Volcano and Bike love.

 

“When life brings you mountains, you don’t waste your time asking why; you spend your time climbing over them.”

AJ Darkholme

img_8599I tend to write more often about running.  Maybe because it is easier to take a photo during a run, and photos are often a moment I can turn into a feeling about running.  Not as easy with a bike though not impossible.  When you are really having a great ride and rolling along, kinda don’t want to lose momentum to stop for a photo or take one while riding.

I’ve been finally training consistently since I took a lot of time off swimming and was inconsistent for a year on the bike.  This spring the body finally feels mostly really good and my mind is recovered from doing 5 ironman races in 3 years.

I have a new bike, after retiring the Biscuit (cervelo p1) who was with me for every race I ever did.  It was bittersweet for sure, but I was ready for an upgrade.  Maybe I just needed an excuse to get excited about pushing the pedals and setting new goals, and a sleek black machine seeemed like just the thing.  Now I 110% know,  any lacking on the bike is 110% the pilot.  With that comes pressure.  I cannot be a slow person on a fast bike.  Nope.  Incentive.

Almost every ride now I feel the subtle weight of that pressure, to come back after a year of piddling, gaining weight, being injured,  to get faster and stronger and healthier than I was before.  But it’s ok, it’s a good feeling.  Early this year as the miles started creeping up on long rides, I was starting to have some worries, wow am I really THAT out of bike shape? ruh roh, my power was decent, but the speed numbers we blah and I could not for the life of me stay in aero without falling off the front of my seat.  Thought I was wimpy and I needed to get better.  Then it kept happening and my fitness was going up but the rides were still slow.  hmmmm.

Time for a bike fit, again…

TIP:  Don’t be a cheapskate and skimp on bike fitting.  I had mine fit when I first got it (affectionately my Pharoah, a Dimond)  Thought it was good really, it matched my other bike fit so… surely it was fine.

We knew I’d maybe need an adjustment as I got in shape, so it quickly became a no brainer to get it fixed if possible, not being able to be aero is kinda bad on a pricey tt bike.  Not sure why I waited 4 months after noticing problems, procrastination is often disguised as “making sure”.

Anywhoo. They (Bowen Sports Performance) overhauled my fit based on a guru fit machine and my recommendations on what felt better at same power output and some wise eyeballing.  Presto, new fit, BIG changes, and miracle of miracles.  I am aero stable again.  I can endure aero again.  I am so freaking happy about this!  because I love aero.  Aero equals feeling fast.  going fast. feeling anchored and focused.  Aero is good.  very good.  My perceived effort now matches my results, and my mental state has skyrocketed.

Thus, when I had to postpone my long bike to today, to let the body absorb extra soreness from the week,  I quickly had a clear plan.  Today I was ready to Climb Mt Bachelor, all the way to the parking lot yes.

I needed to have at least a decent base built over these first few months so I knew I could just ride up steady and happy and come down as fast as possible.  Today was the day.  I left at 6:30 am and had the road to myself mostly, quiet and cold, frost all the way up.  I have to say I love having a power meter.  I didn’t want to do a race effort at all so I kept it around 5-10% under my threshold,  I wanted to feel a hard effort that was sustainable and more than what I typically manage on rollers in the country.

I had such a good ride.  I have to admit it felt really good knowing I was the first up for the day.  The first little cyclist to have Mt Bachelor appear like a friendly giant, the first to pedal until South, Middle and North Sister were revealed over the summit with Broken Top in the morning light.  Every time I go up, it is for THIS.  That view, that coming into view.  Every single time it takes my breath away-  I simply cannot soak it up into my being enough.

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From my house to the head of the parking lot at the ski area is about 25 miles.  3050 climbing.  On the way down there is about 600 more climbing and some nice flat to hold onto tempo as long as possible.  Oh Oh, and in the early morning, no one is coming down the highway in a car with you… only going up to ski!  It is a beautiful time of day to enjoy the Cascade Lakes Hwy.  It’s always great with big wide smooth shoulders, but still, no one is better than some or many.   So get up and get out the door when you go!  Who needs warmth of midday sun? bundle and go and you won’t regret it.  Too many times we wait for perfect conditions.  I say MAKE them perfect.  Be cold, wet, hot, whatever, there is a way to prepare for most of it.   Once you are out there,  when others are not, that little extra something does something for your inner badassery belief level.  So I Highly recommend not only dealing with what ya got, but don’t even whine a lick about it.  Revel in it.

