Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Challenge Roth- training & travels in Germany & Switzerland

We left Morzine, France last Monday and drove down to the UCI Headquarters & Velodrome in Aigle, Switzerland for Luke to help with a bike launch for Scott bicycles and to do some aero testing on the Velodrome...The following two days involved lots of sitting around and waiting for me, Wynne, & auntie Jacque while Luke did all his blue-steeling and chatting with the media and pedaling around in circles in lycra. Luckily, on day 2 of waiting around, I realized there was a perfect run path along the Rhône river just outside the door of the Velodrome and snuck away for a quick 10-mile run.
#seenonmyrun in Aigle

Chillin' at the velodrome in Aigle
Round the velodrome...
Luke and I also attempted a swim in Aigle, but the pool was freezing, had no lane lines and was expensive- so not a highlight of the trip... And I only swam about 1000m that day.. Swimming has been tough to fit in around our schedule in Europe so I am trying to maintain some fitness, but probably not progressing as I would like in this area. C'est la vie.

After Switzerland, we were back in the air with a quick flight to Munich, Germany en route to Challenge Roth (and Iron-distance triathlon, probably the second biggest in the world after Ironman Hawaii). By "quick flight", I mean "complicated dog and pony show" as our amount of baggage is insane. But, we arrived in Germany and were met by the Challenge folks at the airport (They took care of Luke so well during our stay- it was amazing!) We arrived at our homestay in Roth, Germany and were certainly the luckiest kids in town. Norbert & Bettina live in a beautiful home that was large enough for our group of 4 including baby Wynne, PLUS Luke's parents who came for the trip. Throughout our stay, Norbert & Bettina were nothing short of amazingly hospitable, and we felt the same vibe throughout the town of Roth everywhere we turned. We're already hoping they'll have us back next year. 

The days leading up to the race were filled with media events for Luke (interviews, parties, panels, dinners etc) and we explored the race course together on our bikes...
Earth to Luke....Look alive, buddy! 

on the course....Rural Bavaria
At the pre-race Erdinger party, all of the pros dress up in traditional Lederhosen and Drindle and toast large beer steins. Luke had his on backwards until a local clued him in...
not clued in yet.... 
The family made it into the Slowtwitch Roth recap and I was called, '"Luke's wife Beth"... A girl can dream, right ;) ? Thanks Herbert for employing "The Secret" for me. 
At the pasta dinner, Luke made sure to squeeze in some chocolate milk & a strudel for good measure. (The pastries and bread in Germany are insanely good! We practically lived at the Schmidt Bakery)
can't hide from Snapchat! 

With all of the travel and carting her here, there, and everywhere, little Wynne has been an absolute champ... She goes with the flow, eats, sleeps, smiles, and really only practices her crying a couple times a day to make sure she's still got it... She's happy to go anywhere in her Tula baby carrier or in our Bob stroller. And also lucky for her (& me) we had lots of hands ready to take care of her including Luke's parents, & sister Jacque. I'm so lucky to have been able to fit in some training and race week was able to do lots of Luke-supporting. It's going to be rough once we're back to the real world and it's just the 3 of us!
solo mommy run in the until the "Little Red Riding Hood" imagery overtook my brain

The actual race didn't go as planned for Luke, he ended up 10th pro, but you learn from every race experience and he's fired up to fix the little things that he needs to be successful in Kona in 12 weeks.

Wynne and I went to the swim with the family...
me, Wynne, & auntie Jacque

beautiful morning for a race
Then headed back to watch the bike online...
Wynne's cheering onesie- Daddy's sponsors (thanks, Mom!) 
Luke's dad tells him he's 2 minutes down from the lead as he heads up the Solarer Berg hill
Post race debriefing..."seee what had happened was..."
Cuddles with Carfrae... Hope some of the Ironman World Champion 2013 & Women's Challenge Roth 2013 vibes rubbed off! 

We left Roth on Tuesday post race and now we're in the Pyranées for some cycling and Tour de France spectation. It's an amazing opportunity with some of Luke's supporters and were having a blast... More from France soon!

