Friday, November 8, 2013

Making Lemonade

Ironman training is months and months, sometimes years, of making lemonade.
In our everyday lives lemons are thrown at us.  What we do with those lemons determines who we are.

At the end of August I raced an Olympic distance at Clear Lake.  This race was considered part of my training so the day was about collecting data, trying out some nutrition and having a good time.  The swim was very good practice as it was one of the rougher swims with more contact than any other triathlon I have done.  I was excited to get on the bike.  At the time I was riding the Litespeed with aero bars, the same bike I rode at Bridgeland.  Unfortunately out of T2 I crashed, completely my fault. Helplessly my husband and sister were only a few feet away but could not help me.  I popped back up and started pedaling.  I soon realized my rear derailleur was no longer working so the race was done in the only two gears I had, big ring and small ring.  Lemons.  Made it through the bike and suffered through the run.  It was wonderful to see Ken and my sister, the first triathlon she had been able to attend, along the way.  Unfortunately, the crash had some lasting results.  Lemons.

My shoulder was sore but I pressed on.  September 22 I was in Oklahoma with a good friend, Trisha, to race the Redman Full Aqua-Bike.  I felt a full distance swim & bike would be better training for me than the usual half Ironman distance most triathletes use in their full distance training.
The swim was great!  I swam 2.65 miles in traffic and negotiated well finishing in 1;29:29.
Once again I was excited to get on the bike but shortly after the Litespeed and I left T2 I had a very sharp pain in my side.  I kept telling myself it was a stitch and would work itself out.  While on the bike I tried stretching and every position I could manage to get more comfortable.  The intense stabbing pain got worse and I could only sit straight up (so much for aero bars).  I had many arguments with myself over those 56 miles.  Sadly at the turn around I knew I could not continue.  Trisha saw me at half way and told me to get off my bike.  At this point I was hyperventilating and couldn’t speak.  I had not taken a deep breath in almost 4 hours.  The folks in the med tent were lovely and did their best to make me comfortable.  Two IVs and several students and a couple doctors later their best guess is intercostal muscle strain.  They were sympathetic and assured me stopping was the smartest decision I made all day.

When I got home I was determined to get whatever this was fixed, I have a race to do, bigger fish to fry and all that.  I met with a local chiropractor who specializes in ART and is a triathlete himself.  At my first appointment he asked me if I had been in a car accident.  I assured him I had not.  He told me he usually sees ribs in this kind of shape after somebody has been broadsided.  My ribcage was completely locked up like a solid mass. 
At our second appointment he discovered I had a fractured rib.  He asked if I had crashed my bike.  Well, now that you mention it I did crash my bike!  LOL  My focus post Clear Lake was on my shoulder but apparently when my body hit the pavement my ribs took the brunt.  “The good news is you can continue with your training, the bad news is it will all hurt.”  Lemons.  Gee, thanks Jonathan.  For me the good news was I knew what the heck was going on.  My ribs had been spasming on and off since Redman and let’s just say it was very uncomfortable.  Knowing there was a reason helped me realize this reason will heal and this is something that will end. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Racing Naked

Racing Naked isn't nearly as sexy or frightening as it sounds, however, it is very liberating!

Going naked is tri speak for no watch.  In general triathletes are very data driven.  We wear sun dial size watches that tell us how far we have run, how fast we are running, what our heart rate is, our average pace, how long we have been running, the options for the display are many just don't ask us what time it is.  During my runs I spend a lot of time looking at my watch, too much time.  Running by heart rate means you need to keep your pace slow and even which is difficult in Houston heat and humidity, heaven forbid there is an elevation change.

Leading up to the Bridgeland sprint this weekend the store where I work had packet pick up during my shift both Friday and Saturday.  This gave me the opportunity to speak with a lot of racers and a good percentage of them were first timers.  Having done this race four times before I did my best to answer their questions and give them some tips to lessen their anxiety.  My general spiel is '"read the information the race director has given you, nothing new on race day, get there early, thank the volunteers and smile for the cameras."  I decided to take my own advice.  I didn't have a computer on my bike and didn't wear my Garmin.

This was my first time racing Bridgeland in the age group category rather than Athena.  The first year I took 2nd, the next two years I came in 4th and last year I got 3rd sharing the podium with a very good friend.  The last 3 years I was looking to make the top three in my division and wondering where the other girls were on the course.  Looking at my watch and being disappointed I wasn't running faster.  This year I was racing age group feeling like a little fish in a much bigger pond competing against 58 women rather than the six 40 and over Athena's.  I was less concerned with who was in front of me and who was going to catch me and more concerned with having a good time.