That’s my message for the day I reckon:)

So here we are Day 3 of my 50 day challenge.   And I have another song for ya inspired by the beloved volcanos we are drawn to daily.   Young Volcanoes by Fall Out Boy.  Get it, YOUNG (my last name) and volcanoes.. heehee.  ahh I’m a dork.

…it’s all over now before it has begun, we’ve already won, we are wild, we are like Young Volcanoes… 

To become a mountain goat, runner of Mountains, seeker of new Heights

“Mountains are not Stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.”
― Anatoli Boukreev“

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Broken Top as seen from Green Lakes, turnaround point of my run today

There has been a large lull in my writing.  As glorious of a year as it has been living and growing and learning and thriving in Bend, there have also been some challenges to work through that at at times consumed me, and even left me unable to do what I love, namely running and triathlon.  When your body doesn’t want to let you perform, along with the mental downward spiral that can go with that, well… I surely wasn’t in a place to write.  On a daily basis I found the lovliness in my life to hold onto, abandoned self pity and used all my tricks to get to the next step in getting back to me.  I’ve learned so much about other people struggling daily with real problems much more serious than any discomforts I was facing.  I learned compassion I don’t think I’ve had before, as I tried to talk to myself like I would to a friend, but that is easier said than done. Now I have a better understanding of how anyone else on any given day might not be able to just “snap out of it”.

I fill my day with gratitude for so many things, but even that at times isn’t quite enough to cover that feeling that you aren’t yourself, or at least not getting to do the things I defined my “self” as.  I learned to be patient with me, be patient with my energy, my goals, shoot, I even stopped making any goals whatsover, just do the day, look at my kids, as in really SEE them, enjoy the house, take pictures anywhere and everywhere I went, share beautiful things with people I’m only connected to anymore via this silly computer.  Open up to new friends.  I found a dear friend to share life with, our families with, one I can escape to the woods with and just be me, and our kids and husbands feel the same,  April, my Utah transplant who has my heart.  So thankful for the forced “break” that let me do that, gave me space and time to take time to share that part of me and us.  So It has to be a great thing, coming from years of so much focus on achieving big milestones, maybe it was just the thing I needed.  Maybe it was perfect timing, maybe it was the lack of frenzied focus I could use really tune into what was calling me again, not just do what I do because that’s what I do?

A friend told me also that this first year after a move was a BIG adjustment.  I don’t think I fully ever gave it credit…Shoot, Had we even given the year 2013 credit? 2014 was a delicious cake walk compared!   The list of things that happened in that one year alone… huh. I may need a post about that!   We just stepped right into an amazing new life, got going and haven’t looked back.  Not realizing maybe the actual drain that it had taken? Once I acknowledged that, and decided this entire spring, was perfect.  And now I feel free, and now somehow my body is cooperating again, coincidence? hmm:-)

One thing for sure that has awakened me, (not from enjoying this gift of Central Oregon, which is impossible to not be in awe that WE LIVE HERE!!!!)  but back into my nature as an athlete and teacher of sorts, is a friend literally jumping into triathlon, tackling a new challenge and piece of it each day, flying in the face of her comfort zone of running, learning what she can to do her first Olympic tri in less than a month from now!   Running is a lifelong gift for her, that she has most definitely embraced and shared and challenged herself with, and used it to parallel life and motherhood. She’s helped countless others with her stories and musings on life as a mom and wife and athlete. (If you don’t already, you need to follow her blog, Runninghood, always entertaining, always real, and from the heart and always gives me perspective with my own family and endeavors (and btw totally responsible for getting me to write again)

Watching Amanda abandon that comfort zone,  freely do the uncomfortable and humbly seek help, has really renewed my sense of passion for swim bike and run, and inspired me to do things I typically avoid. like RUN mountains ha. (camping and hiking is a different world, physical yes, but not the same) We share an understanding of wanting to openly share who we are whether or not anyone cares lol, at the same time as just wanting to live as much life as we can possibly squeeze in, and I can’t wait to see how we move forward in our new lives here, how our kids find themselves, and I’m assuming, will become great friends once they go on a few adventures together.