P.s. running out to a wine tasting (rough rough life, i know...) so I don't have time to proof/spellcheck and I'm sure after wine tasting is a not a good time, so please excuse any errors, I just wanted to this post up before the next adventure is over!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Allez-y! A few days in the Alps

on the road....
The first stop on our European trip this summer was meant to be in Aigle, Switzerland for Luke to attend a bike launch. However, following some map investigation, Luke remembered that his Aussie mates Joe & Amelia had opened up a training camp called Tri 4 the Alps  just over the French border in Morzine and we decided to tack on a few days to the trip. We thought it would help up get settled a bit earlier in Europe (with the big time change) and be a good opportunity for both of us to put in a bit of training. Auntie Jacque was along for the ride as the best nanny in the world, so the four of us set off from California to Europe with more luggage than you can possibly imagine (3 adult suitcases, jogging stroller, car seat, 2 bicycles, travel crib....)
ready or not....
Speaking of bicycles.... The European trip marks the first adventure for my new Cannondale Women's EVO... If your'e going to ride the Alps, no better way to do it.
2014 SRAM Red Cannondale Evo w/ a compact Quarq powermter, ISM Attack saddle, Zipp 404 Carbon clinchers (insert Emoji with googly heart eyes here) 
The 5 days we spent in Morzine were unreal and this was my first real all-inclusive training camp experience. I wasn't going to write this as a Tri 4 the Alps, "review" and rather just chronicle my experience, but it's one of those places I wish I had known about before, so I'll give you a bit of a rundown on the experience. Joe & Amelia (the Aussie ex-pat hosts) take care of literally EVERYTHING and all you really need to do is show up. We stayed at their Brown Bear Lodge, where all the campers/ holiday go-ers reside and take their meals.
Brown Bear Lodge 
Most of folks there during our stay were participating in the "triathlon holidays", but there were also a couple doing pure cycling holidays or "Activity holidays" (white water rafting, mountain biking, zip lining, etc...) Luke and I did a bit of our own thing, but also joined in for a couple of cycling outings with the group. No matter your choice of adventure, it is all organized for you from cycling routes and SAG support to transfers to activities to pool passes, etc. When you purchase a package through Tri 4 the Alps, you not only purchase lodging and structured/organized training every day (sample schedule here) , you also get two amazing meals (breakfast & dinner) that make the experience really unique (not to mention serve as great motivation to get some training done as the food is incredible and it's a little tough not to overeat). Hazel, the head chef, serves up something gourmet & hearty (yet healthy) every day and it's all accompanied by good french wine and champagne cocktails during happy hour. With coffee, tea, and snacks available throughout the day, you don't even really need to go out for lunch as you barely have time to digest before the next big meal is served. I was really surprised at the value of the packages they offer- very affordable compared to a lot of the tri camps you see in the states that are less inclusive but cost thousands.
a little sample of some of the "every day" food at Brown Bear Lodge
Morzine, France is a pretty incredible spot as far as triathlon training (and of course cycling-in-general) goes. You can climb Alps for days on your bike, but what make Morzine unique to many Alpine villages is the outdoor 50 meter pool (and an indoor 25m as well) smack in the center of town, and tons of running trails (some flat!!) that weave along the river and around Lac du Montriand. Darren Smith & his D-squad of mostly ITU athletes call Morzine home all summer and it was easy to see why. 

zee pool
nestled right under the Morzine ski gondola

Lac du Montriand has a flat running trail around it.  
Where's Waldo on the switchbacks of Col du Corbier (can you see me huffing and puffing while Luke does his nails and has a meal or two at the top?)
somehow we found the only week of the summer with rain, but that couldn't stop us. 
wet climb up Col de la Joux Plane
Amelia filling bottles before a café stop in Sixt Fer à Cheval
Goat village at Les Lindarets, a nice climb up from the town of Morzine

Luke's new mates at the goat village

All-in-all it was an amazing beginning to the trip... up next... Switzerland and Germany! A bientôt! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

...And we're off!

I'm not sure how exactly this was accomplished, but it's 9pm on Monday night and we're all packed and ready for a European adventure... In case you were wondering 2 bikes in bike boxes, lots of triathlon gear, a jogging stroller, travel crib, 3 adults and one little miss Wynne do NOT fit in one large SUV, thus requiring a two-car train to the airport.

First stop on our trip is Morzine, France for a little training in the Alps at Tri 4 the Alps. That's followed by a few days in Switzerland for a bike launch, an Iron-distance race for Luke in Roth, Germany and then a finale in the Pyranées for some spectation du Tour de France. Wish us luck. I promise we didn't set out on a mission to plan a super complicated vacation with a newborn, but opportunities kept arising and we're going with it...

