven and had to take a pic. Yes, I am going to hell over this but I have come to terms...

I am a bit of a coffee snob. I don't do Starsucks unless it is on a road trip and I am desperate, and I don't do fru-fru sugary stuff. I like my skinny lattes and smooth, strong (as my dad would say, "put some hair on your chest") coffee. I mostly dig mom and pop kinda coffee shops. Anyways, I figured that during the race I would be faced with mediocre coffee with no agave, no soy creamer, and nothing near "natural". After a lengthy discussion with Steph I decided to drink my coffee nekked. Starting now, cold turkey.
It was harsh but it was a good decision that I stuck with thru the entire six days. I converted back as soon as my feet hit Denver soil, but I now know I can do it and it didn't kill me. It actually, kinda tasted good. I shall explore this dark realm further....

Browsed a few other little shoppes until we finally arrived at check-in. A short wait and a bag full of schwagg later and we were registered! Holy crap, I could not believe the amount of goodies we received just through the registration process:

Salomon metal water bottle- gorgeous blood red

Gortex soft shell athletic jacket- lime green and black, very sporty with clean fast lines.

Timex Watch- this was a cool looking watch but proved to be not so impressive. The day I came home I tried it on. In the process of buckling the band the entire (and I mean entire) watch fell apart. The band is metal (not a fan) and it just broke apart from the face of the watch. I ended upwith about eight small peices of watch in my hand. I contacted Timex online and listed specifically where I got the watch etc. They sent me back a very generic email stating I could pay $8 s&h along with the returned watch to get a replacement if the watch was still under warranty. I am attempting to see if they will swap the crappy watch with one of their Ironman plastic band watches. A metalic $120 watch for a plastic $60 = win:win situation right? We shall see. So far not impressed with Timex.

Saltstick tabs
Cliff barssocks
TRR baseball cap
Salomon visorNathan Hydration water bottle
Salomon LAB shoes- Very cozy and a shocking orange-red color. Different but kinda cool

On our way back to our hotel we wandered spontaneously into a tattoo parlor and briefly discussed getting tattoos. We were full of excitement and wanting to get tattoos NOW. Right now, no thinking just doing. Luckily I was able to step back just a second and say "hey wait a minute, maybe this isn't the best decision." I have been planning for a few years on getting a tattoo. I have designed it and drawn it out myself being very symbolic to particular things in my life. However there were some "missing links" of the tattoo I hadn't figured out yet. I didn't want this to be a spontaneous thing and I knew that running for six days with a brand new tat rubbing against my shorts would probably not be the most fun thing evah. Plus, having a few slight doubts of "what if I don't finish this race", I didn't want a permanent reminder of my stupidity/failure. We left the parlor agreeing that we would eventually both get our tattoos.

We packed and repacked our final bags for the race and went back out for the pre-race dinner banquet: a fantastic spread of Greek fare and an electrically charged environment.

We walked back to our hotel room and spent the night chatting, strategizing, and facebooking in an ambien induced craziness. Note to those that take ambien: do not text/facebook/or do anything but sleep post consumption of ambien!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Off the Mountains, Out of the Woods, and Back to Reality

More blogs to follow for in depth details....however just a quick update that I am back home (home sweet home) from the TransRockies Run. What an amazing event and Jinx's Revenge came in 9th overall in our category! I have nothing but enormous praise for the TransRockies crew and organizers. The race was phenomenal in so many different ways. Every day we ran our hearts out, enjoyed breath-taking views, and was pampered not only through the aid stations, but even more so as soon as we stepped over that finish line. Great schwag (holy crap I can't even begin to tell you how much freebies we got from this race) and drool-inducing meals.
The stages were tough climbs with deliciously fast downhills. I felt that each night I came in beat but ready to take on more. I have never loved running so much as I did this week.
I actually used almost every single piece of gear I brought minus my camelbak waist pack which just didn't have enough capacity for my cold weather and medical gear we were required to bring (and used) every day.

