Friday, December 30, 2011

My 2011 Report Card

I was looking back at last year's goals today wondering how I did. Here's a report on my 2011 goal list found in this post: 11 Things For 2011

1.  Complete my third marathon (Grandma's Marathon, Duluth, MN, June 2011) DONE!
2.  Break 5 hours in the marathon.  If I don't accomplish this at Grandma's, I'll be looking to run my fourth marathon in the fall.  DONE!
3.  Complete my first triathlon (I'm aiming for Albert Lea in May if the logistics work out, otherwise I'll have to do more investigating to find a tri to practice for my next goal.) DONE!
4. Complete a half-iron distance triathlon. (Chisago Lakes, July 2011) DONE!
5.  Run 1000 miles. (This is a little bit lofty, but attainable if I work hard towards the next goal.)  Not even close...
6.  Follow my training plan (with reasonable exceptions for illness or injury.  I am also allowing myself one "I don't feel like training today" day per month.  These can be banked if not used, but cannot use more than two per month.) I give myself a 'C' on this one. I did good up until my half-iron. After that things fell apart due to an extremely hard recovery and some illness. 
7.  Read one book per month.  This may not sound like a lot, but with all the other things I have going on, getting time to read can be a challenge. 12 books were completed long before December. I quit counting after that. 
8.  Follow a cleaning schedule.  I found one online and modified it to fit our house and needs. Need to do better at this. I have customized one that works pretty well for me, when I follow it. I have found that I need a daily checklist if I'm going to get my chores done. 
9.  Reduce the amount of stuff in our house by donating clothing and other things we no longer use.  I've already got a good start on this.  The in-laws took four bags of clothes for Goodwill last time they were here. We have taken a lot more clothes to Goodwill, given away a whole bunch of baby stuff, and packed up some more for my mom's garage sale next spring. We can still do better, but I call this one a success. 
10.  Learn how to use a pressure-canner.  I've done this with my mom before but have never been confident enough to do it myself.  I'd really like to can my own beans - much cheaper than store-bought and no BPA-lined cans! Not even attempted. Canning is a pain with a toddler that wants to help with everything. 
11.  Go camping at least once per month from May-September.  This may mean putting up the tent in the yard a couple times, but I'd really like Liam to get used to camping early.  Weather forced the last-minute cancellation of a couple of our trips, but we did get a few long weekends in. Liam is a great camper and loves the tent. 

I can hardly believe it's already time to set goals for 2012!  (What do you mean it's December 30th?  It's 36 degrees out, tomorrow is supposed to be 45 and sunny!) I'll be away for a few days, celebrating the New Year with two different sets of very good friends. When I return, I hope to have a whole new set of goals for 2012!  

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why I support the Des Moines River Valley Trail

There has been a lot of controversy in Windom, Minnesota lately.  The hot topic?   The Des Moines River Valley Trail.  (See master plan here: )
The proposed trail would be multi-use for pedestrians, bicyclists, skiers and snowmobilers.  It would extend from the Iowa border, 65 miles to Currie, Minnesota.  The hope is to eventually link it to the Casey Jones State Trail near Currie and the Okoboji trail system at the border.  

I tried to write in paragraphs, but I am so passionate about this (and worked up about the opposition) that I get all rambly.  Bullet points it is!

Why I support the trail:

*Economic impact and tourism
Windom is a small agricultural and manufacturing town.  Sure, there are things to do, but not things that will draw people in not just for an afternoon, but for a weekend.  It will also keep locals in town for these types of activities.  Currently, people drive either 45 minutes to Okoboji, Iowa or 75 minutes to Mankato, Minnesota to use trails.  I am one of those people.  And, yeah, when I'm out of town, I go shopping out of town, I eat at a restaurant out of town, and sometimes stay overnight Out. Of. Town.  I would love to be the town where people come to visit and spend money.

*Safety for pedestrians and cyclists
Currently, if you want to run or bike around here, you are on the road.  The "safest" roads are the county tar roads (with no shoulder) and the gravel roads (hard to ride a road bike on).  I have been almost hit by vehicles both while running and cycling.  I have been sprayed with gravel by vehicles that don't slow down or move over.  Worse, this has happened while I have my son with me in his jogging stroller!  I wear high-visibility clothing, I don't run with music, and I try to be extremely vigilant whenever I'm out.  