Wynne and her butterball baby milk guts are tired just thinking about the trip. 14 hrs on the plane, oh my! 

How is this possible, you ask? Well, auntie Jacque (Luke's sister) is along for the ride and she is quite the nanny and a huge help. Other than that, we're just going to go with the flow and will make it work!
Wynne & auntie Jacque

Will keep you posted on life on the road... On y va!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hello, World!

It's been almost a month since our daughter Wynne was born and I'm finally coming up for air! So...... HI! Although the blog has fallen a bit by the wayside, I'm excited to pick it back up as I get back into training, travelling the world with our new family, and coaching a bunch of inspiring athletes. Besides, I need somewhere to chronicle my parental mishaps and athletic woes ;). But backing up a bit....

After 23 hours of labor, Wynne Victoria McKenzie was born on 5.29.14 at 3:03 a.m. weighing 6lbs 11 oz.
Wynne & Daddy at the hospital

1 week old! 
naps with Dad
Here's the truth: The first 10 days I was a hot mess. Between super-sleep deprivation, hormones, and being essentially chained to the house, I was on the edge. The edge of what, I'm not so sure, but it was some kind of edge, and I'm glad I'm off it!
so serious. 

After about 2 weeks, things settled in a bit. I caugh up on sleep as much as possible, got into a routine w/ Wynne and got out of the house a lot more. After 2 weeks I also started doing some light "pre-training" (which is exercise I just don't quite qualify as "training")...

3 weeks in, we took our first family road trip up the central coast of California to "practice" for our upcoming European travel in July.  I actually learned a lot about having a baby on the road, so it was a good test run.
lesson 1: bring more outfits than you think they could possible need. Wynne ended up dressed in a rag for the trip home... sorry baby! 
I also learned that in my own training, it's important not to mix up my ambitions with my capabilities... I wanted to participate in some of the weekend's training (Luke & Trevor & Courtney & Mitch were doing a big Ironman training weekend.) However, my desire to participate was overshadowed by my out-of-shapeness (that's a word, right?) and I had some rude awakenings (but also an amazing time and logged some hard but beneficial miles). I left a couple tears on a HUGE hill outside San Luis Obispo, but at least I'm back on the horse.
 suboptimal power-to-weight ratio made every pedal stroke sting. 
Summiting Trev's "postpartum loop of doom" 
Now, after nearly one month, I feel pretty adjusted to the new normal. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to being the on-call milk machine every two to three hours, but she's worth it. We've had grandparents in town nearly the whole time, so Luke and I have both been lucky to get out a bit more than some new parents w/ such amazing babysitters around. Things will change once we're really on our own.. But we'll adjust.

My body is feeling close to normal (although I've still got about 14 pounds to lose) and I'm enjoying every minute of training I can squeak in. I've come to realize that my return to triathlon racing probably won't be limited by my body's capabilities. Instead, my biggest limiter seems like it will be training time and scheduling. When Luke & I are on our own, it's important to prioritize his training right now, so I take the random hours here and there where they fit in with his (and Wynne's) schedule. And speaking of Wynne's schedule, she needs to be fed (by my boobies) every 2 to 3 hours during the day... And this is from the beginning of each feeding and she takes about 40 minutes to eat. This leaves me with a max of about 2 hrs between feedings... I'll need to get creative with some bike and run loops that swoop back by the house once I try to get in some longer workouts, I guess! I'm wondering how other breastfeeding moms have done it (or have they just not been crazy enough to train for Ironman during the first six months of their child's life)...I'm guessing the latter, but I'm always up for a challenge!

Speaking of.... Ironman Chattanooga in T minus 92 days ..... #anythingispossible... right?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Baby Watch & The skinny (or fat) on my pregnancy weight gain

First...The update on Baby Watch is that there is no update... Nothing happening yet besides a whole lot of waiting and since the nesting/organizing is done, I've moved on to preparing for post-baby return to "work"- Today I brought my Cannondales into Nytro to be built and tuned- pretty exciting but not quite as exciting as an actual baby.