Just a few short shout outs to some company's products who made my experience a happy one this race:
Western Mountaineering- (OMG I love this company).....for my fluffy Antelope sleeping bag (along with a down pillow) that kept me toasty on every single night, especially the ones where we woke to ice on our tents. And for my brand new Flash Jacket which I ended up wearing almost every night. Both kept me warm and very very happy. I actually had a couple female racers "petting" my jacket:)
Zensah- for their compression calf sleeves. This was my first time really experimenting with these and was a huge skeptic. Stephanie and I wore our sleeves every day during the race, took them off for a short period during shower and dinner, then put them back on to sleep in. I had literally NO calf tightness or soreness the entire race. I took them off permanently after the finish of the race and found that the following night I had an increase in swelling and stiffness in my calves. I put them back on and the swelling has noticeably gone down in my toes and legs. I plan on weaning myself off over the next day or two:)
Nathan Hydration- for my Zone 2.0 pack which carried all my gear and water without shoulder soreness, chafing, or bouncing through the entire race. With my modifications to hold my 1.5L camelbak bladder (sorry NH) I never ran out of water and reloading it at aid stations was seriously cake.
Dirty Girl Gaiters- first time using them and they performed exceptionally well. Dried quickly, didn't rub in odd spots, kept the gravel and grime out of my shoes and off my feet (only one single minor blister), didn't make my feet sweat, and cost was very reasonable. I will be buying more of these for future races.
Injinji Socks- best performance running socks I have found for my feet hands down.
John Vonhof ("Fixing Your Feet" Guy)- I will be sending out a personal 'thank you' to him, but I have got to tell you....this guy saved my feet. Seriously. I have been struggling with blister issues my entire running career, each year becoming a bit more frustrating than the next trying to figure out how to conquer the blister battle. After reading his book twice, then meeting him in person for a little mono y mono foot care clinic, and THEN attending a clinic he held at our local Runners Roost Lakewood, I finally think I have beat the battle. This year's major race resulted in only one teensy minor toe blister that I drained and patched the first day. By day two it was dried up from an application of zinc oxide and caused no further issues. The rest of my feet (with my nightly pre-taping sessions) look beautiful and unwounded. I am just plain in awe. I know each run will give me new obstacles for my ever-changing feet, but at least now I have an artillery of knowledge to work with. From my heart, thanks so much John!
GoLite- for my amazing Virga jacket that I carried on my back every single day and pulled out to wear at least once a day for either rain or cold weather. I had searched high and low for the lightest rain jacket available and after two weeks of searching, GoLite was the one I chose. I was NOT disappointed. This jacket was ultra light and ultra effective. I didn't even notice it on my back but it was a lifesaver when I hit above tree line and began to quickly chill and bonk. It will never leave my pack except when its on my back!
IceBreaker- just discovered this brand a bit ago and really, really have been enticed. Pure Merino wool so soft you would swear it was a different material, and impressively odor resistant. Expensive...yes, but great gear costs a bit more. I consider purchases like these above as investments.
Moeben- for their colorful and warm armwarmers which I wore every single day. I found the fleece lined sleeves were my favorite. Liked 'em so much I convinced my teammate to place an order and will be placing another one myself! Shannon you ROCK!
SaltStick and Gu- Saltstick kept me from cramping and swelling and Gu products (chomps, brew, and gels) kept my motor running from start to finish and then some.

And of course Salomon for their XT Wings that helped me run with ease and comfort.

