Friday, September 5, 2014

The Oregon Trail & Ironman....

I know I'm dating myself here, but did anyone play The Oregon Trail as their first computer game? It was pretty awesome. Basically, as an American pioneer traversing the Oregon trail, you had to safely get your covered wagon and your family across the trail. Each day, you'd hunt for food or deal with the latest onslaught of dysentary or typhoid. If your little brother died, you could even hold a funeral along the way... Interesting game. It was pretty much the highlight of 4th grade for me though, I remember asking my mom to drop me at school early so I could play.

But I digress... Hey, we're in Oregon! After returning from Europe, we had a quick & lovely stay at home and then headed north to Bend, Oregon where Luke has been doing summer training blocks since 2006. It's a great place for him to tune out of busy life and really focus on training in a place where the roads and trails are just. simply. amazing. We have amazing hosts in Bend, Jana and Dan, who have made us feel at home and we are so lucky.
trails out the door

Wynne is 3 months old now and she is super happy unless she's hungry. She loves to eat and sleep- just like her parents.
Wynne- 3 months
Since we've arrived in Bend in the beginning of August, I've made some really big improvements fitness-wise. As someone who typically feels like a sloooooow responder who makes minute but consistent gains, it has been amazing and motivating to see measurable "quick" improvements week after week.. I could barely hold 8 min miles on a 30 minute run a month ago and now i'm back to seeing interval paces in the 6's and some solid (but not mind boggling) watts on the bike. I ran a 1:28 half marathon & a 5k under 20 minutes, but am quickly learning that the harder sessions take their toll and I need more recovery (this miiiiight also have  something to do with 3am, 4am, 5am wake up calls from little miss hungry). So, I'm kind to myself and build in rest days when I need them and have pushed my body far enough. It definitely hasn't been easy, but hopefully soon I can say it was worth it...
Post 5k...ouch! 
Ride fuel at Backporch coffee roasters.... Bend has GOOD coffee. 
SoCal friends Courtney and Mitch came to visit & train for a week. 
Mr. Luke had a recovery day, so I had a bike escort on my long tempo run. 
So... why all the rush to train so hard and fast?
If you follow professional Ironman racing at all, you know that the "KPR" (Kona Points Ranking) is the points system that determines which 50 pro men and 35 pro women get to the start line of the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in October each year. My goal is to get there for 2015, but that means that I need to start now to have a chance as the qualifying year starts September 1st for the following year. 

I planned on racing Ironman Chattanooga on 9/28 but that's off the table now.. Instead, I'm racing Ironman Malaysia on 9/27 on the other side of the world.
definitely non-wetsuit material
To race Chattanooga, Wynne and I were going to stay in California while Luke headed to Hawaii mid-September. Then, I'd race Chattanooga and we'd head out to meet Luke in Hawaii... After some thought and investigation, we realized that instead, we can all fly to Hawaii together and then from there, I'll do a "quick trip" to Malaysia (if you count 24+hrs of travel each way as "quick"). I'm already halfway across the pacific in Hawaii, right? This way, our family is only separated for 5 full days rather than 2 weeks. Also, Luke's parents and sister Jacque will be in Kona and they are Wynne's biggest fans. Lucky little Wynne will have them to look after her while mommy pops over to Malaysia. It will be tough to leave her for a few days, but I've been storing away breastmilk (have questions about traveling with breastmilk, talk to me, I'm your girl), and she's in good hands. This way, Wynne will also have fewer time zone changes, just heading to Hawaii and staying there for a month rather than going backwards to Tennessee and then Cali then Hawaiii... I did shed a few tears (not literally, but symbolically) when I realized that I was trading a down-current wetsuit swim and family cheering section in Chattanooga vs. nonwetsuit solo voyage to Asia, but I know this is the best decision for me....and hey, not complaining about a little RnR on a tropical island.

Anyway, I'm super excited and I hope that my race fitness arrives just in time. Racing an Ironman less than 4 months after giving birth is a big ask and not one I would actually recommend to anyone. But, to make my long-term dreams and goals a reality, I have to give it a shot.

p.s. - we got Wynne her own altitude tent...start 'em early!