*Encouraging outdoor activity in our citizens,
especially our youth.  How could creating a safe place for our kids to be active be wrong?  Not easy to measure, but what would the impact on our population's health be if more people had a safe and scenic place to exercise?  In turn, how would that change affect the amount spent on Medicare as that population ages?  
How many kids can be saved from obesity both by the exercise they get now and by the love of exercise and the outdoors that could be instilled in them?  

Now to address a couple of the opposition's arguments:

#1  We are worried about people being exposed to agricultural chemicals when farm vehicles cross the trail.
Farm vehicles drive down the same roads we are already walking, running and biking on.  They drive right through town on their way to their fields, sometimes through residential areas.  I have smelled the drift from spraying while out running/biking on the road and also while standing in my own yard.  I have been passed over by a crop-duster more times than I can count.  If you're really worried about people being exposed to agricultural chemicals, you should be working with the farmer to reduce the exposure we all get here daily.  

#2  We are worried about water quality in the Des Moines River.
A trail is not going to be a major contributor to water pollution.  Again, work with the farmer to reduce agricultural spills, runoff, and to create a larger buffer zone between their fields or animals and our waterways.  

**Note** My dad is a farmer.  He supports the creation of a trail and thinks both of these arguments by the trail opposers are bunk.  

#3  I don't want a trail through my land and if I don't sell it to the state, they'll just take it.  
The DNR has stated, as well as demonstrated by past precedent, that they will not use eminent domain to procure land for this trail. 

#4  We should be spending money on ( insert other funding need here) instead of a trail.
The argument I hear most commonly is that we should be spending money on education instead of a trail.  I agree with that.  Education in Minnesota is severely underfunded.  However, the money for the trail is likely to come from the Legacy Fund, which is designated for outdoors, arts, and culture.  Money from this fund cannot be used for education or roads or a health care or a stadium (don't get me started on that or this blog post will never end!)

In closing:
Being a runner and triathlete, this trail project is near and dear to my heart.  But that isn't the only reason.  I love this community and would love to have my son feel the same someday.  Windom isn't going to survive on agriculture and Toro alone, especially when most of our young people leave and don't come back.  We need things here to attract visitors and new residents alike as well as serve the current residents.  This trail could be an incredible addition to that package.  

If you would like to express your opinion about the trail to the Minnesota DNR, a public comment period is open until December 31st (only a couple more days!).  Please contact the following people for more information.
• Suzanne Rhees, parks and trails planner, (651) 259-5586;
• Phil Nasby, area supervisor, 831-2900, ext. 225;

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Training log Dec. 11-24

There isn't much to this training report. I've been having issues with fatigue, nausea, and dizziness for a while now. I finally went to the doctor but the tests he ran were all negative. So I still have no idea why I feel like crud. He has me changing back to a multivitamin that includes iron and doing a food journal to see if particular things set off my nausea. I also ended up in the ER the night before Christmas eve with vomiting and severe stomach pain.  Made me feel a little silly when it was just a viral gastroenteritis, but I'm glad I was able to go and get the IV anti-nausea and pain meds and the IV fluids.   
Anyway, I'm on bland foods and rest for a few days, then the food journaling and new multivitamin begin.  I hope it all just goes away. I am not a good sick person.  I get kinda whiny. 

So here's the brief training log. Hopefully the next one will look better!

Sun: P90X Legs & Back, 30 minutes worth, dizzy & extremely fatigued
Mon: run 6 miles, 1:04:35, dizzy last 3 miles
Tues: sick
Weds: sick
Thurs, Fri, Sat: no workouts
Sun: 3.95 miles, 39:16, dizzy last 2.5 miles
Mon-Thurs: no workouts
Fri,Sat: sick

Hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

How I got into triathlon

As part of an effort to encourage applicants for the new spot on Team Evotri, it's current members each wrote about how he or she got into triathlon. They consolidated all their stories here.  

They also encouraged others to write about their own triathlon story if they felt so inspired.  Apparently I have been inspired to do so, because here is my story:  

I've been a runner as long as I can remember. I've never been fast. Middle-of-the-pack when I'm well-trained, back-of-the-pack when I'm not.

