Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Staycation

I wasn't supposed to take a staycation but I'm going to now. The plan was to get back from visiting the family...YESTERDAY...and THEN head up to the Palm Springs area for a few days of fun. BUT...well...of ALL places...yes ALL places what city had a weather advisory yesterday when I was traveling??? Yep...San Diego. So when I hopped on an earlier flight in Reno and they were actually taking off...i thought "YES...i'm going to get to go home tonight". Unfortunately the fog never lifted last night and my plane got diverted to Vegas en route. Nice. I did manage to get the first flight in and who knows how...i actually managed to get my luggage too. There were 10+ flights that were cancelled into San Diego last night and the baggage area had hundreds of bags.

Sure I could leave town and all that good fun, but I've decided to take a step back...relax for a few days, enjoy some stuff in San Diego...I mean...it is San Diego and just enter 2009 in an organized and focused manner. I'm pretty tired at the moment and I think a few days of calmness around here will be great. The weather looks pretty good...60s for the next few days...so i'm pretty excited to be out of the snow.

Here are a few tips from my fiasco that I amazingly didn't have to learn on this trip:
  • Always carry on necessary toiltries for an overnight stay.
  • Have something you don't mind sleeping in your carry on.
  • Don't forget any medication that is necessary in a 24+ hour period.
  • Have your cell phone charger in your carry on. I can't tell you the number of people who's batteries were running low.
  • Be flexible.
  • Be nice to those that are changing your flight. It's not their fault and they are completely stressed out too.
  • Be creative.
  • Laugh...you can't do much more and complaining will just make it worse.
I'm glad to be home. I'm starting to think and plan for this next year and getting pretty excited. It's going to be good.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Home for the Holidays

I somehow managed to actually make it out of San Diego on Saturday. *That* in itself was a miracle. Due to all the chaos with all the snow all over the country on Saturday the line for the Southwest Airlines ticket check in was over 2 hours long! I somehow had the wits to just do curb side check in with SW and only had to wait for 30 minutes...but it was only slightly less insane. I was delayed before I got even to the airport but really in the end it was only an hour.

Visiting the fam has been great. Between two sisters, I have 5 nieces and nephews all under the age of 5. Chaos is reigning but it is a lot of fun. Things that are great about kids?

  • Asking for a hug from the 2.5 year old, and realizing that she's really not going to stop hugging you any time soon. To which when she finally does stop hugging you she says: I wuv you.
  • Funny hats that look like bears that they get to wear when we all go out to play in the snow.
  • The fact that any picture I try to take the kids will try to make silly faces. I cannot for the life of me get the kids with grandpa without them making silly faces.
  • Having my 4 year old nephew request ME to read him stories for bed.
  • Having my two 5 year old nieces want to know where I am since they haven't seen much of me yet this visit.
Its been fun so far visiting fam. The normal chaos and insanity, but also good. The snow is coming down and it looks like that the skiing might be good which I think I will venture up the hill with my dad sometime this week.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nightswimming or dark swimming...take your pick



Here is a little REM "Nightswimming" for some background music if needed.

Granted OK...i haven't really gotten into much detail about a few things about this next season and well, I really don't know too much about next season except a few things. I have a coach, and a team and well a goal. There are some other races in between that will be worked on and worked towards but July is the main one.

Katie b. has been coached by 'coach Brian'...or CB as she refers to him, since this summer so i've heard stories of CB for awhile but not until IMAZ did I actually get to meet him. I guess I can't say anything mean and nasty about him cuz...uh...he reads my blog. (Hi coach!) In all honesty he's a great guy and nothing mean and nasty could be said about him.

But this whole 'coaching' this is pretty new to me in someways. Joe did coach me to an under two hour half marathon back in 2006. But that was for 2 months of coaching...for one sport. This is for months and for the whole triathlon deal. I played soccer in high school...but not very well and I did play competitive ultimate frisbee (i know...many people look at me strange when I say I played in a league. There are competitive leagues out there and university teams) in college and for awhile after but again nothing like this. So all a little new.

But back to the point of this morning. Swim Time Trial. It looked like this: warm up...then do 3x100 at threshold pace with 10 second breaks between the 100s. Then 30 second break then do it 2 more times.

Not that I have internalized what my 'threshold pace' is for swimming, but I get this whole TT thing. OK. I get it. I can do this. Maybe really slowly. But I can definitely do it. I get to the gym and walk onto the pool deck only to discover that there are.no.lights.! Actually there is no power in the pool area, just the emergency lights. Hmmmm....ooooookay. At least I wasn't being reliant on the split timer for my splits or I would have had to do this another day. I now have a handy dandy new little watch specifically for swimming I picked up so I was golden for the AM.

Here are a few tidbits and funny bits from the TT this morning that should be pointed out:

  • There was minimal light in the pool area.
  • I have darkly tinted goggles so I can barely see to begin with inside, much less without any lights on.
  • I know I'm supposed to rest 10 seconds between 100s, but i have no split timer, and I can't read my watch...so i'm stuck hitting the split/lap on my watch and just counting to 10. Don't ask me why I found this endlessly funny, but I did.
  • It was dark.
  • Did I mention it was dark? It was dark.
  • Good thing about it being dark and not being able to see much of anything is I had no idea how fast or slow I was swimming because I couldn't read my watch because...oh did you catch what I said before? It was dark and my goggles are darkly tinted. Basically blind swimming.
  • Even though this was an indoor pool the roof was leaking...so it was raining inside too which actually was kinda 'cold' (for San Diego at least) and a little disorienting to be hit by really cold water halfway through every length.I know I know...whine...no...not asking for sympathy.
Overall the TT went fine. According to coach, apparently because I 'timed' my rests I was being anal. Anal or notsosmart? I vote for the latter. In MY defense...I was afraid to hit 'stop' in between laps because i might never get my watch to start properly again...cuz , you, know...IT WAS DARK. I knew if I just hit the 'lap' for everything I would be fine in the end and I would just record the rests. Maybe coach didn't actually need me to GIVE him the times of my rests. But i was just being thorough in my data collection. Sheesh...OK...maybe anal...just a wee little bit. :-) OR just funny?

I hope they get the lights working soon. I do like being able to sorta see, just a wee little bit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sailing, riding for charity and chaos

The title of my post has basically been my weekend...lots of things muddled together but been a great weekend. Friday some friends invited me out to go sailing...which, quite frankly, is weird in December to me. It has been turning less warmish in these parts, but Friday wasn't too bad actually. Got out early enough to see the sun set and the full moon rise. It was a pretty fun time...we did have to bundle up quite a bit as it does get cold on the water, but still very weird to me to go sailing in December. But after reading a dozen posts on real WINTER in the rest of the country...i'll take weird.

Saturday I joined a few friends to do a charity toy bike ride. The part I loved about this ride was that I rolled out of my house and then met up with my friends and we rode up to the start of this bike ride...which was about 12 miles away. I so rarely ride from my house that i love it when I get to. I live in urban-ville in San Diego and i'm trying to find more ways to do this, slowly I am mastering the riding in urban-ville with traffic and all that fun and navigating my way around. With more confidence riding in traffic i'll get there...but I just loved that I could ride to the start of this bike ride.

The point of this bike ride was raising toys for kids in need. It was a couple of the local bike clubs that got together to do this ride and you had to bring an unwrapped toy and carry it on you to the Salvation Army we were riding to...which was about 20 miles from the start of the ride. There was a contest for decorated bikes and dressing up...there were some great costumes on the ride. I wasn't festive, maybe next year. Someone had even made her bike look like it was a raindeer. It was pretty funny.

There were about 200+ bikers who showed up to this...and the point was not to be an insane bike ride...but then it ended up being a pretty slow bike ride as we accordion-like snaked our way to the salvation army. That shear volume of bikers was pretty crazy. What was unexpected though was by the time we hit one of the major roads that we had to head down to get to the Salvation Army, we picked up a 3 car police escort! It is still unclear if the police escort had been planned ahead of time or if they just decided to do it for us. But they leap frogged the traffic lights and stopped traffic for us. (not like we weren't already doing that on our own...but now it was 'offical')

We got there and dropped our toys off. They had some food for us and warm drinks. Me and two of my friends I had gone with started to get cold by the end of all of this and as it got to be time to leave we just decided we didn't really want to wait everyone else and for the slow...cold...ride back. No...it's not real 'winter' in San Diego, but Saturday was about 50...pretending to rain and not exceedingly toasty...especially when I really should have been wearing long pants for the ride and more layers than just arm warmers. But the slow speed we had taken with the group was fast enough to slightly warm me up...and equally slow enough to cool me down at the same time. Basically we were getting cold and wanted to warm up and go faster. So we took off...with about 7 others with the same idea of just needing to warm up.