Race update and pics following shortly!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gear Shopping and Birthday Sushi

Have been lusting forever over Western Mountaineering website trying to figure out exactly which down jacket I was going to give up my first born for. Yesterday I discovered Golden, Colorado's Bent Gate (a dog friendly store too, I might add).
This store is the Western Mountaineering MECA. If you are drooling over high quality pillowy sleeping bags this is the place to be. They have every single WM bag you can imagine, a rarity if you know gear stores.
I was looking for a ultra-light down jacket for the TransRockies race that I could wear hanging out post race for those chilly nights and mornings. Something very very packable yet warm, water resistant, and comfortable. I rested my eyes on the WM Flash jacket in slate blue. The website's pics did not do this jacket justice- a vibrant blue, great baffling design, gentle elastic, draft tube behind zipper, nicely slanted down filled pockets, and the touch....oh my. Soft, smooth, fluffy and delicate. It felt as light as a t-shirt yet when I put it on I instantly began to get toasty. SOLD! And then to top it off, the guy showing me around took the jacket and began to roll it from bottom up, then tucked it neatly inside it's own hood. The thing was the size of a grapefruit and at a mere 9 oz you couldn't even recognize it as a jacket.

When I got home and got a pic of it the flash suddenly lit up the jacket. There is reflective piping throughout the jacket that isn't very visible at first glance. Very nice....

After tossing in a few Icebreaker shirts and a new Women's Prolite Plus Thermarest pad (to replace my old well-used Prolite), I think I am set for my race. Woot!

That night I went out for dinner at Sushi Zanmai in Boulder to celebrate one of my very good friend's 27th birthday. The spicy edamame appetizer and sushi were both excellent. I highly recommend their Mango Tango Roll, Salmon w/ green onion, and Rock and Roll (spicy tuna w/ tempura). The spicy tuna was awesome- just enough heat to make your mouth burn but with tons of flavor. The mango roll was unique in that it had sweet dipping sauce instead of soy. Delicious and almost could pass as a desert.
With bellies full, Amanda and I loaded back into the car to head to the house for some homemade cheesecake with raspberry ganache (compliments of Jason -THANK YOU!).

I call that some great carb-loading for pre-race week training:)

BTW- just heard from Steph and her flight comes in tomorrow afternoon! Get ready TransRockies cuz Jinx's Revenge is on their way!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Let Time Stand Still

I am so behind in bloggie land. This month is whizzing by me I feel a bit nauseated from all the spinning. I see my life right now like those time-lapsed commercials where the person is moving in real time and life is darting around them like busy ants.

This weekend I headed up to Wyoming's Sinks Canyon National Forest campground for a little R&R with family. Each day I got a good run in with some major elevation/technical trails up to the beautiful water falls. I made a point to carry my NH pack with everything I would normally carry for the race.

One of the days I decided to get adventurous and started a mile down the road at the beginning of the trail, headed up to the falls, back down to the beginning and then ran up the road back to my campsite. 9.5 miles in all and I felt great! The best part was flying down the mountain from the falls. All technical, rocky single track with amazing views. Even had a lovely little slithery partner for a short few seconds of the run. I had many many hikers give me odd looks as I leaped by them all tech-ed out. At one point a woman stopped me and asked if I was a cop running with my K-9 (Argos was wearing a blue and black pack). I just answered seriously "I'm training." I let her decipher that whatever way she wanted.

(catching my breath post I am not puking)

Pup post run- oops I think I might have pushed him a bit far....

Monday, after I got back into town I headed down to Runners Roost Lakewood where John Vonhof from "Fixing Your Feet" was having a clinic. I had met him just a few days before at his daughters' house where he proceeded to give me a little one-on-one demo on foot taping. It was a great experience and what an amazing guy. He doesn't even realize what a legend he is in the running world. He taught me a bunch and I hope to carry that great advice with me through this next race.

Took the family out to Mataam-Fez, a Moroccan restaurant in downtown Denver. It felt good to dress in something other than wicking athletic wear, sneaks, and a ponytail.

It was a real neat experience with belly dancing, sitting on the floor with pillows, eating food with your hands, and drinking. A little alcohol induced deviance led to my slipping a few bills to family's 11yo nephew to put into the belly dancer's skirt. We all got a good laugh as little Matt sat entranced with a goofy ear-to-ear grin watching the dancer.

