Tag Archives: bikes

TBT: Bike and Cat Edition

Well, I missed posting yesterday, but I had a good excuse. I was in transit for 12 hours of yesterday, then went immediately to a dojo to train in martial arts, then fell into bed at a friend’s house where we had failed to set up the wifi for me (until today as I had a fairly amusing password error which prevented me from sampling the toothsome wares of the internets).

Since I’m traveling and don’t have the external drive with all my old photos on it (and the even older ones are all in a box in my brother’s basement), I can only go back to 2008 here. I swear, sometime soon I will actually make that other post I keep mentioning. But no time for that today, spring is finally here, and it’s a gorgeous day! I’ve run 13 miles in the warm sun (and given myself a sunburn in the process), was completely overwhelmed at the size and choices in the super large American supermarket, and closed a bank account at a bank in a town that I haven’t lived in for 7 years.

A Trek 520 Touring bike

This is my touring bike. It’s a 1998 Trek 520, so the bike is a throwback, even if the photo of it is from 2008. The cute panniers are no longer being made and work for weekend trips when we stay at hotels and commuting to the office. Since coming to Germany, it has acquired much wider tires and a post office yellow set of Ortlieb panniers.

I actually bought matching bikes for myself and my then boyfriend who later became my husband. I still have the bike. Maybe that should be an advertising slogan. Trek touring bikes, made to last through multiple marriages.

And here is the cat that I had at that time, whose death paved the way for Devil Kitty and Captain Dukie. After she died (and she was a wonderful cat and I still miss her) I started fostering difficult cats for one of the local cat shelters. And eventually they sent me the boys and after I had (partially) rehabilitated them, they informed me that they weren’t leaving.

a black cat

My darling Kudra cat

Until tomorrow, dear readers!

(and no, you did not miss any previous Throwback Thursdays, this is the first one I’ve ever done.)

Paris in the Fall

Holiday Road

More Art Nouveau Paris

Art Nouveau Paris

We’ve had a couple of short but memorable trips this year, fewer than usual because training for Ironman kind of got in the way of normal vacation plans. We went to Spain (to visit the in-laws and huzzah for having in-laws living in beautiful little towns on the Med), Virginia Beach in March (where we got to run my favorite half marathon), Crete in July, and Paris in September. There were other, shorter trips in between like lovely Cleopatra exhibits in Bonn, the Zwerg’s christening in Thuringen, and spa days at various saunas in the area.

Here’s a holiday report from Paris as it was the most recent (only last month) and I took about 400 pictures while we were there and this is as good an excuse as any to show some of them. I’ll try to keep some sort of triathlon relevance, but it’s going to be difficult with this one as we only managed a single run the whole time we were there.

Paris and Jimmy Buffett = Best Long Weekend Ever!

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The flooding earlier this week along the Main

This is going to be relatively short on words today. I was out with my camera on Monday about 12 hours after the Main River crested. I ran on Sunday evening when it was close to the maximum flooding and couldn’t get through on any of the usual running trails by either river that I live near. On today’s run, I had to detour about a mile in order to get past one part that is still flooded on the Nidda, but otherwise the Nidda trail on both sides was almost completely dry for about 6 miles. Today I ran 12.5 miles and swam 2700 meters and it felt like a good training day, but not especially difficult and not at all like 2/3 of a half ironman. Today, I both ran and swam faster than I did at Eagleman in 2011. Apparently, there is something to this Ironman training plan after all.

After two weeks of cancellation due to ridiculously cold temperatures, I’ve got my first open water swim tomorrow with the local triathlete group. The lake is about 58 degrees F, so I should have a report about gasp reflexes and panic in the water tomorrow night. Sometime soon, I’ll possibly post some pictures of my somewhat new and slightly improved triathlon body. Seriously, you should see the muscles in my back these days.

Anyway, here is some photographic evidence of the flooding in my little part of Germany, which is nowhere near as bad as it is in other parts of Germany/Europe this week.

Driving up to a new 10k PR

Oh dear, it’s been so long since I’ve written a blog post that I’ve forgotten how. It’s not like riding a bike, apparently. Which, by the way, meet Bernd das Bike, the latest addition to our growing collection. There should be an entire post about him and how I came to purchase him. Suffice it to say, the owner of my local bike shop is the worst salesman ever, I was utterly convinced that this bike was too big, and it took about a week longer than it should have. But it turns out that Bernd is ridiculously stable while I am hanging onto the aerobars for dear life and he’s remarkably fast for a somewhat heavy aluminum-framed tri bike. He’s entirely custom made (probably for someone a tiny bit bigger than me) has a very nice Ultegra group and really nice aerobars. He and I will be spending a lot more time together in the next eight weeks.

Cat on bicycles

Here’s Captain Dukie surveying the new addition to Bike Parking (TM); Bernd das Bike

Also, I failed to post my Shamrock Half Marathon race report, which is a damn shame, because that race was really fun, PR’s all around, I ran the last 3 km at about my 5k race pace, passed people left and right and finally broke my 1/2 marathon curse*, the Wife ran a 1:58 (smashing her previous half marathon PR by 6 minutes!) and we got the best finisher swag ever – Fleece finisher blankets! They were completely necessary as it was close to freezing, windy, and rainy when we finished. Then we had 10 days of vacation in the states and I forgot to write up any sort of race report. Did I mention the PR smash? I did? Good.

* My first half marathon was in 2009 in Virginia Beach at the Shamrock and I ran it in 1:55:56 and until this year’s Shamrock, I hadn’t managed to get close to that. But now I have a new self-generated carrot to chase! 1:51:44 a four minute PR and I ran a nicely negatively split race.

Note that the following paragraphs were actually written on race day and are therefore written in the present tense even though I didn’t manage to post it until three weeks later. Wow. Three weeks. Time, please stop moving so fast, I can’t keep up.

