Monday, August 20, 2012

Oh, the Ironman...

After many months of training, I did indeed drop out of my Ironman competition. There were many reasons why, (but one main one) and I am still processing all of it.  I wasn't physically injured, though at the time I almost wished I was, so I could save a little face. The truth is, I really don't have anything to be ashamed of.

Am I sad? Do I have regrets? Well those are loaded questions, my friends. BUT, it is what it is. The Ironman isn't going anywhere. If in the future, and the timing is right for my family and myself, maybe I will, as NIKE puts it, JUST DO IT! 

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Flying Wheels 2012

Before the start.
Flying Wheels Summer Century was yesterday! Fun! Fun! Fun!

I had been warned that this was a hilly century, and it was. I believe there was 3800-3900 feet of elevation gain to be had. I would tell you exactly, but my dumb self forget to turn my Garmin 310 back on at one of my stops and didn't record "The Big Hill." Whoops.

Off we go!
This was a hard century for me, actually. I had some issues along the way that were not enjoyable. First of all, I had muscle cramps in my legs like nobody's business! My calves were in agony, and my quads and hammies were seizing within the first 30 miles of hills. Not good. I didn't keep as quick a pace as I usually do on century events, but I must have been doing decently, because I spent most of my ride either alone, or towing a drafter or twenty. I always find it eerie when you think you are all alone, and then you happen to glance over your shoulder, and you have a guy drafting off close you could make out... Um, how about a courtesy "Hello, I'm here!"

I was SO happy when I saw this place!
At first I thought that I might be dehydrated, and that was causing the cramping. I really focused on drinking like mad, and rewarded myself with a full bladder...that needed emptying...frequently. Hmmm... (Sorry if this is TMI for some of you, but apparently I don't care, because I'm typing it anyway,) my pee was water-clear, so I wasn't dehydrated. I had drank electrolyte-replentishing fluids, so that wasn't the problem either.

Since I had no other ideas, and I was low on options, I simply accepted that my legs were going to cramp and hurt, and that they may do so until the finish line and/or beyond. Period. It's kind of nice when you can just see a situation clearly and for what it is, and then just accept it. I am always able to do this during a race, or when I'm on a long ride or run. My mind gets more clear; almost like I'm meditating... I want to be able to do this better off the bike...

50 miles in. So hungry I don't even realize I'm voluntarily eating a hotdog.
So despite leg pains, and an unfortunate little spill I took (I dropped my chain on a hill and slipped on the wet pavement when I unclipped. D'oh!) I really enjoyed it out there! The ride was peaceful and the scenery gorgeous! I talked to some really nice people, as I always do at Cascade events.

A day well spent!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My first Triathlon!

Well folks, I'm no longer a triathlon virgin.

I'm as ready as I'll ever be!
My day started at 4am. Yeah... I was pretty tired, and fairly sure I had forgotten to pack key things when I left the house to go pick up Jesse. Half way to Issaquah, (after picking him up) he realized the he had forgotten to pack some key things; his tools! Whoops! I wasn't too worried though.. He had tuned my bike since I returned from Hawaii, so I knew Fi was fine.


When Jess and I arrived at the race, it was busy and chaotic, but I found the packet pick-up, got my markings, and went to find my transition area. I was the second person the set up in my little section. The guy that got there before me was a middle-aged guy who I could tell had been doing the tri thing for a good long time. He was really nice, and actually offered a lot of helpful tips; including putting a plastic grocery bag over your hands and feet while putting your wetsuit on. (Way easier that way!)

Cold, wet, and gravely.
After I set out my stuff (it was a sloppy mess I would come to find out), I got suited up and headed to the beach for the "briefing." Soon, I realized I had made a critical error; I had forgotten to use the facilities before I committed my whole body to the wetsuit. Ugh. Oh well. I couldn't hear a damn thing at the briefing, so I just worked on putting on my swim cap (or caps rather; I wore my thicker one under my purple race cap - to stay warmer.)

