Monday, January 28, 2008

A Mixed Bag

Just completed my second week of training in 2008. So far, the D3MultiSports 12-week Advanced Winter Maintenance Program has merged well with Pfitz's 12-week Marathon Training Program but the result has involved a fair amount of cycling & running volume. In adjusting to it, I've only managed to get to the pool a couple times each week. I hope to add in the 3rd optional weekly swim workouts starting next week. Tomorrow evening I've got my first bike time trial!

No word yet on the bike issue for the Team EVOTRI sponsorship. I'm going ahead and thinking up some ideas for my video application, just in case. If I go ahead with it, I'll probably fly out to Austin, where my sister lives, because she has a Mac computer with much better video making and music creation capabilities than I do. I'd probably spend double the time if I did it myself.

And friends, stay tuned for more details about the third annual Simply Stu Triathlon. This is a free do-it-yourself triathlon event (optional t-shirt extra), similar to the Phedippidations Worldwide Half Marathon, for those of you who are familiar with that. You swim-bike-run/walk over a weekend (Fri-Sat-Sun) wherever and whatever distances you want. It's a great opportunity for beginners to give tris a try and for seasoned triathletes to do a tune up before the race season begins. It's previously been held late March. Anyone up for it?

On the family front, my (step) daughter, KW, has been very busy and making headlines. I've been told there's a less than 1% chance I'll become a grandma this year. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to put my knitting needles aside and find something else to do with my spare time (yeah, right!).

And congrats to Susan on her new family addition, a brand new Cannondale bike. She's currently injured and unable to run for a while but not letting that dampen her spirits. You go, girl!

Friday, January 25, 2008

On Getting Sponsored

I recently heard about a triathlete who is selling his bike. Of course, this happens all the time for various reasons but this particular athlete received his bike with top notch accessories (he's selling it for $5500) just a year ago as one of 3 amateur athletes selected for a coveted Team RaceAthlete sponsorship, which is very similar to the newly announced Team EVOTRI sponsorship.

In exchange for all the goodies (bike, personal coaching, wetsuits and other stuff), each athlete was asked to share their journey to Ironman Wisconsin to inspire and motivate others in the community. Travel costs to various events and meet-ups, personal time and the cost of other necessities for training/racing were NOT compensated for but can be assumed to have been substantial, more than the net worth of the goodies they got, although some would perhaps say they would have spent nearly as much on their own anyway. But in exchange, they were able to fulfill a lifelong dream and give back to the community by sharing their passion. Priceless.

Why am I writing about this?

Because I passed on the word about Team EVOTRI's sponsorship on my blog below and in some emails touting it as a great opportunity, which I think it is. But in some email communications with the athlete who's selling his bike (I didn't understand why he was doing so and had seen some online discussions about giving equipment to next year's team if sponsors did not stay on), I found out he didn't fully realize what he was getting into. He was willing and able to give the time and effort but was shocked at the out-of-pocket costs in addition. To quote part of what he said to me:

Would I take back the experience!? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS.
Would I do it again knowing what I know now? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS.

And come to find out, he's been very upfront about all of this on the TriScoop forum. I just didn't know because I don't visit there often.

I want to make sure that anyone who heard about the new sponsorship via me knows what *may* be involved. Similar to the ones I received for my 21 Run Salute campaign, substantial family and financial commitments could be required, far beyond simply training/racing hard and sharing your journey and inspiring others. Like sweepstakes prizes, free goods you receive and can keep via sponsorships are generally considered income and hence taxable (ref. IRS Other Income Rules). Some sponsors provide extra cash to cover that and some don't (I'm not sure about the Team EVOTRI sponsors). The athlete who's selling his bike says he's allowed to do what he wants with the equipment he received after fulfilling his sponsorship obligations, but that's not always the case. My husband bought a bike from All3Sports that was used before by Team All3Sports so it appears they were not allowed to keep their bikes.

Knowing fully well what I was getting into, here are my answers regarding my previous sponsorships:

Would I take back the experience!? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone from applying for Team EVOTRI to cut down my competition or anything :-) Just want everyone to ask questions and find out all you can before applying for or accepting ANY sponsorships. In fact, I have a question in right now about whether the BMC bike for the EVOTRI team would even come in a small enough size to fit me and if not, whether I could still be eligible to participate either riding another BMC bike model that fit or riding my old bike. We'll see ...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2008's Gonna Be Great

All righty, I think I've got most of the pieces in place for my 2008 race year. Here are my goals:

1. Get back to running more (30+ MPW).
2. Work on strength, flexibility, speed and the mind-body connection.
3. Run 5 more marathons in my 50-states marathon quest.
4. Shoot for a sub-5:45 1/2 iron tri (maybe a 5:30-something?)

This year, I'll not be able to get away with running only 20-30 MPW, not with 2 marathons scheduled a week apart in the fall (9/28 & 10/5). So goals #1 and #3 will go hand in hand. I'll use Pfitz's 12-week program to rebuild my mileage for my first marathon of the year (3/30) and then just maintain it. I've done this 2-marathons-one-week-apart nonsense 3 times in the past and it works well for me. Namely, I find there's much less time involved training and recovering when running marathons a week apart than when running marathons further apart. So, for me, it'll be more like running 4 marathons rather than 5 this year, which is good because I've got other things I want to do!

