Thursday, December 31, 2009

10 years is a long time...a reivew

I'm stealing my friend Max's idea to look back on the past 10 years and what they held. Next year...in a few days...hahaha...i will look at what 2010 holds. I don't write quite as eloquently as Mr. Max but i'll do my best. There have been a lot of mile stones in the past 10 years.

2000 I graduated from my tiny undergrad with a degree in Chemistry...not a bad way to start off a decade. I then moved to New Zealand that fall and began a two year adventure that sometimes makes me wonder why i ever left.

2001 was marked with lots of traveling around NZ in my green 1987 Mazda 626 i'd named Kermit and did a lot of growing up. I made a lot of mistakes...but who doesn't? I played a lot of ultimate frisbee around the country for a team in Auckland. Yes...not many people know there are competitive Ultimate Frisbee leagues.

2002
A co-worker planted the seed of triathlon in my little head as he was training for IMNZ. Both years I was in NZ i coincidentally in Taupo when IMNZ was going on. I thought those people were nuts. Especially the guy on the run without any shoes. And the guy who got 10 shades of excited when I started cheering for him. He was so happy it scared me.

I started training for an Olympic distance race but ended up moving in the middle of all the chaos back to the states and never did one. Good thing...i was not prepared for that distance and I probably would have had a horrible experience. I made the decision to move back to the states and out to MA and start grad school--five very long years.

2003
I still wasn't a triathlete and played a season of ultimate frisbee in a summer league. Realized, once again...i didn't like playing frisbee in the states. The culture here is different than overseas and stopped playing in the Fall. I walked at graduation...degree #1.

2004
Got tired of the gym and that seed of triathlon that had been planted 2 years before started to take hold. Convinced a friend of mine to do our first sprint distance race. Remember thinking: i am going to have to exercise for close to TWO whole hours straight!! Wondered if I might fall over and die in the middle of it. Never occurred to me that in a two day Frisbee tournament I probably played waaaaaaaaaaaaaay longer than that. Had no idea what I was doing...but enjoyed the challenge of it.

2005 My mom had a heart attack and survived. Made being healthier a priority for me. Tried to quit grad school. Was unsuccessful and somehow chalked it up to: it wasn't meant to be and stayed. Another year of sprint distant races. Still riding a 75 dollar pawn shop beauty that sometimes would stop shifting at important times...like in a race. Got a new bike at the end of the season. Ran my first half marathon in bucketing rain. Still remember a fellow gradschool/runner confused that my only goal was to finish and that I had no time goals. I didn't know what to expect...so i just went. Despite the downpour and squeaky shoes i had a good first experience.

2006 Got to do a little of what i love....teach. Did my first olympic distance-ish race (x2), actually TRAINED for a half marathon and broke 2 hours (thanks Joe!). This was my first taste at true athletic training and what it meant to do 400m track fun and hill repeats. I enjoyed it...but very quickly my athletics was put on a the back burner.

2007 Grad school was at a tipping point. It was not pretty. I somehow managed to secure a job...convince my adviser to let me graduate...defend and then move to San Diego. Triathlon? what's that? I did actually do one or two triathlons that season.

We also had a 'triathlon' at my going away party that entailed a slip-n-slide, a scooter war and a three legged race. My team won!

Fell while trail running a few days before my 30th birthday. The muscle psoas became an unfortunate part of my vocabulary...and still is.

2008 I was in the mecca of triathlons...but almost quit. Loved the sunshine. Bought my first wetsuit. Walked for graduation....degree #2. Dealt with hip injury. Signed up for my first half ironman but knew the hip wouldn't hold so backed out. Hired a coach in the fall. Something I never thought I would do. Discovered the velodrome and bought a fixie. Yes me...miss scaredy-pants on a bike that has no brakes and can't stop pedaling. Loved it.

2009
Was a big year for me with training. I actually started...training...you know hill repeats, time trial efforts, swim blocks, ect...mainly because my coach made me. :-) Was signed up...again...for my first half ironman, Vineman 70.3.

Was a year of PR's...like breaking my previous half marathon PR by almost 5 minutes on a very difficult course, La Jolla. Ummmm Torrey pines is soooooo fun to run up. Fastest sprint distant race time to date. Even broke my 10K PR twice now this year and the second time i was still recovering from the swine flu.