Granted I quickly realized I was in a little over my head speed wise and was secretly grateful for the traffic lights that allowed me not to be completely dropped from the small group. But we hammered the rest of the last 10 miles home and it was great to just hop off my bike and head up my own stairs, not having driven my car anywhere for the ride.

Sunday has just been a bunchachaos...as i needed to be at church early for band practice...race to Temecula for a christmas gig to play my violin and then cram in a run on the dreaded dreadmill (as it was dark) before my gym closed. Sadly due to the gig on Sunday...no time at the track...and won't be til next year...sigh...But all in all a good weekend.

Only one week of work til i'm off for a bit for the holidays. Can't believe christmas is almost here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I want some CHALK!!

So...what to do with crossfit? What to do with lifting? What to do, what to do? I know a few things, crossfit and the extra lifting this last year helped (i believe) my psoas injury, and prevented other nasty things like my ability to get ITBS. GRANTED recently the psoas injury has started to whine in new and curious ways like: knee pain. Bizarrely when I release the trigger point associated with the psoas injury the knee pain will go away. At least I know this is not a new injury, but i'm a little frustrated with the stupid injury. It has been over a year by now. Not a fan. Fortunately it isn't as terrible as it was a year ago, its just become this nagging injury. Sigh.

I'm flirting with the idea of a strength program that most crossfit affiliates (mine included) subscribes to...Starting Strength. I haven't bought the book or really read much about it, just generally looked up the affiliated wikki on it and have gone with that. In someways I'm pretty familiar with the concepts and the lifts as my crossfit affiliate mixes a lot of this general idea of lifting with our workouts anyway. If we have a general met-con day where we have a prescribed workout for time, we will generally lift heavy for one specific lift before the met-con. And on days where we just lift...well...we just lift.

I like it because it is simple. Not too many lifts. Just mainly linear progression in strength in a specific manner with some simple lifts. I won't have to spend a zillion years on five hundred weird machines that I can't remember how they work anyway most of the time and constantly thinking: was this the position I had it in last time?? Generally there are just three lifts for a particular day and really only 5 I have to keep track of: back squat, deadlift, push press, bench press and power clean. I'm starting with a modified program that isn't specific to the book, mainly because I didn't want to bench press and/or do power cleans today, maybe in the future. I wasn't going to my crossfit affiliate so I didn't want to scare people with the power cleans. Granted I also confused power cleans and squat cleans where you end up in a squat position below parallel...I *really* think that would have scared a few people with a squat clean, but maybe next time I will mix in power cleans...although all the jumping does draw more attention to oneself. I'm such a dork. :-)

But back to my gym...I haven't really ventured into the weight room at this gym all that much. I swim there and last year would go to the spin classes and maybe an occasional yoga class so I don't really know my way around when it comes to weights. Few observations:

Only TWO barbells...three if you count the one attached to the smith machine (that's what they call that weird contraption where the barbell is attached to it? right?)

Why is every guy obsessed with doing curls? OK maybe not every guy, but 9 out of 10 were. I am still not certain when a person actually uses that muscle in that capacity...much less loaded with a lot of weight. Also many people seem to think that range of motion is over-rated. Again, something I don't understand. I really just wanted to tell one guy, go lighter and use your full range of motion. It might save you from a trip to your PT in the future.

I pretty much felt like a big dork with my weight lifting shoes, but I still went ahead and wore them. They are waaaaaaay easier to lift in than running shoes. So I just sucked it up that I felt like a dork because I knew I would be wearing dorky lifting shoes and not moving much weight...so i'd look dorky for no good reason. Oh well.

So I did my standard crossfit warmup:
Run 0.5 mile on the tread mill and then 2x of the following:

Stretch the hip out
10 squats
10 push ups
10 sit ups
10 back extensions ( I couldn't find this machine, next time I may just have to do 'supermans' on the ground...so I skipped it)
10 assisted pull ups ( I HATE this contraption at the gym. Give me a rubber band, a straight bar and let me do kipping pull ups any day of the week. This crazy thing you have to kneel on and you don't even get a straight bar. I didn't like it. )
10 assisted dips
repeat

Then
3x5 back squats
5x1 dead lifts
3x5 push press

The way they talk in the wikki site about how to find this initial weight to start off with was to start with an empty bar and do the lift and then add weight and do the lift again, basically until you slow down with the weight and then that is your starting 'round' of the set. So it is better to start a little light so that your future progress can be linear and you don't stall early on. Granted i'm a weakling so I ended up with these weights:

Back Squat: 65 lbs
Dead lift: 135lbs
push press: 40 lbs

The thing that sucks about this gym...NO CHALK. I didn't realize how helpful chalk was until I couldn't have any. boo

Funny thing happened while I was trying to find my deadlift weight. The bars at this gym are sorta rough, and weird to get the plates on and off. I'm used to smooth bars, these have all sorts of ridges on them and they made me struggle to get them on and off. I was trying to get the 25lb plates off and put the 35lb plate on and I couldn't. Now I'm feeling like a bigger dork with the dorky lifting shoes. I'm sure someone was thinking: Look at that girl who is wearing lame lifting shoes and can't even get the stupid plate off the bar.

So...of course i can see out of the corner of my eye a guy has come over to help me and then asks me if he can help me. I let him. I do appreciate when people help me when i'm struggling, but I just felt so lame that I kinda wanted to hide when he came over. He is in the middle of helping me get the plate off and I see he sorta takes a double take at the weight i'm racking on the bar: 45lbs on each side...so total weight with the bar of 135lbs. I kinda giggled to myself. I am kinda a weakling so I have never really thought about it. It was kinda funny though seeing that I couldn't even get the big plates on the stupid bar. Nice one.

I'm still in the process of working out the details of my base building phase with my coach and what that entails, but I think i will be able to shove 2-3 days of this program with 1 crossfit day and then a whole lotta base building stuff that he has planned in the mix too. Should be fun.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

was it really 10 years ago?

I sorta can't believe how quickly time can pass. This spring it will have been 10 years since I went backpacking around Europe. It doesn't seem *that* long ago...where does the time go? Anyway I got the chance last week to visit one of my favorite cities from that trip...Prague. I was over in Europe for work, but snunk in an extra day or so and got to see Prague. Here are a few pics:















The Christmas market was in full swing in the main square...here is part of it.






The famous clock in the main square











These things were pretty yummy...sorta a sugary/almond coating














Prague Castle...and the cathedral inside the castle.






















A nativity in the courtyard of the castle.




These guards are great and sorta reminded me of the beefeaters in London, but here you can get up close to them...I actually wanted to take a replicate picture from the time I was there last...but I got too embarrassed to ask a stranger to take a picture of me pretending to push the guard's box over. :-) That is what my picture from 10 years ago is of...me pretending to push the guard box over and the guard just standing there. If I had a friend take a picture of me, i would have done it. It would have been awesome to have two similar photos that were ten years apart, but it took a lot for me to ask a stranger to take my picture in the end and actually that particular picture didn't come out very well anyways.





This strange fried dough with cheese, garlic and ketchup is called a Langose. It was interesting. I made quite the mess of it.
















And one of my favorite places in Prague:
















Charles Bridge, Unfortunately it is undergoing some repairs at the moment.



The rest of my time was spent in Germany for work...The trip to Germany went ok, parts of why I was there went well and parts did not. I now have a bunch of work on my plate because of the parts that didn't go as well as I had hoped. But such is life sometimes.

It was a little odd though because on the plane ride home I had way too much time to sit an think...espeically since I didn't sleep at all from Europe to the states and a lot of the past ten years really hit me in many ways I wasn't expecting. I sorta hate that when I get blindsided by my emotions, but sometimes that is how it goes.