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signs are everywhere

So today I ran a trail that I had only previously hiked and trudged and done short attempts in the snow.  It is a trail that is a moderately challenging hike, with great footing on the well worn trail, with many parts that are a tiring at a walk.  For a year I’ve seen photos and heard about runners running it routinely, even loops of it, so it has been on my list as a “run to do”. Still, with all of these trails around here, I’ve never run any of them that are a pretty much constant upward grind into alpine territory. So I’ve hesitated, certainly not wanting to run it with anyone who knows what they’re doing.  And I know, if I ever want to do any of the real mountain races or ultras, well, I need to become a mountain goat of sorts.  Shoot, I don’t care if I even race, I just want to be up there, where most people don’t want to go on their own feet.

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Creek flowing down from Green Lake beside an Obsidian lava flow. Yeah it’s not bad

So Cheesy but So in love with being out here

So Cheesy but So in love with being out here

When I looked at the Garmin results, and saw 1325 feet of climbing, not including about 10 it missed when i had shut off, I was happy, as I don’t think I’ve ever RUN that much climbing before.  Then I realized, some of my friends get in 10-20,000 on a training day lol.   Of course I don’t need that for what I want to do, but dang, and ouch.  Ok ok, I’ll stop comparing, I’m happy with that and it’s just the beginning!  And I did it with hacking chest congestion and allergy nose, so I am excited to see what I can do with full access to my lungs.

It’s just the beginning, because my piriformis/sciatica felt fine until about last 2 miles of 9, and then it was very subtle. Yesterday’s 5 mile run I didn’t feel it at all. After really bad week of self pity a bit ago,  I’ve really upped my game in self care/rehab with everything I can think to do mobility, smashing and strength and activation to combat the nagging pain I’ve had to run with for almost 2 years.  So hopefully it isn’t a fluke, hopefully it is a result of my diligence, if so I can keep at it.

One thing I do know, I’m going to STOP being jealous of people doing more than I can right now,  I’m going to focus on my cans,  I CAN BIKE, I CAN SWIM, I CAN RUN (some) and I CAN CLIMB and I CAN BREATHE, and I CAN SMILE and I CAN SHARE. and thanks to my mahvelous iphone6, I can document what I see along the way.

South Sister. I cannot explain how much this mountain stirs my soul!  Seriously.

South Sister. I cannot explain how much this mountain stirs my soul! Seriously.

3 (Not Scientifically) Proven Ways to Get Faster

…”no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . .” F. Scott Fitzgerald

Will keep this brief, since my goal is to offer you brief nuggets you can take and use to improve speed of the most important kind.  Running and Cycling.

1. The Time Crunch:  DO NOT leave enough time to do your session, run or bike.  Schedule some appointment daily, can even be the daily pickup/kid drop off kind of schedule.  Get yourself ready, bike, shoes, whatever it is you may require, be ready to go.  Now, do not go yet.  Still not yet.  How long do you think it will take?  2 hours?  Need to be somewhere by 10am? Okie dok, do not leave until 8:15 or 8:20, run or ride the same exact distance you were planning.  At the halfway point you may realize you are going to be late. No worries, just go HARD all the way home. You can do it!  Boom, you have just set a PR from point a to b and are now faster.

2. The Weather Threat:  very similar to #1.   First, do not look at weather forecast.  This one works best by looking outside.  When you see dark clouds you can get ready to go.  When you smell rain and hear thunder go ahead and start. Now ride or run TOWARDS or minimum along the edge of the darkest part.  Have an hour run? You guessed it, run your 30 min towards the storm. DO NOT CHICKEN OUT!  for this to work you need to commit.  Successfully making it towards halfway point while other wimpies are high tailing it home makes you some sort of something special, sure some may say stupid? maybe, but on your way home, at full speed not knowing where or when the sky is about to open, you WILL BE FASTER.  one seriously good interval of intense focus. Repeat as often as mother nature allows.