Like Goal #2, which is something I've let go by the wayside since getting into tris mainly because I felt like I just had too much on my plate learning how to swim, ride a road bike, figuring out nutrition and transitions, etc. Strength training, flexibility, speed work, plyometrics, balance, breathing, visualization and focus drills were all an integral part of my martial arts training a few years back and what made me feel really strong, inside and outside. I want to incorporate them into my tri training this year and bring back that feeling. I also think they'll be my keys to achieving goal #4.

And if you haven't yet heard about about the cool sponsorship opportunity with Team EVOTRI, go to their website now. ***ANYONE*** is welcome to apply, even if you have never done a triathlon before. The deadline is 2/15/08. I'm thinking about it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Out with the Old ...

Wouldn't it be nice to have a Roomba that roamed around your mind, swept up thoughts and posted them automatically for you?

Especially when you know things from the previous year need tidying up and it's already (Ahem) the third week in January.

Time to pull out the Hoover upright ...

My 2007 goals? Well, I actually never posted them but I had written them down elsewhere:

1. Become a faster swimmer
2. Become a stronger cyclist
3. Run 5 more marathons in my 50-states marathon quest
4. Do a sub-6 hour half iron tri

Basically, 2007 was a developmental year for me. To focus on #1 and #2, I took a big step back from running, halving my weekly mileage to only 20-30 MPW and doing mostly easy-paced runs. In swimming, I learned a new, faster way to freestyle and worked up to swimming 4-5 days a week. In cycling, I learned how to get up out of the saddle to climb hills and sprint, spin, draft, and handle my bike better overall.

So perhaps it's not surprising that I'd run slower marathon times, but I had some help in the first half of the year: a sprained ankle at Little Rock (4:05:50), severe GI problems at Olathe (4:27:58), and altitude issues at Colorado (4:32:05). More in line with what I expected were the sub-4s later at Siouxland (3:50:15) and Las Vegas (3:58:44), but who ever said running a marathon would be easy?

Still, 4 of 5 were negative splits and 2 were a couple weeks before half iron distance tris that were major PRs for me: 6:07:43 at FL 70.3, and 5:46:20 at Miami Man (previous PR, 6:39:51 at the 2006 FL 70.3, also my first half iron). So, no complaints.

Now I can move on to 2008.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, it's about time, huh?

Sorry for being away so long. I took a big break over the holidays and then got swamped catching up on a bunch of things that needed to get done when I got back.

So what have I been up to?

For one thing, traveling. Dave and I went back to Hawaii and laid down more rubber along the Kona Ironman bike course (Dave's goal was to ride 7000 miles this year). Here we are in Hawi, the turnaround point, on Christmas Day. Though we started only 20 miles away, it felt like double that with the hills and ferocious wind. Who's bright idea was this anyway?

Our Xmas presents: a new meaning for the word tough and improved bike handling skills.

We also met up with Dave's brother and his family who were visiting the island for the first time. Being from Alaska and outdoor types, they camped out with some other friends of theirs rather than stay in any hotels or condos. They had a great spot right near a beach and cooked us a tasty Mexican dinner. (Photo below L to R: friend Laurie, Dave's brother Chuck and his wife, Sarah)

The kids were all incredibly well-behaved. After dinner, they all went into a tent where they were so quiet that I thought they'd fallen asleep. Little did I know that they had their headlights on and were entertaining themselves with books and games. No TV or game stations? No problem!

We were offered extra camp gear to stay the night but politely declined. Dave's idea of camping is staying in a 2-star hotel.

We also did a little running, snorkeling, swimming and some condo upgrades but for the most part, didn't do much of anything but relax.

The only bad part was coming back home. Nasty weather in Chicago caused all sorts of flight delays and turned our trip into a 20+ hour ordeal. By the time I got home, the arch in my right foot was complaining (we did a LOT of walking/standing around in various airport customer service lines, me with a 20# backpack on). Uh-oh ...

The first race of the year was last Sunday, January 6, the DeLeon Springs Half Marathon, a flat, out-and-back course. Thinking the arch-thing was probably dreaded PF (plantar fasciitis), I seriously considered not doing the race but found the pain to disappear after a good couple miles of warming up so I went ahead with it. I met up with some friends who were also at the race (photo below left, pre-race: me and fellow blogger Maddy; photo right, post-race: Jim, a friend who works with me at Track Shack, and moi). Lucky me, I got race number 666. But not being superstitious, I wore it and just told everyone else to look out ;-)

The first half I ran conservatively with Jim and we gabbed to the turnaround in 58:04 (8:15 pace). The second half, I ran a little stronger on my own and finished in 1:47:09 (8:11 pace), far from a PB but good enough for third place in my age group and I was sure I did not overdo anything. There were also a lot of raffle prizes given out at this small race. Maddy won a gift card from a local running store and, yes, lucky 666 won a big canister of Accelerade sports drink. Not a bad way to start the new year!!