Overall a good trip. I'm a bit jet lagged but seeing that it is 930pm and I didn't not take a nap today even though around 4pm I didn't know if I would make it to 8pm, i think i'm doing OK. Got some good yoga in this morning with my favorite instructor (who I think I overheard that he is leaving...SAD) and even a very short bike ride. A good day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

more fun

After returning from my little excursion to IMAZ this weekend to be an iron spectator, I needed to get in a workout and decided to venture back to crossfit. I'm having a little internal connundrum about whether or not to break up forever with crossfit, maybe I will talk about that later...or not. Anyway on my way to crossfit AGAIN the secret hope was: puuuleeze no pull-ups.I still had some soreness in funny spots from last week's debacle AND my hands are sorta a mess still. They hurt a bit from the rip I have on my left hand and the nice rip on my right thumb. Yes, i'm weak when it comes to pull-ups...and yes these are assisted...still a weakling and can only do 5-8 at one go. We do kipping pullups so there ends up being a lot of friction on the hands, hence a lot of ripped hands. Here is an example of kipping pullups.



So I was none too pleased when I showed up to see "Helen".

3 rounds for time:
400m run
21 kettlebell swings (men 1.5 pood, women 1 pood. pood ~36 pounds)
12 pullups

When I first grabbed a kettle bell and started swinging it I accidentally grabbed the 3/4 pood size which is only 12kg not 16kg (~36lbs). My instructor was quick to point out the difference and 4kg is 8.8lbs and it made a world of difference when I went to swing it. UG. Really had to focus on core and using the hips to get that stupid thing above my head.

The workout chugged along. The pull-ups continued to hate me and me them. I was slow. That's what being away for 2+ months will do to me. Makes me think a bit. But it got done.

I'm having a connundrum around goals and such and crossfit and triathlon and really a lot of things, but it is too muddled to attempt to flush out here. All in good time...all in good time.

Iron Spectating




When katie brought up the idea of going to IM AZ to spectate awhile ago it sounded like it might be a fun filled weekend. Our friend Chris was doing his first IM and Katie's coach (and soon to be mine) CB were competing. Here are a few tips I picked up from the weekend of being an iron spectator.

  1. Leave early on friday...getting in at 3am just sets you up for not a lot of sleep for the weekend and going out on Sat night makes Sunday even longer on less sleep. Sleeping is key even for a spectator...its a long day.
  2. Bringing a bike along can be handy and fun if you have space to pack it. Granted we rode a loop of the course on Saturday and can i say = boring. I can't imagine 3 loops of that endless boring-ness. To all who have done IMAZ...hats off to not falling asleep on the bike.
  3. If bringing a bike the best kind of get-up would be a ghetto commuter type you don't worry about the bike and get it set it up with toe clips. This way you can just have a simple bike lock if you need to lock it up anywhere and you won't worry about it. We didn't have this set up and then needed to babysit our bikes a lot.
  4. Talk with the athlete (s) you are tracking and have a general idea when they might show up for different loops and parts of the course. Then have a stop watch to click by when they pass so they are easier to keep track of than this constant conversation: Now what time were they coming by again? It's been X amount of time and they should be where now if they are going X speed? Numbers can get fuzzy after awhile.
  5. Don't forget to hydrate, especially in AZ. % humidity = 9%
  6. Carry snacks.
  7. Making t-shirts is fun.
  8. Screaming at the athletes you are following like they are rockstars is equally fun.
  9. Yelling random people's name on the run is fun, especially if they say thank you or even give you a thumbs up...so don't put your last name on your bib. (you have to start making up games when cheering. It can be tiring... cheering deserves it's own t-shirt: Iron-Cheerleader)
  10. Being an iron-cheerleader is hard work but totally worth it when you see the spirit of the athlete you are tracking get lifted just a little bit as they round a corner and head off again.

It was a good, fun, weekend all around.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Exciting things ahead!







No... I am not planning on signing up for 2009...but I will be spectating this weekend for IMAZ! I'm excited. Katie and I are headed out tomorrow after work to make the venture. There are about a zillion and two people from the tri club doing this race...granted I think I know maybe two out of that zillion...but that's ok. (I admit it...I have anti-social tendencies...it takes me awhile to get over my introverted nature...unless you pair me with an extrovert and then they do all the work...um...Katie? :-) ) We are going to cheer on our friend Chris...and I will get to meet my soon to be coach (hmmm...I haven't talked about that yet on my blog have i?) who has coached Katie for the past few months and I have heard a million tales about...it'll be great...and it will be a great weekend...I am sure of it.

Then I will get back to work for just a few short days...eat some yummy turkey and then I'm headed to Europe for work for a week. Germany...brrrrrr...i will have to break out the winter coat but I will get to tour a little of where I am headed off to. I enjoyed Germany back in '99 when I was backpacking around Europe...although i'm not sure if I will hit any of the cities I saw back in '99. Although...I might actually be able to make it to my most favoritest city that I saw while backpacking...Prague...i'm curious how much it has changed in 10 years. We shall see.

So adventures abound! All very exciting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'd like the use of my arms now...please??

It really has been too long since i'd been to crossfit. Between being out of town and races on the calendar, I have not made it to crossfit in a very long time. Sadly...very sadly. But now that it is the off season...back AT IT!! I had plans to go today and was inspired to go after Steve's post just the day before about doing a crossfit workout. I do heart crossfit, even if there are times when it makes me want to walk backwards down the stairs because i have such bad DOMS. Somehow I convince myself there will become a 'point' when this will stop happening, but even the 'seasoned' crossfitters in the gym are tired and sore all the time, so that is just a crazy dream.

In my head today: I really hope there are no pull-ups in the workout of the day (WOD)

As I was getting out of the car I looked in the window of the gym and saw lots of people doing pull-ups....i truly almost just turned around and got back in the car. It's not doing the pull-ups that made me want to turn around, its that doing a lot of pull-ups in a WOD tend to tear my hands and considering how long it had been since I had been to crossfit, i didn't have any callouses, so i knew it could get ugly.

The WOD had two parts, the first part was just a lift
5-5-5 SOTTs press
Here is an example of a SOTTs press...its from the crossfit website, but he isn't below parallel on that squat so I would hazard to argue he needs to squat a little bit more. (At least I was told to squat lower than that.) Let's just say...I found some new muscles on my back today. All the way down to my lower back. That is what stopped me from progressing much with the weight as my lower back started to have a panic attack about what I was doing. That kinda wigged me out. It's not like i would have put much more weight on it. I think in the end I was near 30 lbs...i know...i'm a weakling. This move is much harder than it looks though.

Then it was on to the rest of the WOD. Stupidly I waited for the two other guys who had shown up near the time I had...I should have started with out them. They both ended up with the top times for the day...and my time...well...I was battling it out for the slowest position. Anyway the WOD:
3 rounds of the following
25 burpees
25 chest high pull ups (with an assistance band...i'm not that cool yet not to use one)

Hours later... my arms still don't fully work. I hope I can pick up a pen tomorrow. Oh and I did rip my left hand...in an impressive manner too...ick.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger... I only take solace in the thought that maybe by the time a workout actually kills me I will have built up some cool deltoids. In the meantime, trying to get stronger. Some guy 'complimented' me on finishing the WOD...'way to finish it'...all I could think was: is there another option? I figure if there isn't something physically wrong with me during a WOD, then being slow isn't a reason not to finish. How else will I get stronger?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just because you *think* you can

Ugh...ever have those moments when you think: Sure I can do *that*...my body feels fine...i'm fine...and then you go to do them and your body says: what are you thinking my friend? That was today for me.

I got down to the velodrome and was very excited to get back on my track bike. Last week my neck was bothering me but I got another spacer put on the stem and it seems to have helped a bit. So as I am headed down to the track initially i don't see anyone on it...which made me concerned that I'll just be by my lonesome and that wouldn't be as much fun. You never know how many people might actually show. Last week the weather was terrible, cold, blustery, looking like rain but something like 8 people showed up. This week was hot and beautiful and as I walked over I didn't know if anyone was actually going to show up. Fortunately there were two other guys from my class and a third who wanted to join in our fun.