But the biggest athletic accomplishment was my first half ironman...Vineman 70.3. I hit a reach goal of sub six hours on a VERY hot day and had an amazing experience. Started to understand myself as an athlete better. And am now signed up for my first ironman!

2010 Holds ironman and some other crazy things to juggle. More on that in a future post.

The past decade has held its highs and lows....lots of learning and lots of growing. It will be interesting to see what the next 10 years hold.

So...raise your glasses and cheers! To the next decade!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

There's a catch to it

Technique is currently being HAMMERED into my head. Swim technique is a major focus...and then there is some run technique too. But swim technique has been hammered with endless 25y's. The focus of 25ys...perfect technique and repeat. I mentioned this awhile back and i have been swimming not huge volume but frequently...4 days a week...my hair and skin are starting to protest a little even with anti-chlorine shampoo and lotion. But I am seeing some dumbfounding improvements where I shake myself and say: but isn't that supposed to be my ALL OUT time? And really these improvements were just from one swim clinic about six weeks ago where my take home message was: hug a bear. Sure that was a motto i came up with, but after this last weekend's clinic...my six weeks of bear hugging has paid off. My coach gave me the thumbs up to move on to focusing on my stroke. One thing I like is my 'homework' usually is only 2 or 3 things to think about and focus on.

Ah yes...the catch of the stroke. I have discovered that if upon entering the water I subtly drop my wrist which causes the catch of the stroke to start later...and hence I am not pulling as much water through the stroke. But I have also discovered that i think i am destined to have massive deltoids because just when I thought i finally had some strength to them...this catch/pulling focus now tires the delts pretty quickly. But it is coming...and for whatever reason I really am digging the ability to focus on technique and it is paying off! That probably helps the motivation when I'm in the middle of a set of 72x25y and want to poke my eyes out from the repetition. But somehow I come back to center in the middle of it and embrace it again. It somehow works for me.

So in the meantime i will be working on my catch...and maybe I will start growing some fins and gills too.

Friday, November 27, 2009

10k...Thanksgiving...and all the dressings


i've been in the category of 'endurance' athlete for about 6 years now. 2003 being my first sprint distance triathlon. Since then I have had a lot of firsts at many distances: some 5k's, a few10k's, a handful of half mary's, lots of sprint triathlons, multiple olympic distance triathlons, and my first half ironman. What I have discovered (moreso after moving to San Diego) is that I have developed a case of 'endurance arrogance' and many people around here also seem to have this.

I didn't want to do a 5K because...well...they hurt...a lot. My friend didn't want to do the 5K because: why would you want to get up that early to just run 3.1 miles?

Yep...give me 6 miles of hurting, but a different kind of hurt... i'll take that any day. I find it much easier to race at my LT than the constant edge between my LT/AT range required for a 5K. Maybe i'm just a wuss.

That thought process made me realize...that is kinda nuts compared to the standard population. Yes...i'd much rather race for 6 miles than 3? And back in Aug when I was bemoaning the fact I had signed up for AFC half marathon and a friend of mine said: oh it's just a 2 hour workout. We endurance athletes really need to get our heads checked!

The race went well...i achieved the three goals I had set out for myself: negative the two loop course, focus on footfalls/min >90 (weirdly leg turn over was more sluggish than normal) and swing my arms. I even managed to PR at the race with a time of 52:22! My previous 10K PR was off the end of Malibu Oly tri in Sept around 54:11. Not bad considering while i'm MUCH improved from the flu...i can tell i'm not 100% yet.

This is what got me to thinking more about endurance arrogance....i came home and pondered WHY i was tired. I thought it strange that I NEEDED a nap i mean...it was ONLY 6.2 miles...and then this morning was almost confused as to why my hamstrings were tight. This morning, I pretty much had forgotten that I had raced 6.2 miles yesterday....ahem...endurance arrogance.

So...to pull it back to reality...for thanksgiving I am thankful for being ABLE to wake up and run around like a turkey with her head cut off for 6.2 miles. That's pretty cool in itself and sometimes I need to remind myself of that.

Thanksgiving also reminded me of the fact: i don't like to cook. I had also re-realized this earlier in the week when I attempted some other cooking. I usually 'assemble' my dinner. Minimal 'real' cooking involved and NOTHING that requires a recipe. I may have been in 4-H as a kid and even won a gold ribbon a time or two for my cooking at the State fair (don't laugh too hard)...but as an adult...not a fan.

