Friday, May 28, 2010

Health before workouts

I’m sorry this has been such a boring week on the Cyclin’ Missy blog. I’ve had a sore throat for a couple days, which I’m sure I caught from the hubby. That’s a switch! I don’t usually get the illnesses that he gets.

Anyway, it’s been a tough choice to skip some workouts during the last build week of my training plan, but I figure that it’s better to miss a few now and stay healthy than to be sick on race day. I get nervous that my fitness will be affected by the break, but really it shouldn’t be. I’ve still got two weeks of maintenance and tapering workouts before the race. It should all work out fine.

Still, I’ve been really eager to do my longest endurance swim before the race. I don’t feel like I’ve done enough long swims to feel really comfortable about the half mile out in a lake. So, I swam today despite the minor, lingering sore throat. I’ve got all weekend to rest, right?

Friday, May 28, 2010
Swim 1600 yards total
100 warm up, 8x25 sprints, 1200 endurance, 100 cool down
I was nervous about the 1200 yard swim, but I really didn’t have much trouble with it. I did 900 in 19 minutes and 1200 in 25:37 total. I’m sure my time will be slower in the lake due to starting in knee deep water, having to look up to site where I’m going, turning corners and running up a long hill from the lake to the transition area. But if I can just keep swimming without stopping along the way due to nerves, I think my goal time is very doable.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Counting down to the big day

It’s hard to believe that the Ann Arbor Tri is in two and a half weeks. I hope I’m ready!

It looks like I’ll have a small, personal cheering squad of family members coming to watch – hubby, mom, dad... How cool is that?! I want people spread out over the course yelling encouragement and taking pictures of everything. I want to document the whole race setup and get some action shots of myself – hopefully some with facial expressions of enjoyment as opposed to agony!

Tuesday, May 25, 2001
Swim 1300 yards (100 warm up, 8x25 sprints, 6x50 sprints, 6x100 threshold, 100 cool down)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ride of Silence - Pictures

One of our Rapid Wheelmen members took pictures at the Ride of Silence last week.  You can see her photobucket album here.

I made it into one of the shots as I passed by Nessie at the turn around point at John Ball Zoo.  That's me in the bright pink jersey.


Link to the photo here.  Thanks, Veloise!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beach Weather

I've been wanting to get out to a lake to try swimming in some actual open water, and I've been just waiting for a day like today.  It was 85 degrees F and sunny, and it's been warm for the past few days - enough to raise the temperature of the lake to a tolerable chill.

After a leasurely morning and a good breakfast, I packed my swimsuit and my biking gear and drove over to Millenium Park just north of the Grand River.  My coworker suggested the beach at Millenium Park as a good, clean, safe place to swim.  It's also a small lake so likely to be much warmer at this time of year than something like Lake Michigan.  Also a bonus - an extensive set of trails (the Meijer Millenium Trails and the Kent Trails) runs through and around this park, so it provides a great home base for hours of riding.  Which I planned to do after my swimming experiment!

I found my way into the beach area of the park and was pleasantly surprised to see that they're not charging to get in yet.  It's usually $4.  I came dressed in my biking clothes, so I'd be ready in case the water was too cold.  So, I walked down to the shore to test the temperature.  Tiny children were laughing and playing in the lake.  How cold could it be if four year olds were swimming?  And indeed, it felt chilly as I walked in up to my knees, but I adjusted to it quickly.  So back up to the changing rooms I went to put on my suit.

The swim didn't go too badly.  The water freaked me out a little.  In reality, it was clear, clean, sandy and shallow.  Nothing to be freaked out by.  But I did see minnows, so that means there are bigger fish in the lake somewhere.  And I have this thing about feeling fish brush by me in the water.  It just creaps me out.  I never saw a single one, but the possibility was always in the back of my mind.

I didn't get much actual swimming in.  Just a couple times up and down the lake inside the barrier of the swimming buoys.  But it was good to start getting used to being in a real lake.  I'll have to practice a few more times before race day.  And as far as the temperature went, the water was cold but tolerable.  With the warm air outside the water, I never felt really uncomfortable.  If race day is like that, it'll be great.