Ok, on to today's topic: the fit & fat of pregnancy  weight gain & "nutrition":

When you get pregnant and start googling everything related to pregnancy, one thing you read is that many women don't gain weight during the first trimester, or if they do, it's usually one to two pounds and many women even lose weight due to morning sickness and nausea... Then, at the other end of the spectrum there's.... well, ME! By the time I visited the lady/baby doctor, I had already gained close to 10 pounds in the first trimester.. I'm quite sure my body realized it was pregnant (well before I did) and decided it needed to hold on to every last calorie to feed the baby since my body was only used to the fuel up/ drain-to-empty cycle of 25+hrs training/week...
Of course I began to freak out, because at the rate I was gaining weight, I was on track for a 50-60lb weight gain, though I was sure I was not eating that much. I also continued to exercise (swim, bike, run, weights) about 1.5-2 hrs/day. Instead of fighting it though, I just decided to let nature run her course. I figured that "dieting" while pregnant was not a brilliant idea and I also knew that some of my nutritional changes and choices may have influenced the rapid weight gain.

While pregnant, I consciously chose to forego any of the typical athlete diets you see around- dairy free, gluten free, paleo, etc... I did a little reading, but also came to my own conclusions that (in my mind) that I wanted to feed my baby everything. If I didn't and say, went gluten free for pregnancy, would I be contributing to risks of gluten intolerance since my baby had never been exposed to it? I didn't dig too far into the research, I just trusted my gut and  decided to eat what I wanted, believing that in some way eating mindfully but what I craved would be what the baby needs. So I kept eating (normally, not excessively), kept exercising (more than the average bear), and kept gaining weight faster the speed of light for the first 24 weeks.... I think the only reason I wasn't scolded by my doctor was that I had already gained about 10lbs by the time I wandered into her office, so her definition of ground zero was a little inflated...
Where did all the weight go? Short answer? my thighs and butt and a middle section that looked fat instead of pregnant. I was wearing running shorts a size or 2 up because of my bigger legs before I ever had to consider maternity wear for the actual stomach part....I looked like I had a REALLY good offseason, but not very "pregnant" until about 23-24 weeks.

After that, things started to even out.... by 24 weeks I had gained exactly 30 lbs., clocking in at 147. (WHOA baby)... But now, here we are at my due date (tomorrow, actually) and since week 24 I've gained a whopping 2 pounds but haven't changed my diet or training... Grand total at 40 weeks pregnant: 32 pounds, smack in the middle of the recommended weight gain.

on a run this week... the final product. 

My plan is to update this chart w/ my (hopeful) return back to fighting weigh....should be another fun ride. 

My pregnancy diet has been a combination of 2 types of things:
1) Things I feed myself because they sound good and appealing
Most of which happen to be things that toddlers love. I'm convinced pregnancy "cravings" revert your tastebuds to that of a 2-year old. I would have been happy living on mac 'n cheese, toast and butter, bagels & cream cheese, fruit, spaghetti........Totally random foods that I typically rarely eat and have little nutritional value. I'd say these were about 30-40% of the things I ate, because honestly when you're pregnant- it's hard to find things that sound appealing!

2) Things I feed myself because they are nutritious for the baby and I want a healthy baby
My typical non-pregnant dinner is a MASSIVE salad with fish, chicken or steak. The darker the greens the better. The problem with (my) pregnancy is that these foods sometimes sound nasty..ok, usually sound nasty. Kale & spinach can be tolerated in small amounts, fish sounds gross as does meat in general... Things like beets?!?! how did I ever love beets?!?. Seriously, I feel like a toddler alien has taken over my stomach. So, instead of force-feeding myself a massive fish salad, I'll have a small piece of chicken and a small salad (often with iceberg...GASP! or romaine lettuce) but that's usually enough after a day of bagels & smoothies. Luckily, I compensate and get a lot of vitamins and fiber from fruit (berries, oranges, melons, etc are all still delicious)... But the most helpful thing has been SMOOTHIES... Nearly every day I make myself a green-based smoothie or buy one over at Nekter, a juice bar by me (try the Tropical Cooler + Hemp protein) ....
When I make my smoothies at home, I go with  a combo of almond milk, kale, spinach, berries, mango & MRM Veggie Elite Performance Protein. This way, I can ensure I'm supplementing my toddler diet with plenty of good stuff every day. (I also take a pre-natal multi-Vitamin and MRM Vitamin D3 to help promote my baby's skeletal growth.)