What a mess...and I was just making ONE side dish for dinner. Oh well. Thanksgiving was a chaotic assembly of a lot of random people but a good time...even punctuated with a big dance party at the end. No better way to burn off that pumpkin pie than with a dance party.

Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful...and i am of many, many things.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Technique

<--ummm...a little holiday cheer to help with the writing...maybe a lot of 'cheer' in there too. ;-)

Things around these parts could be better but alas...that is how life is sometimes. Sometimes it is mountain tops that you feel on top of and other times there are valleys. I'm in a bit of a valley and trying to figure out the next best step...but alas it is what it is and i am trying to make the best of it in the meantime.

For my friend Max!! I know he's got to be on a mountain top He just finished IMAZ, his first IM and did amazing. Watching his training and race unfold makes me all the more excited for mine next year. Awesome job Max!

But...oh...yes...training...training has been interesting. Post swine flu episode I have been just trying to get back into the groove. The cough is almost gone and my energy is falling back into place. I only started back on the 'training' bandwagon a little over a week ago and it was a bit like this: do 20 minutes and if i had more energy do some more...if I didn't have enough energy 20 minutes was good enough. The goal: get back into consistency. Get back in the groove.

I had some good days and would finish the whole workout and other days where i'd rather sleep and call it good after 20mins. But I haven't pushed...and have just waited. All in all its coming along.

The big thing I have been focused on the past month or so is...technique. Swimming technique and running technique. About a month ago my coach had a group swim meeting where he taped our strokes and gave us just a couple of things to work on. I had three things to focus on: head position, arms WIDE (hence my hug a bear motto) and hand entry. I swim 4x a week and 2 of those workouts are what we call: endless 25y's. The other two are lots of 50y's so plenty of time still to focus on technique.

Grab a pull bouy...a set of XXS paddles and swim very focused for 25y. Rest for a very long time (20 seconds) and repeat...over...and over...and over. Throw in an all out sprint every 4th 25y...but you get the picture. Rep-i-tition. My violin teacher in undergrad would be proud of the montra. I have found I actually do very well with such a singular focus. Sure in the middle of a 72x25y...i get a little distracted and i'll admit a little bored, but over all i'm soaking it up.

So I constantly focus on perfect form. Over-and-over-and-over. When we were doing the group swim session a month ago my coach had said: just trust me with the endless 25y's this winter.

so...i am..

But...being the curious person i am i decided this week to 'see' if all of this insanity was making any difference. So I timed my warmup. You know...the slow 50y's. The one's where it is supposed to be easy peasy? And then...I timed the cooldown 100s...and focused on making them...easy peasy. And I was SHOCKED with the result.

over and over...my 50y's turned up 55sec.

my 100y's...mind you at an EASY PEASY pace...1:50

again...and again...and again...

no this is not terribly fast...but for me these times meant: i just took 5 seconds off of my 50 and 10 seconds off of my 100y. TEN SECONDS.

How long can i hold that? not sure yet...but i am very encouraged. Very very encouraged. I might just be a fish by the end of this crazy endeavor!

And as for running technique i currently hold a cadence of about 90-92 footfalls/min...goal: 96ff/min. Which i can get to if i'm focused...but the idea being that if i can make 96 'natural'...then in the middle of a long race i'll probably be more like 90. Few other tidbits working on with running technique mainly around the fact i apparently don't swing my arms. Weird. And a few other things...but it is all coming along.

Interesting bits coming together for sure, but technique can make a huge difference. It is amazing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY...you have the swine flu!

yes...it is my birthday today. Kinda a cool year too...11/10/09. I like it. But what I DON'T like is that I came down with the ohhhhhhhhh so lovely flu yesterday evening. Fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, skin creepy crawly, lethargic. This morning i thought i was superwoman in that my fever had broken and I thought: yea...take that stupid flu...until an hour later i was over 100 again and got worse as the day wore on. I've had some amazing wacky dreams. (Fevers do that to me) and came up with the BEST idea ever. (keep in mind....i AM little delirious at the moment) but I think that creating 'Fever' Pajamas would be the best thing EVER. Maybe call them HOT pajamas? (where is that little circle for copy right? ;-))

My thought is to take what would be winter running/biking material. It is supposed to wick the sweat away but keep you warm too. When i have a fever at night i get all sweaty but chilled (i have never understood the chilling part to a fever...why am i so dang cold?) but waking up to damp cotton pj's is not nice. So what about something that could wick the sweat away? So that's my invention for the day. Pretty prodcutive day considering i've been sleeping all day.