My training plan called for two hours on the bike today, but my body felt tired this morning.  I decided to make it a really easy ride.  I'd take it at a comfortable pace and give myself the freedom to stop and take pictures.

Since I don't live close to the Kent Trails anymore, it was fun to explore the area again.  I saw some new paved sections in the Millenium trails and an extension of the Kent trails behind the Coca-Cola Bottling plant.

I made my way up to John Ball Zoo to see the 2009 Art Prize competitor, Nessie, which was moved from the Grand River to the zoo, so people could continue to enjoy it after the art contest was over.  I really liked this piece and was eager to see it in person.

The trails were beautiful.  Spring is bringing out the green again.  Wild flowers are in bloom.

Cotton seads were falling from the trees so heavily that it looked like it was snowing.  A little farther down the road, helicoptor seads covered the road instead.

I've seen lots of animals while riding on the trails, but never before have I seen turtles.  Today, I saw two!

Here is sun-kissed, wind-blown me being happy and silly as I enjoy a long ride on a hot day!

Friday, May 21, 2010
Swim 1400 yards
100 warm up, 8x25 sprints, 1000 endurance, 100 cool down

Satruday, May 22, 2010
Run 40 minutes with 3x3 at tempo pace, 6x100 strides, drills
Total distance somewhere around 5 miles.

Sunday, May 23, 2010
Swim at Millenium Park Beach - maybe 300 yards
Bike 2 hours - 24.9 miles
Great first open water swimming experience!  But I need to get more comfortable with it before race day.  I hope my hubby will come to beach with me!  I'm sure I'll have to really twist his arm to make that happen.  *wink*

Friday, May 21, 2010

First Group Ride of the Year

Last night was the first week that I’ve made it to the ladies’ group ride this year. I really forgot how much I enjoy it! The miles seemed to fly by as I chatted and caught up with many of my friends from last year. I always seem to ride a little faster with the group than I do alone, too.

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny evening for a ride. However, the more roads I cover around Grand Rapids this spring, the more I notice the lack of road repair being done. The city’s road budget got slashed this year, so I think many of the cracks and pot holes are here to stay.

As much as I enjoyed catching with everyone, it was sad to find out that my friend, Jamie, who rode the Holland Hundred century with me last year is moving to Cincinnati next week. Her job transferred her to their office down there. I will miss her. I wish her the best of luck!

Yesterday was supposed to be a brick workout, so I planned to run right after the ride instead of getting dinner and beers with the girls. But I realized part way through the evening that that was silly. I could run for 15 minutes and still join the ladies practically before they even had a chance to order their food.

So I did run, and they saved me a seat. The waitress added my order to the mix, and it came out with everyone else’s. Perfect.

I may have to skip the week of the triathlon, when I’m supposed to be tapering. But I am so glad to be back in the swing of the group ride!

Thursday, May 20, 2010
Group Bike Ride – 27.3 miles, Run 17 min (2.2 miles)
The group ride was a blast! I kept a good pace and pushed up the hills, which is good practice for Ann Arbor. When I transitioned to the run, which was also hilly, my legs felt like sausages, but I kept a good pace anyway (7:48 miles). I wonder if I’ll be able to maintain a pace like that on the AA course?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ride of Silence 2010 - Grand Rapids, MI

Last night was the worldwide Ride of Silence honoring those who have been killed or injured while cycling. It is a touching event that brings together a community of people who share the tragic experience of injury or loss of a loved one and raises awareness of cyclists on the road.

I arrived early at Riverside Park, signed a waiver, tied a red ribbon around my arm and stood back to watch the somber occasion unfold. I had wanted to attend the Ride last year - shortly after I was hit by a car while riding - but I was unable to make it. So this year was especially important to me.

Over the half hour or so that I waited, 150-200 riders arrived – lycra-clad racers on carbon frames, folks in jeans riding 30-year-old steel bikes, families with kiddie trailers and tandems, Rapid Wheelmen club members, kids on department store bikes and one teen BMX rider with a bad attitude.

People from all different walks of life riding for the same reason.

