For the past couple of weeks we have been sidelined by weather.  It seems like we are able to get great weather (75 degrees with little wind) during the week, but when we get to the weekend the weather changes to rain and 40s/50s.

This weekend I was super excited to get out on a long bike ride outside.  I dislike the trainer and am ready to be done with it.  Emily doesn’t mind the trainer.  It became painfully obvious yesterday by 6am that we were not going to get outside for our ride, so we went to the gym to swim and then came home and rode on the trainer for a bit.

After that, we went out for the Kohler Beer Festival (Shorts & Chefs) and had a great time.

Kohler Beer Fest

Today’s plan was to get outside for a run.  Even though it is in the 40s, and supposed to be pretty nice, the winds were 20+ MPH.  Because of the wind I decided to do a 5K on the treadmill instead and pick up a longer run as part of my brick on Monday.

I am hoping that the weather will turn around over the next couple of weeks so that we don’t have to put up with indoor training much longer.

In Search of a Wetsuit

With our first triathlon, Elkhart Lake, fast approaching, I began my search to find a wetsuit.  Nick and I decided we would rent wetsuits for this sprint since they are “highly recommended” for the race, and possibly buy one in the upcoming months for our big race, Steelhead 70.3 in August.

I tried on my first wetsuit the other day, an Aquasphere.  I was sweating trying to get it on.  I figured it would be similar to putting on tights.  I was prepared for it to be difficult, however this was quickly becoming a workout.  Sweat was pouring down my face.  I finally got both of my legs in and the wetsuit was about mid-thigh, but couldn’t get it up any further.  I walked out of the dressing room in despair, defeated by the wetsuit.

Knowing my legs are quite large, my calf measures 16 1/2″ on a good day and we’re not even going to discuss my quads.  I decided to try on a larger size.  Same thing, I couldn’t get it past my thighs.  I was beginning to get discouraged.

I tried on another brand, TYR in a women’s extra large.  I was able to pull it over my legs without a struggle.  Ah, I was finally getting somewhere.  Once I got it over my torso, it was obvious I was in the wrong size.  There was a huge gap above my shoulders.  I zipped it up anyway and immediately dismissed it due to the neck.  I have an extremely sensitive gag reflex.  I cannot wear anything tight around my neck, most crew neck t-shirts bother me.

Next up was Zoot.  This wetsuit fit my legs.  I was able to pull the sleeves on, and felt my shoulders were a little constricted.  I zipped it up anyway, and the neck was high and tight.

The search for a wetsuit continued.  I read that a person will try on approximately 5-7 wetsuits before finding one that fits his/her body.  This is due to the fact that each brand is cut different, yet the only measurements they advertise are height and weight.  So it is pretty much a guessing game as to whether or not a particular brand will fit your build.

With the brand selection limited in the Milwaukee area, I began to feel the pressure to find a suit that fit.  The alternative is to rent one online either through a specific wetsuit manufacturer or an online rental store that matches your height, weight, and body type to one of the brands they have in stock.  This option scares me a little.  What if the one I order doesn’t fit?  I know I’m a “special case” and hate being that way.Orca S3 wetsuit, low neckline

I went to another retailer that carried Zoot and Orca.  I told the salesman my height and weight and he recommended I try an Orca.  I got my legs in the suit without much of a fight, and was able to put the suit on and zip it up.  The neck design was comfortable, yet felt like it was snug enough to keep water out.  I was pleased with the fit of this suit.

I went ahead and tried on the Zoot wetsuit for good measure.  Again, it fit my body, but the neck was too high and tight.  This confirmed that the Zoot was not a good fit for me, which was a little disappointing because I really like my Zoot tri shorts.

With a wetsuit that finally met my needs (large legs and low-cut neck), I reserved the Orca for my first race.  I’m excited to see how it performs!

Weekly Activity Report 05/24/2015

We did not make it to the gym this week, so no swimming or strength training.  We were able to get on the tri bikes a couple of times, though.  Now we need to work on consistency with our training, Elkhart Lake is in a few weeks.  Below are last week’s Fitbit step counts and our distances for each sport.

Weekly Activity Report ending 05/24/2015:

Emily –
91,335 steps (daily average 13,048)
Run 4.5 miles
Bike 23.5 miles
Swim 0 yds
Strength 0 minutes

Nick –
88,029 steps (daily average 12,576)
Run 3.5 miles
Bike 20.8 miles
Swim 0 yds
Strength 0 minutes

Crisis Averted

With all of the new houses going in around the neighborhood, Emily and I decided that we would smoke a brisket this weekend and invite our neighbors and some friends over for an afternoon barbecue.

Yesterday morning, I took the brisket out and put together my rub.  It looked great.  I was really excited to get it on the smoker and more importantly to eat it.

This morning, I woke up at 5 to put the meat on the smoker.  Once on, I set a timer on my phone so that I would remember to check the brisket.  I have in the past forgotten about it and dried it out.