Yes part of me really wants to throw a little bit of a pity party today, but the reality is that aside from feeling yucky i have no complaints on my birthday. I am very blessed. I got to talk to my sister and her crazy little kids. My parents. I've received texts wishing me well...and emails of happy birthday: get better. Sure i would rather be going out for sushi with some friends as orginally planned but when I know I can (and did) call them and say: can you bring me some nyquil and cough drops that they were over in a flash. Knowing I have true friends is really the best present there is. Maybe it did take me getting the swine flu to truly appreciate that.

Friday, November 06, 2009

testing...tap...tap...tap...is this thing on?

This week has been interesting on the training front. I had a great swim stroke analysis from my coach last saturday which has lead to: endless 25y's and me tucking my head down and saying to myself: hug a bear.

yes...hug a bear

WHY hug a bear? Well...i do what many swimmers do...the dreaded crossing of the arms at the beginning of the stroke. So my coach wanted me to swim as WIDE as i could as he said: you won't ever swim too wide...trust me. So my motto all week has been: hug a bear.

On a fun training front i had a fantastic meet up with a fellow blogger this week...LG...somehow convinced her some hot yoga would be fun. And it was as well as hanging out with her and discovering that while we do very different things in life we have much training outlooks that are similar. That is always a fun find because sometimes that is hard TO find.

But overall...
i know i have been a little awol on the bloggy front. I've been reading many of your blogs out there, but my comments have been few and my writing over here has been...well...sparse. I'll create only about a 1/10 of a post and that will be all i can muster mainly because i am...exhausted...bone tired. And not the good kind either...the good kind is the kind where you are tired because the training is hard and things may take a ton of energy and time but it's positive and feels good to dump all the energy into those tasks. No...it's that draining kind...the kind where you just wonder: am i at the bottom of this yet?

And the answer is always: no

and to make matters worse: i over think.

and THAT...is an understatement

so when we all go through transition or points of change or just junk it gets all that much more emotionally exhausting for me because i MULL...i THINK...i think and i think. But weirdly...i will get in this mental churn and because i'll get tired of my internal churn i will make a decision just to DO something. Just to stop the churn and I sometimes tend to disregard some of the realities.

that is me...churn and then act but weirdly act slightly impulsively just to get the mental churning to stop. because acting gets me 'unstuck'. But patience is sometimes a better plan, unfortunately...i'm not so patient...mainly how can you be patient when you can't get the churn to stop without acting?

But stuff is in motion therefor so am i

And then there is some job stuff...my job...that job...that other job...that potential job...that dream job...no you can't do THAT in your job...but you MUST do THIS in your job...you want the ability to DO your job?...here?...really?...no...i just want you to deliver anyway on the impossible project...take all the time out of your actual job and do it now....really...sooooo not kidding

this makes me...frustrated

and slightly impulsive

there is a laundry list i could go on and on about to...but i don't want to encourage the churn. So i will leave it here. i'm alive...i wish things would settle down a little bit...i wish i knew the best answer for the question(s) in front of me...oh and...sleeping would also be nice.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So *that's* what it is like to be near the front of a race!

This weekend was SOMA half ironman. I had signed up to do the race with some people through TNS training. When we signed up...they didn't know me...i didn't know them, but since the sign up and Malibu and this weekend i've gotten to know my happy little team and I was pretty excited to be doing the relay with them.

And then i was off the bike for literally 3 weeks...

And then i was poked and prodded with needles and beaten up with a foam roller...

i didn't know what to expect from my ability to spin the cranks and move those wheels. The original plan for this race was to see HOW much faster on a flat course and no swim or run I could go than Vineman. I wanted to break 3 hours since I was close to the 3 hour mark at vineman.

There was much about the weekend that was fun insanity and much about the weekend that was just unfun...predominately around the fact I almost got myself stranded in Tempe by no fault of my own as well as the fact my happy little relay had to break up due to our swimmer crashing her beautiful new bike on Saturday and making friends with the ground at 30mph. Bike crashes make me inhearantly sick to my stomach and my heart went out to her. But then to find out that due to how her handle bars crunched into her top tube on top ...she totaled her bike: double sick to my stomach.

So this was Saturday: me potentially stuck in Tempe longer than I anticipated, my relay's swimmer sporting some nice road rash, a (right) decision not to race, a totaled less than 100 mile bike and a friend wondering if a whopper of a migraine was about to strike before his race on Sunday. It wasn't boding well for well...any of us.

