02:23
:15

King and Queen of the Ridge

Posted in Fun, Racing by
On Saturday February 14th, was the annual King and Queen of the Ridge competition at Bridger Bowl ski area here in Bozeman MT. What is King and Queen of the Ridge you ask? Read on.... Bridger Bowl is a local, non-profit ski area, that happens to boast some of the most challenging, technical, lift accessed terrain you'll ever encounter . The lifts at Bridger Bowl stop about 400 vertical feet short of the summit, which is only accessed via a steep hike, and known by local bros as "The Ridge." As a fund raiser for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche center, the man and woman that can knock out the most ridge laps in 5 hours are crowned King and Queen of the ridge, win a pair of skis,  some serious sore legs, street cred, etc, etc... [caption id="attachment_13641" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The Ridge The Ridge[/caption] For snow sports enthusiasts in the western US, this has been a pretty lousy year. I'd been hunting snow elsewhere, and had only skied Bridger Bowl a handful of times before this event, with 7 or 8 ridge hikes in my legs for the season (and like 10' on the stair stepper). Since I'm just starting to get back into Triathlon shape, I was pretty much in over my head before things even started. This seemed like an excellent time to debut the new Timex ONE GPS, just for the sake of curiosity. The event started at 9:30 am, with the last hike allowed at 2:30 pm. My goal was to be the tortoise, not the hare, see how the first hour went, and then come up with a plan from there. The first 5 laps went down in about 56 minutes, a little faster than I expected , and I found myself right in the mix of the top 4 or 5 guys, and, manhood in tact, ahead of potential Queens. I figured if I could hold pace, that would put me in the range of 25-27 laps for the day. The record is 30, but that seemed pretty out of reach without a full Nascar pit crew. It was warm, but not oppressive. I stripped down to my base layer and finished up the second hour on pace nearing the end of my 11th lap. Boredom was setting in. Three more hours of hike up, ski down Sluice Box. Why was I doing this again?   [caption id="attachment_13640" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Looking down Sluice Box Looking down Sluice Box[/caption]   Then the sun came out. Noooooo! Hours three  and four were very difficult. The top third of the hike was in the direct sun and temperatures hovered around 1000 degrees. The snow became wet and unstable; like walking in mashed potatoes, every step took just a little more energy.  I struggled to maintain my pace, while two guys, in true "suns out guns out" form, stripped down to shorts and t-shirts, and were both able to lap me. I was stuffing snow down my shirt like an Arctic cross dresser, but still getting dizzy and dehydrated,  holding onto 3rd place. In the last hour, the temperatures started to cool, and my slow and steady plan started to pay off. First and second place were starting to hit the wall. I was able to pass second place, but he was still an entire lap ahead of me and not giving up. I ended the day with 25 laps, in 5 hours and 3 minutes, in third place. For my efforts, I went home with some sore legs and dark yellow pee . My ONE GPS logged 6.53 miles for the day. KQ results       A little glimpse of the day in the first 30 seconds of this video. Some serious heroes in attendance, including Captain America. More images here [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3wOUSdiWA4[/embed] -Mike
02:14
:15