And I'm off!
After a bit, I asked Jess if he saw any other women in purple caps. He looks around and says, "Oh my gosh! They're in the water!" I looked and sure enough, they were just about to start my wave! I took off sprinting down the beach, and made it to the line with 30 seconds to spare! The water was not as cold as I suspected, but it was f'ing disgusting. Luckily, there were no lake weeds that I could feel until close to the end (and I pretended they were another swimmer), but the water was so murky and brown and filthy! I couldn't see a dang thing! I was second to reach the first buoy, but that's when it happened...I panicked. I couldn't see anything through my goggles underwater or above, I had gulped down a bunch of water somehow, which had me almost retching. The wetsuit was also making me feel restricted and tight in my chest, and I felt like I couldn't take a full breath. I started to think I couldn't do it...that I was going to drown, but then I snapped out of it and realized I was just scared, and that I am an excellent swimmer.

I was SO happy to get out of that lake.
When I was coming out of the water, I was fighting tears. I hadn't performed well in the water. That really disappointed me...I had hated every second of that swim; every last flippin' second. My biggest thought throughout that whole swim; "how in the hell can I expect to do THIS for 1.2 miles?" When I saw Jesse, he was all smiles. He was so encouraging. He told me I was doing awesome. I needed to hear those words, but I was secretly thinking that he had to know how badly I had just failed. He was a Godsend truly though, in more ways than one. When I got back to the transition coral, I couldn't find my transition area! lol Luckily Jesse knew where to direct me!

All smiles on the bike, of course!
My transition was pretty slow, but that was due to my shitty novice transition set-up. lol I remember looking up at Jesse and mouthing to him, "I don't want to do this." He said, "You're doing great babe." He is so great.

I got on my bike, and everything was almost immediately better. The ride was just plain bitchin'. I loved every moment of it. It was interesting.. I tore past a ton of men on the bike today. Of course I was passed by some too, but less than usual. There were a lot of strong women, and a lot of weaker men. Oh!..and there was one guy with panniers! WTF do you need to take with you on a 15 mile ride?? You barely need water on a ride that short!

My second transition was much better, but I still could have done better. The run, although I was a bit tired, was not at all unpleasant. I didn't run it fast, by any stretch of the imagination, but I ran it and I finished with a smile on my face. :)

Proud finisher.

Incidentally, my timing chip was faulty. It did not record when I started the race. Bummer, eh? I may have some rough estimates coming though.

When I got home, I ate an apple and peanut butter, and took a 7 hour nap.

Off to enjoy my victory banana.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The New Addition

Hi all! It's been awhile! Life has been busy and full since my return from Hawaii. My calves are 100% now, I believe, so it's back to training for me...finally! I have been going nuts without exercise! I am fairly concerned about the toll this injury has taken on my ability to be fully prepared for my race... I already missed one scheduled running race, which was a bummer, because it is a fun event and for a good cause; juvenile diabetes. My next event is that Issaquah tri. I don't feel ready at all, but that could just be nerves...the distances aren't bad. I feel out of shape nonetheless. It's been a good 2 weeks sitting on my rear eating!

Nirve Cruiser, Classic Beaulieu Vineyard, Handmade
In other news, I got a new bike! I have been wanting a cruiser for ages, and yesterday, this gal at work gave me her "old" one. It is not more than a couple years old and it's in perfect condition! It is a Nirve Cruiser and she's shiny and red. She has this sweet springy seat, and coaster brakes. I like her a lot! I feel like a kid when I ride her. So much fun!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Compartmentalization: Not just a Coping Stategy!

Happy Bike to Work Day!....but not for this bike commuter... :(

Soooo.... Remember my little "fun run" on the beach? Well, the pain in my calves wasn't any better by Thursday. In fact it was worse, so I went to see my doc. Basically I screwed up. I knew better, and I screwed up. It was funny hearing him tell me that barefoot running is something that you have to start with short distances and ease into. Like I said before, I knew better! I know running, and I know that I shouldn't have gone more than a half mile TOPS in that stupid sand! Why on earth wasn't my brain turned on that day? Gah! He has ordered ice, rest, and anti-inflammatories. Oh...and no exercise. Yeah.

No, I'm taking it ok... I will flip the F out though, if I can't walk normal by Monday... I really can't think about things beyond that, or I might have a mini flip out sooner...