Today leaves me a little "me" time to run on the suckmill (unless family gets back early and I get to hit a trail), start laying things out for the race, and cleaning house. I bought a few more running shirts for the race...cuz ya know through all that mud and sweat you still gotta look cute:)

***new top running song: Kat DeLuna "Unstoppable"**** brings out 'the lioness'. hells yeah.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Race Photos

Photos from Boulder Peak Olympic Triathlon

Gear Review: Sugoi Velocity Tri Suit and then some

Status Post Boulder Peak Triathlon, thanks to Outside PR, I have now become a tri suit convert. Cold turkey switch. I mean it. I will never go back to a two piece again.

This suit rocks.

The Velocity Tri Suit has mesh Zone construction and an 15" front zip. These Tri Suits feature two back "quick draw" fuel pockets and reflective accents for visibility. The suit also features a Women's TriLite Chamois and Hydro-Shifter fabric. It is a stretch woven product making the suit super smooth and aero/hydrodynamic.

Pre-race Impression: the fabric was super thin. Somewhat like tissue paper with a bit more give to it. I was nervous and had visions of the suit tearing, exposing my lady bits, as I stripped off my wet suit. I actually packed a back up shorts and shirt in my transition bag in case my fears were confirmed.

Post Race Impression: although the fabric was thin, it was effective and stronger than expected. No tears, no delicates exposed, and overall extremely comfortable.

Swim- the suit laid flat inside my wetsuit creating almost nil bulk. The seams were flat and smooth = no rubbing or chafing. I felt as if I was practically naked under my wet suit. This suit would definitely be sleek and highly functional on its own without a wet suit. It did not add to the constricting nature of the wet suit as did my other previous attire during tris. As I stripped off my wet suit I had no worries that any of my clothing was going to peel off with it. I have previously had to wrestle with my tri shorts adhering to and getting rolled up in my wet suit- not funny in the least bit. The tri suit was a winner in my eyes from that point on, case closed.

Bike- The chamois was thin but not too thin. I felt that the suit dried quite quickly due to the fabric's thin nature and the chamois dried out with it. No squishy wet feeling "down there" and no annoying rub. I took into account that I was actually doing an Olympic tri and not a Sprint tri- which is what the suit was more designed for. The chamois was quite thin for the Olympic distance and I did start to feel soreness in my sitbones during the last 7 or so miles (note- I also had new non-broken in bike seat). For the Sprint, the thin chamois would be completely appropriate for its distance and not out of the question for an Olympic. I would not, however, suggest it for any longer distance.

Run- I felt that the suit's wicking ability was outstanding. Being that it is Colorado and is notoriously dry here, it is very difficult to figure out how dehydrated you are until it is too late. This is really an ok thing for me as I know how often and how much I should drink as I am fully aware of how sweaty of a girl I really am. The suit sucked the sweat off my body and let it evaporate quickly into the air as I ran. It was a phenomenal cooling system and I wasn't ever wet in spots with sweat. I even had a volunteer throw a cup of water on me as I ran through an aid station to see how long it took to evaporate! Minutes. I was bone dry minutes after the soaking!

I mentioned previously I was long waisted. Therefore, although I normally wear smalls, for the suit I had to step up to a medium to fit. After the water dried on my suit it was just oh-so teensy baggy on me but I know that is a flaw of my own body, not the suit. Also loved the half zip at the neck for cooling down.

I didn't chafe one single bit and the thin chamois made it very comfortable to run in without feeling like you're wearing a diaper. The leg holes clung nicely to my quads without digging in like most short's elastic. The entire suit fit like a glove without bunching or gathering in odd places. No odd puckering and with flat seams the design was very streamlined. The black and white combo looked fast and professional without gaudy flowery fru-fru combos as seen on a handful of other "women-specific" clothing lines. I really liked the small reflective logos and the small gel pockets on the suit.

Gear Improvements/Recommendations: I actually have no complaints against the suit but I do have a few recommendations that would be nice to see.