While visiting with my coach and friends after the race I told everyone I had a great race because I had a great time and felt good about how the morning went.  It wasn't until I got home and looked at the results I realized I would have been the first Athena finisher for the first time ever.  My time was seconds slower than last year and I know I could have pushed myself a little harder on the run but training for an Ironman left my legs heavy and sluggish.  Arizona is my big picture.  Bridgeland was a day to enjoy.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Long Run Perspective

Yesterday was another two hour run.  I am currently coached by Adrienne Langalier who has me running by heart rate.  To determine my zones I did a threshold test a few weeks ago and based off my max heart rate I was given my training zones.  Long runs are zone 2 which means incredibly, terribly slow for me.  While I hate using the term slow when referring to running we are talking a pace 12:30-13:15 depending on temperature, humidity and distance of the run.

After only one months use my Garmin heart rate monitor is no longer working.  While going up a hill at a pace that should be zone 3 my heart rate was reading somewhere in the 80s.  This was pretty annoying but I took advantage and went a bit faster than I knew I was supposed to.  The result of going just a little faster over a 2 hour period was how I felt when I was finished compared to my last two hour run.  My body was pretty darn grumpy at the end of the run yesterday.              

The good news is Ken has been able to do some of my training with me.  Yesterday we did a 4.25 out and back on the Faulke Gully then a 1 mile loop.  He had to get to work so I ran the next out and back solo.
Often times when I run I use mantras but usually not until I am hurting or incredibly bored.  Yesterday I just let my mind wander thinking about the coming week.  I came off the trail and turned right to head home I noticed an older gentleman sitting in a wheelchair in his driveway and my first thought was he was recovering from some kind of surgery.  However as I came upon him I noticed both legs had been amputated below the knee and by the look of the bandages this was recent.  I wasn't sure whether to ignore him or say something.  Then I thought he probably gets ignored a lot.  I looked right at him and said "Good morning!" he smiled right back and wished me a good day.  I got chills.  I thought this man would probably give anything to have both his legs and be able to run or go for a walk with his wife or grandchildren.  At that moment I felt so grateful that my body lets me do what I want to do. I picked up my pace repeating to myself "You have legs, you should run!"  I can pretty much guarantee I was in zone 4.

Any day you can run is a good day. 


Friday, June 28, 2013

Full Swing

A lot has happened since my last post.  I won't go into the boring details, here are the high and low lights:

Kemah did not happen
Bought new house & moved in
Sold old house and closed
Brendan graduated from high school
Family came in town for graduation and were forced to help us move (NOT part of the plan).
Training took a backseat during a week of packing/moving and a couple of runs was it.

Ironman training is now in full swing.  Following the plan Ken (husband) and I put together with some guidance from the Fink book, my run coach and the amazing Liz Baugher professional triathlete and co-worker.

For the most part my plan builds for three weeks and is followed by a recovery week.  This is the last week of build and next week is recovery week.  Unfortunately, recovery week does not mean lots of sleep, pedicures (could really use one) and bon bons.  Recovery week means my long run is ONLY 1.5 hours and my long bike is 3 hours.
One adaptation I have made to my plan is to have my longer swims during recovery.  I don't have the time and energy to go long in all 3 right now, we will see if that will change.  So next week is shorter in the run, no change in bike and more swimming.

My bike training is pretty intense right now because my next event will be the Katy Flatlands Century.  This will be my first 100 mile bike ride.  The wonderful news is Ken does my weekend riding with me.  During the week a small group of women meet for a 23 mile ride, I take a spin class with a tri group at the YMCA on Friday and I joined an amazing group of women training for Tour de Pink.  We are team Wonder Woman and are working together to raise money for breast cancer.  This is a link to my donation page, everything helps.

I hope the link works this site won't allow me to imbed the link .

Friday, April 12, 2013


There is a plan.  It is already written.  It is a mystery to me.

Our house is on the market should be an excuse for just about anything.  The problem is the gulf water of Kemah does not care if my house is on the market.  The water on that day is going to be whatever it is no matter what. 

Yesterday we were getting our house ready for a showing.  We are still in the stage when we are happy about a showing though mildly annoyed rather than the other way around.  The girls get excited and are convinced every time these are the people who are going to buy our house.  I love that all things are possible and positive in their lives. 