Compartment syndrome

Compartment syndrome is a serious condition that involves increased pressure in a muscle compartment. It can lead to muscle and nerve damage and problems with blood flow.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Thick layers of tissue, called fascia, separate groups of muscles in the arms and legs from each other. Inside each layer of fascia is a confined space, called a compartment. The compartment includes the muscle tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. Fascia surrounds these structures, similar to the way in which insulation covers wires.
Fascia do not expand. Any swelling in a compartment will lead to increased pressure in that area, which will press on the muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. If this pressure is high enough, blood flow to the compartment will be blocked. This can lead to permanent injury to the muscle and nerves. If the pressure lasts long enough, the muscles may die and the limb may need to be amputated.
Swelling that leads to compartment syndrome occurs from trauma such as a car accident or crush injury, or surgery. Swelling can also be caused by complex fractures or soft tissue injuries due to trauma.
Long-term (chronic) compartment syndrome can be caused by repetitive activities, such as running. The pressure in a compartment only increases during that activity.
Compartment syndrome is most common in the lower leg and forearm, although it can also occur in the hand, foot, thigh, and upper arm.


The hallmark symptom of compartment syndrome is severe pain that does not go away when you take pain medicine or raise the affected area. In more severe cases, symptoms may include:
  • Decreased sensation
  • Paleness of skin
  • Severe pain that gets worse
  • Weakness

Signs and tests

A physical exam will reveal:
  • Pain when the compartment is squeezed
  • Severe pain when you move the affected area (for example, a person with compartment syndrome in the foot or lower leg will experience severe pain when moving the toes up and down)
  • Swollen and shiny skin


Chronic compartment syndrome (what I seem to have) in the lower leg can be treated conservatively or surgically. Conservative treatment includes rest, anti-inflammatories, and manual decompression. Elevation of the affected limb in patients with compartment syndrome is contraindicated, as this leads to decreased vascular perfusion of the affected region. Ideally, the affected limb should be positioned at the level of the heart. The use of devices that apply external pressure to the area, such as splints, casts, and tight wound dressings, should be avoided.[14] In cases where symptoms persist, the condition can be treated by a surgical procedure, subcutaneous fasciotomy or open fasciotomy. Left untreated, chronic compartment syndrome can develop into the acute syndrome. A possible complication of surgical intervention for chronic compartment syndrome can be chronic venous insufficiency.Surgery is needed.

Expectations (prognosis)

With prompt diagnosis and treatment, the outlook is excellent for recovery of the muscles and nerves inside the compartment. However, the overall prognosis will be determined by the injury leading to the syndrome.
Permanent nerve injury and loss of muscle function can result if the diagnosis is delayed. This is more common when the injured person is unconscious or heavily sedated and cannot complain of pain. Permanent nerve injury can occur after 12 - 24 hours of compression.


Complications include permanent injury to nerves and muscles that can dramatically impair function.
In more severe cases, amputation may be required. (Let's hope it doesn't come to that! Sheesh!)
No Ironman.....? (Don't get all drama, CG! You're going to be fine!)
Insanity. (Kidding. Sort of... Ok, I added this one.)


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Training Run On Hapuna Beach

Sunset at Hapuna Beach after my run.
Three days ago, I decided to do my run on the the sand... Um, WTF was I thinking??? My calves are still killing me!! I'll tell you though, if I ran on the beach like that all the time, my leg muscles would be ridiculously enormous! The run was very enjoyable though... I wasn't wearing my Garmin, so I have no idea how far I went, but I really got in a good workout. Everytime a wave came in, I incorporated high-knees in. It was fun. I also practiced toe striking, which is not how I usually run, but felt nice on the sand.

Open Water Swim!

I got in my first open water swim the other day at the Captain Cook Monument, in South Kona. Ok, I'll admit it, I was a little scared. I had a bit of trouble keeping my head down in the water; I assume because there was nothing down there I could see that marked where to go - like there is in a pool. The only way to check your location is to lift you head out of the water and glance at your surroundings. I couldn't see anything when I was just breathing to the side. Although the flawed head positioning does impair hydrodynamics, I don't think I was doing too shabby (for a first try). Luckily, I watched the video right after it was taken, so I was able to make a correction right on the spot. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ironman Kona Ride - One Way

On Hwy 270 headed down from Hawi. Beautiful, windy HELL.
Saturday's ride was pretty awesome! I did the Kona Ironman bike route (one way only though). I left Hawi early in the morning before everyone else was up. The plan was that hopefully we could time things right, and they would drive down a bit later (in both cars) and meet me in Kona, where I would throw my bike in the 4-Runner. Then we would continue on to south Kona to sailyak to the Captain Cook Monument for some epic snorkeling     (and I could get in a swim.)