1. Color: I would like to see more color choices, however, as the only ones available are black/white, or 100% engine red (looks like an orange-red on the site and too much of one color- what about a black or white stripe?). As I was browsing the vendors at packet pickup my eye caught on an ORCA tri suit which was candy apple (or shimmering cherry) red with white along the sides. It was extremely attractive, sporty, and slimming. I think Sugoi should offer that color and maybe also a deep navy/white. I would definitely buy those two colors. Anything else would be a bit much or too see thru with the thin fabric. (My eyes have been assaulted one too many times by athletes wearing grays and pastels. When these fabrics get wet you see EVERYTHING. And that shit is nasty- especially riding behind a sweaty ass crack clydesdale. You need no more motivation than that to spank him...and by spank I mean pass, not the other spank. gross)

2. Style: Although I really don't have any complaints to this suit, it would be nice to mix it up a bit and have a tri suit with short "crop" sleeves. Just little half sleeves like the stretchy under armour shirts have. That would be a very good look on a tri suit.
The chamois should be offered in two different thicknesses so it can be used for longer distance races. Also, the suit gave me an ever-so slight camel-toe, so moving the chamois just slightly forward or elongating it to pad that sensitive area a bit more would be nice:)

3. Additions: what about adding two small sturdy loops to the lower waist area of the suit. Something to pin or secure your race number to? My race belt kept sliding all over the place on my suit due to my lack of major hips and the slippy-ness of the fabric. I finally just ignored it and left it hanging out at the top of my rib cage. It would be nice to have some sort of very small loops or tabs to hang your number bib onto- completely eliminating the need to even have a race belt.

After the race and a nice hot shower, I slipped into my new pair of Sugoi Moxie shorts.
I don't normally like short-shorts but these babies are adorable and cozy!

They come in three colors: gunmetal, H2O, and Lichen (all very sweet) and have a mesh liner with gusset. The waist band is flat, wide, and non-constricting. It sits low on the waist providing a very comfortable wear.

I found myself initially wearing them around the house to lounge in but eventually took them out for a run. They performed well, but not as well as my current running shorts. They were a bit heavier and bulkier than my TNF shorts.
I would wear them to the gym for weight lifting, walks or short easy jogs, everyday wear, tennis or basketball and similar sports.

Only complaints? The "pockets" in the front really aren't very functional. I would have rather they be faux pockets as the extra fabric isn't necessary (but the design or look of the pockets looks cool). The pockets are too shallow to safely put anything in them other than maybe a peice of gum without it falling out or tugging the shorts down by the weight.

Overall rating: 4.0/5.0 for function, style, and comfort

Thanks Outside PR for the ability to try out these Sugoi products and make my race a memorable one!

Lastly, Zensah Compression Sleeves:

I picked up a pair of these prior to the Boulder Sprint Tri. Based on rUntoNamAste 's review on compression sleeves I decided to try them out.

Zensah running leg sleeves fit tight without binding or marking and only cover from below the knee to ankle. I tried on the Skins version and was not impressed with their compression strength nor the fact that they have a little ankle strap to go under your foot. That would aggravate me over time.

I wore the sleeves the morning of the race and then almost immediately after the triathlon. When my body was going through its normal inflammatory response- i.e. flu-like feeling, my calves felt like they were swollen and tight. With the sleeves on and intermittent elevation, I could feel the sleeves' compression snug against my legs. I was thinking of leaving them on overnight but the upper band felt too tight against my legs- affirming my swelling. I removed them while I slept and put them back on during the day. As reported previously, I have suffered no leg or foot soreness except extremely mild quad tenderness from the bike hill climb. Calves feel great!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Blister Hell

I despise blisters of all sorts.

Running the Apex/Enchanted Forest, although as fun as it was, may not have been the most brilliant thing I have done. I had acquired bilateral blisters on the arches of my feet- secondary to the new shoes I bought the other day (and using basic insoles). I was running with my DTR group on Tues (there were only three of us) when I noticed a hot spot forming on my left arch. I ran a bit, not wanting to hold up the other runners (dumb dumb dumb) until it really started to bother me. I finally told them I had to stop, took off my XA Pro shoe for inspection thinking I would find a little pebble of some sort, and scanned my socks.

