Ride the Drive with Lance Armstrong! 8-29-10

Madison cyclists of all ages lined up this morning to join seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong in a massive group ride along the downtown isthmus. Six miles of roads were closed for six hours as part of Ride the Drive.

Check out local news coverage and photos or skip to my photos below!

me - having fun! center - gorgeous morning downtown! right - Lance was funny, I didn't expect that.

(right - teal shirt) Major Dave Cieslewicz & (center - black shirt) John Burke, president of Trek Bicycle spoke before Lance Armstrong (left - red shirt) took the stage.

(above left) Two guys rode up near me on double-decker bikes, look close, it was crazy! Then the double-decker bike guys were checking out this guy's red/yellow Trek (above right). Cyclists love looking at other bikes--so much fun!
Along the ride I saw:
- unicyclists
- a cyclist wearing some sort of puffy furry mascot costume
- some cyclists wearing very little clothing
- kids on training wheels and some kids who should have kept their training wheels on...
- a tandem with a tag-a-long pulling a burley
- a lady with a dog in her front basket
- a man cycling with a small infant riding on his back in a baby bjorn, the baby was facing into the man's body and the infant's head had an extra wrap holding the head against the man's back.
- most riders wearing helmets
- some riders talking on cell phones and/or taking pictures while riding
- all sorts of ways to transport kids: burleys, tag-a-longs, seats on the back, seats on the front of the bike and a cushion set up over a back tire with two tiny girls riding along on it, no helmets.
photos all by me, even the picture of me.
My video clips (I had the junky camera, so quality isn't great):

Questions for You:
- What's the largest group of cyclists you've ridden with?
- What's the strangest thing you've seen on a bike or while riding your bike?

S.H.I.T. intervals & Aug 20 Super Special GOTRIbal Conference Pricing!

I won S.H.I.T.!—a great Spinervals DVD! "34.0 Super High Intensity Training!" When I told my husband I won the S.H.I.T. DVD, he looked at me funny, then read the case cover and said, "They really do call it S.H.I.T.!" The DVD workout is described as "the meat and potatoes" of interval training and promises strength and speed! I'd like an extra serving please!

I won by participating in a past discussion on GOTRIbal's web site. GOTRIbal expert, author, triathlete and mom of four, Kara Thom, offered a prize to anyone who could identify the bike she was riding on her trainer in this GOTRIbal post "How to Find Fitness in the Chaos of Motherhood Using a Bike Trainer." I watched the clip, but couldn't identify the bike brand, so I responded with "a nice bike?" WINNER!

Thanks GOTRIbal! I'm excited to meet fellow GOTRIbal athletes this fall in San Diego at GOTRIbal Conference and Retreat Oct. 16, 7:30-4:30 at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina. My close friend Amy and I are flying out for a long California weekend! Amy, her husband and my husband did a tri relay a few years ago going up against my parents and I, fun experience! We are SO looking forward to our CA escape!

Super special GOTRIbal Conference pricing good ONLY Aug. 20th 9 a.m. PDT - 12 a.m. Check GOTRIbal's site for details!
GOTRIbal® women are in over 40 regional “TRIbes” in 44 US states and 17 countries. The organization exists to be the resource to empower and connect women endurance athletes so that they, through the power of sport, can accomplish anything they dream of doing – on or off the race course. Because it’s not just about the race. It’s about life. GOTRIbal.

Kara Thom is the author of "Becoming an Ironman: First Encounters with the Ultimate Endurance Event" (Breakaway Books 2001), the children's book "See Mom Run" (Breakaway Books 2003) and the upcoming "Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom" (Andrews McMeel 2011). Read more about Thom on her blog about finding fitness in the chaos of motherhood at http://mamasweat.blogspot.com/.

photos: by me and my son. I tested out part of the S.H.I.T. dvd on the trainer with my PowerCranks bike + a SkirtSports skirt... crazy combination for sure!
Questions for You:
- Favorite Spinerval dvd?
- What's the last thing you won?
- What else should we do while in San Diego!