Baby on Board

Posted in Fun by
As those closest to me in the triathlon world know, the 2014 season was more challenging than any previous year. I struggled with motivation as I never have before. Not necessarily in training; when i'm in training mode i'm like a robot I just do it. (pretty woman reference) Although in races, I struggled. Sure I had a handful of solid performances, some of my best in fact. But I also had some of my worst; Boulder 70.3 I started, knowing I was going in fatigued. My confidence was so low I pulled the plug at the first disruption (less than 1 minute into the swim). Ironman Chattanooga I had literally everything that can go wrong happen and I pushed through strong until I hit the 2nd half of the run. At which point I completely gave up and just ran it in easy. I finished the season with an injury not able to complete IM Cozumel; severe shin splints. My coach, Curt emphasized that many times the body follows the mind. I needed a break and my body made sure I took it. (no running for 11 weeks) The struggle with motivation got me thinking, perhaps there's more to life than triathlon???? NAH :) But really, maybe it's time I take a break; mentally and physically. Owen and I planned to be married for two years prior to having kids to allow time for “Just us”. As we approached our 1 year anniversary we started talking more and more about starting a family. The scale was tipped with my dad and step-mom's visit in October. We were on a long hike in the mountains discussing the topic. I mentioned my instinct that conceiving would take longer than most for me. My sister-in-law lovingly recommended we start trying as soon as possible (biological clock and all). She and Gavin had my eldest niece at age 25 and loved their transformation to parenthood. After that weekend, Owen and I discussed and decided to start trying. No ovulation tracking, just see what happens. I predicted this would be a one year process at minimum, Owen knew it would happen right away. He was right as usual, we conceived the first month and perhaps the first time trying. As it turns out the way doctors calculate pregnancy (you're already 2 weeks pregnant once you conceive) that would put us at 1-2 weeks pregnant during the weekend spent with my family, unbenounced to us. We decided to take our planned trip to Mexico to celebrate our 1 year anniversary even though I was unable to race IM Cozumel. We adjusted our accommodation plans, no longer centered around the race and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly on a relaxing beach vacation. The whole time not realizing we were 4-6 weeks pregnant. There were several signs looking back on the vacation, which I subconsciously ignored. These included mood swings, heightened sense of smell, and a swollen chest. A skipped cycle is common if not expected for my body so that didn't tip me off. The day we returned home I bought a home pregnancy test, both tests taken were clear as day. This is happening!

ultra sound

What's interesting is if I could have run at all I would have raced that Ironman, but with each try running my body refused. I feel so lucky not to have pushed my body beyond it's limits and possibly endangering my unborn child. This is not the perfect time for us as we're in the midst of a huge home renovation, plus Owen started a new job in October, but i'm a firm believer there is never a perfect time. We're trilled we had no trouble conceiving and I couldn't be happier to give up a year of racing to become a mother. So far I have still been able to train/exercise 20 hours per week (cut down from 30 previously). This includes little intensity and I'm enjoying more time in the yoga studio (yes Curt it counts!). I don't know how long this higher volume exercise will last but for now it feels right with my body. Us professional triathletes are certainly not immune to the pregnancy symptoms, as much as I fight it I am gaining weight and slowing down swim/bike/run alike. Luckily I didn't struggle with morning sickness during my first trimester, but I have felt the fatigue and insomnia which are common during pregnancy. I'm optimistic my body will return post-birth stronger than ever and I may even try to jump back in shape for a December Ironman this year. I am blessed with amazing sponsors that are supporting me through pregnancy.  Timex is like family to me, they continue to exceed my expectations as a loyal partner in sport and in life. I've continued swimming most days, therefore my lane mates have noticed the changes in my body. Some of the best comments include; “I know you're pregnant because you don't give a $hit anymore”
  • Jane Scott
“Are you baking?”
  • Billy Edwards
“I just thought you got a boob job”
  • Mike Bader
"But you're not really a take it easy kind of girl" * Dave Scott Bump Progress; 5 weeks- Mexico IMG_2904 copy IMG_2792 copy IMG_2746 copy 8 weeks- heading to yoga 12.19.14 side 12.19.14 front 11 weeks- post trainer ride 1.3.15 side 1.3.15 front 15 weeks- pre group ride 2.7.15 side 2.7.15 front   We're now approaching our 16th week, baby is growing and progressing healthily.
12:28
:14