I remember the first time I ever saw a triathlon was in high school, watching the Kona Ironman on television. I thought, "I think I could do that. Someday I will."   And that was all the more I thought about it for a long time. It would pop into my head now and again, but the resounding thought was "someday I will".  Emphasis on the "someday". 

Fast forward through the years where I had other priorities: boyfriends, friends, work, getting married, even owning a small business for a while. I continued to run on and off through these years, even fitting in my first couple marathons. But boy does training for a marathon take a lot of time, and I was only in my 20's, surely time was something I had plenty of, right?  

Well, life changes faster than you realize and I found myself a 34-year-old stay-at-home mom.  Wait a second, I thought, how old am I??? Already???  I knew it would realistically take a couple years (at least) for me to be ready for a full Ironman.  "Someday" was going to disappear if I didn't do something soon!  

Of course, I got my sister on board with me right away.  We set up a plan to do a half in 2011, and a full in 2013.  We searched for our half-distance tri based on location, time of year, and reviews, ultimately picking Chisago Lakes Half-Iron.  (In the end, my sister had not been able to fit in the training and backed out of the race.)

When I became pregnant, the first thing we bought was the baby backpack.  The second the jogging stroller, and the third the child bike trailer.  I knew that I wanted to raise my child in an active family and I began running as soon as I could after a c-section (a severely sprained ankle prevented me from running through most of my pregnancy).  The run really didn't worry me.  I had, after all, been a runner for almost 30 years.  I may not be fast, but I knew the distance was manageable, even if it meant walking.  The only part of the run that really worried me was how I'd feel after swimming and biking. 

I hadn't done any swimming since I took swimming lessons as a child.  I grew up in a small town with only an outdoor pool so we had no swim team.  I knew the basic movements of the strokes and could tread water for a LONG time, but my form was (and still is) terrible.  Swimming is by far my weakest sport in triathlon.  I joined the closest gym with a pool 30 miles away and hired a swim coach.  She and I were not a good fit and I struck out on my own (with a lot of help from Total Immersion videos and books!)  I was lucky to find a triathlon-specific swim clinic an hour away mid-March and just that day with them helped me a lot.  

My first open water swim and my first swim in a wetsuit were both my first triathlon on May 22, 2011.  This was a sprint distance tri, worked into my training schedule for the purpose of practice.  The week after, my (semi-)local multisport club started doing group open water swims.  After panicking in the cold water at my first tri, I attended every one I could.  

As far as the bike, I'd purchased a decent road bike a couple years before when my husband and I did RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa) and learned how to ride with clipless pedals.  The challenge for me here was finding myself on a new bike one week before my goal race after hubby had forgotten it was on the top of the Jeep before pulling into a garage.  The new bike and I did not get along right away and I ended up driving more than 2 hours each way for a proper bike fit 6 days before my race.  Again, I knew I could get through the bike, barring any mechanical failure, it just might take me a while.  

On July 24, 2011, I completed my goal and finished my first half-iron distance triathlon.  I had some sort of issue in every leg of the race, but my only goal was to finish, so none of them caused too much frustration.  I am proud to say, that in a very athletic family, where all my uncles, cousins, etc. are athletes - some of them very good- I, the middle-to-back-of-the-packer, was the first to complete a half-ironman distance triathlon.  

The iron distance race goal has been moved back to 2013 for me.  After doing a half, I see how much more improvement I need to make.  I won't win my age group, or even be close.  The only medal I will get is the one that says "Finisher".  But I will get that medal, and then I will return for another.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I won!

I'm super-excited to have just won a 2012 Rev3 race entry in TRIJUICE's holiday giveaway!  

Thank you TRIJUICE and Rev3!!!

Now to decide, use it for the Rev3 race I was planning on doing or add another race to my schedule...hmmm...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Application For Team Evotri

As promised, here is my video application for Team Evotri:

I encourage you to check out Evotri on their website and Facebook page.  And if you're interested, submit your own application!

Wish me luck! 

Training Log Dec 4-10

I did a little better this week than last.  I didn't do as much as I should have, but I did okay.  