When the ride was scheduled to begin, the organizer told us about the many other rides taking place in Michigan, across the US and in 26 different countries. A local woman shared the story of the loss of her son, who was hit by a car while riding. And Mayor Heartwell read a prayerful poem illustrating the heart of the Ride of Silence.

The ride spoke volumes with its silence. No one got frustrated with the slow pace. No one complained when a child cried. It was truly meaningful every time someone walking down the road asked one of the bike police officers who stopped traffic for us what this silent procession was all about.

We rode from Riverside Park through downtown Grand Rapids about 5.5 miles to the John Ball Zoo, where a group of bagpipers played Amazing Grace. We all stopped to bow our heads before looping around to head back past the YMCA, over the Grand River, past the theater…

It was an experience of unity, remembering and hoping for change.

In the news:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ride of Silence - Tonight


The Ride of Silence is tonight at 7:00pm.

In Grand Rapids, it will start at Riverside Park near the Island Entrance. Arrive by 6:30. As a cyclist (especially one that has been injured in a collision with a car), I look forward to this event. It’s so important to remember those who have lost their lives or been injured while riding and to raise awareness of cyclists sharing the roads with motor vehicles.

Last night I arrived at the pool about 10 minutes after a 45 minute water aerobics class started. One lane was open for swimmers, which was being used by an older woman doing a leisurely doggie paddle. We’re talking 5 minutes to complete a length of the pool. Hey – no judgment here! A workout is a workout, and we all have to do what we’re capable of.

Instead of coming back after the class finished, I decided to shower and just wait for the woman swimming in the lane to finish her workout. How long would she really be in there doggie paddling, right?

Well, I ended up watching the aerobics class through to the end, which was kind of fun to watch, but I was still a little bit annoyed to have waited that long. Then the pool opened up, and I did my workout in about half an hour – the doggie paddle lady trucking along next to me the entire time.

She didn’t get out until after I was out of the shower post-swim. I don’t know when she started, but she paddled her little heart out for at least 1 hour and 15 minutes. Props to that lady for her dedication and endurance!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Swim 1150 yards
100 warm up, 8x25 sprints, 5x50 sprints, 5x100 threshold, 100 cool down

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Long run

Yesterday, the hubby and I hosted our Dungeons & Dragons group (yes, I know we’re nerds!). For scheduling purposes, it made more sense to run than to go to the gym to swim.

There’s not much to say about my run workout except that it was long. 65 minutes of running. Next week I will do my longest endurance run of my triathlon training plan – 75 minutes. I enjoy the long runs, but my hips and knees don’t like the distance as much as they used to some days. That makes me wonder what it would be like training for a marathon. Would it be too much, or would I adapt?

I’m still pretty happy with how my running has progressed. I ran 7.85 miles in the 65 minutes, which is an average mile pace of 8:17. I may have been faster in high school, but I’m gutsier now – more tolerant of discomfort, more confident. I sometimes wonder if I would be a stronger runner, if I could take my 30-year-old self back in time and run cross country and track all over again.

Monday, May 17, 2010
Run 65 minutes – 7.85 miles
Average mile pace of 8:17.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Friday night the hubby and I attended a Salsa Night at the Marriott downtown organized by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We had a blast learning to salsa and cha cha with the crowd.

Before the big event, we went to dinner with some people that the hubby knows through work. One of these people was Ronald Robb. At first, I was excited because I discovered that Ron is also a lover of biking, running and triathlon. We commiserated for a while about our chosen sports, shared race stories and otherwise yucked it up at our end of the table the way that people who share an obsession tend to do.

But I soon learned that Ron was more than just a fellow athlete. He is the Executive Director of MyTeamTriumph.
myTEAM TRIUMPH is an athletic ride-along program created for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who would normally not be able to experience endurance events such as triathlons or road races.
The racer with the disability is the team “Captain” and the assisting swimmer/cyclist/runner is his or her “Angel.” How awesome is that.

The website, which you should check out (, has a very touching video showing the story of Dick Hoyt and his son Rick, who are the inspiration for MyTeamTriumph. Dick gave his wheelchair-bound son the opportunity to complete an Ironman by pulling him in a boat and pushing him on a special bike and running chair.

The video below is a story that Fox 17 News did on the organization after the 5/3 Riverbank Run last year.