2014 in Review: The Year of Focused Intentions

Posted in Fun, Racing by
Intention 1: Get my career ^&*( together Result: Excellent. Re-entered professional workforce that continues to provide flexibility and adds self-esteem Intention 2: Get my marriage ^&*( together Result: Bumpy and almost crash-and-burn.... and then excellent. Really, we want the same outcome which is both a relief and some work. Celebrated 16 years. Intention 3: Get Autumn ready to leave me (get Autumn's ^&*( together, to keep the parallel structure) Result: I have 3 more years, so I'm not manic about it. Progress. She is insanely responsible when it comes to things that she cares about. So, she is human. Intention 4: Race short and local. Win the Texas Tri Series. Result: Won --- for my gender and age.... I'll take it. 2nd overall female in the series. Consistently crushed by x-pro Andrea Fisher and occasionally beat by a youngster, but held my own. Podium every time. Photos for fun, since really, does anyone really want that many details about my races or life in general? In case you do, I'll attempt to write something interesting between photos. The formatting is off a bit, and I have no patience to try to fix it. kerrville 2014 2nd overall female at Kerrville Half. Ignored all posts and advice from triathletes about being prepared and not wearing new things. I wore new shoes and raced a 1/2 with long run of only 7 miles in almost 2 years. I kept telling myself "I am well, happy and peaceful" until it was freaking killing me. Then I told myself either, "Each aid station you can have coke with sugar" (I don't eat sugar, so I was crazy wired and a little sick for days) alternating with "Your legs are so fresh!" tri series I know, you all want the Female 45-49 award. It came with a free dinner, which I missed because I was at a horse show with my favorites. Imagine that! Thanks to CT (Chris Thomas) for the best run-off-the-bike I have done in a long time.... maybe ever. IMG_1230 My female BFFs from college, less the bride, Tracy, who was unavailable before the ceremony. One of the most fun weekends of my life. [caption id="attachment_13615" align="alignleft" width="300"]T&J T&J[/caption] This is the remaining female BFF (the bride) at the shower, during the daylight portion of the evening. IMG_1114 TBH, this is the photo I look at when I want to feel good about myself. Good lighting and probably flexing. Thanks to Ben Greenfield and Dr. Eleanor Womack for helping me change my diet. IMG_1316 JAM (Juli Autumn Michael) in a photo together! IMG_1139 Favorites!!!!! (Simon, Autumn, Ninja)
12:14
:14

Some Ramblings about First Semester…

Posted in Fun, Racing, Training by
Some Ramblings.. I haven't posted as much the last half of the year. My focus was getting Daphnie off to college about the time I went to AG Nationals. Nationals, by the way was a train wreck. The "all systems go" was that the body was recovering but I had one of my worst performances. Two weeks later I showed up to HyVee US Championships and performance improved enough to squeak in the top 10 and in the money, but still could tell my body wasn't 100 percent yet. I am glad 2014 season is behind me and I have made much needed changes and direction. [caption id="attachment_13604" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Academic Awards Assembly at Highlands Ranch High School Academic Awards Assembly[/caption] I came across something on Facebook that said " I don't have to prove myself to anybody, I'm 44"  It resonates with me because I have those exact thoughts. This statement was from Bob Kennedy, an ex-distance star that is taking it slower these days. What does that mean? He has kids, work and other things that are important as well. Running is not his world anymore. He has many things he likes to partake in and really doesn't care what others think about his slower times. [caption id="attachment_13602" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Flight to NXN in Arizona Flight to NXN in Arizona[/caption] At 41, I accepted the fact that I can not train like I could in my 30's. My body demanded more recovery than ever before. I reflect at how having my first child at age 25 was PERFECT. I was 39 when she entered High School and that is when I moved my training and racing a notch down on the priority list and guess what, I had to physiologically anyway.  I wanted to be present for everything and support her endeavors and emotional growth into young adulthood. At 43 now, I have a freshman, a senior, and a freshman. I'm the Mamma. I have the support of my husband but these girls want and need their Mamma for EVERYTHING. I happen to love this. I have become an even more efficient texter and snapchatter as my Daphnie and I have ongoing dialog all day long sprinkled with phone calls and face-times or cyber meetings at Walgreens to help her select foundation color. We end our days with "Good Night, I love You's" and we text upon awaking. I send packages and write her letters. It sounds as though she is the only one in her friend group that checks her mailbox regularly. I wonder why? The time commitment to her has not changed because she in Utah. I'm not sure I anticipated this but it's all good. Amidst this, I am in my final months at home with Darbie. Senior year is crazy and I get two of them back to back! I am cramming in all of life's lessons I haven't gotten to yet with her, as we share a lot of emotion together preparing her to leave the nest. We sprinkle in the young Demi as she is just starting her HS journey and will soon be sister-less at home. [caption id="attachment_13603" align="aligncenter" width="300"]A weekend with Daphnie A weekend with Daphnie[/caption] As I reflect back over the last months, I've made it through the first semester of college, first semester of senior year and first semester of freshman year. I've also recovered physically from last season and am on a good training plan into 2015. I am in the water more consistently, getting a good strength foundation and have had a 5.5% increase in FTP on the bike in 5 weeks. I want to be the best athlete I can be with the hours I give to the sport, but I am not willing to give more hours to the sport to be better. The balance is working for me. I'm doing what makes me the happiest right now. With age comes priceless wisdom. Getting older does have some benefits. [caption id="attachment_13605" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Another Trainer Ride in the Bat Cave Another Trainer Ride in the Bat Cave[/caption] I am looking forward to getting all my babies under my wings for the holiday. T-5 days! Stay tuned for announcements of sponsors and race schedule coming in the New Year! Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah; to what ever you celebrate! Enjoy your training. =) [caption id="attachment_13606" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas![/caption]
12:03
:14

