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's pretty hilly up there. So I was curious....and a little concerned to be 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 was a little surreal...and just hoped to find the buoy soon. For a lot of the swim I was all by my 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 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. depends upon what it is if I am competitive or not. (or so I think). Academics...i used to be 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 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! 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.


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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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??


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.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Good ol fashioned fun

The plan: Great Western Loop
40ish miles of hilly fun.
+/-4400 ft of elevation
The meetup: 730am

The plan was to meet up with Katie b. and co at 7:30...things started, um, not very well for me. I typically am not directionally challenged, but this morning, I think google maps fooled me into looking for the wrong exit and what do you know...I ended up in Alpine. We were supposed to meet near that thumb thing on the map that sticks out, so I was WAY off. I did manage to get there by 745ish but I hate being late and I HATE when I get lost on a map.

Great Western Loop is talked about a lot in these parts. But really...why it is called great western loop when it is clearly east of San Diego? That is beyond me. But it is talked about how hard and hilly it is, sometimes with a bit of hush and awe and it has made me a little curious what it is all about. Me and a friend of mine had been discussing this a few weeks ago and wanting to do this someday and when katie brought up doing it, I jumped at the chance. I've been doing a lot of hills lately, but I had no idea if I was up for the challenge that it might be, but I thought why not: BRING IT. A good attitude can help one push through tough challenges, so I brought an optimistic attitude of: just get out there and DO IT.

During the first 10 miles there is a wicked short, steep hill where I literally started to wonder: at what speed will one fall over/roll backwards? Because I was dangerously approaching that speed. I think its around 3mph...because when I looked down at my speedometer I was sadly going about 4mph and wobbling around. It was then I thought: Um...we aren't even into 10 miles of this how the WHOLE thing is going to be? Fortunately we had a veteran amongst our ranks who told us that while the rest of the loop will be really hilly, we won't see anything that sharply steep. I breathed a sigh of relief.

The rest of the ride was good. Hilly. Hard. But really awesome. (actually the roads are pretty decent and not that traffic-y either) I discovered that I am beginning to really like hills. (which is good since I live in San Diego which is one big hill fest) Going up them my mind just falls blank, and all I think about is spinning and moving forward. So often I over think my life and whatever i am doing that there are times especially during training that my brain shuts off and it is just the best thing for me. Going up a hill does that for me. Long runs do too. Now going down a I'm not a great descender unfortunately. I think due in part to a nasty bike accident I had when I was 15 and ended up on spine board for 4 hours. What has been really good is that this season I have seen improvements in myself with descending and relaxing and bit by bit I am keeping my hands more off of the breaks, so that is good. And that is really what is about. All accomplishments no matter how minor are good things.

Saturday as I walked around I wondered how I would fare on Sunday as I feared sitting down all of saturday because i worried that I might never get up again. But interestingly on sunday, while I felt a little tired they felt ok. Katie and I met up and went for a swim...which had to have been the roughest mile I've EVER swam. After our swim Chris came and joined us for 9 miles of fun running, and over and over I was really amazed how good my legs felt. We took it pretty easy on the run, but my legs weren't heavy or acting tired to me which was really great.

And so it is done...I just signed up for two tri's this fall. The OC tri up in orange county, Olympic distance on Sept 28th (in two weeks) and an all woman's tri here in SD mid oct. I also have on my mind to do the 50mile or metric century at Tour de Poway and Tour de Jullian in early November. Who can pass up apple pie?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Training Induced Narcolepsy

Training Induced Narcolepsy : Random and sometimes uncontrollable bouts of sleep after a hard workout. (term...made up by me).

This weekend I didn't have one bout of Training Induced Narcolepsy (T.I.N.), but two. So on Sunday after deciding that YES, an 8 mile run in the middle of the day, in a very unshaded place, while it was very warm, combined with a well executed faceplant on the trail (yes, me, the oh so graceful one, DID manage to bite it...once again.), following a reasonably tough bike the day before (lots o-hills), I got home, took a shower, pulled my robe on and planned to briefly lie down on my bed, you know, just for a second. I woke up an hour later to my phone ringing. oops. My face plant was a bit deja vous of my last trail running face plant, but I managed not to fall on my knees and therefore not induce a hip spasm that would take months to recover from, but I do have a huge bruise on my thigh now.

Then on monday, I ventured out for what was supposed to be a 28mile bike but got turned into a 38 mile bike after roads we thought were supposed to be open, were not in working condition. Again a hill fest like Saturday's ride, but this time I did get a little further into my day after coming home and taking a shower before the T.I.N hit. I was in the middle of doing laundry and sat down for a second and was out for a half an hour. Never know when it will hit.

(Random side note...there are dogs that are used to study narcolepsy. In this clip it is a doxin, but a lot of times they used Doberman Pinchers and Labs. Scientists may have found a gene that is linked to it in dogs.)

I didn't think I was that tired this weekend that I would randomly just fall asleep, but I guess I was. This weekend's training was pretty good, swimming friday in the ocean, a hilly ride sat, long run sun and a hilly longer ride on monday. Last weeks training was also pretty decent, found a new Max on my deadlift: 210 and on my backsquat: 139. Improvements are good.

Life in these parts has been good, really insane at work, my trainings is going decently and hence I am very behind on many blogs and writing on mine, but all around things are going well. I will catch up here one day soon. I hope. :-)