About 30 minutes before my timer went off, I decided to get a new cup of coffee.  I noticed that the smoker was producing a significant amount of smoke.  That’s great, the more smoke, the more flavor.  I hadn’t ever seen my Traeger produce that much smoke, so I wanted to investigate.  When I opened the pit I was greeted with:



Emily and I sprung to action.  Emily grabbed a pan, I grabbed tongs and removed the brisket.  I waited to take the picture above to save the meat.

Crisis AvertedWith the brisket in the oven, we pulled the smoker apart.  The fire appears to have started from a build up of grease on the grease tray from previous cooking which then stopped the grease from this meat from leaving the tray and thus catching fire.

We took about 10 minutes to clean everything up and then we re-fired the pit.  Once at temperature, we removed the brisket from the oven and re-applied it to the smoker.

Lessons Learned:
1. Pay close attention to your smoking meat
2. Clean the Traeger with relative frequency
3. A little fire won’t kill your food
4. Good teamwork makes quick and easy work of a crisis



Thursday Ride and Fall

Wednesday afternoon we returned to Endurance House for a follow-up fitting on our tri bikes.  I had new pedals installed on the bike and cleats installed on my new tri shoes.  A few adjustments were made to my aero bars.  We also changed the seat because of some pain I was experiencing.  I am testing a new seat that is currently on loan for me to decide whether or not I like it.  Before leaving, I grabbed a new hydration system as well.  When we left, I felt like I was walking out with a different bike.

2015 Quintana Roo CD0.1

With the weather nice this week, and rain forecasted this weekend, we decided to do our long ride Thursday afternoon.  We took the dogs for a walk and noted how windy it was.  We decided to go on the ride and fight the 20 mph wind.

At mile 5, I was stopped to cross a fairly busy divided highway.  As the traffic cleared on the left, I pushed off with my right foot to get to the median.  Then unexpectedly a car turned into the lane I was about to cross.  I hit my brakes, halfway into my mount.  My left foot was clipped in, and my bike began to tilt.  I reacted quickly, and was able to unclip my foot, but my reaction wasn’t fast enough.  My body was already committed.  I fell to the ground, knee first.  Again.

With cars passing by, I scrambled to my feet and walked my bike to a nearby bench.  I sat down and just cried.  Nick, who had already crossed the street, came back to check on me.  I told him to continue his ride, I need a few minutes alone to compose myself.  My knee was throbbing and pretty beaten up, and my ego was crushed.

Once Nick returned, I knew I had to ride back home.  People told me when I started this sport that it wasn’t going to be easy.  I would fall sometimes and I would have to pick myself up and keep going.  I didn’t have any broken bones and there was no damage to my bike, so giving up wasn’t an option.  I got back on the saddle and began to pedal.  The wind was at our backs for a little while, so I wasn’t fighting it with a bum knee.  At the end of the bike path, we took an alternate route north to avoid some of the street traffic as well as a few of the climbs.Left Knee After the Fall

As soon as I pulled in the driveway, I jumped off my bike and went in the house.  I grabbed my phone and snapped a quick picture of my knee.   Then I went straight to the medicine cabinet, grabbed some gauze, antibiotic ointment and a bandaid.  I proceeded to clean and dress my wound.  A quick shower allowed me to decompress and wash some of the worries (and dirt and tears) away.

I was extremely frustrated after my fall.  I get so mad at myself for not being graceful on the bike.  I understand I have new pedals, and there’s a learning curve when you make a change like that to your hardware.  But I just want to ride my bike.  I want it to be easy.  I want it to come natural to me.  I know once I put more miles on the bike, I will become more confident in my ride.  Until then, let’s hope my future rides are just that, a ride.

Triathlon Coverage

This season I have been trying to keep up with Triathlon, specifically Ironman race.  I am trying to find ways to keep up with other events as well.  I think this season has been a little easier for me because for several races I have known someone who is racing, which is pretty cool.

During the Galveston race, I downloaded Irontrac for my iPhone.  The app updates frequently during the race.  The hard part is picking out people to watch.  For Ironman Texas, I followed a colleague from my old job.  It was great to see someone I know finish the race, even though it was from an app on my phone.

I am looking for suggestions on other phone applications to keep up with other events.  Also, why aren’t more races televised?  I get that the whole race would be tough, but transition and ins/outs would be cool.

Header Image & Logo

For a while we have wanted to put together a logo and a new header (not that we don’t like Lou, our dog who used to grace the top of the page).  I drew something out and I liked it, but we couldn’t agree that it is what we wanted.  I downloaded a trial version of Pixelmatr, but realized just how not-creative I was and how inept I was at using that kind of software.

So, I reached out to a friend of mine who is incredibly talented and super generous with his time and we love him and his family for the help.  He created the image at the top of the page and came up with the amazing fleur de lis logo.

Emily would tell you that I get tired of all the fleur de lis in the house, but I absolutely love this logo.

Thank you, Mark, for your incredible work and help!