One of the girls questioned whether these people would love our house and want to move in and what would we do if that happens.  I got out a piece of paper and drew a timeline.  Our House at the bottom (vertical like with markers) New House at the top.  I explained many things will happen between now and the new house.  This is a process.  There is a house that is OURS.  It is possible we haven't seen it yet.  He has chosen the house, we just don't know it yet. 

I then did another timeline with birth at the bottom and death at the top.  Along the vertical line were markers some with happy faces, some sad.  I explained a lot of things happen in our life.  There will be many good things and some bad things.  The bad things are not there because God has abandoned us or we are cursed in any way but the bad things are building blocks to create the person God intended us to be.  Pretty deep huh?

That is when it happened.  Once I said it out loud it was true.  God has a plan for me, my story is written. 

Kemah 2012 is the race where I had my first full on panic attack.  I have been reminding myself for weeks now 2013 will be different and while the conditions for me were very difficult last year I finished that swim!  The experience has likely helped me empathize with others who have open water anxiety or anxiety in general.  The panic that day was very real and I was truly terrified.  I made it anyway.

This year Kemah will be different for many reasons.  Women go first (no dudes in the water with me is a good thing), the water will be different (I hope for the better).  I will have more experience under my belt.  Not to say my swim training is where I think it should be right now but I have swam this distance and more many times.  My goal this year will be to enjoy the swim and welcome the day He has made with the body that allows me to do what I want to do.  What a gift!  I will pray, I will train, I will let go and trust in the already written story.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ugly Run Day

Last Tuesday just two days after my 5K PR I had a great 10 mile run.  It started out good, I felt great the whole time and I exceeded my expectations for my pace finishing with my fastest mile.  My overall pace for that 10 mile run was 11:49.

Yesterday coach had 13 miles on my plan.  My training at the end of last week and this past weekend was not spot on as Ken and I were able to take a little couple weekend away which did not include triathlon training.  I asked coach about the jump from 10 miles last week to 13 this week.  She said if it was easier to wrap my head around 12 that would be OK.  Why, yes, 12 sounds SO MUCH EASIER than 13.  13 is a race.  I have done 13 exactly two times, both were races.  Why would I do 13 in training?  LOL 

I just decided 13 is only a race number.  We all know it is unlucky so why would you do it if you didn't have to?  I worked in hotels for years and the 13th floor is almost always used for storage rather than guest rooms.  Having said that 12 didn't feel very lucky yesterday.  The plan was to repeat last week start off slow for the first couple of miles and then do what feels good.  Nothing felt good.  I should have known I was in trouble when the first mile felt long.

I have been doing my long runs in Terry Hershey park.  I generally go just past half way for distance and turn around.  The out and back prevents me from cutting my runs short which I would have definitely done yesterday if I was on a shorter loop.

I tried a new hydration bottle yesterday.  It is a Camelbak bottle bigger than my Fuel Belt bottle I usually carry.  I realized immediately it was difficult to store the bottle in my Lululemon Dart and Dash shorts so I held the bottle for the first two miles until it was a bit lighter and I could store in the side pocket.  During mile 4 the bottle popped out and when I heard it hit the ground I was able to retrieve it.  Yesterday I turned around shortly after the 6 mile mark.  Once I turned around I stopped my watch and took a minute to put in my earbuds and use my ipod Shuffle.  I don't use music when I run outside but with this long solo run I thought it might come in handy.  I am so glad I had that music to get me through the next six miles.  Unfortunately, because I had the music I did not hear when my bottle full of Cytomax hit the ground somewhere around mile 6.  I reached for that bottle at 7 and it was gone.  Going back wasn't an option, I had no desire to add mileage to this already miserable run and I was short on time having to pick the girls up from school.  The good news is this park has plenty of water fountains, I got through just fine.

The last 2 miles were painful, there was walking.  I told myself this is a good mental day because the Ironman is going to hurt and I will have to keep going.  At the end of the run I could not fathom going another 14.2.  A marathon is a long way.  Then I reminded myself this was my longest training run by 2 miles.  Back when I started running in 2009 two miles was 4 times around the YMCA track and I couldn't do it without stopping.  I've come a long way baby.