The Rut filled with 70.3 Worldy Bobcats

Posted in Racing by
What the hell is this going to be about ? I know that's what you're thinking. Well, I got a little lazy, so here's a little late season racing recap. rut   My racing binge began in early September with 70.3 worlds where I was gunning for a top-5 age group finish. I kept myself in the game with a 28' minute swim, that was possibly my best in a few years. Onto the bike is where things got interesting. It was pretty clean for the first 10k, after which, it was total chaos. I was overtaken by Dudes Riding A Fine Timetrial Echelon Rather Swiftly, or for short, D.R.A.F.T.E.R.S. , who powered on ahead and grew their troop with every passing kilometer. By 20k the road ahead was so congested, at times the peleton was at least 1/2 mile long. With no options to pass, I sat a ways behind and impatiently waited for an opportunity. And waited. And waited.... At 50k the large group came to a slow crawl at the base of a long steep climb. With all rules on the bike seemingly being disregarded by those around me, I snuck down the right shoulder and launched a full on attack. A few D.R.A.F.T.E.R.S. attempted to latch on to my stealthy mountain acceleration, but must have been slowed  by the heavy load of all that cheating weighing their conscience. For the rest of the ride, I put my head down and hammered. Not the best pacing strategy, but I was desperate to make up for lost time. Bike time was 2:14. Could have been worse. Starting the run, my legs were so full of lactate, I couldn't even feel them. They were numb. Goal pace was under 4' per km, and even after tearing myself to bits on the bike, it wasnt turning out to be a problem. I steadily ticked off the miles and was feeling pretty damn good. With about 3km to go, an epic Iron-War esque battle ensued between myself and a fellow age group competitor, who informed me we were 4th and 5th on the road. With a potential podium in the works, I kicked things up a notch, dropped my opponent on the final climb into town, and crossed the line in 4:10, with a 1:21 run. BOOM! Hell yeah! I did it! ...and then it turns out I got 12th. Whuu Whaa, but I had a great race and did the best I could give the situation on course. ------ After a week of recovery, I was still totally destroyed from the race in Mt. Tremblant, but it was time for my next race on the schedule, The Rut 12k in Big Sky, Montana. The Rut is only in its second year, but already draws a world-class field of the best mountain runners out there.  The main spectacle of the weekend is the 50k run (maybe next year), but I am a baby, so chose to do the 12k instead. rutrun   On my 30' warm up before the race, I felt so stiff and sluggish, that I almost didn't start. The highlight of the warm up jog was being charged by an angry Momma Moose, that was standing with her young about 25' off the side of the road. I'm pretty sure a passing car was the only thing that saved my a$$. This event also took care of my pre race bowel movement. The race itself was approximately 5 miles and 2000 feet of up (seems to be my thang, lately), followed by about 2.5 miles of steep downhill (not my thing. Ever.) I shot out to an early lead and then held on for dear life. Over my heavy breathing, I could hear unseen creatures running through the woods (hopefully in the opposite direction) as they caught wind of me approaching. I crested the top of the mountain first, but unfortunately high-viz dude (on the left of the picture) was right on my heels and soon dropped me like a dirty shirt. The downhill ducked in and out of heavy timber, and with only a half mile to go, as far as I could see, my second place was looking pretty safe. I managed to limit the carnage to one butt slide, but unfortunately, it came with photographic documentation. As I entered the final stretch on cruise control, the announcer shouted out "looks like we have quite a race for second and third here..."