Saturday afternoon was packet pickup and our swimmer inquired if there was a way to do the relay without the swim...to then have the directors say: hey...ask this INSANELY fast guy to swim for you. oooookkkkkkkkkkaaaaaaaay

Race morning:
Still no ride home
Meet Mr. wicked fast swimmer...he's 10 shades of excited just to swim.

The relay's are in the second wave and he ends up swimming somewhere around 27/28 minutes and is within the top 10 out of the water.

My thought: well this is kinda cool that i'm now near the FRONT of the race...but also weird and a little concerned that i'm going to get passed like i'm standing still for the rest of the day. But really nice to be near the front because there was no one out there to jocky around and worry about staying back or passing or whathaveyou. Lap 1...not as many guys passed me as I thought...Lap 2 a few more zipping past and Lap 3...now we are in the thick of everyone on the course.

I didn't like the course really because there were a lot of random U-turns on the course. I ended up hammering it a little too hard in the beginning and suffered a bit the last 5 miles. But i was pleased with my effort.

And then i saw my time...

and had to laugh...

original goal: go sub 3hours (which i totally let go of with the lack of training the past month)

Time: 3:00:29

Not quite sub 3 but sooo close!Not bad for a girl who hadn't been riding her bike!

Funnily afterwards a random girl at the relay rack decided to ask me how I did. I'll admit my little brain wasn't working 100%, but something that definately bothers me about some triathletes (and i've seen it much more so here in s.cali) is that someone's reason for asking your time is to see if they bested you. I remember blankly staring at this girl thinking: WHO ARE YOU? AND WHY DO YOU CARE???? Fortunately Brian came to my rescue and said: don't mind her...she can barely talk after races. And gave my general update. But really...why was this person asking? So weird to me.

in the end...I fortunately found a ride home on Sunday...but the process of finding one was a clusterf...and i was not a happy camper.

Sometimes I think that if i have a patch of crappiness that patch will be it for awhile and i will soon spring out of it. The weekend was fun to see friends but definitely shadowed a bit by some of the not so fun things. unfortunately...i came home to difficult and distressing topics to which I am reminded: i really am bone tired and I wish i could figure out a respite.

life does not stop

Monday, October 19, 2009

to be clear...

There have been a lot of learnings going on in this corner of the woods recently. Mainly revolving around...WHAT is going on in my hip. It spasms...it does crazy stuff...it's weird...net result...i get frusterated.

So...am in injured? Not really but i'm not 100% healthy either...ok...i'm not 100% of where I WANT to be to start something like IM training. If I were training for a half? Oh...i'd say I was totally FINE. But IM training...that's a different monster that i am sure would prey upon any imbalance that is latent in my body.

When I fell in June my acupuncturist discovered that i'm internally rotatated on my right side. In Aug I saw another guy about this and i'm rotated about 4 mm past where I should be. The best way to describe it...I have lower crossed syndrome. And in reality...i probably also have upper crossed syndrome too. For the life of me, i can't figure out how a person could have one and NOT have the other. But that's not the point.

So my conclusions to my anterior-ly rotated hip....

this didn't start in June (it was just discovered)...

and it didn't start in Nov 2007 when I fell....

nor back when I had runner's knee

Or piriformis pain

or IT band issues

But aside from the injuries caused by falling...this rotation probably CAUSED the other ones and aggressively aggravated the ones that were induced by falling and hence were so hard to overcome.

And the reality...this probably only was actually OBSERVED because i am an endurance athlete. Maybe there is something to be said for being a couch potato?

Here is my slightly wackadoodle theory (although I think i'm right)...the fact that my hip has too much of a tilt to the forward is most likely related to the fact I have played the violin since I was five....

and have TMJ...

and have back issues...

but first to understand how my wacky jaw is related to my HIP... you have to believe in fascia

and then you have to believe that the fascia are all connected together in interesting patterns and an dysfunction in a shoulder can influence the opposite hip

And once that understanding is embraced then it starts to make sense that all of the gnarly issues in my fascia from TMJ and years of playing the violin might actually be the root cause of inducing the anterior tilt in my hip. How you say? By tightening some of the back muscles, my QL got too short, which probably weakened my glutes, my hip flexors got tight (aided by cycling and running i'm sure) and it leaves me with an imbalanced weird situation.