It was an honor to meet Ron and to learn about the wonderful organization that he started here in West Michigan and in Wisconsin. If you're near either area, check out the chapter websites for a list of events that you can participate in. Or consider donating to this really cool cause that allows people who otherwise would not be able to complete athletic events to accomplish something truly awesome.

I am seriously thinking about becoming an Angel myself.

Consultation with a trainer - Part 3

On Sunday I had my last appointment with my trainer, Chris, before triathlon day. We met at the pool to see how my swimming form has come along and to add some final tweaks and drills.

My form has improved quite a bit over the course of the last couple months. I’ve learned bilateral breathing, increased the efficiency of my stroke and developed more endurance and speed in the water.

It was particularly interesting and challenging yesterday to learn about rolling while you swim. This means that when your forward arm is reaching forward at its farthest extension, you should basically be swimming on your side with your head against your shoulder. This is the most hydrodynamic position to be in. Then of course you switch from side to side as you stroke. The roll is one of the most challenging techniques in swimming. I appreciate learning about it and will practice it to the extent that I can. I’m sure even just a little bit of a roll will make me more efficient. Though even good swimmers like my trainer struggle to master the technique.

After a great workout in the pool, we talked about the value of swimming when training for other sports. Chris, for example, is a marathoner. He often uses swimming as a recovery workout after a hard run. Swimming allows your body to get blood flowing to sore muscles without the impact of running or the stress of cycling. He also incorporates swimming into his training routine in a way that allows him to run fewer miles but still develop the fitness level of people who run twice as much.

For example, running one mile is roughly equivalent to swimming 400 meters and cycling 4 miles (I might be off on the cycling number, but it’s close) in terms of the effort that it takes to complete the work. So, instead of doing a 20 mile run, you can do a 2.5 mile swim and a 10 mile run and get much the same benefits without so much wear and tear on your body. Neat, huh?! I’ll have to remember that when I consider running a marathon next year.

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Swim 1600 yards (probably more but I lost count)
300 warmup, various drills, 150 cool down

Some promised photos - finally!

Here at last are some photos of my new motorcycle and my new hair style.

My Honda 919

Sexy Bike ;)

Does anyone else experience difficulty taking a flattering photo of themselves by holding a camera at arm’s length in a poorly lit bathroom? Well, I do! Here's what I've got anyway.

Saturday, May 15, 2010
Run 41 minutes with 2 miles on dirt trail (approx. 4.5 mi), 5x100 strides, Tennis with the hubby
I’m trying to work some trail running, hills and open water swimming into my workouts in this last month of training.
Also, I won a rare victory of 6 games to 4 in tennis against the hubby!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rain, rain go away...

…Come again another day. Like a day that we’re not supposed to have a group ride!

It was raining again yesterday, so I wimped out on the ladies’ ride last night. They may have still held it, but after agreeing to give a friend a ride home from the car mechanic’s, I wouldn’t have made it in time anyway.

So I threw my bike on the trainer and did the ride portion of my bike/run workout in my basement. To alleviate the tedium, I tried reading a book for the first half of it. When that got uncomfortable, I threw a cheesy sci-fi movie in the DVD player and tried to forget that I was pedaling without going anywhere.

Then just as I finished spinning, I realized that I had forgotten about the Hawaii Rides DVDs that I won from the Bike Lemming a few weeks ago. It would have been cool to finally check those out. Oh well…next time!

By the time my ride was done, the rain had pretty much stopped, so I did my run outside. It was actually a lot warmer out in the evening than it had been earlier in the day. The warm evening and the setting sun peeking through the breaking storm clouds provided a nice pick-me-up at end the day!

Thursday, May 13, 2010
Bike 75 minutes (17.65 mi), Run 11:15 minutes (approx. 1.5 mi)
Every time I ride on the trainer, I remember how awful it is. But it really is a great option to ride indoors. It was good to get outside at least for the run, though!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grand Rapids Biking Events

Yesterday I posted some bikey news from the east side of the state. Today, I’ve got news of some cool bike events happening in Grand Rapids.