....What?  A quick glance over my shoulder revealed Dan Campbell (former Olympian, who seems to generate his own gravity) about 10ft behind me. Thankfully the last 100m was fairly flat, and I was able to hold onto second place by 3 seconds. ------ Onto the next adventure, the first annual Bozeman Bobcat Sprint Tri. A nice little 1000 yrd/20k/5k sprint race held at Montana State University, presumably to rival the famous "Griz" Tri at University of Montana in Missoula. The day before the race, I did some real manly stuff, like mowing the lawn, moving rocks, picking up stuff with a pitchfork. Race morning, my arms have never been sorererer. I wasnt exactly sure how I was going to finish the swim in a timely manner, but what did I have to lose? My heat started at 11am, in the Montana State pool. Things started out well, but the first issue of the day soon arose - I was bored out of my mind. I hate long swim intervals in the pool. Even the adrenaline of racing couldn't take the edge off. Plus, my arms where sore as all hell (from doing manly stuff). So I did what anyone would do in the situation, stopped for a chat with my girlfriend on the side of the pool, threw in some backstroke, took my time, etc. I got out onto the bike about 90" behind the lead, hoping the others where riding Huffys with flat pedals, and I could make up some ground. The 20k out and back is mostly flat with a few sneaky hills, and on race day, quite a bit of wind. I passed a bunch of people early on, but at the turn around, I was still over a minute behind the two leaders. Hopes of pulling off the win were fading, but my bike legs felt great so I was enjoying the hammer. 10609478_10204357823403232_7269368223408311630_n   In T2 I got a glimpse of the competition heading out onto the run, but I still had about 40 seconds to make up. I felt like garbage for the first mile and was just hoping no one was going to catch me. With no one insight ahead, things were looking grim. Then my morale was boosted as second place came into view, and the lead was not much further ahead.  With about 1/2 of a mile to go, all three of us where running together and it was on. I made my move on a final hill and was able to take the win by 20 seconds. Finished the day with the fastest bike, fastest run, and took home about 500 bucks in gift certificates and merch! Glad I showed up! ------- And finally, the bonus feature - the Portland Marathon. I hadn't run an open marathon since my epic blow up at NYC 2009. After 5 years, I had forgotten why, so it was time for another go. The first half felt great, although I went out a little fast. I chose not to race with a Timex GPS, which was a mistake, because the mile markers were all over the place, if not just missing. I'd run a 6 minute mile, then a 5 minute mile, then an 8 minute mile, all on relatively flat terrain without really changing my actual pace. The half went by in 1:19 which was a little aggressive for my 2:44 goal time. Things held together until 17 miles, at which point the course went vertical for a whole mile, up a steep bluff and over a bridge. I shortened my stride and shuffled up the hill, but over the top, I just couldn't get going again. I my legs were locked into a short, stiff march of death. I didn't totally unravel, and still managed a 2:53, which was good enough to not get chicked, and represents my new "blow-up PR".  Probably did a little too much racing leading up to this marathon, as this blog has chronicled.   -Mike

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