Running and Biking through Madison This Fall

Happy Sunday evening!  It was a good NFL Sunday this week, as the Redskins, Packers, and Ravens (Thursday) all won.  Rare occurrence, unfortunately.  

We've watched our fair share of football this weekend, but we did get out on a bike ride this afternoon.  This is our first fall in Madison, and I'm loving my runs and bike rides so far.  

I've spent a lot of time on the Capital City Trail, trying to explore a bit farther each time.  It's amazing how few miles pass before you get out of the city and into the countryside of Madison/Fitchburg.  This paved trail is a great way to get some miles in, with a variety of nature to keep you interested, and enough changes in elevation to practice changing gears. 

I've also been fortunate enough to go on a few runs so far this fall; lately I've been choosing the Howard Temin Lakeshore Path that runs along the lake and the University of Wisconsin.  

On Thursday, I met my husband for a post-work run from the Chemistry Department to the Howard Temin path.  Gotta love this view!

Hopefully there are a few more weeks of outdoor running and biking before it gets too cold to enjoy it! 

First Weekend of Fall and Dinners for the Week

Yikes, I didn't mean to take a 3-week hiatus from the blog; out enjoying the last few weeks of summer I guess.  We had a nice first weekend of fall though.

Friday night - celebrated our 4-year anniversary at Plaka Taverna, a Greek restaurant with a really nice outdoor patio.

Saturday -

Started off at the farmers' market, where I was looking for squash, and was not disappointed!

I ended up buying two delicata squash, which will be used later this week!

We ended up with apples, flowers, squash, and some cider.

Saturday afternoon we went to OktoBEERfest, put on by the Isthmus.

It was a lot of fun, and there were so many beers AND ciders to try.  The event also included free food samples, which I think was a great idea. 

Sunday - Today there was a lot of football watching, but I did manage to get outside for a run, about a 5K down State Street to the Howard Termin Lake Shore Path.

Then I headed to the grocery store, and, true story, had to call Victor to help me carry the rest of the groceries home!  Too many canned goods for tonight's dinner I guess. :)

Meals for the Week:

Sunday - First crockpot meal of the fall season! Victor is making Brunswick stew, and it smells fantastic! Can't wait to eat it.

Monday - Pizza and beer Packers watching party at our apartment building :)

Tuesday - Leftover Brunswick stew

Wednesday - One of my favorite squash meals, Stuffed Acorn Squash (I sub the ground beef for lean ground turkey)

Thursday - Leftover squash


Sugar River Triathlon {Race Recap}

Happy Labor Day! I spent my Labor Day doing a little shopping and going to the zoo, but the most exciting thing I did over the holiday weekend was Sunday's Sugar River Triathlon in Belleville, WI. 

I had been training for the race for about a month, and was feeling pretty good about my cardio endurance, and so-so about my biking skills.  Biking is definitely my weakness, and also what I was most nervous about going in to the race.

On Saturday,  besides going to the Farmers' Market, I mostly hung around the house and got ready for the race the next morning, including getting together my tri suit and all my gear.

5:00 am Sunday morning came quickly - my phone died in the middle of the night (don't know how because it was over 30% battery before I went to bed), but I somehow jolted awake at 5:01, about when my alarm was supposed to go off.  We got ready and headed off to Belleville, Wisconsin, which is about 30 minutes from Madison. 

Packet and chip pick-up were a breeze, as well as body marking.  Everything was very organized and everyone was very helpful.  I found my row for transition (by bib number), and set up before heading to the bathroom and then meeting my husband at the lake for the swim start.

SWIM - 1/4 mile 

My wave (39 and under females) was the last out of seven, so I had a little bit of a wait.  I was pretty nervous!  Finally it was our turn to make our way to the water for the in-water start.

I lined up way to far over to the right, and had a heck of a time getting to the first buoy. A lot of over correction was necessary.  Once I righted myself, I started swimming as quickly as possible, but had trouble sighting. again.  I think next season I'm going to have to try out a new brand of goggles. My Speedo Vanquishers are great for the pool, but I think they are fogging up in open water. Once again, I had to completely stop swimming to see the swim exit.  Then I hightailed it to the exit, swam too close to shore, and banged my knee on the rocks on the bottom of the lake. Definitely have a bruise on my knee today. 

So, so graceful.

The Sugar River Triathlon had FREE race pictures, which was awesome. I actually really loved the finish line picture, so I was glad for the free photos (not so much this picture, haha.)

Swim time: 7:23 (1:41/100)

I ran to transition, and then clearly forgot that transition was part of my total time, because it took me a whole 3 minutes, 54 seconds to get ready for the bike portion.  Oops. 

BIKE - 15.4X miles (supposed to be 16 miles, but the course was a bit short)

Then, it was time for the true challenge of the race - the 15+ mile bike course, featuring rolling hills south of Belleville. 

The course was really beautiful - I loved riding by all of the farms, and seeing cows, corn, and acres of green grasses.  I wish I could have taken some pictures on the course.  That was definitely the positive aspect - the scenery.  The course itself, however, was TOUGH.  There were several big uphills, where I had to shift into a very low gear to make it up.  There were several people walking up the hills, but I told myself that I wouldn't get off and walk.  I was going super slow, but I made it.  There were also a few big downhills, which still freak me out a little.  The course was open to traffic, but there were traffic cones at the intersections to alert people of the race, and the busier sections had race volunteers out directing traffic.  I felt safe the whole time while I was biking. 

Bike time: 1:03:50 (~14.5 mph)

I was hoping to finish the bike course in under an hour, and was a little disappointed that I didn't, but given where I am with biking right now, I feel like I tried as hard as I could on the course.  I need to work on confidence, which I think is holding my speed back a little.  

My bike to run transition was pretty quick at 1:07.

RUN - 3.1 miles

Then, it was off for the run portion, which started off in the park, through a marsh area, and then the majority of the race was in a neighborhood, which was a little boring.  The run was completely flat, so that was welcome after the bike course.  During the bike course, the sun stayed behind the clouds, but later in the morning, the sun came out with a vengeance and it was over 80 degrees out.  I don't think there was any shade on the course either.   

I felt like I was barely moving, but I checked my watch and saw 7:xx for my pace, so I decided to keep running and only stop at the water station for water.  I was so happy to hit the turn around point for the out-and-back course; I was starting to struggle at that point.  I kept repeating "Don't quit, Don't quit" in my head, and I think that really helped.  

Run time:  26:50 (8:39 pace)

I was pretty surprised and thrilled with this run result; before a series of injuries, I ran 25:00 minute 5ks, but since being injured, have felt like I was a lot slower (and not running very often).  I was very happy to run 3.1 miles in under 27 minutes AFTER swimming and biking such a tough course.

Yay I finished!  

Time:  1:43:02

I was hoping for a sub 1:50 finish, so I'm happy with my time on a hilly course and a hot day!

Take aways -

  • Stop taking my time in transition 1!  
  • Work on climbing hills on the bike, and also the downhill - no tapping the brakes!
  • Bike confidence/speed (eventually switch to clip-ins)

As always, a big thank you to my husband sherpa who woke up early to drive me to the race, and then cheered me on and took the non-official pictures.