Sun, Mon: off
Tues: 5 miles on treadmill, 51:53, + walked .5 mile cooldown
Weds: Off
Thurs: 2.35 miles.  Planned 3, but I was running during Liam's nap and he woke up.
Fri: Off
Sat: 60 minutes worth of P90X Yoga.  I pushed the first part pretty hard and I was completely wiped out after 1 hour.  

I had two days that I ate enough fruits and veggies to count for HBBC points, bringing my HBBC total for Dec. 3-9 to 9.85 points.  Kinda thinking I was a little overambitious when I placed myself in the Advanced category!  But really, any other time of year I would be.  

Now that I have my 2012 race plan in place, I started working on my training plan.  I'm giving myself the rest of December to kind of play around with my schedule, then I'll start a more structured schedule.  

In the past, I have penciled out a whole training plan onto a calendar.  This works until I get off-plan and have to readjust.  This time I wrote each week on an index card, then on the calender just wrote which week of the training plan I should be on (i.e. marathon week ten, 70.3 week one).  This way, when I get off schedule, I don't have so much rewrite, I can just pull out the appropriate card.  (Can you say organizationally obsessed?)  

In other news, I am working on a video to submit to Team Evotri in their search for a new team member.  I'm hoping to finish and post it this week.  My technological devices have been conspiring against me so I'm ending up with a fancy slide show instead of actual video footage of myself.  I can't even get the microphone to work appropriately to narrate my slide show.  Thank goodness for royalty-free music!  I'll post a link to it once I submit it.  

Goals for this week are to get my homemade Christmas presents done, and get packed to head to the in-laws for an early Christmas celebration!  Looking forward to doing some running with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ready for 2012!

Finally, I am getting my races for 2012 figured out!  I am trying to keep a good base for next season, but was having a hard time getting motivated to do much regular training without specific goals in mind. Here's my race calendar for 2012.  Races in bold are definitely on the schedule, all others are tentative depending on training needs, injury, etc...

Feb 12: Lace Up Against Breast Cancer Half-Marathon, Rochester, MN
Mar 17: Get Lucky Half-Marathon, Minneapolis, MN
Apr 29: Cannon Falls Duathlon, Cannon Falls, MN
May 20: Land Between the Lakes Triathlon, Albert Lea, MN
May 27: Med City Marathon 20-miler, Rochester, MN
Jun 16: Grandma's Marathon, Duluth, MN
Jun 30: Okoboji Bike Ride, Okoboji, IA
July 7: Elysian Rookie's Tri, Elysian, MN (possibly as part of a team)
Jul 22: Chisago Lakes Triathlon (sprint), Chisago City, MN
Aug 12: Rev3 Wisconsin HalfRev, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Sep 15: Turkey Day 10K, Worthington, MN
Sep 23: Quad Cities Half-Marathon, Davenport, IA
Oct 20: Mankato Half-Marathon, Mankato, MN

I noticed as I was typing this up that the half-marathon distance is the most prevalent on my race calendar.  This is my favorite distance to race.  I love the marathon and the 70.3 triathlon distances also, but they take so much preparation before and recovery time after.  With a half-marathon, I'm always in good enough shape to go run.  Not always "race" shape, but it's a distance that is do-able and fits well into my training schedule most weeks.  

I loved the Irongirl Duathlon in Bloomington this past year and was hoping to do that again as part of a girls' weekend.  But, I am proud to say, that my husband will be running his first marathon that weekend!  He has decided to take on the Quad Cities Marathon in 2012.  

I hope to also be keeping my Saturdays in April and May busy leading a Couch-To-5K group.  I'm on our local Community Ed board and plan to propose this at our next meeting in January. I'm pretty sure it will go through since they never really turn anything down that they have a willing instructor for.  

Next project: outlining a training program for 2012. Looking forward to having some structure again!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Training log Nov. 27- Dec 3

Enter a big fat ZERO for this week. Between not being able to sleep and my gall bladder acting up this week, I haven't felt very good and I didn't do any training. I managed to get one measly point for the HBBC challenge by eating 8 servings of fruits/veggies one day. 
Here's hoping that I feel better and get some sleep soon and can get back to training.  I really don't feel like I can do much, but I also feel like such a slug!