The ride started out fine, but quickly the wind picked up and things became hairy. I have decided I hate hwy 270. Here you have this killer downhill that looks like you could just fly down at ridiculous speeds, but no, not if you are in favor of having skin! The cross winds were so strong that I could barely stay upright, and sudden powerful gusts threatened loss of control, so I was forced to govern my speed. Phooey. I think I averaged about 19 mph on that section. What crap.

At the bottom of the hill there is a gas station. I had planned to refill my water bottle there and grab something more to eat, but when I went to get my credit*%#*! Oh boy, now I had a problem! I was totally out of water, and I only had a few chews left! I called my brother and told him of my plight. I asked him to please bring me my card when they meet me in Kona. At that point, I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but I tend to be pretty resourceful. Going back up would have been worse, so I decided I had to push forward.

I knew that there was a Starbucks at Queens Market Place in Waikoloa Village, and that was only 11 miles away, and Starbucks is always awesome about filling up water bottles. That made me feel a bit better. 7 miles in however, I happened to pass a fire station! What luck! I pulled over and asked one of the firemen for some water and he kindly let me borrow a hose. After I said my thank yous, I was off again, and feeling much better. I had solved one problem, but I still had another problem, and it was fairly serious. I was going to run our of fuel, and fast.

That's when I had my brilliant idea! Starbucks was only 4 miles away at that point, and there are a few things you can always count on Starbuck for: 1. free water bottle fill-ups, 2. the use of their reasonable clean restrooms, and 3. their customer service. Since I had water, and I knew this particular store didn't have a restroom (heh), I was going to put their customer service to the test; I was going to ask them to take my credit card number over the phone from my brother!

Well, I must say that Starbucks was on their A-game that day, because the lady at the counter didn't even hesitate when I bashfully explained my stupid situation. What a life saver she was! I took a few minutes to eat and drink and then I was off again, into the now strong, relentless headwind. I was glad though, I'll take a headwind over a cross wind any day, and besides, I was refueled!

When I was only a few miles out from Kailua Kona, I heard some wild honking; it was the family! My brother, my nephews, and one of my sons in his truck, and my sister in law and my other son in the 4-Runner. They all pulled over so the kids could say "hi," and I could re-sunscreen. I was happy to do so too, because it was scorching out, there was zero shade, and I could feel just the slightest sting of a burn starting on my low back.

We met up again in town a few miles down the road, so I did not complete the last couple miles of the (one way) Ironman course. I can live with that though, considering I've done the route before. I don't think 53.5 out of 56 miles is too shabby. lol I did really enjoy the ride too.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hawi Road: Up and Up and UP!

Two words describe my ride this morning: HOT and HILLY!

I started in Hawi and took Hawi road up to Hwy 250 towards Waimea. Hawi road is stupid steep. I haven't had a chance to check the data from my Garmin, but at one point I looked and it showed my grade at 15%! (Interestingly, I mapped my route on MapMyRide, and it showed the climb no steeper than 11%. Weird.) I got a later start, (7:30am) so it was also stupid hot, so it made for an uncomfortable initial climb. The wind was also ever present. Eventually, the grade became a bit more reasonable (6-8%) and I started enjoying myself much much more.

Once I broke the tree line, the wind became very intense. It was coming from the side, and I could barely stay upright. I was a bit disappointed because it was so incredibly beautiful up there! The rolling hills of green grass pastures and the blue ocean far below was epic. Alas, I was really struggling to even stand to take a picture, so I knew it was time to turn around and go back.

The descent was fun, but slower than I would have liked. I had to be cautious of my speed due to the crazy side winds and powerful sudden gusts. It was a shorter ride than I would have liked, mile-wise, but I worked for those miles for sure!