We warmed up, my legs felt pretty stiff...very quickly I realized that a lot of times on my road bike I stretch my legs while I coast...but...uh...no.can.do...on a track bike...one must keep pedaling or get catapulted off the bike...so I had to pull off and stretch the legs out. My legs were making some noises about being tired or something. I stretched them and promptly ignored them. Then me and the two guys from my class started doing flying 200 sprints. You have to understand...these are the two fastest guys in the class and i was...uh...one of the slowest in the class. Besides my legs were quickly telling me that just because I think I can go and do some sprints...they were telling me another story. My legs kept whining about the fact I had done a tri the previous day...and I should be doing something less intense (ok i know this...but I so wanted to be on the track...so I just said 'deal with it!'). So I did a few sprints and then headed in for a bit.

I got back on and rode around for a bit...and in the end we did a lot of pace line practice at a good clip so that I could still have fun on the track with all of them and not die...or have my legs fall off in bits and pieces. All in all...good fun. I heart my shiny new track bike.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Do a what?

First off...odd things happen to me sometimes...I know San Diego can be the magnet for lots of people to flock to, but to be having lunch outside at a cafe and see one of my roommates from my Sophomore year in college walking down the street? When I didn't know she lived here? When we went to school near Seattle, WA?? And I haven't seen her since 2001? I went to a small school, but this is the second time in San Diego that I have run into someone from my 3000 people undergrad that I knew. Very weird.

And again...what month is it here? I get confused most days. The past few days have been a little on the toasty side so when my friends brought up doing the tri club's monthly club race this week it was something I considered...but only if they were coming. It was a sprint distance ~800m swim, 12 mile bike and 4 mile run.

This morning when I woke up I was worried I wasn't going to make it. Yesterday my stomach had been bothering me and today didn't seem any better. I'd feel ok one minute and the next I wasn't so sure about it. I'd texted my friend and told him that I didn't know if I would actually race, i'd show up...but i was feeling pretty icky this morning.

I finally talked myself into at least swimming and see how I felt (granted that could turn your stomach on its own...the water in Mission Bay is disgusting). I felt decent through the swim and hopped on my bike and just decided to make a go of the day. I'm glad I did. I had a good day. The bike proved yet again that my bike split from Oct wasn't a fluke and it was actually probably true. Riding the track has dramatically improved my bike speed...as in a 3mph improvement in speed since May. (And I have not been doing much of much on my bike all summer either. ) This is why I am hooked on the track. (that and it is fun)

The run was pretty uneventful. In sprint races I don't give much thought to 'pacing'...just go hard. The first 2 mile loop was ok for most of it, but then my sour stomach decided to remind me that maybe i should take it a little easier. I came close to meeting my breakfast at one point. One the last lap I thought I was closer to the finish and made a push to pass a woman who was in front of me only to realize I had a lot further to go...and then I didn't have much to push with. Sadly she picked me off as I lost some steam. Maybe if I had played that a little better I would have done better, but no matter. Live and learn. That's part of it.

Overall I was happy with the race. I'm glad my stomach behaved and I had a great morning.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not feelin it

I don't want to. I'm hungry. It's the off season. What's one more day? Bla. I don't wanna. Who cares?

And a myriad of other excuses floated through my head today as I drove towards the pool. I have done not much of anything this week and while the weekend was full of fun and bikes, and birthday fun...i just have been bla about much of anything off season related. I know I need to get back into a pattern of doing something but today I really just didn't want to. No good excuse. (when is there a good excuse?) So I bargained...do 500m of the 1500m swim planned and if after 500 you want out...then get out.

100 meters into the swim I was chastising myself for the stumbling block I had created for myself with not wanting to go to the pool. I was happy. Sooooo happy I even made myself do two sets of 5 x 50s on a minute, where I go all out for a 50 and then have whatever is left of a minute to rest until the next 50. I typically sprint a 50 around 45s to 50s so it's not much rest and by the last 50 i have to focus pretty hard on keeping any semblance of form.

But right before my second set of 5 x 50s I had an out. I was being booted out of my lane by the swimming teacher who needed my lane. So I hopped out of the pool and blankly contemplated ditching the last 5 x 50s and my cool down. I mean I had an excuse at that point. AND I was going to have to make some people circle swim which I wasn't sure they would be that excited about. And then...the most unlikely candidate (in my book) to volunteer to make their lane circle swim starting making his lap lane partner circle swim. Yes the 17 year old teenager made his friend start circle swimming so I could join in. I hadn't even asked. When a 17 year old boy sees that this woman has been forced out of her lane and is standing trying to figure out what to do...and takes the initiative to volunteer his lane...that kid has some great manners. And really at that point I had no excuse not to finish. So finish I did and I was so happy I had done it.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I should actually write a post

I should actually write a post or something...but that funny thing called life keeps screwing up everything and then I don't have any time. Here is a brief synopsis of the past week:

  • Work = good...went to a good conference this week
  • Weekend = awesome...birthday bike ride on Sat (birthday tomorrow)...awesome.
  • Breakfast/lunch after bike ride = awesome.
  • Dim sum with friends today = yummy
  • Maiden voyage of track bike ride on SHINY NEW BIKE = awesome but very windy(...no..san diego's velodrome is sadly NOT inside...who's bright idea was that?)and dim sum is a little heavy on the tummy to then go ride the track.
  • Hanging out with friends tonight = good but their new dog-o tried to eat me. I wasn't a fan. (even though i've met the dog before...very weird).
Been an AWESOME weekend aside from the fact it still sorta appears that my apartment threw up on itself. The past two weeks of traveling have left things in a bit of a disarray, but i think i have it under control now. I need those little mice from Cinderella to come and tidy my apartment. That would make things so much easier.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

What is life without a little chaos mixed in?

My life lately = chaos...but then again if you know me then rocketpants = chaos. Or at least that is how I feel most of the time. I run around like a crazy person, trying to keep a zillion plates spinning at any given time and then thrown in a good dose of quirky personality and well...you get = me...my life and a good does of hilarity mixed in with a good does of chaos.

I've been in Houston, TX all week for an experimental trial. After the first day of feeling like an utter failure because I couldn't get my control to work...finally sorted that out and life did look up a bit after that. Good stuff came to fruition and well...i made probably more samples than I know what to do with. It's going to be an interesting time trying to analyze everything.

While in Houston...i discovered that I would be going to Chicago this week for some training. I was surprised I would get to go...so double props to things that help us with our jobs...but...NO TRACK BIKE RIDING!! For a SECOND WEEK!!! ARRRRRRRRGGGGGG. And it is the LAST week of class. I.AM.SO.BUMMED. I missed it last week and now I will miss it this week...and well....i HEART my bike!! I haven't gotten to try now the new steed in all of his glory yet on the track...but plans are in the works for next weekend. sigh

So I got back from Houston on Friday and on my way from the airport I see this guy on a bike...dressed as a...COW. It took me a minute to remember it was Halloween...it would have been way funnier if it hadn't been. After I get home and am trying to sort myself out because I had planned on doing Tour de Julian with a couple of friends of mine the next day. Julian is known for its apple pie (and hills)...so I just saw this as a great excuse to eat apple pie. A nice bike ride and mix it up with some pie after...right? 55 miles of Tour de Apple Pie. YEA! That is how I had it marked out in my head.

Now all is seemingly fine but I have to make a simple thing like doing a bike ride complicated. It wouldn't be me if I didn't...so I had to have the added: Sure i'll do the ride but I need my friend Kim to pick me up...totally out of her way...because I had dropped my car off during the week at the shop so they could fix the dumb check engine light. Now I was going to grab the car on the way back from the bike ride...but the car is 20minutes away from my house. I flew in late on Friday and am trying to sort my life out when at 11:50PM i discover...i have no shoes or helmet and my arm warmers and cycling jacket are: in.my.car! ARGGGGGGGGG!

Desperate text messages, phone messages and emails get thrown at Kim as I am just hoping that somehow my telepathic skills are working and she will get my messages and call me. We somehow manage to get every thing together at a very early time saturday morning...pick up the car (as the shop said I could just grab it when I got back), get the stuff and meet up with our other friend Laura and head out. WHEW.

Now chaos is pretty much the theme of the morning by this point and the beautiful thing about going on a bike ride is you don't have to start with the group...uh...or even close to when they start...yea...we took our time and finally got on the road some 30 minutes after the group left. No matter. We had a group of 5 and enjoyed the day. It was a beautiful ride and all was pretty spectacular weather wise granted the last 20 miles or so the WIND had picked up and was quite the tyrant.