SuperCorn & Burnsides Bridge

Next week our kids have doctor appointments, soccer team meetings and school registration—school starts September 1! Tick tock.

It's been a fun, full summer:
- first swim team experience for our oldest (go Sharks!)
- swim lessons for everyone
- a few rounds of illness & meds
- a boys-only trip to Gettysburg and Antietam (see above pictures)
- time at the farm fishing and playing
- eating out of our garden
- several sprint tris: Lake Mills, Pardeeville, Iron Girl Racine (2 more to go!)
- my first news interview
- a chance to meet Craig Alexander, 3x defending IM World Champion
- weekly bootcamp workouts with my Village Athletes
- weekly swim date with my husband
- new swimsuits! Our toddler pointed at the unicorn on my new Splish swimsuit & said, "SuperCorn!" It makes me smile.

Questions for You:
- Have you smelled fall in the air yet?
- When does school start where you live?
Photos by me, my family & the swimsuit from Splish.com.

Sweet Scooter Moves & Pre-race Thoughts @ Aflac Iron Girl Racine

As a writer and former magazine editor, I love interviewing people! This week I got two chances to trade in my notebook and pencil and instead answer others' questions. It was FUN!

First I met with Iron Girl Across America Host Kelly Covert! Last weekend my friend Stephanie and I raced Iron Girl Racine. It was my first women's only tri and I loved the Iron Girl experience! Covert asked me a few questions pre-race in transition. Looking closer, I'm glad you can't see the blueberry bagel chunk I'd stuffed in my sports bra pre-interview... yah forgot about that. I remembered and removed a soggy bagel in Transition 2 that morning after the interview, wetsuit swim and bike segment! Read my race report, check out the photos and that sneaky blueberry bagel here. And read more about my friend Cheryl Jestis (interviewed in the Iron Girl video) in the athlete profile I did with her here.

This weekend Covert's interviewing athletes and racing as well at Iron Girl Syracuse. Read about her experiences and adventures on her blog. Covert is proud to race with Iron Girl's Team Courage and is celebrating 11 years of being cancer free! YES!

Aflac Iron Girl Racine

Then this morning my sister Catherine called asking if I'd be a source in a NBC 15 Back-to-School report on school-age vaccinations. Catherine works at St. Mary's, a local hospital working with NBC 15 on the story. They were looking for a mom with school-age kids to talk about the decisions parents make regarding vaccinations. The boys loved showing off some of their razor scooter moves: the flamingo, the up-and-down, the wiggle, the jump, the mini-man, not all of the moves made the cut.

NBC 15 Interview
*it's not embedding properly...

Questions for You:
- What scooter moves can you or your kids do? I grew up rollerskating and frequently won shoot-the-duck contests. It's like a one-legged squat on skates.
- Who would you love to interview? I want to interview age-groupers and Cinderella finishers on the Big Island someday.

Blueberry Bagel to Go! Race Report: Iron Girl Racine 7-31-10

(Steph and I at North Beach on Friday night. Steph & I pre-swim on race morning. This is my Yoda Ear swimcap look.)

What a fun, memorable weekend! Iron Girl Racine was my first women's-only triathlon. Iron Girl hosts 12 events: 15Ks, 10Ks, 5Ks, triathlons and a duathlon across the U.S. between April and mid-November. I was thrilled when they added Racine. I'd been to Racine twice for other triathlons, so I felt comfortable with the logistics and the date was open. I also got an awesome registration discount through active.com!

I love Iron Girl's mission: to empower women toward a healthy lifestyle. And I love Grace, the Iron Girl logo and Grace's meaning as described on the web site: "it’s what makes women heroic, charming and limitless. Grace is with us in difficult times and happy times, silly times and sad times. Grace is with us physically, mentally and emotionally."

Iron Girl does many things well:
- Performance shirts sized for women & gorgeous, quality finisher medals (many races now offer t-shirts alone, but I love getting medals.)

- Custom personalized race bibs so people can cheer for you by first name.