3.  The Chase and Tag:  This works great when you spy a draft group on a bike, but can be equally useful on the run.  Chase them down, simple, take your aim, and go.  You can get creative and give yourself points for passes, based on type of participant you just passed.  Pass the kid on the single speed, ok you can have a point… but Pass a Pro? hmm that is a lot of points.  No one needs to know that they were at the end of a 4 hr mountain day and you were just starting, you passed em, points for you! DISCLAIMER: I am not admitting to anything.  Oh yes, an important tip for this one is to be especially cordial and calm when passing.  a simple Howdy, how are you, have a great run, etc.. are a nice way to distract them from your true intentions;-)

Hope this helps your training when intervals by the clock aren’t enough.  Any other fun ways you have”proven” work to make you faster?

the Great Shower debate

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“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”  George Bernard Shaw

I’m sitting in the dentist office with my two girls, waiting for their appointment.  It is cold outside, so I get to wear a sweater, boots, jeans, big coat and ear warmers, aka my disguise.  All of this serves as great cover, almost might divert attention from the recent sweatfest on my bike in the warm house, and in a hurry to get out the door, just layered on new clothes, dabbed a little makeup on to hide the blotchy red sweatface and off I go.  No, that is not freshly washed wet hair, it is sweathair.  Hard to tell the difference eh?  Ok maybe not, maybe everyone knows by now after years of this stay and work and workout at home life I lead, that I am rarely put together in any sort of form that most “girls” would be proud of.   So, funny that I should read an article while waiting about working from home, and the pitfalls (in this guys’s case, not shaving, looking scraggly, not showering…thinking no one notices)  Got me thinking.

Not sure how I fell down this slippery slope.  I remember when I started Arbonne, it was great to get out of mom clothes and dress nice and style my hair and wear makeup that wouldn’t be smeared off in a minute and feel “normal”, and not like a milk cow.  I rarely would go anywhere without properly putting some effort into the shell the world sees.   I admit it felt good, and I did walk around with a certain extra confidence, even if the high heels I always wore weren’t so cozy, they were who I was, then.

I started doing more work only from home over the last several years, mainly to support my hours training for triathlon, only venturing to town for obligatory errands and kids activities.  Except now, I was almost always in workout clothes, or just changed, still sweaty, dried sweat, no makeup, hair in ponytail. Same ponytail. You know the one:-)  I tell myself I should go ahead and get on my horse now too, since I’m already not trying to put on any sort of airs of cleanliness anymore!

I do enjoy and promote the benefits of working at home, not having to decide what to wear and fix the hair and such, we stay at home/work at home moms surely have the freedom.  Just not sure that I shouldn’t put in a TAD more effort?!  I admire the moms who are put together, have some sense of style and obviously make an effort.  I think their husbands must appreciate it.  I know mine does when I try a little!  But why go through all that when in a few hours I’m going to be in the pool or running or biking again? WHY??!! It’s the daily question.  I promise though I do occasionally shower, whether I need it or not;-)  Sometimes a bath that is beneficial for training recovery.

So when you see me, you know I HAVE thought about it, and most likely have another sweat session coming, so I opted out of giving a darn, again.   When you see me with all my hairs did, and my “face” on, you know it is either a Recovery Day or I only had one workout and got done early enough to justify the effort.   I may try an experiment for the next week or so, see if I can get that Corie back, and the habit and expectation… I guess it’s not the worst thing if I don’t,  my confidence comes from somewhere else now, I’m just curious if I can blend the two Corie’s….

Feeling Lucky?!

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RunLucky for Leukemia!

Last Sunday I took my family to the 2nd Annual RunLucky 5K and MissionMile, in OKC.  My friends who work tirelessly for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society have truly created an amazing platinum style event that already feels legendary!  It was a great chance to dress up with the kids and husband and spend a Sunday afternoon with a few thousand fellow greenies:-)  It is going to be a Young Family Irish tradition More

That is the Question….

A new friend of mine, and fellow triathlete asked a question on one of our group pages and I thought I share it, as well as my answer to her and encourage any comments you have that she might also learn from for her new blog coming soon (which I will share when it is ready)

She wanted to know how different endurance athletes view their experience (why they do it, what they get out of it, etc). from Lindsay- after a heated debate with her significant other:-), “I’m definitely on the side of “enjoying the journey” while he’s solidly on the side of “the only goal is to win.” I’d love to hear from any endurance athletes on the topic: Is the journey the fundamental point, or is the end result the main reason you train so hard – and why?”

My Response- (edited a touch for clarity)

The journey is part of the daily fix I need to feel healthy and motivated and strong and on the path to a better me. More

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