Most of the second half of the ride is downhill...and me...i don't mind going UP the hills...but coming back down them can be another story. If it is a technically curvy decent...me.no.happy...but just generally a downhill...i'm ok...but i sorta wish I had a little dish of fearless in me a little more coming down a hill. But this time...the wind is hitting us from the front and the side and I am torn between not wanting to go as fast down the hills and the reality that if i don't keep pedaling and in the drops that the wind is going to quite literally throw me off the bike. So I tuck in and keep reminding myself about the physics of the bike when the wind picks up: a faster spinning object is more stable...so...spin!

Overall, the ride was fantastic. Great friends to ride with AND...even with our 30 minute later start and the reality we were one of the last groups coming off of the road, THERE WAS SOME APPLE PIE LEFT!! Actually they still had 3 apple pies! Props to the organizers for enough apple pie for everyone. When we rolled in...i just bee lined it for the apple pie...didn't even put my bike away...still had my helmet on..chowing down on the apple pie. It was awesome. YUM...Tour de Apple Pie...gotta love it.

Today I even threw down an 8 mile run and would have done 10 if the dark hadn't closed in and every car on the street suddenly decided they wanted to run over me. After 6 near misses in 5 blocks I called it good and headed in.

A great weekend!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

At it again

My track bike class when I first started off in the class I was actually not too thrilled with it. No brakes, can't stop pedaling, sorta freaky....but i now LOVE it to the point that I am looking at buying a track bike. But the point is...i LOVE the track. Tonight i had SO MUCH FUN!! We were doing this race where you have 6 laps...and the group was broken into two groups. The slower group got a head start (me...and 3 other people) and the goals were A)Don't get cought by the faster group and B) try to win the race. Whoever got across the line first in 6 laps wins!

By lap 3 it was me and two other people in the slower group that got the head start. By lap two it was just me and one other guy and by the last lap it was me and the other guy just going all out trying to beat each other and not get caught by the faster group behind us. I was half way around the track on the last lap and I realized....I WAS LEADING THE RACE!!!!!!! All i could think was: i'm not being lapped, and no one is ahead of me...and I AM LEADING...what is going on?

IT.WAS.SO.CLOSE. The guy I had been working with up until the last lap from the slower group beat me by inches. I was gutted. But it was awesome because we never got caught! YEA!!! Who cares if I was in the group that got the head start? :-) I had a fun night.

I went from being wary of the track and really wondering if I would enjoy all 6 sessions to wanting to buy a track bike and hang out at the velodrome all the time.I don't know what has gotten into me lately!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Last tri of the season

4:38 A.M. how did i manage to wake up 2 minutes before my alarm?
4:40 A.M. The alarm might be going off, and I may have just woken up before it...but I am still hitting the snooze.
4:50 A.M. Why again do I do this sport? (not a morning person if you can't tell)


Finally
get up and drag myself up and out of bed only to hear puking from my: 'party like a rockstar' neighbor's place. Most of the time I can't hear my neighbor, but...now I really wish I couldn't hear my neighbor. Most weekends the contrast between our lives is stark. I'm usually up and getting ready to leave for a morning workout when I can hear him stumbling in from a long night out.

I finally sort myself out and get myself out the door. I easily find some parking and then proceed to pull my bike out of the car and pump up the tires. How I managed to deflate my rear tire and then STRUGGLE to get it inflated for some 15 minutes is beyond me, but I made it to transition about 5 minutes before they were going to close it. Whew.

I had made friends with a girl at the Cove a few weeks ago and she was doing this race too...but it was her first tri...which is super fun to be able to be a part of some one's first race. We had gone to the packet pickup the day before and I tried to answer all questions or give any advice that might help a first timer out. I felt a little bad this morning as I was running late and wouldn't be able to answer many last minute questions. But all was well with her by the time I arrived. Phew.

I set up transition pretty fast and prayed I had remembered everything and put it as orderly as possible. I attempted to body glide my arms to death as I had discovered some MASSIVE chafing on the underside of my arm after my last tri...but alas that seemed to be in vain as I still ended up with a massive chaffed area on the underside of my left arm.

Katie and Chris, Brian, and Dana said that they were going to be there for the race. Woooh, i might have spectators? Fun! As I was getting ready for the swim I heard my name and apparently turned in the right direction but they were herding us off pretty fast and I didn't have too much time to figure out if someone was really yelling my name or not.

Swim
The swim start was a deep water start which was a new one to me. Definitely helpful being in a wetsuit. The swim was pretty uneventful aside from trying to keep myself from thinking about the fact I was swimming in Mission Bay water...which is sorta gross.

Bike
The bike course was about 12 miles and involved 2 loops around Fiesta Island. We were LUCKY in that there was NO wind at all. There are sections on Fiesta Island that have gotten so windy that I have turned a corner only to discover that i'm faced with such a fierce headwind that i'm going a mere 10mph...literally. But today was all about the big ring. I felt pretty strong on the bike and tried to push as much as I could. There was a bit of difficulty I had on the course with the fact that some people would keep as many as 4 abreast....at one point I started screaming my head off: ON YOUR LEFT!! GET.TO.THE.RIGHT. It got a little frustrating at some points, but I felt pretty strong on the bike. What was weird though was that every time I looked down my speed seemed to be between 18-20mph...yet for some reason my bike computer decided that I had only done an avg speed of 16mph...I will have to wait til the race results come out to see really what it was.

Run
I transitioned pretty well...but I know I need to practice or hammer it into my head: PUT YOUR SHOES ON FIRST and then put everything else on WHILE running out of transition. I always try to put my hat on and fiddle with things I can do while running. Need to work on that, but I felt that my transition was pretty decent.

I came out of transition and i was flying. I suddenly discovered that I had a spectator section cheering me like I was a rockstar...which just encouraged the faster running. But it was weird as I was coming out of transition because my body felt fine running at the speed I was going but all I could think was: I.can't.breathe.must.get.air...gasp. I looked down at my watch only to see that I was going 7:10mpm pace. It was at that point I thought: hmmm...maybe the reason I can't breathe is because I don't run that speed except when I'm doing a mile time trial. But it got me thinking about the fact that my body can do that speed...but my HR was what was killing me. My first two miles were 8:20s and the last mile dropped to about 8:50...but I was pretty happy with all of that over all.

Over all the race was a good way to end the tri season. I have plans to do a half marathon in mid November, but work make be sending me to Europe during that time so that may not happen...but oh well. I will continue to train for the half mary until I know more about that.

I am starting to figure out what is next and what I want as I am not as tri focused for a bit. As a hint...i was busted when I was looking at track bikes yesterday at a LBS by some of my friends from track class. I had told them I was thinking about purchasing a track bike but was on the fence about it. Which I still am...i'm educating myself about what is out there and if that i something I want to invest in...but we've been talking about spending time at the velodrome this winter...hence it would be definitely worth it. Oye...what is happening to me??

I'll leave you all with the debate:















(The specialized would be kitted out to be a track bike...no brakes, no coffee holder, no fenders, track drops...ect. )

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Women's Specific Bikes

I went to a spheel on Trek's Women's Specific Designed Bikes...here is my comment/thought/belief with WSD bikes...i finally figured it out. MAYBE i believe it...MAYBE i don't...know what I want?? I want the physics equations that analyze the differences, and account somehow for differences in centers of gravity. I want an experiment that takes a woman, fits her on a WSD bike and looks at power output and then fits to the same 'male' equivalent model in a bike manufacture and compares the power outputs. I want to know why they are different. I want to know really truly if they are different. A woman selling me the bike...maybe I believe her...maybe I don't believe the male bike fitter who swears its a load of crap...maybe I do...but at the end of the day...i want numbers. I want to know WHY. And by WHY, I want more of an explanation of "The top tube is shorter". I want: because the top tube is shorter, for a woman this puts her in a bla position and if you look at the numbers you can see that there is a difference in power out put. I understand how the bikes are different, I just want the proof...on paper...not a lot of 'explaination'. The explaination sounds nice and warm and fuzzy...it makes ya feel good that something really is different but at the end of the day I want the data. Show.me.the.data.

