Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Epic Training Weekend in the Mountains

Holly (me) and Beth arriving in Blowing Rock NC

This past weekend was our team's Epic Training Weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Blowing Rock NC. What an experience - there was laughter, there were tears, there was exhaustion and self doubt and yes, there was wine but no whine (a team rule for the weekend). Beth (in the purple) was my roommate for the weekend and was a good sport about wearing the Hello Kitty gear my daughter Brooke picked out for us. I really had so much fun with Beth over the weekend, THANK YOU for being a great roomie, co-pilot in the car and just partner in crime in general. I've got lots of pictures for you on this entry from the weekend.

We drove from Atlanta to Blowing Rock on Thursday afternoon. Grabbed a nice mountain top dinner on the porch with Beth, Chris H and our Coach Mike prior to check in. Off to a great start! Settled into our 'rustic' accommodations thursday night, good night sleep and up and at 'em to ride at 7:30 Friday morning. 
My riding partners- Wendy, Beth, me, Dori, Rachel, Sally and Amy

Wendy and me

We rode from our hotel to the Blue Ridge Parkway for our 6.5 hour ride. No mile expectation, just time. On my GPS, I got up to 41mph on some of the downhills and crawled up the mountains like a turtle. I can't pull up my account but I remember something like a 6500ft elevation gain from the ride. It felt great though it took me all of that time to just get 80 miles. Yes, that's how tough the ride was - 80 miles in 6.5 hours. Dori and I took a wrong turn on the way back to the hotel and ended up downtown Blowing Rock. We were definitely lost. Mike came and picked us up thankfully otherwise Dori and I would still be out there saying, 'I think this is right'. 

Dori and Me
We got back, had some lunch around 2:15p, couple of hours off and then to the pool for an hour swim practice/drills. Dinner and to bed.

Yep, I'm hiding in the back!

Saturday morning started with a return to the Blue Ridge Mountains for 3 hours of trail running. Again, no mile goal really, just 3 hours on the mountain trails. You can tell from the group picture above how excited we were... It was absolutely breathtaking I have to say, same as the ride. Hardest thing ever but the scenery keeps you going. 

My Pre-run curtsey- water and gel, check!

We ran about 4 trails I think, some looped into others so we started on one of the easier trails and ended on one of the shorter but harder ones. The great thing about our last trail was that it was a good incline to the top (we walked a good bit) but when you turned around it was a beautiful downhill for about 3 miles. Well worth it to end the 3 hours on a 3 mile downhill. 
After our trail run, we went back to camp and had an hour stretch clinic, lunch and then break time. About 4p we headed back to the pool for an hour of swim drills and land based exercises. Back to the camp, dinner and then visualization techniques from 7:30-8:30p. 

Regina, Beth, Karen and Me (my FAB midtown ATL running partners)

After our visualization time, we all just grouped up and laughed, drank wine/beer, took pictures and just bonded. This weekend was great for bonding and amazing team spirit. Such a cool, cool thing to be a part of let me tell you. I got to know some teammates that I didn't really know well and the ones that I did, well we got even closer. In the famous words of John Dapper, Proud to be your teammate!

Sunday we got up and were supposed to catch another 1.5 hour ride in the mountains but the winds from Hurricane Irene were too strong so we skipped it and packed up to head to TN for an open water swim. We drove for about an hour and then got to the Lake. This was great, I got to try out my new full wetsuit so thankfully the water was a little cold. I definitely got warm in it but was determined to leave it on to make sure it would work for a good long swim.

Me and Abby
We jumped in the lake and swam out and around the island, just doing that loop for an hour and a half to an hour 45. I felt pretty strong during the swim. The first loop I sighted horribly but did better on the next 2 loops. I heard it was around 2 miles if you did the 3 loops so I felt good about that. 
 Me, Amy and Jane post swim

After that, we jumped in our cars, grabbed lunch and drove 6 hours home. Got home Sunday around 6p or so and then back to work monday morning. Needless to say, it's been a bit of a sleepy week. We're now on recovery week and will ramp back up next week. We're definitely getting close!

Thanks to all for reading, donations and support. This team has raised over $200,000 for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society but we're still trying to get to our goal of $250,000. Please consider helping us with a donation - you can click the tab on my page to donate!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Phew, Am I back in SE Asia?

My running path in Cyberjaya Malasia

I've been having flashbacks to working and running in Malaysia given the heat here in GA. Though I miss working in Malaysia and Singapore, I don't miss the heat and running in it. Can we be done with it please? On a HUGE note, our Ironman team has raised over $200,000 so far and we are well on our way to raising $250,000 for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

Go Team!

Lately I definitely haven't been pulling my weight on the fundraising side - I'm stuck at $6300 so if you were waiting for another blog post before donating, here you go! Seriously, thanks for any amount you're able to donate. 

I know I'm way behind on my blogging and weekly updates so I apologize for that. Between working full time, taking care of my family and training 12-14 or so hours a week I've been a bit strapped for time. I got my new bike recently - it's a Look 576 and it's absolutely beautiful. Thanks to Podium Multisports for getting me on a great fitting bike and putting up with my emails everyday asking when it would be coming in. 

Ricky Bobby

I have this weird thing where I have to name my bikes. I feel like it needs an identity - after all, we spend a lot of time together so why wouldn't I name it? So I'm pleased to introduce you to Ricky Bobby. Yes, I'm a huge Talladega Nights fan. What can I say, it cracks me up. I figure that when times get tough riding I can try to think about some ridiculous parts of that movie and crack myself up. Plus, it reminds me of running my Ragnar legs with Paige and having a great girls vacation in Key West afterward drinking wine, sailing and quoting the movie. 

Cal Naughton, Jr.: Shake and bake! 
Ricky Bobby: What does that do? Does that blow your mind? That just happened!

On to training. The last few weeks have been regular training weeks and then recovery week so last week was back to pushing ahead. Here we go:

Mon: 3500m. Off to a good start - long workout of drills but it went well. Got to the pool right at 5am to have enough time to get it all in.

Tue: 22 mile bike. Listened to music and jammed on the Trainer. Started to feel a little puny though, sore throat, stuffy nose.

Wed: 20 mile bike. Supposed to swim today but couldn't breathe through my nose. Opted for the bike again. 

Thu: Rested... Supposed to run 8 miles but took a nighttime allergy pill and just couldn't get up. Also sound like Stevie Nicks so probably best to rest vs. push it.

Fri: Rested... Same deal, still not feeling well but better. Supposed to swim 2850 but had taken another nighttime allergy pill and tried to sleep off the funk.

Sat: 78 hot, hilly miles on the bike at the Blazing Saddles Century. Had such a great time with my friend Paige. I had no idea how up and down the course was and it was about 100 degrees so I felt badly about pulling poor Paige into my crazy training for the day. She did awesome, such a rockstar!! 

Sun: 13.5 mile run, or should I say run/walk. Sooooo hot and such tired legs for my run. Tried to gear up with a little Common, Universal Mind Control. Such a great song to get going. I don't run outside with headphones so I have to get my music fix on the way out the door.

See ya next week!