The pace for those 12 miles? 11:46 but the finish was Uuuuuugly!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Tights

Last week I was fortunate enough to be gifted a pair of recovery tights.  I already have a pair but thought these would come in handy as my training increases having two pair would be nice.

Tuesday I had a good 10 mile run and thought this would be a great time to test out the new tights.

My original pair of tights are Zoot similar to these but without the super cute pink stitching, mine are a few years old.  I have long felt these tights were well worth the money I spent and worth their weight in gold.  The ones I own are technically active recovery meaning you could exercise in them and these are Zoot's big Daddy tights.  My husband owns those but doesn't care for them.  They slide down his tuhkus and the stirrup style cuts into the arch of his foot.  He likes what they do for his legs but he is uncomfortable in them.

In the last couple of years my only complaint about my Zoot tights is they are tricky to get on but that is part of the whole recovery deal.  I keep telling Ken somebody needs to create spray on recovery tights! 

The new tights are CEP.  For a while now they have had a clone recovery tight that is custom to each athlete given their own measurements.  This is their first non custom recovery tight.  They look just like the clone tights.  What I like about them is they cover the heel and arch of the foot but stop short of the toes allowing you to wear flip flops and your toes don't get squished.  That is the end of the good news.  They look and feel like something your Grandma would wear.  The control top is thicker and itchy almost like wool, the rise is too high (I am 5'9"), they come up so high they kind of roll down and cut into me like panty hose (and we all hate panty hose).  The other complaint is the actual crotch of the tights.  I won't go into details, lets just say they rubbed me the wrong way.

My Zoot tights look like athletic tights, you can see the different weaves of the fabric, they are soft behind my knees and even more important the crotch is very comfortable.  I was originally reluctant to buy tights because of the panty hose feeling at the waist.  Not an issue in my Zoot's because the compression is graduated they are not tight on my tummy at all, hit me below my belly button, stay in place and they are so comfortable I often sleep in them.  I could never sleep in the CEP tights.

 I work in a triathlon store and sell plenty of recovery calf sleeves, socks and tights.  They are not a MUST have but I'd put them at the top of the 'nice to have' list for those racing longer distances. 

In closing I will say I love my CEP socks and have no idea why they didn't transfer the same technology to their tights, they missed the mark in my opinion.

Monday, February 11, 2013

5K PR!

Finally!  It has taken nearly 4 years but I finally beat my 5K PR (Personal Record).  In all honesty I haven't done a lot of 5K races but the last couple I did were disappointing to say the least.  The PR that stood this long was the Astros Race for the Pennant I did with Ken and Brendan May 2009.  Back then I didn't wear a watch, had no idea what pace I was doing or what I was supposed to do I just ran for the fun of it.

The first 5K I have a record of is May 2, 2009, Cinco de Mayo, a race I had no plans to do until a fellow BTer and local triathlete talked me into it the night before.  I was mortified at my 37:12 time.  Just a few weeks later I did the Astros race and was happy with 33:06.  After shaving 4 minutes off my 5K time in just a few weeks my expectations were high.  Silly girl.  A year later on a warm June day I attempted to PR my 5K and came up way short with a time of 35:26.  This was very discouraging but who in their right mind goes for a PR in June? 
My next attempt was another spur of the moment local 5K on a dark, rainy morning March 2012.  I had been doing speed work and thought, maybe this time.  When my good friend arrived to run with me I threw my watch at her asking her to pace me.  Due to a miscommunication on my part she was unsure of my goal pace and I missed my PR by 9 seconds. SECONDS.

Those of us who race know to get a PR the stars have to align, the training has to be solid, mind right, body strong and the weather Gods have to be on your side.  Perfect 5K temps for most of us living in the south is overcast and 50-60 degrees.  Yankees, in general, prefer 30-40 degrees but that would require most Houstonians to don parkas and it's difficult to get up to pace dressed as the Michelin man.  We don't get those PR conditions very often.

This race has been on my calendar for months.  I was really sick and tired of seeing my 5K PR date of May 2009 to the right of my screen every time I logged a workout on BT.   February seemed like the perfect time.  The weather looked good but on my way to the race I noticed the temperature at 7:00am was 76 degrees.  No bueno.  I also neglected to check out the course which, as it turns out, is not an easy/flat straightaway but a hilly out and back.  I'm glad I didn't know that part ahead of time as I know it would have given me doubts.

