Posts Tagged With: Triathlon

Peru Travel Plans and a Change of Race Plans

 

 Peru Travel Plans!

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About 2 years ago, Mike and I started talking about doing a trip to Peru. I have always wanted to hike to Machu Picchu. Mike has never been on an “Ashley Trip”, which made it an even more exciting adventure to plan.  Side note: an “Ashley Trip” consists of backpacks, hikes, bus rides, and hostels, as opposed to beaches, resorts, and free margaritas.

We quickly realized that we wouldn’t be able to make it happen during the summer of 2012, as the cost for flights alone are astronomical. In an attempt to make our vacation a priority, we created a separate “vacation savings” account and set up automatic transfers to take $5 a day out of our checking account so it would continue to grow. This account is considered untouchable (with the exception of vacation expenses, of course). Any extra bonus cash has also been deposited into this account. At the end of April, we realized that our Peru dreams might actually become a reality – we had reached just over $3,000, almost enough to pay for our flights 🙂

Let the planning begin – once we got the okay to take 2 weeks off at work, we bought our flights and started planning. Er…Ashley started planning and Mike said, “just tell me what clothes I need to buy”.

Fast forward to ONE WEEK before we begin our trip…

We’re about ready to go!  We will be spending 15 days in Peru starting late next week. Our general plan is as follows:

Days 1 – 3: Cusco

Day 4: Begin Machu Picchu hike – all day mountain biking

Day 5: Hike day 2 – also whitewater rafting

Day 6: Hike day 3 – also jungle ziplining

Day 7: Hike day 4 – arrive at Machu Picchu for sunrise and explore the ruins

Day 8: Train to Puno (on lake Titicaca) – called “one of the world’s greatest train journeys”.

Day 9: Boat trip on Lake Titicaca, spend the night with a local family on the floating island of Amantani

Day 10: Day 2 – boat trip on Lake Titicaca, visit Taquile island

Day 11: Bus to Arequipa, the 2nd largest city in Peru

Day 12: Free day to relax and explore Arequipa

Day 13: Hike the Colca Canyon, relax in local hot springs

Day 14: Colca Canyon day 2 – watch La Cruz del Condor

Day 15: Arequipa – Market tour and Peruvian Cooking Experience

Day 16: Back to the USA

 

Our trip sounds like it will be both incredibly amazingly awesome as well as exhausting. I am sure we will need a vacation from our vacation when we get home. I am just so pumped to share my love for real world travel with my husband – I hope he enjoys it as much as I do! I plan to keep a journal while we are there, so hopefully I’ll have some fun stories and photos to share with y’all when we return.

 

A change of race plans

keep_calm_and_carry_on

On another note…I had hoped to complete an Olympic distance triathlon this summer. I even made myself accountable by writing about it here and here. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?  How about the good news?  Okay. I did complete an Olympic distance training schedule and actually feel much better about my swimming abilities than I did before I started training. I even completed a “practice” race where I did all three disciplines on the same morning (.93 mile swim, 25 mile bike ride, 6.2 mile run). I’m pretty confident that I would be able to complete the triathlon I was planning on doing without a problem. However (bad news), I’ve decided that doing my very first Olympic tri right after 2 weeks in Peru might not be the smartest idea. Granted, we will be very active while we are in South America. However, I won’t be following any semblance of a training plan and we will certainly not be following a diet that is conducive to staying in race shape. I would rather hold off on doing my first big triathlon until I know that I’ll be prepared. That said, I plan on looking into a race early next summer.

So…now you know. Hopefully you’re not too disappointed in me and we can still be friends.

I’m actually really happy to get back into lifting weights and other forms of exercise. I’ve been following a tri training plan since the beginning of April, so it’s nice to have the freedom to do what makes me happy on any given day. “Gorgeous day for a bike ride! Let’s do that!” Or, “It’s too damn hot to run outside. Screw that”.  I just need to be careful not to fall off the workout wagon after our trip or I’ll need to go back into schedule mode.

 

Wherever you are and whatever you’re up to, I hope you’re happy and that life is treating you well. Catch you on the flip side. Hasta Luego!

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Graniteman Triathlon

graniteman logo

It’s racing season!