I am sure lots of people have anecdotal evidence of "i tried this bike and it fit better"...that's a good thing. Don't get me wrong. But I ride a 'male' bike. (Whatever that means) Should I? Should I not? Am I missing out on power output? Or would a good bike fit do the same thing? I'm a skeptic...that's why they call me a scientist. I don't believe it until I see the numbers so for the record I don't really believe it. But I don't really not believe it either(ummm...double negative). Its a possibility in my head. And that is ok.

I am rambling and not really looking for other people to answer my questions. This is what us scientists like to do. We pose some questions and think and ponder and chew on the question. Here is my framed question: What is the power output difference between a woman on a WSD trek and the equivalent 'male' bike?

They said tonight that the only difference between two of the lines they had for a model was the geometries....SHOW.ME.THE.NUMBERS. I know comfort can't be factored in and I know some women have been more comfortable on these bikes...i'm not arguing that...but the idea put forward that a WSD bike recruits more power because of the geometry differences...that is easy to test...gimme some numbers. Hmmm...maybe i should write Trek...interesting thought.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I hope its just the weather

I really hope it is just the weather making me feel icky and not that i'm getting sick. The Santa Anna's have taken a number on my ability to breathe or at least that is what it felt like tonight at the track. The first few laps my throat was so DRY and we weren't doing anything that strenuous. That turned into a desire to cough a lot...which then turned into an under lying feeling of ick...which meant I really just wanted to puke a lot. No...it wasn't from any REALLY hard efforts, it was just the hacking made me want to hurl. Nice...huh. And because I felt puky...my efforts were pretty limited.

The other 'option' is that i'm getting sick...and I don't like that option...so LET's blame the Santa Anna's. That makes me feel better. I had a pretty hard time breathing tonight. I even checked the air quality since there have been some fires here the past two days and it said that the air is OK...so I can't even blame that.

So on to the track...we had our first casualty on the track. No...not me...another rider rather unfortunately just took a turn too hard. My group was waiting off the track and I l look up and see them sliding down the bank. YIKES! This was in the higher grouped class...all in all the rider was fine and got back at it.

We played some games of cat and mouse...can we say...i suck at that. OH WAIT I discovered tonight that I pretty much couldn't hang on anything. Basically in cat and mouse you have two people who are the mouse/mice who get a head start and will then work together to try to stay away from everyone else. All the while the rest of the group goes really slow waiting until they are given the whistle to start. Once the whistle blows the 'cat' (everyone else) has to try to catch the mouse/mice. Basically everyone in the 'cat' has to work together to try to catch the 'mice'. You have to try to catch the mice in 3 laps or less. Basically with the cat it turns into:How fast can YOU make a pace line?

Each time I was in the group as the 'cat' the whistle would blow and it just seemed that by the time it was time for me to grab the wheel of the person in front of me, they suddenly were going 10x faster than they were a second before and I was off and there was no recovery from that. That happened 2x...and then I was asked to be one of the mice. (I soooo didn't want to be a mouse)

Um...yea....keep in mind, i don't know what i'm doing 99% of the time. They made it sound like I should let the other mouse pull since he was a stronger rider, but by the second lap I really should have come round and pulled us for a bit...but me and the other rider were having trouble communicating. I couldn't understand him. When I am going round and round the track the wind is in my ears hence...I couldn't understand anything he was saying. I'm saying: GOOOO and all i hear is 'mumble, mumble'. He was trying to tell me to pull to the front. The other thing was I didn't understand about the situation was if me and him were doing pace line etiquette (where the person in front pulls off and then tucks in behind the other person)...or if I was supposed to go around him. I didn't want to pull around and have him pull up...and crash...so i just hung on the back and yelled...oops. UNFORTUNATELY we still got caught...but not til lap 2.5...so not too bad.

Its week three and the camaraderie is starting to build amongst everyone taking the two classes which is fun. People are starting to be more comfortable with each other and you start to hear: Hey good job closing that gap. Or: Awesome job on that final sprint. I love watching the dynamics of a new group of people start to come together and be friendly with one another. It takes everyone some time to warm up in a new group where no one really knows too many other people.

I've so far found that most people are really encouraging. I was given a really nice compliment just with reference to closing a big gap. Compliments really are encouraging, especially when it can be so easy to get down on myself about being slower and having to drop off a lot. It is nice because everyone is pretty new and no one has a really big ego about being on the track. We all know we are learning and I have found people really encouraging and those that are more experienced are also willing to give some tips. Its turning into a good group.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Things I learned this week

  • 20% humidity makes me hate the Santa Anna's and it completely straightens my hair.
  • I am very thirsty all the time due to the afore mentioned % humidity.
  • My contacts have taken to glueing themselves to my eyes because of this. Annoying.
  • I have my last triathlon of the season on Sunday and it couldn't come sooner.
  • I have triathlon bla's for no good reason...it's not like I was over training this season or this season was that chalk full of training or racing for that matter. I guess I need a change of scene.
  • I laid the smack down on 10 miles of running this weekend and the next day there were no aches.
  • I might like the track more than I like to admit.
  • I get to go to the track tomorrow!
  • Why my neighbor can't change the battery in his smoke detector and the fact he just lets it chirp all the time is beyond me.
  • I meant to buy him a 9-volt battery and tell him to change it. I'm annoyed and if I can't sleep...it just chirps at me through the wall....Taunting me.
  • When my battery needed to be changed it would scare the crap out of me every time it chirped so why it doesn't bother him...again...is beyond me.
  • Work may soon be such that I will have to frequent Houston, TX like it is my second home. Anyone have anything exciting to say about that city?
  • Life is pretty funny...most of the time. One just has to look at it in the right light with the right angle to see the humor. Although at times while it seems to be pretty funny it can have an equal portion of screaming involved. This week has had equal parts screaming and funny...and some of the funny made me want to scream. That's how it rolls sometimes.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Back to the track

As I said in my previous post...i have taken up track bike riding class. Thank you all for your concern about my physical well being...what I have to say from my observation so far...once you get the hang of riding a fixie it isn't that much more dangerous than riding on the road...by that I mean riding a track bike on a track...verdict is still out in my mind how I feel about riding a fixed gear on the road...but that is another topic. Sure riding without brakes sounds pretty dangerous. I agree...but being in a situation where NO ONE has brakes...there are no cars and it is pretty 'controlled' as far as there is proper etiquette the whole no brake thing actually isn't that bad. No one can randomly slow down like on the road when someone has a brake. The only thing you have to be concerned about is quick movement to the up side of the track. That is where the danger is because it is pretty easy to have someone who is not paying attention swing up-track and potentially cause a crash. Without breaks it becomes impossible to randomly slow down so basically the person behind you won't bunch up too, too much if you slow down. But that being said, I still do have some moderate level of concern about not having breaks as much as everyone else. But it really isn't as scary as I imagined it...so maybe that is what I mean by less 'dangerous'...maybe just less scary.

Now that being said there was a little interesting situation I came into tonight. We were working on pace lines, riding in the pole lane (or the sprinters lane at the bottom of the track). The people in front of me had sorta randomly slowed down(as much as you can on a track bike) and were starting to bunch a little. The way to deal with the situation is to go a little 'up track' from them by fanning out, grab a bit of wind to slow you down and try to ease off the pressure on the pedals...but not to back pedal if possible and when the speed evens out, get back into the pace line. So they are bunching, I go a little up track and the guy behind me somehow thinks that I am pulling OUT...which if you pull OUT now you have to go UP track and then have to grab the end of the line. So he has closed this gap where I had been...and now I cannot get back 'in' where I was. I have been effectively 'pushed' out of the pace line. We are not going very fast so I feel lame at this point because when you pull OUT it is because you are TIRED...i was far from tired at this point. But whatever. I now have to cruise to the back and hang on back there. Granted it was our first go around at the whole pace line situation, but of course I had to be the first one to be 'pushed' out. We all are still learning, so no big deal.

One thing I am learning is that if I get someone who can hold a really smooth line I am MUCH more comfortable holding a close distance to them than to someone who is squirrel-ly in their pedaling and hence their rear tire goes all over the show. I just hope I am holding my line ok...although i'm sure I'm not exactly the smoothest rider either...but trying to keep the pedal strokes even and smooth.