I forgot to mention... The local pool here is closed for repair, so I am having a hard time figuring out my swim training. Yes. I am aware I am surrounded by an ocean full of water to swim in, but in order to train in the ocean, I need a spotter. I am not comfortable just taking off into the open water alone. I like being alive. ;)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hawi to Pololu Ride

Made it safe and sound to the Big Island of Hawaii. It is great to see my little brother, his wife, and their two boys. They manage a vacation rental here in Hawi, so the boys and I are staying in an awesome cottage, on a beautiful piece of land (and for free!)

I was unhappy to find that Alaska Airlines managed to damage one of the buckles on my bike box, but what was more upsetting was that after they opened the box to do an inspection, they didn't even bother to re-close it properly. I am going to file a complaint. It is completely unacceptable that they treat expensive luggage in this manner. My bike seems to suffering from a few issues too... Jesse had done a full tune just before I left, but now it is shifting like crap and I am pretty sure that there is something bent in the front derailleur.

Despite all that, I did have a nice short and hilly 16.5 mile ride this morning from Hawi to Pololu. It was gorgeous, and it felt great to stretch my legs. There was hardly any traffic and the sun wasn't too hot, so it was a very enjoyable ride!

Want It Wednesday: Velocity Skull Pattern Rims

Velocity Skull Pattern Rims!

I'm thinking these would look "killer" on Lucy!

I may be on vacation Jez, but I couldn't miss two WiW's in a row! :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fiona's Last Ride...Until Wednesday.

He gave me a bike lamp!

I did my last ride today, before I have to box up Fiona for the flight to Hawaii on Tuesday. I was a gorgeous day, and an awesome ride. Jess and I met up with a couple of his cycling friends and did a very enjoyable 50 miler. I hadn't thought I had met Bob or Todd before, but as it turns out, we had done the same bike race last summer, and we all remembered each other. Pretty cool! They were strong riders, so it made for a fun day.

I received a very nice compliment at the end of the ride... Jess said that Bob told him, "You've got a strong one there, Jess. We've ridden with a lot of women, and she's the only one whose kept up with us." I was tickled pink. (I think Jess was too.) :)

I took this cool bike shot yesterday in the U. District.

Today was one of those rides that reminds you why you love this sport. It was a sunny and beautiful day, and just the right temperature for a long ride. Things feel perfect in the world when you're on a ride like that. Things felt pretty perfect today.

The hose was a wired sleeve, so you can bend it to sit where you like.

PS. I got my Speedfil water bottle today! It is all mounted and oozing awesomeness and functionality! Jess gave her a tune-up and a wash, so she is all ready to soak up some rays with me in Hawaii!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy 1st Day of Bike Month!

Riding the fatties! (Son's bike.)
It feels great to be training again!

Yesterday was really windy, so I decided to suck it up and do 45 minutes on the trainer, QC, and then a short run outside. It actually felt quite good. It is so nice to start your day off with exercise. Work seems a lot more manageable to me that way. Getting my workout done in the morning also alleviates unneeded anxiety. (I tend to worry that I won't get my workout in, until I actually do get it in. It kinda sucks...)

Girlfriend labor.. (he did give me a cookie.)

Today, Jesse took me to work with him. One of his larger bike repair/tune accounts downtown had some bikes in need of some work done, so after having some tea, we headed over. Normally he doesn't go down there on Tuesdays, so this was a real treat for me to be able to tag along. Jess is very good at what he does. He knows bikes in and out, how to fix them, how to tweak them to make them just right. I am good at cleaning cassettes and cranks and wheels and frames. lol I think we made a good team today!

After we finished the bikes and returned them to their happy owners, we headed to the Y. I shortened my pool workout a bit, but still got a good one in. Jess did some swimming too...and some kick drills! After that, we ran. I ran 3.5 miles, (I think Jess might have gone further.) :)

Happy first day of Bike Month everyone!

Here's a fun bike video 'just cuz.' (Awesome find, Jess.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Hi blogging friends. I am sorry I have disappeared somewhat, (or maybe I just feel like I have.) Everything will be ok, but I have had to focus my attention on something even more important than my training.



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sun? Yes!