I'm really hoping my taste buds return to normal after this baby pops out... Oddly enough, my two biggest food addictions- coffee & dark chocolate have been near total aversions this whole pregnancy. I know it's wrong, but I'm secretly hoping the coffee cravings come back..

That's all I got for now...Will keep you posted on baby watch and hopefully soon the post-partum aftermath and I'm excited to track my (hopeful) return to training and racing! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pregnancy Update: 35 weeks

I feel like a lot of pregnancy is a big waiting game and there is not much you can do besides be patient while the baby bakes, get your life in order, spend time enjoying your last few moments as a couple (if it's your first), and if there's any time left over- be lazy! last chance!

My due date is May 23rd, so I'll be 35 weeks pregnant tomorrow (you're due at 40 weeks for anyone clueless out there as I was). Now that I'm within 5 weeks, I'm starting to feel as though the countdown is on. As obvious as the analogy is, it really does feel like an Ironman is approaching. You start to make checklists, pack bags, get your race birth plan in order, get your equipment tuned up (or build strollers, etc), and just wonder what the big day will bring. Too bad there is no 17hr time limit for labor though and I have a feeling Mike Reilly will not be race announcing in my hospital room w/ Black Eyed Peas "I've got a feelin'" blaring from the speakers.. "Beth and Luke... YOU...ARE.... PARENTS!!!!!"

Overall though, I can't complain. My pregnancy woes are pretty rare and mostly just include back pain and having to pee 4 times during every run. Sometimes I even forget I'm pregnant. But most mornings, Luke wakes up and turns to me wide eyed, acting surprised, and says loudly in his Australian accent, "THERE'S A BABY IN YER GUTS!" So, that quickly reminds me.

took this today: 35 weeks pregnant

We've also been setting up the nursery (re: tiny nook off of our master bedroom) for our little girl.... a mix of aqua, orange, grey & white with a bit of aussie flair. most of the stuff in our nursery is handmade by yours truly people on etsy.

so etsy ;)
aforementioned Aussie flair. Baby must know her Australian animals! 

On the "training" front, I wanted to give an update of what I've been doing- which is actually quite a bit and maybe more than I expected I'd be going at 35 weeks pregnant, but all easy and aerobic. As I'm hoping to return to racing as soon as I'm able, I feel as though staying generally fit without over-doing it is important for me (& good for the baby). After reading other athlete blogs, I wanted to post what I've been doing as I found other people's info super helpful. Everyone is different, but this is what works for me. Also remember, I'm working from home and sleeping 9-10 hours per night... I'm QUITE sure I wouldn't be keeping this level of activity on any less sleep than I'm getting and a hectic work schedule.
Here's what I did last week:
MONDAY: 70 min masters swim (3700 yds), 1 hr functional strength workout at Rehab United
TUESDAY: 65 minute run with Kerri (6.7 miles),  1hr Masters swim (3200 yds)
WEDNESDAY: 55 min spin class, 60 minute Yoga Sculpt class
THURSDAY: 1 hr masters swim (3300 yds), 1 hr functional strength workout at Rehab United
FRIDAY: 60 min spin class, 1 hr masters swim (3200 yds)
SATURDAY: 1 hr masters swim, , 45 min run solo
SUNDAY:  50 min run w/ 3 girlfriends, 1hr Masters swim (3300yds)

Yesterday's run with Asia.. .She's headed to run BOSTON MARATHON this Monday! I'm pretty sure my pace helped boost her confidence. 
I'm not "training" 14 hrs every week  though. Pregnancy has helped me "let go" in general... During the weeks I was in Australia, I probably got in about 6hrs/week- one hour or less per day and a few off days without any stress or guilt. It was nice to actually be able to enjoy vacation & travel without constantly googling the nearest pool hours or mapping out a safe ride locale. At home, its just so easy for me to get out and do my favorite things with my friends ( masters swim at the Y, Rehab united strength sessions where I can chat w/ Katya & Courtney the whole time, and fun runs with the girls I don't always get to run with when I have specific training goals to accomplish in my run sessions).

That's about all I've got here on the update front. Next up for Luke is Wildflower half ironman and I have a couple coached athletes racing there as well, so should be a fun weekend adventure and our last trip before hunkering down for the big day!