I am about 200% more comfortable on the bike this week. This week I just had to remind myself: DON'T STOP PEDALING and REMEMBER NO BREAKS. Instead of last week where it was at the front of the my mind the whole class. I let it rip a little bit more as we started doing paceline 'burn outs'...where we would practice a paceline, get some experience of pulling at the front and pulling out to the back...but after awhile the guy in charge would tell us to pick up the pace until basically everyone but the last 4-6 people were left in the pace line. If the pace gets too high and you can't close a gap...you have to pull out so that the people behind you can keep with the paceline.

In some ways its kinda fun because if a gap starts to form between the person in front of you and the person they are behind you get to start yelling: CLOSE THE GAP!!...until they close it or they pull out. I kept ended up behind the same guy on many of these drills and he would just wait forever on closing the gap...I know he was trying, but he just wasn't closing it and finally he would pull UP and OUT...but then there was this HUGE gap I now had to close. I did alright closing the gap, but unfortunately that ends up wasting a lot of energy early on so that when the pace got higher I burned out quicker. No matter...still fun.

Eventually the paceline would get to a speed where I couldn't keep up and I'd have to pull out....sometimes I'd do pretty decently and hang for awhile...so I felt pretty good in the fact I am probably in the middle of the 'pack' as far as strength of holding with the group. A couple of times when I came off the track I was shaking pretty hard so I knew at least I had given it a pretty hard go.

I am enjoying learning the new skill set. I'm having fun and meeting new people which is always good. Who knows...maybe I will become that 'track bike girl'....although i still like my breaks.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Take'n it to the Track

Well...I talked about it awhile ago...and it has happened. I signed up for a track bike riding class! I had my first class today and I'm still sorta not sure what to think. My friend asked me if I might deep down come to love it and...well...i just don't know to be honest. It sorta feels like that beginning stage of a relationship where you meet someone that you aren't sure you could date or not so you think: Hey let's hang out...let's be friends...let's see what happens. Will I love track bike riding? My answer: I donno...let's hang out...let's be friends first...let's see what happens. BUT it would sure beat the heck out of doing spin class in the winter. I would 100% rather be outside, in the 'colder' San Diego weather going round and round than stuck in a hot little room where inevitably I am staring at the clock 5 minutes after the beginning of the class.

I also felt like the bumbling idiot of the beginner class. First time around they had us just ride once around the apron (the part on the inside of where the actual track riding takes place...the apron is where you get on and off the track). They told us to practice getting our shoes in the toe clips (no clipless pedals unless you have your own bike). I used to have toe clips ages ago on my bike, but I quickly realized that I would stop pedaling when I wanted to get my foot in...but...you can't do that with a track bike. So the first go-round...couldn't even get my feet in the toe clips. Nice one there.

Second go around...they want us ON th e track but you can't GET on the track until you can get your feet in the toe clips...hello...minor problem. Fortunately I do sort that out quicker after being the person who's all: duh...i can't get my feet in to start off with.


Now they want us to start up against the rail which is at the top of the track (the high part of the track) with our feet at 3 and 9...IN THE CLIPS...hanging onto the rail with our hand. THAT was a fiasco...and once ON the rail...i actually had to have the instructor push me as I struggled along for the first time. I felt like a bit of an idiot. From my vantage point it didn't seem like anyone was struggling as much as I was. But I did get the hang of holding onto the rail and starting from there. One guy helped point out how to 'hug' the rail while I hoisted myself onto my seat. Other people seemed to be somewhat sympathetic with my stupid behavior.

Then it was drills. Now logically i understand that it is actually a LOT safer to ride in a paceline on a track bike BECAUSE there are no breaks so no one can stop suddenly...but I don't really like sucking other people's wheels when i HAVE breaks...and NOW you want me to hang on that guy's wheel...and I have no breaks?? You've got to be kidding right. I did get the hang of it with time...sorta.

I think part of my apprehension is just other people around me...without breaks. And ME without breaks. I think I would feel a lot better if I were just on the track by myself and not have to worry about anyone else.

So it's alright. The track and I are becoming friends. We will see where it goes. The class is 5 more weeks so with time and confidence it will come together. My biggest 'problem' was just being confident on the bike...and by the end of the class I was feeling more comfortable riding the bike. (But by NO means actually comfortable ON that bike...not comfy at all) Spend some time together...see if any more comes of it. But highly entertaining.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Is this a...*race report?*

An actual race report this season...ok there have been a few others, but yes...a race report for the OC Olympic Tri that was this sunday.

This is the first year for the race and on the website there really wasn't much info about the course profile how hilly and someone had said to me a few weeks ago: Mission Viejo...it's pretty hilly up there. So I was curious....and a little concerned to be honets...so I emailed the race director and inquired about an elevation profile but all I got back was: nope..we don't have one. This made me a little concered...AND then the week leading up to the race I got emails describing the course...and its hilliness, I have to admit I got a little nervous. While I have been riding a lot of hills and running on a lot of hills (how can you not around SD?) since I hadn't specifically trained for this race I was a little unsure race morning how it might go. I had previewed a little bit of the bike course and knew i could solidly tackle it, but since the pre-race emails I received about the run course were a little ominous, I didn't know how tackling the bike and then the run might go...but I figured while it might be a little ugly, I could probably finish it no matter what the run dished out.

The Swim
75 degrees...why on EARTH did I think wearing a wetsuit was a good idea after I swam all summer in the ocean at 70 degrees and was comfy? Not a good choice. And lake Mission Viejo is sorta gross...smells like sulfur, but it was nice not to be in salt water. It was VERY foggy and when you started you just swam out into nothingness...it was a little surreal...and just hoped to find the buoy soon. For a lot of the swim I was all by my lonesome...it was weird...i am neither really fast nor a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeallly slow swimmer...just a standardly slow swimmer so for a bit I was just by myself. Odd...but I was sighting where I could and I was on track. Overall the swim was uneventful. The water sorta grossed me out and I drank more water than I'd like to admit...so I hope I don't get sick. Blech.

The Bike....the cat and mouse game has begun

I hopped on my bike and watched a guy struggle with his shoes that were attached to his pedals and it took him forever to get into them. Not so sure that was a time saver there buddy. Reminded me not to attempt.

Now overall I'm an 'average-ly' competitive person. OK...it depends upon what it is if I am competitive or not. (or so I think). Academics...i used to be very competitive...music...very competitive...but sports...i've found I'll be competitive with myself but not be too much of the type of "I HAVE TO BEAT THAT PERSON OVER THERE" type mentality. I will want to finish a race strong but I thought that was where I left it. Push hard for me...but don't worry about the other guy sort of mentality. Let's just pre-empt it by saying new things were discovered on the course today.

So i'm on my bike and at some point this girl in my age group passes me. I don't think much of it...and then later...I pass her....she'll pass me a bit later...and back and forth...for the first 20 miles. I think it's funny at this point. From my vantage point, she seems a little frustrated because after she'll pass me she'll keep looking over her shoulder to see where I am. Every so often I decide to pass her mainly because we were going roughly the same speed and after awhile it would get old to try to stay out of her draft zone so I would pass her solely to make her deal with my draft zone. Or...we were going on the flats and I was having too much fun in my big ring and need to pass. Around mile 20...she got her wish. She passed me...and dropped me. Fine with me...I still had a few more miles to ride and this ominous 10K ahead. I didn't think much about it. I had had some fun playing cat and mouse and I briefly thought: Maybe I"ll see her on the run...but then dismissed that because I'm an average runner and don't always think of myself as the type who is able to run down someone. I have no idea how fast I went at this point...i just know over all I was pretty happy with my bike ride. I felt strong on the climbs and the descents weren't too steep so a scardy cat like me didn't freak out too much on them. I even tucked a bit and got in my big ring as much as possible. I really enjoyed the bike. It was awesome.

On to the run

T2 wasn't at the same spot as T1 which was a little odd...but worked out. The first two miles I was clocking 8:30 mpm...but I figured I was on a down hill. I was in the last wave and was catching people in waves ahead of me, but hadn't seen anyone in my wave for a long time. I thought: this run isn't that bad...and then...we got into the trails. And at first it wasn't really that terrible (aside from the volunteer who tried to tell us we were at mile 4 when we hadn't gotten to mile 3)...hilly...but ok and then...we got to this...WALL. To call it a hill...no...it was a wall. At first I tried to 'fake' run up it. Where you are only bouncing around acting like you are running when in fact you are going really slowly. And then I realized that just power walking up the hill would get me up there faster. And of COURSE all the volunteers kept saying...200 more yards...bla, bla, bla. Now I LOVE every volunteer on any course...i do...they are AWESOME...BUT there should be a clause in the volunteer book that says: DO NOT tell the participants how FAR they are from the end and do NOT ever say 'you are almost there' unless you are at a post that you can SEE the finish line from. Seriously.