Saturday, May 15, 2010
Grand Rapids Bike Park Grand Opening and Annual Mayor’s Ride
Saturday is the long awaited grand opening of the first urban bike park in Michigan – the Grand Rapids Bike Park located near Burton and US-131. The park now has a BMX track, a pump track and a singletrack mountain biking trail.

The schedule for the event includes:
9am-11am – Park Cleanup
11am – Ribbon cutting with Mayor Heartwell
11:05am – The Mayor takes the first “official” ride on the pump track
11:15am – The Mayor’s annual bike ride – a family friendly ride up the Plaster Creek Trail

See PedalGR for more details and a really cool trailer for the upcoming documentary about the building of the park!

Also see for details on trail days and other events.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Ride of Silence
This ride honoring those who have been killed or injured while cycling and raising awareness about cycling in the community will start at the Riverside Park Island Shelter entrance at 7pm.

Saturday, July 17, 2010
Bike Stock
Bikes, bands and beer at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids

Running in the cool, spring rain

Yesterday it was cold and raining all day, but I wanted to do my run workout over my lunch hour, so I’d be free in the evening for my hair appointment. So I got dressed for the cold and wet and headed out for a 50 minute run in the rain.

I’ve always sort of enjoyed running in a warm, summer rain. This was more of a cold, spring rain, but I stayed warm as I ran anyway. The one down side of dressing for the cold was that my sweatshirt got really heavy as it absorbed water.

In the evening, I headed out to the salon and spent a couple hours getting rolled, permed and scrunched while trying to finish a book that’s due back at the library today. I didn’t finish the book, but the perm was a success! We’ll have to see what it looks like when it shakes out in a few days.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Endurance Run 48 min (approx. 5.25 miles)
I felt slow during this run, but those days happen. No biggie. Maybe it was the weight of my wet sweatshirt holding me back!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

East Michigan Cycling News

My mom brought some bicycling news to my attention this morning from the east side of Michigan. My mom is cool!

SpokeSongs Bicycle Tour – Saturday, May 15, 2010 – Ypsilanti, MI
Mountain and road bike rides will start and end at The Savoy followed by a concert with The Steel Wheels Duo. Sounds like a great time!

Police Search for Driver who Hit Cyclist Monday Night in Detroit
The driver of a black Ford Crown Victoria or Mercury Marauder struck a cyclist on the west side of Detroit last night and went so far as to remove the license plates from the car before fleeing the scene. The cyclist is in critical condition. I hope they catch the driver and prosecute to the greatest extent possible. What an awful human being. My thoughts and prayers are with the cyclist.

Monday, May 10, 2010
Swim 1100 yards, Run 35 min (approx. 4 miles)
Swam 100 warm up, 12x25 sprints, 3x200 threshold, 100 cool down
Ran for 35 minutes, but I’m not sure how far. I’d guess around 4 miles – give or take.
My legs feel almost more tired running after swimming than they do after biking. I wonder how they’ll feel after I’ve done both!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Staying dedicated

It was kind of a cold, rainy weekend. However, since I missed two workouts last week, and next week is a recover week, I wanted to be sure that I didn’t slack on this week’s workouts. I want to stay dedicated to my training plan and get as much out of it as I can. So I made sure to get all of my workouts in this weekend despite the weather. But really…how can I complain about weather? It’s spring. It’s not snowing and icy. It’s just a little wet and windy.

I also got my hair cut on Friday, and I’ve decided to get a perm! I’m really excited about it. My hair is very straight on its own and I’ve always wanted curly hair. I even got a perm once when I was younger, but it didn’t hold very long. I’m eager to give it another try. I’ve got an appointment tomorrow!

I’ll try to do some before and after pictures of my hair. Boy, I’m slacking on getting promised photos posted, eh? I still owe some shots of my motorcycle. Don’t worry…I’ll catch up soon!

Friday, May 7, 2010
Swim 1200 yards
100 warm up, 8x50 sprints, 600 endurance time trial, 100 cool down
Did the 600 in 12:50.

Saturday, May 8, 2010
Run 43 minutes with 20 at tempo (5 miles), 4x100 strides, drills – Total 5.2 miles

Sunday, May 9, 2010
Bike 1 hour 50 min – 27.5 miles

Friday, May 7, 2010

Welcome back group rides!