Round yellow ball icon GOOD.
This weekend should be wonderful for riding! Cervelo Girl approves.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Women Specific Geometry: C.G.'s Truth

Jez has a new forum on his blog and I was reading it this evening and ended up posting the following in response. I had been planning to do a post on Women Specific Geometry for awhile so I figured I'd share my little rant here too. 

"Women Specific Geometry" imho is a bunch of bull sh*t. The actual difference in the length of the top tube generally between the mens bike and the womens bike of the same model is usually within a .5-1 cm of each other. The look of the frame itself really isn't much different anymore, since a road bike doesn't have a step-through. WSG is totally a marketing scheme designed to get the ladies to go out and buy bikes, and think oh wow, this was made special for women. Big whoop. Most times when something is made in a female version, it isn't even made as well. The biggest truth is that all humans are built differently, and have different riding needs. There are a lot of dudes with short torsos out there, and women with short legs. What WSG should really be called is non-aggressive-geometry, because truly those bikes are made so that the rider sits more upright. These bike manufacturers know what they are doing though, and I am sure that they are making big bucks selling these bikes to women who think they are getting what is best for them. In some cases, maybe they are, but can you honestly see ME on an upright bike...sitting up like a gosh darned wind sail?? No! I ride like a bat outa hell! Not only do I ride a "mens bike" but my stem is flipped downward, and my bars are dropped down. So what about other women like me? They may have typical female builds, but they want to go fast. And what about the men who don't care much for the speed, or just want to commute, or they have bad backs and want to be upright? By putting the WSG label on bikes that could be perfect for them, it may turn many men away, or they may not even know those bike could be the perfect option for them. Oh damn... I'm all fired up now... lol

PS. The thing I said about the measurement of the top tube, I meant to say .5 - 1 INCH (not cm). My bad. After I wrote that on his forum, I actually checked the Specialized website (because they are just drunk on that WSG crap) and I was pretty damn spot on! (had I not typo-ed. lol) I compared a 54 Ruby Compact with a 54 Roubaix Compact, and the difference in toptube length was 2.4 cm (.94 inches). The headtubes were actually the same length and at the same angle. So you do realize that technically, all people could ride the same geometry of bike, and just switch out the stems and adjust the handlebars?.. Now that part is just a theory. 1.0, I'd love to hear your take on this...

PPS. I have nothing against WSG bikes, I just have something against calling them that. :)

PPPS. You can visit Jez's new forum by clicking HERE

Specialized Ruby Compact
Seat-Tube Length, B-B Center to Top385mm415mm445mm480mm510mm
Top-Tube Length, Horizontal493mm501mm508mm524mm547mm
B-B Drop73mm73mm73mm73mm71.5mm
Chain-Stay Length412mm415mm415mm415mm417mm
Seat-Tube Angle75.75°75.75°75.5°74°73.5°
Head-Tube Angle70.25°71.25°71.5°72°72°
Fork Rake51mm51mm51mm49mm49mm
Stand-Over Height692mm714mm740mm765mm792mm
Head-Tube Length120mm130mm140mm165mm190mm
Handle-Bar Width36mm38mm40mm40mm42mm
Stem Length75mm75mm90mm100mm100mm
Crank Length165mm165mm170mm170mm175mm
Seat-Post Length300mm300mm300mm300mm350mm

Specialized Roubaix Compact
Seat-Tube Length, B-B Center to Top445mm475mm495mm515mm540mm565mm
Top-Tube Length, Horizontal518mm537mm548mm565mm582mm600mm
B-B Drop73mm73mm71.5mm71.5mm70mm70mm
Chain-Stay Length412mm412mm415mm415mm418mm420mm
Seat-Tube Angle75.5°74°73.5°73.25°73°72.5°
Head-Tube Angle72°72°72°72.5°72.5°73°
Fork Rake49mm49mm49mm49mm49mm49mm
Stand-Over Height730mm756mm776mm798mm829mm851mm
Head-Tube Length125mm145mm165mm190mm225mm245mm
Handle-Bar Width40mm42mm42mm42mm44mm44mm
Stem Length75mm90mm100mm100mm110mm110mm
Crank Length170mm170mm170mm175mm175mm175mm
Seat-Post Length300mm300mm350mm350mm350mm350mm