The shoes looked and felt fine, no pebble, but my socks had a little worn spot on either arch. Weird. I ran my finer along everything, shook my socks off etc. and put my shoes back on. We began running again and I STILL felt the rub. It was very frustrating. If I had been by myself I would have stopped and either turned around to walk back, or rigged a patch in my shoe. But feeling the pressure of running with a group and not wanting to disrupt them I sucked it up and loped along.
I tried hard not to alter my gait as I knew it would just bring on joint pains from irregular body position, so the arches continued to get a beating.

Luckily the run wasn't a long one and I was able to suffer through it til the end. I limped back to my car and climbed in not wanting to face the damage. At home I peeled off my socks and found two liquid filled blisters ready to pop. They actually didn't hurt once I got the shoes off and I was able to walk around on the blisters no problem. I ended up lancing, draining, and covering them for the rest of the night. Thursday they appeared to be doing well enough that I taped them and went for the run at Apex in my XT Wings.

By morning my entire left foot swelled and was shiny tight. It was PAINFUL and cellulitic. I hobbled around afraid I might have caused an infection. BF ran to the store and bought some Epsom salts and continued to pamper me with frequent foot soaks. I re-lanced, re-drained, and re-dressed the blisters. Luckily the fluids ran clear and the soaking helped with the swelling. By the end of the day my feet felt much better, although still very tender. Today I gently cut off the delicate skin of the blisters only too find it was two layers thick. Nasty. It is tender and raw looking but otherwise healthy. Now I just need to let them heal.

So now I am stuck not being able to run for fear I might create more of a monster than I already have. I have the half marathon trail run Saturday and am stressing out that the feet aren't gonna make it.

I got excited yesterday thinking, "well this is a great opportunity to work on my swim for the upcoming triathlon!" I headed out the door to the gym in glee. Ten minutes later I walked into the 24HR Fitness only to be greeted with a big fat sign saying POOL CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE.

Fuck. as if I want to spend the day in a hot gym when there is nothing I can do but free weights. I can do that at home.

Wait...idea forming = head to local Rec center. Brilliant!
Fifteen minutes later headed up the stairs to the Rec Center- and it's closed.

Sundays suck. And you want to know why I work almost every weekend (earning more money has very little to do with it)?

Because weekends are for:
1. waiting in long lines
2. camping with loud annoying RVers or partying teenagers
3. beating crowds and traffic
4. being shoved off bike paths due to inconsiderate three-abreast chatty walkers
5. hiking trails flowing with irresponsible dog walkers who for some reason refuse to clean up after their dog and allow non-social dogs to run off leash
6. running trails consumed with kamikaze mountain bikers (don't get me wrong, I like mtn bikers- just not those that race the multi-use trails and don't announce their presence as they zoom up from behind me)
7. people biking on the sidewalks
8. having close calls with people biking on the roads running right through stop signs while I am trying to commute responsibly (and being a law-abiding cyclist) to work
9. everywhere you want to go and do always happens to be closed
10. People, people, and more people

I came back home and pouted on the couch. I swear my treadmill tucked up in the living room kept beckoning to me. I considered throwing a sheet over it, "I'm's not you, really. It's me!" I finally popped in a workout DVD as a last resort and got my ass handed to me.

I am a bit sore today so life is still good:)

p.s If you don't own a copy already yourself, I highly recommend the book Fixing Your Feet: prevention and treatments for athletes by John Vonhof

I read this book cover to cover prior to my Costa Rica run and felt it helped me significantly. I did still get minor blisters but I was able to manage them (except for the toe thing) and didn't get sidelined by them. My previous copy was borrowed, so this time I bought the 4th edition and am re-reading it to hone my skills for the GTTR.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Breaking the Bordem (finally)

Went for a 6 mile trail run today down at Bear Creek Lake Park. This is a nice relatively flat trail course that has some pretty views and runs alongside a, well, creek. It has rained and stormed all day for the past two days leaving me stuck inside on the suckmill. Today's clouds looked ominous but refrained from opening their flood gates allowing me a breath of fresh air and valuable trail time.