Now that the lakes are finally thawed, triathlons are in full swing around Minnesota. I decided to forego the Buffalo Triathlon this year (which was my first tri ever last summer), since I’m a huge chicken and the water was FREEEZING. It’s worth mentioning the Buffalo Tri, however, as my rockstar buddy Jared WON the dang thing. First place, people!  So impressed by him.

buffalo tri - jared

The Graniteman is a series of 3 different triathlons in MN and is now in its 10th year. I managed to convince my sis-in-law to “try a tri” with me. She lives in St. Cloud, so the Graniteman was a logical choice. It’s fun to have someone to do these kinds of races with (and of course, to celebrate with and drink beer afterwards).

graniteman start

graniteman body marking

We have been getting some very serious storms this year and when my alarm went off at 5:15 AM the day of the race, it was raining cats and dogs with high winds and lightning. Not promising. But it looked like the severe weather was going to subside and the race was only delayed by ½ hour.

Swim – 1/3 mile : 13:18

The water temp in Lake George was a bit shocking, but with a wetsuit (albeit a sleeveless one), not too horrible. I managed to cut my foot on a rock right as I was running into the water, and ended up plucking rock chunks out of my cut foot later on that night. This was my very first open water swim of the season. I have been feeling much more confident in my swimming since I took a total immersion class at the YWCA this winter, however, the pool just can’t fully prepare you for the open water. Overall, I felt as though this swim went much more smoothly than the 2 other tris I did last summer. Baby steps, right?  It was also further than normal– 1/3 mile vs the standard 1/4 mile which is standard for a sprint distance triathlon.

T1 – 2:21

Out of the water and into the transition area. A bit sluggish in getting myself in order. Wetsuit off, goggles and cap off, feet wiped, socks & shoes on, helmet on, sunglasses on, hair in a ponytail, go. Looking like a drowned rat on a bike.

Bike – 15.? Miles: 53:28

The ride was out of St. Cloud and onto County Rd. 8 and back. The whole ride out was a gradual incline, which was a bit of a rough way to start (but would’ve been a much worse way to finish).  The way out was also against a pretty fierce wind. I struggled to stay above 15mph, until the turnaround – then the wind was at our backs and we were on a gradual decline the way back. I was able to stay between 19 and 22 mph pretty much the whole way back into town. My overall average speed was 17.6 mph.

They claim it was a 15 mile ride, but my bike computer (and their official course map) told me more like 15.5.  hmmmm…

T2 – 1:42

Switched into my new running shoes, grabbed a Gu, and headed out for the run. The transition area was pretty huge – quite some distance between the timing mats considering the number of participants. On a positive note, there was plenty of space for bikes and you weren’t running into people during transition.

Run – 3.1 Miles: 25:25

The run was pretty uneventful, and per the norm, my legs felt like they just wouldn’t move as fast as my brain was telling them to. I kept a pace of 8:46 per mile, which I’m content with. With about ¼ mile left to go, I spotted a girl up ahead with a “4” on her right calf (my age group) and decided there was no way I was going to let her beat me…. so I sped up and passed her about 2 minutes before crossing the finish. On the final stretch I started to sprint and was neck and neck with some guy – I looked at him and smiled and asked, “So… wanna race?”. We both sped up and sprinted across the finish line… Yep, I kicked his butt 🙂

granteman finish


I finished the race in 1:36
– I’m happy with my results personally, but in the grand scheme of things, I got schooled. I think a lot of the “average joes” like me probably decided to bail on the race last-minute due to weather (there were over 100 no-shows)….leaving me to contend with the die-hards.  I missed placing in my age group by 2 minutes. There’s always next year!

graniteman results

This was a fun and well-supported race, and I actually liked that it was much smaller than the others I’ve done. I wouldn’t hesitate to do another Graniteman event in the future.

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The Value of a Training Schedule

 

finish line

The weather here in MN is FINALLY starting to warm up, although we have had about the rainiest spring in history (seriously, rain all but about 5 days out of the last 40…C’mon!!). With the warmer weather comes the all too short-lived patio season. After a long day of work, it’s so tempting to forego your planned workout in favor of a margarita and some sunshine with friends. “I’ll just do it tomorrow”, you say. Again, happy hour beckons.