- Post-race catered breakfast cafe: amazing! They served: bagels, diced potatoes, eggs, bacon/egg/cheese burritos, fruit, yogurt, granola, biscuits and gravy, danish, coffee, juice, milk, and more I'm probably forgetting. My plate was full! And we ate on cute little round tables with fresh floral centerpieces and white tablecloths!

- Stephanie and I arrived too late to attend the pre-race expo Friday. I was really hoping to get one of those cute Aflac ducks!

- I liked the race packet instructions (see photo below). It was easy to follow and to know what to do with everything in the packet.

- After running up the long sandy transition area (see photo below) a volunteer passed out cute Aflac towels to wipe off on the fly as we ran to our bike racks.

- And post finish volunteers passed out cute little Aflac duck sponges, making post-race cleanup quick and easy.

- I liked the signage, chutes, and finish area. Also different areas like registration, results, medical were easy to identify. And the announcer was upbeat and friendly.

(photos: left - the race packet instructions. right - it rained lightly all morning but the sun peeked out moments before the swim.)

(photos: left - This is my friend Cheryl. You'll want to read the feature I wrote about Cheryl here. She's amazing and I'm so glad I got to meet her and several of her family members and friends! right - This is Kelly, the Aflac Iron Girl Across America host. She blogs at My Life as a Trimommy. I was also excited to meet Kelly. I enjoy her blog topics and Iron Girl updates, check them out.)

(photos: Steph and I pre-swim. center - this is Steph's wave coming in. right - me coming up the long sandy transition area.)

Race notes:
It was cold and raining pre-race. I was grateful I had a long-sleeve flannel along. Brrr! The water was about 68 degrees with some rolling waves out by the buoys. I've swam in open water in the low 50s, but even 68 can be chilly when you put your face in and swim. I spent some time warming up pre-start and didn't even notice the temp when it was my time to go.

My wave (30-39) was the largest group and many of the women decided to swim-walk the swim. This is fine with me, I want people to have the tri experience and I'd rather have athletes finish then go under, but it was unusually crowded during the swim with athletes popping up into bursts of walking all over the place. I worked hard to weave through the bodies and hit the shallows (about knee-thigh deep) at 7:44, finishing with an official swim time of 8:41 PR. (Thanks Coach Nick and Coach Katie H!)

The bike was flat and fast. The rain stopped, but the course was wet with occasional gravel and some stretches of bumpy city roads. I was conservative on the corners and did my best to keep my speed up, finishing with 44:54 (18.3mph PR).

T2 was crazy. I almost began the run wearing one bike shoe and one running shoe. Then I was so frazzled I lost my sense of direction and couldn't find the bike to run chute. And it was during T2 I remembered cramming part of a blueberry bagel in my sports bra pre-race... Oh oh. Yep it was still there. So I had stuffed my sports bra for my interview with Kelly the Iron Girl host, my wetsuit swim and bike segment. That is a first. Thanks Grace!

Off to the 5K. The run split time between a bike path along the lake and flat city streets. I worked on staying in the moment, engaging my core and glutes and working on my turnover. I have tons of room for improvement on the run, which is great since I currently spend the least amount of time running. As my strength and fitness improve and my weight comes down, I want to focus on the run more. Run: 30:34 (9:51/mile pace.)

Overall PR: 1:29:13! I finally broke the 90-minute mark! YES!

(photos: Thanks Joe for taking the photos! Yes Steph got a few comments related to her race number.)

(photos: left- talking to a photographer who took a picture of Steph and I for a Wisconsin women's magazine. center - the breakfast! right - Steph interviews me during the post-race extreme high period.)

(photos: We biked from host hotel to race site pre-race but we weren't sure we wanted to drag our bodies, bikes and gears back post race. Steph's husband drove their car down to pick us and our gear up post-race. Thank you Joe! While we waited I did a little lazy post-race stretching. Oooh yeessss. While the rain stopped, I was thankful for my flannel shirt.)
Questions for You:
- What type of bagels do you like?
- What overall time are you hoping to beat this year?