Monday, July 30, 2012

Riding the trail...

My training this year has felt sporadic to say the least. I am blaming my love for tennis. I am fortunate in that I only work about 20 hours a week which should make it oh-so-easy to get all kinds of Swim/Bike/Run in but it does not. Don't ask me why, I am still trying to figure it out. I have come to the conclusion that I need to set the alarm like I did back when I was a 9 to 5er and just get it done. I tend to put it off to the end of the day and that just is not working for me. So it is that and the FIVE tennis leagues I was in. Yeah. My last match ended Saturday with a loss in the semi-finals. Just like that my schedule was wide open. I made plans the next day to get in a bike ride on the Silver Comet Trail.

In Atlanta, there is not a lot of flat. So for those days when your legs want a break and you want to give yourself the best chance at finishing a long ride or run, you go to the Silver Comet Trail. Totally worth the 45 minute drive :)

Forty miles out, forty miles back. A stop for combos, a conversation with a gentleman wearing Santa Claus socks, a spotting of two wild turkeys and I was done before I knew it. Two thumbs up for the new Adamo seat by the way. I apparently was suffering needlessly last year. It turns out all long rides are not torture tests. Huh, who knew? I guess the folks at Adamo did..

A few views from the day ...

Friday, July 20, 2012

VEGA Smoothies...

Not too long ago, VEGA sent me some of their VEGA Energizing Smoothies to try. (Energy? YES, please!) I have been on the smoothie kick so I jumped at the chance. I am kind of "over" oatmeal in the mornings and like to have something I can take with me so I have been busting out my GNC blender (which I love BTW) for some quick breakfast options.

Eyes on the road at all times, of course :)

The thing that appealed to me about the VEGA smoothies were the individual serving pouches. Protein shakes are great and all but if you are planning to shake it up away from home, you have to scoop your servings out and put them in a container, etc, etc. Having a pouch to grab and go makes it pretty easy.

For those of you who may not be familiar with VEGA, the smoothie is 100% pure plant protein. They are a nutritional company based on using plant-based products for optimal nutrition and health. The smoothie is a great On-the-Go smoothie option with two servings of veggies - 10 g of complete, plant-based protein, 5 g of fiber and 1 g of Omega-3.

They had a variety of flavors to choose from which is nice... Tropical Tango, Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry. Most protein powders seem to only have vanilla or chocolate so being able to switch up is a great selling point. If you are interested in trying a package for yourself, VEGA is sending out samples, just go to:

I tried the tropical tango flavor with 8 ounces of milk and a handful of frozen raspberries. I taste tested the other flavors only with milk and the mix. I think I might be in the minority here but, to be honest, the flavor did not appeal to me. It tasted a little too "plant based". I drink spinach in my smoothies so it isn't that I can't appreciate a green smoothie or the odd taste a protein powder can give to a smoothie but these just tasted too strong.

I have read a lot of reviews that were raving about the smoothies so definitely take advantage of the free sample and give it a try. I certainly appreciate being given the chance to taste it as I have been trying all sorts of brands lately trying to find my favorite combination. I hope that you will grab a free sample and try it yourself!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Hardest Bike Ride Evah...

I have had the weirdest luck when it comes to bike rides this year. You may recall the missing bike incident a month or so ago. Well, two weeks ago, I got a flat tire on my car while on my way to another century ride. Sigh... I *did* need tires and I broke down literally a half mile from a mall and a tire store so it could have been soooo much worse. if you are going to break down, do it near a mall.

Last Sunday, I made the trek to another ride. This one was a metric century. I had originally signed up for the 100 but with all the bike issues and missed rides, I was not close to being ready for the full 100. I only had 50-60 miles on the new bike. How fortunate it was that I dropped to the Metric as I probably would still be out on the 100 mile course trying to complete it two days later. Really.

If you love hills, the Georgia 400 Century ride is for you. By far, the most challenging ride I have done. The metric is 5500 feet of climbing, the full century is 8700 feet of climbing.

As luck would have it, my friend Meredith (aka Swim Bike Mom), also signed up for the ride. We found each other in the wee hours of the morning at check in. Without her, the ride would not have been nearly as fun. (All pictures are courtesy of Meredith as y'all know I lack in the picture department).

Meredith had a couple of friends who we somehow lost pretty much from the start and the friend I was supposed to meet at the ride had an emergency and never made it to the start so Meredith and I were ride buddies for the day.

Had I known how hilly the ride was I probably would have brought the road bike instead of the QR. The tri bike is really hard to shift going up any kind of serious incline. Hopefully with more practice it will get easier but the combination of the steepest hills I have ever climbed along with a bike that I was still getting used to made for a challenging ride!