*Begin day of race report here*

OK so now that’s out of the way, today’s post is really about today’s race. Today’s race was a local point-to-point 10K from another town to ours. It started in the hills and ended by the river, which means one important thing: NET DOWNHILL run! Another important thing about this one: it ended only a few blocks from our apartment so we could very quickly and easily run home at the end if need be (cue dramatic low strings of foreshadowing now). A race at ten in the morning on a Thursday would be weird, except that today was a public holiday. It was Ascension or as the Germans call it Christihimmelfahrt which translates literally to Christ driving up to heaven. Since this was a one-way race that ended at home, we had to take the train to get there, but it was only a ten minute ride or so and there was a good number of other runners on it.

but the muth was busted so obviously He got there some other way. Batsuit? Flying pony?

Christihimmelfahrt which I have handily illustrated on our kitchen whiteboard for you. By the way, the new season of Mythbusters is excellent so far and they did their third and definitive busting of the JATO-on-a-car myth that started off the Darwin awards

Today’s race really started yesterday. Actually, even earlier, so let’s bring it on back to last Sunday. On the Ironman plan, last week was supposed to be a tune-up race, but sadly I couldn’t find any other than a mountain bike duathlon and since none of our seven bikes is currently a mountain bike, that was right out. I then staged my own one person Olympic triathlon complete with two separate transition zones (the first by the local pool and the second in the hallway of our apartment), an out-and-back bike course with 1500 feet of climbing, a 10K loop, and a spectator to cheer me on (the ever wonderful Wife). The swim was unfortunately cancelled due to some high school competition or something. I go into the door to that pool two to three times a week and somehow the posted flyer announcing the weekend closure never registered at all. The bike was a bit slow – average 17.8 mph (but the last two training rides on the same route were 15 and 15.8 mph, respectively, so clearly I was moving) and the run I did faster than the runs in the last two official Olympic triathlons I competed in. So it was a good hard effort. Then Monday was rest day except that it wasn’t really as it involved a 12 hour fast (not even water) and then a three hour doctor’s appointment where it was determined unequivocally and with much borborygmous that I am lactose intolerant (I’ve had serious bowel problems for almost 20 years and it took until now for someone to check for that? WTF medical profession, WTF?), Tuesday was 3300 meters of swimming, a short bike, and three hours of aikido. Wednesday. Yesterday. Yeah, yesterday was the kicker. An 11.5 mile long run in the morning followed by 3 hours of errands by bicycle (only about an hour and forty minutes or so of actual riding) and a 2300 meter swim.

So, on top of that, I got to the start line with the intent to run the race as a hard tempo effort. By all rights, I should have been cooked. And for the first kilometer that’s how I felt. Then about halfway up the first hill, everything suddenly woke up and I kissed the Wife goodbye and took off. By take off, I mean that my pace increased by almost a minute per mile. Despite that, the beer wagon passed me somewhere around kilometer 3. I didn’t let it get me too down, though as the beer wagon guys are a bunch of fit and fast triathletes and did I mention that we were all heading downhill at this point?

I had a throwaway water bottle with me at the start that I intended to ditch before the running began, but at the last minute I decided to hang on to it as I had absolutely no idea if or how many water stops there were and the sun was actually out for once. Both the Wife and I misremembered there being no water stops and on Sunday’s fake duathlon I didn’t bring any water with me for the 10k run portion and I was so dehydrated that I was daydreaming about the Wife riding up and bringing me water from km 7 to the end. So I held onto my water bottle of safety and I was so happy to be able to take a sip whenever I wanted that I might do this at more races from now on.

Anyway, so I was running possibly faster than I should have been, but I felt good, so I kept going with that and it worked pretty well. Just before we ran through the train station at the chemical plant around km 8, I passed the beer truck going downhill and knew my victory was assured. The chemical plant is always fun to run through as it’s closed to visitors most of the time. I kept checking the Garmin to see if I was somehow counting things wrong, but I wasn’t. I really was going an entire 10k at about an 8:10 minute pace, with around a 7:45 pace for the middle mile where the most downhill was. And my legs felt ok throughout.

The race ends at the old castle wall (like a thousand years old) and you go under this arched gate then up a steep little cobblestone hill for the last 0.2 mi. As I sprinted towards the finish, there was a guy wearing the same race shirt as I was also sprinting up the little hill and for some idiotic reason it was important for me to beat him up the hill. So I did. Then promptly puked. But still. Another PR! 51:07! Go me. Ironman training certainly is special if it’s giving me the power to do stuff like this.

The Wife came dashing up only a few minutes later for a PR of her own (by about 20 seconds) despite her being sick for about half this training cycle, but then she also promptly puked. At this point, I’m blaming last night’s sushi. But really, when they talk about blood, sweat, and tears they never mention the vomit. Why is that? So we walked home, got showered and changed and then headed back to the big party where it started to rain, the lines for the sausages were really long and they didn’t do the awards ceremony until after we finally gave up and left to go home and write a race report. They only go 3 deep and I was 6 in my age group so we hopefully didn’t miss much.

*End Day of reporting here*

I have so many things that I keep thinking I should blog about and then never do. Blogging regularly is hard and I have tons of respect for those that manage it along with training and jobs and such. But right now I’m five and a half weeks out from Ironman so I’ll try to be more mindful and keep track of what’s going on with training and life here. It’s exciting and scary and I don’t feel ready. I wonder if anyone ever feels ready for their first Ironman? Also, how on earth does anyone do this without a supportive spouse to cook food, pick up the pieces, and generally make life run smoothly when all I manage to think about or do is swim-bike-run?

triathlong meringues

My incredible and wonderful Wife made me these adorable meringues the other day 🙂