Tuesday, May 20, 2014

WORS Crystal Lake Classic

First things first...it was nearly 70 degrees on Sunday! Party on Garth!!  I was pretty jacked to be breaking out my Sota tank in the cheese head state and also to be using my favorite feature of our new bike rack for the first time!

Tom and I packed about as much as possible into this past weekend.  Starting with a 5:30 am wake up for Blaine Triathlon on Saturday.  I enjoyed cheering and witnessing the suffering while I downed enormous amounts of coffee in 40 degree bliss. Long story short...the lake temp was 51 degrees (eek!) and most racers couldn't feel their feet until the were on to the run portion of the course!  This was Tom's first race as a "master" and he crushed it. "Master" pretty much means "over the hill" in the triathlon world.  Nothing makes me more happy than seeing Tom this happy.

Afterwards we quick packed the mountain bikes in the car and made the trek to Rhinelander, arriving just in time to pre-ride before dusk.  Saturday was "new kit day" and I think the only thing that beats "new kit day" is "new bike day."  Vito is expressing equal excitement about this new Foundry kit.

We slept nearly 12 hours on Saturday night (ahhhh) and by the time 1:30PM rolled around I was rested and ready to race my first WORS race of the year.  I love, love, love WORS races and I can't wait to race a bunch more this summer.  They are so well organized and I honestly can't say enough good things about these races. Plus, they are a supporter of equal pay for women and that's just plain rad.

WORS Crystal Lake Classic takes place at Tesomas Scout Camp and is a fairly flat, yet ironically bumpy course with a bit more sand this year.  The race starts out with a 2 mile roll out and I was happy to let Cooper set the pace and entered the single track exactly where I was wanting to be in 2nd place.  I was holding her wheel and feeling pretty good, except I could tell my single track skills were a bit rusty and I kept having to remind myself to "PEDAL THROUGH THE DAMN CORNERS!"  I made a few mistakes during the race riding off the trail a couple times and that was enough to give Cooper an early gap that I could not bridge.

I focused the rest of the race on cornering and maintaining speed.  Eventually I was feeling smooth and in the zone.  In fact I was so in the "zone" that at one point on the second lap an XTR photographer that was hidden behind a tree scared the sh*t out of me (almost literally)!  It felt like I jumped while riding my bike and I let out a loud "ahhhhhh!!!!"  Talk about capturing the moment!

I laughed so hard afterwards and was slightly embarrassed.  I figured this photographer probably scared a lot of other people...then again, probably not.

I didn't race that well technically on Sunday, however, I felt fit and strong and that's probably what matters most this time of year. In the end I was very happy to climb to the 2nd step for my best WORS finish to date.  Can't wait to race WORS again in June!

Now it's back to Minneapolis and time to gear up for MT Borah Epic. We are finally seeing some awesome weather here!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Life with a Compex

I've been using a Compex Sport Elite for the past couple of months now and I am beyond impressed...I'm downright obsessed with it!!  In fact Tom is also so in love with this device that we often times fight over who gets to use it first in the evenings!  Let's face it....we all know it's tough to win a battle against a bull in a china shop!!!

The truth is, the entire time I've been an endurance athlete (nearly 8 years!) I've struggled massively with recovery. My lack of recovery dates all the way back to my Ironman training days when I would notice my training partners having significantly  more "pep in their step" than I did the week after a race. Not cool.  Even last year my coach and I had numerous frustrating conversations about recovery (or my lack thereof).  My slow recovery was obviously negating my ability to effectively complete training sessions and thus improve my lactate threshold. At times I was wondering if it was all in my head! We all want to be faster right?

Well I'm happy to report that THINGS HAVE CHANGED!!!  My recovery has significantly improved to the point that it's not only allowing me to meet the goals of my workouts on back to back days, but it's taken away the constant fear that I had about the effort I was putting in and how I was going to feel the following day(s).  So what's different? 

Sure, I've done a lot of work in this department such as making sure I'm consuming the right nutrition after a workout, spending more time on the foam roller, and wearing compression tights after races. But the truth is that I did much of this last year without noticing a big impact. Therefore...I'm 100% sure that the Compex is the final piece of the puzzle. It's the icing on the cake, it's the cat's meow, it's amazing.... Compex, you complete me (sorry Tom)!

I'd say on average I'm using this device 3-4 times per week.  I always make sure to use it after a long or intense ride and find it's most effective when used within a few hours of my workout.  I'm mostly obsessed with the Recovery Plus mode (only found on Sport Elite). However, I often double up with Massage mode and at times enjoy the Active Recovery mode (available on all models).  Since I'm a cyclist the majority of the times I'm throwing the electrode pads right on my quads. Although I've also used the device on my calves, low back, and hamstrings. The Recovery Plus program takes only 25 minutes, it feels fantastic, and I usually get this done while I'm uploading data from my ride, blogging, or watching TV.  

The biggest impact I've noticed thus far is using the Compex on weekends when I have back to back long rides planned.  I can actually tell the impact that it has had before my feet even hit the floor on Sunday morning. I wake up feeling significantly more fresh.  What I also love is that this device is tiny...smaller than a set of Bose headphones so it's super easy to travel with. I even intend to use it on the car rides home from all my races this summer!! That's something that is difficult to do with some of the other recovery devices that exist in the market.  I also love it's flexibility in that you can use it on a variety of muscles...not just your legs. 

The best thing though...the Compex isn't just a recovery tool.  It's a strength training tool that can really help increase specificity and efficiency in your strength training.  I haven't had the opportunity yet to explore this capacity in great detail, however I am very much excited to get started on this in the months ahead.  Hopefully soon I'll be able to share with all of you my experience.

If you want to recover faster, definitely think about buying a Compex. If you are already thinking about buying a Compex, but have some final questions please reach out to me. If you are local I'd be more than happy to borrow mine out for a few days (only a few, cuz remember I'm obsessed!).  I'd also be happy to let anyone try it out after a race so you could see firsthand the benefits the following day.  If you are ready to buy one...please use my code AM25OFF to score yourself 25% off at www.shopcompex.com

Trust me...life with a Compex is really, really good!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Spring has FINALLY arrived!!

Yeh!  Finally we are seeing something in MN that resembles spring. It's been raining quite a bit, but   every so often the sun comes out and it is so awesome that I haven't been able to contain myself.  Put the pants and arm warmers away...we are in Heaven!!! I've been lucky to have been able to put in some decent volume on the weekends and as a result  "short" short season has already come to an abrupt halt ....but it's okay cuz we have SUN!!!!

In addition to training I've been having a blast watching Tom and my friends race and also celebrating my nephews 4th birthday!

Jeff, Lisa W, Tom, Lisa B, Chad, Katy, Aaron - my buddies!!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Party for Aren...naturally I was Michelangelo
If you've been following my blog this past year you are already aware that I've been taking a different (less is more) approach to my race schedule this year. 

I'm trying to be more selective about which events excite me the most, and refrain from signing myself up for every single race that exists on this earth. The truth is that this hasn't been easy. However, I have really enjoyed being home more and also have been embracing that fact that less racing allows for more training.   Last year I raced so much that I almost never felt like I had put in a good training block.  This year is much different in that I'm actually able to see the progress I am making in my training without needing the constant affirmation of a race. 

This coming week I'll be heading to my first WORS race of the year!  I am beyond stoked as I absolutely LOVE this race series and all the awesome ladies that race it!  Last year I only raced a few WORS races, but this year I'm making it a focus to hit up a bunch more.

Time to mount up new tires, pick up some Spotted Cow, and shred some midwest dirt!!!