I spent the morning taking Argos to a nearby lake where we practiced his obedience training. Wore that little pup out doing two laps around the lake with frequent training stops and just a touch of running. That kid LOVES to run...I can't wait til he turns six months to start doing little short runs with him. He is gonna be one helova running partner:) A tired pup is truly a happy and well behaved pup.

So tonight I tucked him into his wire GIANT sized crate- yes the boy has practically a condo in our bedroom- and headed out for my run with the Colorado Rocky Mountain Masters running group. They are basically a branch of the Denver Trail Runners that meets Tuesday nights. Only three of us showed and we hit the trail at 1730ish and returned around 50 minutes later- not too shabby!

I am trying to duplicate what I will be wearing and carrying for the TransRockies this August. Today I wore an UnderArmour tee, CW-X bra (so light I hardly knew I was wearing it AND no chafing- woot!), Pearl Izumi pink camo arm warmers, TNF flight trail shorts, Injini socks, Road ID , and new Salomon XA shoes. I carried my Nathan's Hydration Zone 2.0 stuffed with about a liter of water and my Golite Virga rain jacket.

Another logged run with the pack and I have got to tell ya, I am really liking this system. My rain jacket squishes perfectly in the front easy to reach clip pocket or in the shock cord without extra bulge. I still need to adjust the straps a bit to my liking but it has yet to bounce on me or create any sort of chafing. No ride up, no annoying shirt lift (where the pack subtly clings to the back of your shirt making it creep up and expose your backside which in turn creates an uncomfortable interruption in your stride by having to continuously yank your shirt back down), no chest strap squeeze or any sort of waist belt issues.

I see a lot of pics of runners with the Intensity hydration system and I have placed my review on this previously. I like things to be equal and symmetric. The Intensity has one chest pocket with a zipper and one (different sized even) that is just a cinch cord. That just throws me off entirely. I would be so focused on trying to stuff one side to match the other so I didn't feel like my boobs were lopsided that I would entirely hate my run. With the Zone, both sides are the same, so for me...a sane piece of mind.

I also solved my dilemma about wishing to use my camelbak bladder instead of the flimsy/leaky NH bladder. I did a little homemade jobber and can now tote my 72 oz camelbak bladder around inside the pack. Simply, I snipped out the little bungee chords for holding the NH bladder and sewed in a loop from some webbing I had laying around. I think it may be a hair too long but no real complaints and nothing I can't redo if needed. Here are some better close up pics of the Zone 2.0:

I love that the bladder is in a separate easy compartment so during aid station fill-up you don't have to unzip and dig into your main compartment.

And last to report...drum roll....

Tonight marks my first entry in my food journal. In just about every one of my magazines and online sites:, Clean Eating Mag (one of my newest favorites- if you haven't checked it out please do so. The recipes in it are super delicious), Cooking Light, Oxygen, Trailrunner, etc. the importance of keeping a food journal is being hammered into my skull. So, today I am caving in and attempting to take a closer look at exactly what I am eating. I think I eat pretty darn healthy with great portion sizes, organic foods, almost zilch processed foods, and heavy on the fiber:water intake. I don't drink sodas or juice and only have one cup of coffee a day. However, I would like to make sure that is the truth and not just a made-up fantasy I have going on to make myself think I am healthy.