We made the most of the rest stops, enjoying the PB&J sandwiches, rice krispie treats and oranges. We ran into more than a few people that we knew and we briefly pondered out loud whether a person's pee could get backed up. We were answered out loud by a group of urologists who happened to be standing next to us. They chuckled and all three answered "YES" in unison. LOL. Turns out it can lead to renal failure (or something like that) so either pee on your bikes or hit the line at the port o potty. My public service announcement for the day :)

Somewhere along mile 40, I remember saying that the first 40 miles weren't all that bad. They actually seemed only slightly more difficult than the ride we do on a regular basis closer to home. I believe that is where my lack of awareness of the ride map was showing. As we were waiting for a luxurious flush toilet at the 40 mile rest stop (fear of renal failure and all...), someone quickly brought us back to reality. He announced that we had only climbed 2500 feet over the last 40 miles and we had 3000 feet of climbing to do in the next 21 miles. WHAT the WHAT? Thanks, Mr. Statistics. We moved away from him quickly, enjoyed another half sandwich and headed back out.

The last 20 miles has these hills known as "The Three Sisters". I wasn't prepared for the first sister. I had just laughed as we passed what looked to be a rather steep turnoff to the left. "Thank goodness we aren't turning left... ha ha". No sooner had I said it then the very next left turn was ours. Shortly thereafter, there were some very ominous words painted on the road "Big Sister". I am pretty sure Meredith squealed excitedly behind me "oh it is one of the sisters!". Had we known they were so evil, we would not have been nearly as overjoyed to meet them.

We are climbing, climbing and it is getting steeper, steeper going on for what feels like forever. at some point early on I manage to release the death grip on my bars to reach over and downshift to the smaller gear. (This is why I feel like the road bike would have been easier on this ride - simply for the three sisters. I do plenty of climbing on my rides but nothing like this. I tend to climb out of aero so at this point in my "getting used to a tri bike" phase, it seemed like quite the reach to let go and try to downshift without losing it.)

On Big Sister, I am not sure if I just mentally gave up or ran out of gears. (Road bike has a triple so I was missing that...). It was hard turning the pedals over. The road was kind of an S turn as we ascended and I kept thinking surely we are getting close as we rounded each little bend. I remember going around a bend to see there was at least another 1/4 mile or so of climbing and just gave up. It felt a little like that picture going around on FB about how your mind gives up before your muscles do. I think my mind gave up. Maybe my gears did too. Who knows. I have this fear of being clipped in and can't pedal anymore so I just fall over. Do you ever get over that? I don't walk up hills. I did this day.

More riding and here comes Middle Sister. Did I mention I am the middle of three girls? I felt that Middle Sister should have been a little kinder based on that alone. Some sort of camaraderie. I actually had trouble downshifting heading up Middle Sis. The chain got stuck as I was maneuvering the shift and down I went. Lovely. My right foot was unclipped so I fell to the left, naturally.

Meredith stopped to survey the damage and we walked our way up Middle Sis. I think that is what I felt the worst about - I know we could have ridden up that hill even though it was tough. Had I not had the shifting issue, Meredith would not have had to stop. DOH.

Little Sis was a much kinder sister. I enjoyed her company.

Once we were past the sisters, it was pretty much smooth sailing. There were two evil hills leading up to the finish but they seemed like nothing once we got to the end. All in all, it was a good ride. I love Century rides as you generally always have someone to ride with even if you just met them as you were riding. This ride was no different. After we got done, one guy came over to us and thanked us for keeping him going. I guess you never know who you are helping out there in one way or another.

Next up is the Covington Century, August 4th. This one is billed as the "flattest and fastest in GA". Yes, please.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July Update...

Has anyone noticed how my posts seem to be coming less frequently lately?  CR let me know last night that I needed to post so he would know what I have been up to lately.  LOL.  For the past couple of years, our work schedules had us like ships passing the night.  I would see him when he got home at 9:00PM and would sit with him while he ate dinner and before I passed out for the night at around 10:00PM.  He often said that reading my blog was his best way of keeping up with me. :)

On May 15th, all that changed.  CR and I bought a local business and have been running it together for the last six weeks or so.  It has been nice to spend more time together, even though it is while we are working.  I mostly do the accounting and help out the occasional customer (as long as they don't need anything too complicated) - I have A LOT to learn!  It is a scary proposition as we are ALL IN so to speak.  

This past month has mostly involved just figuring out what bills need to be paid, getting contact names changed and just trying to keep the finances flowing.  Summer is traditionally the slow time which, in a way, is nice as it is gives us a chance to get to know the process before the busy season hits.  So far it has been a great experience and I am so glad we took a chance on it.  

I have still been on my swim, bike, run training although it has been difficult to get on a schedule which seems insane because I have much more free time than I used to when I wasn't self employed.  I think I have fallen into the trap of thinking I will work out at the end of the day which just doesn't work for me.  I have to get up and get it done or it gets pushed to the side.

My race at Lake Oconee went pretty good.  I ended up fourth in my age group so you can't complain about that one, right?  I was feeling the lack of training on the run but nothing too horrible.  The race was pretty much one hill after another so that may have had something to do with my run as well.  Either way, I got to meet Summer and her hilarious family while I was there so it was all good.

I have been playing a ridiculous amount of tennis (which, yes, contributes to the scheduling issue mentioned above...)  but I am enjoying it even though I could stand to scale back on it a bit.  I have a couple of tri related training sessions this summer that I am looking forward to as well as another go at Augusta 70.3 and Beach2Battleship.  

All in all, life has been pretty great lately.  Don't pinch me because if it is a dream I don't want to wake up :)