After telling my run coach I was going for my PR she signed up for the race to pace me.  This turned out perfect since Ken had a Duathlon the same day.  It was nice to have somebody there just for me.  Adrienne has been my coach for a few months now and I can't say enough about her.  I can be hard on people whose job it is to tell me what to do.  I chose Adrienne because of her sports psychology background.  I know there is no physical reason I am not going faster, it is what's between my ears that is holding me back.  We can only do what we believe we are capable of.

To be honest I think Adrienne was more nervous before the race than I was.  I knew she wanted this for me just as much as I wanted this.  I was my usual chatty self at the start line but once we started I was focused.  The mantra that immediately came to me was 'I can do this, this is my pace' repeated over and over in my head.   Knowing we were going to start at my targeted pace of 10:35 scared me but I trusted Adrienne.  I put my race in her hands.  I wore my Garmin 910XT so I would have my heart rate data but I didn't want to check my pace at any time.  At one point I did look at my watch and realized it was still set to bike mode which is probably best.  I had my HR information but no idea what my pace was.

The middle was the worst, we were going uphill and the doubts and those damn demons popped in my head 'you have a half marathon in a month' 'what makes you think you can do an Ironman?' I was surprised how dark it could get in such a short race.  When I got back to my mantra the anxiety and fear went away.

As we ran Adrienne fed me cues.  She told me where my line of vision should be, told me we were right on pace, I looked good and even at one point when we came upon a very overdressed guy wearing huge old school headphones told me "You're going to beat him."  The best cue she gave me was when we were approaching a hill, she got right in front of me and told me to focus on her back.  I felt my heartrate scream and wanted to walk so bad but I just kept focusing on her back and before I knew it we were cresting the hill.  This is a trick I will definitely use in the future.  I remember her saying ".3 to go" and then "2 more minutes" there was another cue after that I don't remember but I pushed with what I had left and was happy with my 32:19 time.  The goal I had given Adrienne was 10:35 and I ran 10:23.

We walked and talked after the race.  I told her when the fear creeps in it's like those dark 'bad' ghost demons from the movie Ghost who come to take the bad guys.  It is dark, they know your secrets and your fears and are just waiting for you to be vulnerable and eat you up.  At times I feel like I have to actually swat them away.  They are the voices of the people who told me I couldn't, who preyed on me when I was vulnerable who stole my innocence and a piece of my sole.
I've spent my adult life filling that hole, parenting myself and loving that little girl back to whole.
She will be with me when I cross that line.  She will be an Ironman.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just Keep Swimming

The last two posts were about running and biking so swimming it is.

When I started in triathlon I had no background in any of the three disciplines.  However, swimming came the easiest to me.  I get asked all the time what my favorite is and usually respond "Swimming, it's the only time I'm not in pain"

Unfortunately I have hit a road block right between my ears.  Last spring I participated in the Kemah Olympic distance race for the third time.  This year the start was different.  All the athletes were on the same boat and there were no designated wave start times.  It was pretty much a mass start ala Escape from Alcatraz

When you arrive in Kemah you set up your transition in the dark.  Joking with friends helps cut the tension.  The announcement comes that all athletes need to move towards the boat, the boat will leave with or without you.  Going potty is important, not really an option on the boat.  We say goodbye to loved ones, don our wetsuit and walk toward the boat like zombie lemmings.  Once on the boat I try to get near the top where I can get fresh air. Palms are sweaty, breathing is quickening, heart is beating.  I try to enjoy the fresh air and make new friends.  The sky is just starting to get lighter the sun is coming but not up yet.  The boat stops.  It gets real.  I have to jump off this boat.  Your head is dizzy trying to remember what you should do - Jump far so you don't get jumped on, start swimming right away, don't forget to sight, stay calm.