Last night was the first Rapid Wheelmen ladies’ group ride of the season. I am excited to ride with the group again! However last night, I ended up doing my bike run workout on my own so I’d have more time to spend with the hubby. He had three evening work events this week, so I haven’t seen him much. I was craving some time with the man.

It felt great to be out on the bike today. It was sunny and around 60 degrees. I rode 20 miles in 75 minutes (16mph average) and then ran 2.5 miles in 20 minutes (8 minute mile average). It was a good transition into running today and a good workout day in general.

The hubby also decided to try out my new motorcycle, and I think he needs to get one now, too! My Honda 919 is so much lighter and more powerful than what he’s used to riding. He had a blast on it! Fortunately, he also maintains a healthy level of fear and respect for the machine. He knows that with a powerful bike, you have to be all the more careful out there. So do I. Even so, I love riding this new motorcycle! It’s so smooth and fun.

Thursday, May 6, 2010
Bike 20.1 mi (76 minutes), Run 2.5 mi (20 minutes)
The bike to run transition was really good today. My legs got used to running quickly and I settled into a good pace. I’ve been trying to focus on keeping a high cadence on the bike instead of brutishly pedaling for speed and climbing. It makes me ride at a lower speed overall, but my legs stay fresher for the run. I’m considering adjusting my race day bike time goal to allow for a more leg preserving ride. I think it really makes sense to have a good ride and a good run rather than a time trial ride and a miserable, dragging run. Not only will that be more enjoyable, I think it will actually be faster in the end. So my goals look more like:

Swim 0.5 miles – 19-20 min
Bike 14 miles – 55-60 min
Run 5 miles – 45-46 min

That’s a total of about 2:05 hours plus transitions. So if I finish at or under 2:10, I should be really happy with myself.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A good hour

After riding my motorcycle around town yesterday to run errands (fun!), I did a good hour run workout.  I felt tired, and I think it was warmer than I'm used to, but I kept a good 8:57 mile pace nonetheless.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Endurance Run 60 min (6.7 mi), 6x100 strides - 7 mi total
Average mile pace of 8:57.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Never stopped moving

Last night, I came from work and headed to the gym for a swimming workout.  I knew I only had 40 minutes before a class began in the pool, so I had to hurry it up and get it done.  Which I did.

Then I came home and made a delicious dinner for myself (the hubby was at a work function) before beginning to mow the lawn.  During the mowing, a nice young man and his family came to check out the Spree that I've been trying to sell on craigslist.  He bought it!  He's going to love that scooter.

While the kid and his family loaded the Spree on a trailer to drive back to their house on the lakeshore, the hubby came home and helped me rake while I finished mowing the lawn.

Then, the hubby wanted to go for a short run to work off some stress and start getting into an exercise routine again.  So we ran a mile and a half and walked another mile around the neighborhood.  For me, it was a really nice easy run.  It felt good to just relax and take it easy and work on my form.  For the hubby, it was a comfortable transition into running again.  His job has been stressful lately, and he eats out a lot for lunches, so I think it's wonderful and sexy that he wants to get into better shape again.

I felt like I never really stopped moving last night.  And I liked it.

Monday, May 3, 2010
Swim 1300 yards, Run with the hubby 1.5 mi
Swimming was 100 warm up, 12x25 sprints, 4x200 threshold, 100 cool down.
Running was unexpected, but welcome!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coming soon...

Coming soon...

Photos of my new motorcycle!  I picked it up yesterday and got the license plate and registration today.  So, now I can legally ride it whenever I want, and you can bet that means photos are on the way.  Some time very soon.

Friday, April 30, 2010
Endurance Swim - 1100 yards total
100 warm up, 8x25 sprints, 800 endurance, 100 cool down
I did the 800 in about 17:30.

Saturday, May 1, 2010
Bike 1 hour 36 minutes (24.5 miles), Run 15 minutes (1.75 miles)

Sunday, May 2, 2010
Run 40 minutes with 16 minutes at tempo (4.75 miles), 4x100 strides, drills - 5 miles total