Day one 2000 post run:
3 bicuits of Weetabix cereal (OMG I am addicted to this...and at 2G Fiber per biscuit my colon is squeeky clean)
1/4 c. organic raisins
1 c. Organic 1% milk (I weaned myself down from 2% but can't make the leap to skim, what is the point you might as well pour water on your cereal- yuck)
1 mug (1 1/2c) hot green tea with 1 tsp Agave

***Note-this will not be on my ongoing blog as I am sure there are much more interesting things to read about than what I stuff in my face. Plus if there are any non-runner/triathletes or (gasp) my family reading this blog they would be H.O.R.R.I.F.I.E.D at the quantity of food this chic can consume. Seriously. My food bill almost matches my rent per month and going out to eat is a rare occasion.

One last shout out. To Justin's Organic Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs. They are seriously good and awesome on hikes/camping and on trails. Plus with the added bonus that they are made here in Boulder, CO (right near Celestial Seasonings: awesome) what is there not to like. Justin's comes in several different flavors: honey, cinnamon, maple. AND if you want to mix & match OR don't like Peanut Butter (scandelous! You are not invited to my house OR be my friend) there is Almond Butter in the same flavors. Small individual packs perfect for lightweight snacks.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In Speedo Steve Fashion

Couldn't help myself....gotta post the toenail.

Colorado Marathon = one toenail race

I finally pried this off this morning after dealing with it's gross squishing noise and painful pressure. I usually just let it fall off but this one I had to break out the surgical instruments and go to work. It was so gross and finally peeled off with a sucking noise and had little bits of gooey slime attached- like something from aliens.

I let BF know that if he heard a thud to made sure I didn't fall out.

Quick race report: The Colorado Marathon in Ft. Collins was a blast. Started out chilly so I dressed in my CW-X (LOVE THESE) Pro tights, Hind Motion Sensor Sports Bra, UnderArmor Tech-T, Injinji socks, Pearl Izumi arm warmers, Windblocker lightweight gloves and Brooks Adrenaline Running Kicks. Added my camelbak waist pack filled only to 500mls with a tab of Kona Kola Nuun, a few packs of GU, a packet of accelerade, gum, and my new GoLite rain jacket as it was supposed to rain all race.

The clock started at 0615 and by about forty minutes into it I shed the jacket, tucked it in a nice little packet and secured it to my waistpack. Armwarmers and gloves came off shortly after and I probably would have been comfy in just running shorts, but the tights didn't get too hot so all was good.

I ran out of water by mile 22 so just grabbed water at the aide stations. I prefer to carry my own hydration so that i can just cruise through the stations and avoid the irritating chaos that happens at the water troughs. The nuun was perfect and after mile 22 I mixed half my packet of accelerade with an aide station water cup to throw in a bit of protein. I felt pretty good. Not a single port-a-potty visit THANK GOD so this was a totally different marathon for me than then last one. I did a short treadmill run and soaked in the hotel bathtub the night before. Ate only yogurt w/ granola and "safe" food, so my belly was cool and calm.

Finished the 26.2 miles in 4hrs 07 minutes (under 2hrs at the half marathon mark, so I totally felt like I underpaced not knowing what to expect of myself). I was hoping to get under 4hrs but whatev...I finished, am completely happy with my time, and still am walking right?! I was only a little sore but the hour drive home left me pretty stiff. Inhaled an entire meal of buffalo hot wings, a little bit of fish tacos, a little bit of burger, sweet potato fries, and such. (I won't go into messy details of my embarrassing feast.) Then promptly took a nap after being stuffed as a tick.

Got an hour massage by Kendra the next morning (heavenly) and by Tuesday I did a six mile brisk hike on a mountain trail with Argos. Down hills a bit harder than up but I was surprised at how less painful this marathon was than my first. I recovered quite well!

Biked to work last night and although I could tell a noticeable fatigue in my quads, I still hammered it out and biked home up the hills this morning. Leading back to the nail....glad it is gone- adios. Hope it never grows back. I am so tired of that same toe (on both feet) getting black nails and falling off. I am seriously thinking of getting them surgically removed. Can you really do that?
I know my shoes fit well- not too roomy in the toe box but not snug enough that they slam into the front. The injinji socks prevent the surface blisters super well, but I always get the super deep water/blood blister under the toenail on the second toe.