Wednesday, December 31, 2008


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 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 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.
  • 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! 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 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 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 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.'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 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 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 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 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

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 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 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 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.