As our motivation to exercise is inversely related to the presence of sunshine, now’s the time of year to keep yourself in check. If you’re one of those people that can wake up at 5AM and get your workout in, way to go (I’m giving you an air five right now). Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people. Trust me, I’ve tried.

In discovering my interest for organized races like 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, duathlons, and triathlons in the past year or so, this time of year is characterized for me by a set training schedule for whatever event happens to be coming up next. I’m really not kidding – check out my recent tri training schedule that I’ve been carrying with me everywhere for the past 12 weeks:

 Tri Schedule

This is not to say that you have to follow the schedule to a “T” and never hang out with your friends on those rare, gorgeous, sunny days. I switch around my workouts regularly based on my plans for that week. but the mere fact that I HAVE the schedule to reference keeps me accountable. Sometimes I’ll get to the end of the week and have to make up those I missed on the weekends. And sometimes I miss one here or there entirely – but you know what? I certainly get more training in than if I were to just “wing it” and go workout when I felt motivated enough.

What do you want to achieve? There’s a training plan that can help you get there. These websites have easy-to-follow plans that can get you started and keep you driven to cross the finish line strong:

www.beginnertriathlete.com

www.trinewbies.com

www.c25k.com

www.runnersworld.com

www.shape.com

www.marathonrookie.com

www.triradar.com

Whatever your fitness level, there’s sure to be an event in your area that can both challenge you and keep you in check this summer. Visit a race site like www.runningintheusa.com to find a fun event/race near you. The first step is to register – once you’re committed, you’re more likely to follow-through on your training plans. Yeah, there’s a time and a place for burgers on the grill, margaritas, and pool lounging…but it will be all that much sweeter after you rock your scheduled workout 🙂

 

How do YOU stay motivated in the summer months?

 

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YWCA Women’s Triathlon

 

I have been a bad blogger lately. Life is busy…what can you do? Post your race recaps months after you complete them? Ok, deal.

 

The YWCA Women’s Triathlon on August 12th was a random, last minute decision on my part. I literally registered on the VERY FINAL day that they were accepting registrations. Needless to say, I hadn’t been doing much biking or swimming at all since my first triathlon in June. But what the heck. I’m not out to break any records.

 

It was about 65 degrees and drizzly that morning, which is actually pretty awesome for the athletes. However, I did feel bad for all of the shivering spectators who had to stand outside and wait for their loved ones to cross the finish line (sorry hunny).

 

Swim: 13:06

As I may have mentioned once or twice (or a dozen times), I am not the best swimmer out there. I did my best to keep my head down as much as possible during the 500 yard swim and to not get kicked in the face. I’d like to look into getting some swim coaching this winter…if anyone is familiar with a good program in the Twin Cities, hit me up!

 

T1: 2:44

It was quite a long transition from the beach to the bikes. Plus, my bike rack was in the very back corner of the parking lot. ugh. I wiped off my sandy feet and threw on my socks and bike shoes…helmet, check. Sunglasses, check. Go!

 

Bike: 48:51

I think this bike course was the flattest 15 ½ miles I have ever ridden in my life. AWESOME. I was only passed a couple of times by some pretty badass looking chicks, but most of the ride I was doing the passing (yay!). The bike definitely continues to be my strong suit, and I stayed over 19mph throughout the whole leg.

T2: :53

Helmet off, bike shoes off, running shoes on and go. Speedy Gonzales….zoom

 

Run: 27:37

Well hello, brick legs!  The run took us around Lake Nokomis and was a nice flat course. There were plenty of spectators cheering on the participants, which is always my favorite part about these events. I was a little disappointed with my time on the run; as I know I’m capable of a sub-26 minute 5k…guess it just wasn’t my day.

I crossed the finish line for a final time of 1:33:09 and came in 179th out of 967 athletes overall.

 

This was a super fun and laid-back event. There were several hundred first-time triathletes who participated, so it is very beginner-friendly. I may or may not do this one again next year…However, I would highly recommend it to anyone (females only, sorry guys) who has thought about doing a Tri but feels intimidated about being a first-timer. It is a well-supported race throughout and there are ton of people who participate with the goal of just finishing and having fun.

Why do you race? Is it to keep you motivated and on track?  Just for fun? Or to consistently challenge yourself?

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