It all goes to hell when you jump in and go deeper than you thought you would. Fighting to get to the surface and when you get there you get punched in the head.  Start swimming Keri!  And so it begins.  On this day we had some chop and current.  I am a left side breather which does not do me any favors in Kemah.  200 or so into my 1500 meters I go to breathe and get a chest full of gulf water.  I have a coughing fit that won't stop, my heart rate skyrockets and I have my first full on panic attack.  I tell myself it is hard to drown in a wetsuit.  I look for and find a kayak, he is not far so I swim to him.  I thank him over and over for being there and helping.  I ask his name.  Hi Dennis, I'm Keri.  I tell both of us I will be fine once I get my heart rate down, I have done this swim twice before.  Dennis tells me to take it one buoy at a time and I go.  As I swim I count every other stroke, I get to 100 and count the buoys, same number as before.  I feel like I am swimming in place, getting pulled into the gulf.  I start swimming again, go to breathe get a wave instead, coughing again, panic again, WHERE is Dennis?  I look behind me and see nothing but water forever, no Dennis, no other kayaks, no big boat.  I look ahead of me and see colorful caps bobbing, the shore is too far to see.  I get angry with myself 'they are leaving you!' 'THIS is where you are supposed to gain time, you are giving this race away!'  Being angry at myself doesn't help, at all.   To my far right I see a motor boat plucking athletes from the water.  I think about swimming the 150 or so yards but that is across, not forward.  If I get in the boat I have to surrender my chip, my day is done and I have to tell my kids I quit.  Pep talk time "Keri, nobody is going to finish this for you, just swim."  I reminded myself I am looking forward to this bike ride and even the run.  I finish the swim and the race.
After the race there were tears.  My wonderful husband allowed me the luxury of processing the very real fear I had in that water.  Just because the race was over and I made it didn't mean the feelings weren't there.

Here I am a year later and the thought of jumping off that boat is really freaking me out.  Which is why I have to do it again.  In working through my anxiety I remind myself the conditions were rough last year and I finished it!  I didn't quit.  I did it.  I will do it again.  I hope Dennis is out there but I hope I don't stop for a visit.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Reluctant Cyclist

Let's not kid ourselves here I am a reluctant triathlete.  However, when it comes to cycling I am even more reluctant. 

My husband is a great cyclist, the bike is his strong suit, this does not make my reluctance any easier.
We sat down and wrote a preliminary Ironman training plan weeks ago. I then compared the training plan he had for me to the Fink intermediate plan and his was DOUBLE the bike distance!  Silly man.  Good thing he's not my coach, I value my marriage way too much.

After weeks off the bike and months of any consistency on the bike I bit the bullet and booked a lactate threshold test.  (For my Mama friends, despite the name this test has nothing to do with lactation).  When you do a lactate threshold test on a bike you are usually on a bike trainer, in my test I was on a compu trainer making it even more fun.  My test took place at VR Cycling in Magnolia.  The guy who runs the place is great, very knowledgeable, super friendly and has a great Australian accent to boot which is really cute until he is yelling at you.  Of course he follows every command with Mate which I think is their version of passive aggressive.  It sounds like they are being friendly but it's all a ruse.

So here I am on the bike, shoes clipped in, video screen in front of me with my numbers including Heart Rate, Load, Power, Speed, Distance and percent of Load or I guess how much I am sucking.  The compu trainer gives me the load and I am trying to match with power.  He is explaining all this to me but it's not unlike having a conversation in labor - he sounded a lot like the teacher from Charlie Brown, Australian style of course.

Knowing my goal and knowing this test is 20 minutes you don't want to go too hard too early, this has never been my problem, an over achiever on the bike I am not.  I might have even waited too long to pour it on.  Steve comes by "5 more minutes Mate"!  At this point I am counting my cadence, anything not to focus on my burning lungs, burning legs and the contents of my stomach considering an early exit, he takes this opportunity to take a picture of me, sweet!
"90 seconds Mate, time to kick it in" 'lean over here Aussie boy I'd like to kick you' -- who am I kidding?  I don't have any extra energy to do anything and I am sure he knows it.  "60 seconds Mate!" Where oh where is that trash can???  If I vomit during my LT test does that give me bonus points or will they never let me back?  "15 seconds Mate!" 

When I was done he asked me how long I wanted to ride - "How about a nice tempo ride, Mate?"  My first thought was I needed to get off the bike but then I realized that would be bad and riding at an easy pace seemed prudent and rode for another 20 minutes.  Steve was celebratory, I was exhausted. The good news is the test was over.  The bad news is now my coach will have this information and future training will be based on this near puke-fest of a test.  More good news? I am supposed to do this again in six weeks.

Two days later I mustered the courage, energy and a healthy slather of Chamois Butt'r to go back.  This time I was with my husband, friend Trisha and my coach.  Started with intervals but when it was clear my cadence looked more like a threshold test we backed it off.  We rode for 90 minutes and the time flew, having friends around makes it so much easier.

I love my bike, appreciate my new saddle (after trying many on the market) and I have a great fit from the brain trust that is Retul.  It is time to make friends with cycling.