I was in mile 4 and people are saying: almost there...bla, bla, bla...the hill is almost over...200 yards...but a MIGHTY long 200 yards I tell you. Once we got through the MOUNTAIN of a hill it wasn't too bad and I started clocking sub 9mpm pace again. I was shocked a bit...but just noticed the pace and kept going...and pushing.

My plan was to keep my HR around 160 until the last 3 miles and then push it into my anaerobic threshold region around 170...which wasn't hard on the hill, but takes some concentration once back on the flats. Again picking people off from waves in front of me...and then I see a woman in my age group...speed it up...yep...there we go.

And then....I see my MOUSE!!! THERE SHE WAS...the woman I was playing cat and mouse with on the bike. We are in mile five and it.is.on! I see her and kick it up a little to pass her and let her know I mean business. There is a little turn around not too far down the street after I pass her and I can see that I have put enough space between me and her that she's not going to close the gap. A big smile comes over me. I can't believe I won the game of cat and mouse!! I was so excited.

A sprint to the finish.
But the finish is not quite there yet...i'm breathing like an asthmatic by this point and pushing...although strangely it is my lungs that are giving out before my legs are hurting. I am quite close and I hear this woman on the side lines say to me (or so I think): Just pass this last woman and you are free and clear to the finish line.

I think: why is she talking to me? And there isn't anyone in front of me. I start to round the bend and can see the finish line RIGHT as I see the person this woman from the sidelines is talking to...she's not talking to me...she's talking to a woman who is passing me with maybe 100 meters to the finish.

All I think is: HELL NO!!

I don't know where it came from...but it just came over me. I was NOT going to let this woman pass me (who I hadn't seen the WHOLE RACE) in the last 100 meters without a FIGHT.

IT.WAS.SOOOOO.ON!!!

I kick and I kick HARD...and I manage to pull in front of the woman and manage to out kick her in the last few meters and cross the finish before her. It really got the crowd cheering. It was a lot of fun actually. :-)

Afterwords she comes over to me and says: great finish. I think I almost apologize (partly because I don't really know what came over me) but she says that was a great push to the end.

A few minutes later I see my MOUSE. We tell each other great race and good to push one another through it.

Overall it was a pretty awesome race. I had hoped I would finish near 3hours and I did...so that also was good considering the wickedly hilly bits...and I discovered that I do in fact have a competitive side when I am doing sports not just with myself either. It was fun.


Friday, September 26, 2008

come on...wear your helmet


This post is going to be a little story from my past...mainly in light of Speedracer's most recent post about wearing a helmet. This will be reason 421, 965 of why to wear a helmet. Maybe my dear readers aren't interested in a stroll down memory lane, but it does involve bike crashes, spine boards, puke, dogs, CT scans...do I have your attention? :-)

I've briefly mentioned it before, but I was in a decently bad bike crash when I was 15 years old. Looking back, I was sorta an idiot to get myself into the mess, but I tend to say 'yes' first and think later. I went up to the local ski hill in the summer with one of my best friends and her family to bike down the ski hill. They let you rack your bike on the chair lift and then ride it down. It was me, my friend, her brother and her exchange student biking while her parents and her little sister walked around. Now you have to understand, I don't think I had ever been on a mountain bike on actual DIRT. I road my dad's mountain bike around town...to and from tennis lessons in the summers, but DIRT? Never touched the stuff. So how I thought this might be a good idea is beyond me. Granted my parents didn't really have a say in it because they were flying back into the country this particular day so i must have been under the care of my college age sister. I probably just didn't tell her anything.

Anyway, we get there...load the bikes on the chair lift and then proceed to ride down. I do strongly remember thinking as we went down the hill: Dear God...don't let me die. I think I might die. Don't let me die.

I did manage to turn the bike out from under me a few times around some tight corners, scratch my knee up, but was doing fine over all...in all honesty. And then we got to the BOTTOM of the hill. The chair lift was in sight! I was so excited. My friend and I waited for her brother and exchange student and when they were insight we got back onto our bikes and started towards the chairlift. We weren't on a hill. We had made it down the hill. I wasn't dead...yet.

That was the last thing I remember...getting back on my bike to get started towards the chair lift. We weren't even on a hill by this point (ya catch that point?). The story goes that my friend got to the chair lift when the operator says: WOW...that looks bad. She immediately thinks it was her exchange student and freaks out, turns around and starts running and then she realizes it is me. She runs over to me and turns me over (OK...we were 15, maybe you aren't supposed to do that in first aid), and I...stop breathing.

I was wearing a helmet, but went over the handle bars somehow and manage to concuss myself. Here ....one of my best friends has me in her lap and I...have stopped breathing....for a second. Granted we were only 15, but she was all set to start CPR on me. This is why everyone needs to know how to do CPR...you never know when you need it. Fortunately I start breathing and she doesn't need to use it. And fortunately the bikers behind us happen to be the first aid rescue people for the ski hill. It is about this point that I do wake up.

I look up and from what I remember there is this beautiful man leaning over me. Now if you have ever had a concussion, you might know that that wonderful internal filter...um...can get a little shattered in the process and everything is discombobulated. It almost doesn't make sense why i wouldn't tell this man...that well...he's gorgeous. But somehow I do manage not to say something insanely stupid. HOW?? I will never know.

We go through the process of trying to piece together what happened and how much I understand of what has happened while in the background they are calling the main first aid station to come get me and take me to the front part of the ski hill where the first aid is set up. They bring a spine board, strap me on it and put me in the back of a car and take me to the first aid station.

Now keep in mind, my friends parents need to be found. They have been out walking with her little sister and dog for the day. Somehow they are contacted and head to the first aid station.

They take me strapped to the spine board in the back of a car to the first aid station and a woman explains to me that it is perfectly normal if I feel like I might get sick at any time that they will just 'flip' me over (cuz i'm strapped to the spine board) and there is a bowl underneath me to puke in. Nice and classy... I know. I think I have a few 'false flips' where they flip me over because I think I might puke, but end up just hanging there. That wasn't much fun.

In the meantime, my parents have been in Mexico on vacation and are flying in from Mexico on this day. My college age sister receives a phone call that sounds a bit like this: Um...your daughter has been in an accident. Should we life flight her down to the hospital??

My sister: DOES SHE NEED TO BE LIFE FLIGHTED DOWN??

The first aide people: Um...we don't know if that is totally necessary...we are still monitoring her vitals. We will let you know. (and they hang up).

My poor sister...she is trying to coordinate picking up my parents and then racing them to the hospital to meet me there and the first aid people have made the situation sound waaaaaaay more dramatic than it was. She pretty much thinks I'm dying at this point.

By this point I've been on the spine board for at least an hour or more. They are NOT comfortable things I tell you. I'm actually starting to feel pretty pukey and tell the nurse I AM going to puke an that I need to be 'flipped' over again.

RIGHT as they flip me, my friend's parents, sister and DOG come through the door while I am puking. Nice timing right? Upon witnessing me puke...what does the DOG do??? She....































PUKES!!!!!!!!! Yes folks...I made a dog puke!! Pretty foul, but pretty freaking hilarious too.

In the end I didn't need to be life-flighted to the hospital. Instead I got to have the beautiful man try to keep me awake the whole way to the hospital (since all you want to do with a concussion is sleep) while I was still strapped to the spine board in the back of a car. I was trying to bargin with him on the ride down...there were a few first aid people in the car with us. I kept saying: Just let me sleep for a minute. I'll be fine. Let me off the spine board. My back hurts.

No they wouldn't let me sleep or off the spine board. It was miserable.Upon arrival to the hospital I get my CT done to see if I broke my neck and the doctors first words were: You have all 4 of your wisdom teeth.

Gee...thanks, i already knew that. I just spent 4 hours on a spine board could you tell me if I broke my neck?

Thankfully in the end all I ended up with was a concussion and some scrapes. But WEAR YOUR HELMET!! I can only imagine how much worse this would have been if I hadn't been wearing it.