So how does one FIX this?

Me and my foam roller are friends...ok...we are much MORE than friends.

My acupuncturist continues to work on releasing many muscles and balance them out

i stretch

i strengthen the glutes

i strengthen the core....the guy working to balance me out has me pretty convinced i'm going to have abs of steel at the end of this. I'm starting to see the separation between my obliques and rectus abdominis muscles (ie those six pack muscles) on the sides of my stomach and oh yea and the separation between the ab muscles is starting at the top. Hopefully i'm not just imagining this. ;-)

But much of this (the foam roller and acupuncture)...leaves me a little worse for wear as well as doing the things that continue to shorten the wrong muscles, like cycling and running, makes it tough to strengthen and release the right ones.

So...i took some time off over the past 2 weeks. I have barely been on my bike in the past 3 weeks...running has been minimal. But hey i think i grew gills and i'm a fish now. Never mind the fact that i'm getting defined deltoids because me and the pull bouy and paddles are becoming fast friends. Hmmm...good thing i always thought deltoids were the coolest muscle group anyway. (and probably one of the most attractive on a guy...yes I do have a thing for guys with defined delts. ) But i think this means that i need to say 'bye-bye' to cap sleeved shirts that button on the arm. I have one shirt that is like that and now it is tight in the arms and too lose in the waist. I think pretty soon i won't be able to button the sleeves. Sigh...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Its a good kind of pain, i think?

Nagging injuries, well...suck. I'm soooooooooooooooooooooooo tired of my hip injury that I have just up and decided, i'm over it. It doesn't matter that I can feel the spasm. Nope...i'm just over it. Ok...maybe i'm not over it physically...but i'm sooooooooooo over it mentally that mentally chose to deal with it as little as i can get away with.

That being said i have been 'prehabing' my hips for ironman next year. I had a lot of acupuncture after falling in May prior to Vineman which got me through vineman with the promise that post vineman i would focus on 'fixing it'. I"m in 'fixing it' mode, but the problem: it would get worse, it would get better nothing really was happening. i was secretly frustrated.

If I did X it was irritated...but only sometimes. I'd do Y on one day and nothing would be bad and then i would do Y again and i would have a massive trigger point. I wasn't getting any worse but i know i'm only at 90% and heavy loads of training would surly expose this and quickly.

For a few weeks i have been doing the strength hip thing with a person who is working to balance all of my muscles in my body prior to ironman training. I didn't have a full opinion of what he has been doing with me I was basically pondering the questions: was it working? Was this worth it?

While i didn't feel like i was making much progress, I had decided to just give it a shot and see what would happen and then last week I sent him an email: oh by the way whatever you did to me...i have a big 'ol unhappy trigger point in the psoas. not in pain...but definitely irritated.

So this week his response: that shouldn't have happen if it is psaos originated.

Me in my head:ok buddy then what do you suggest. most people won't suggest anything so here i am with the bitter knowledge that we might be treating something that isn't the right thing.

Him: Let's try something else...let's see if something ELSE is what the problem is. Maybe it is a quad strain?

And miracle of miracle...we found it. I get a referred trigger point that is typical of psoas pain and what i had when i fell the first time, but this time...i have a different irritated/strained muscle. Lots of poking and prodding of the muscle and it now...HURTS.

But i'm encouraged. Finding the root cause means we can fix it. Before it just seemed like guess work and i wondered if i was every going to get 100% better.

i'm in for some acupuncture tomorrow and i'm sure she will electrocute me in the process...literally. Not a fun thing when someone hooks electrodes up to needles that are IN your body...but it stopped the other spasm before.

in the meantime...ice and heat and oh what was that? Oh yea rest a little bit? that's a hard one.

Friday, September 25, 2009

a slippery sliding slope

many times in life we just climb, climb, climb and climb. wondering where the top is. Wondering what is on the other side. Wondering...when the stupid mountain will stop towering in front of us. And then there are other times when we don't realize we are on a precipitous slope that is about to give way underneath us and send us crashing down the hill. And while the tumultuous fall down the side of the slope is unnerving...it is important to get down the hill to see what is in store next. The disconcerting thing is: we don't know when we will stop sliding.

i am in a little bit of a free fall right now. i'm trying to kick my hands up in the air like it is a roller coaster ride and just enjoy the free fall, but i still have a little bit of that 'sick to my stomach feeling' you get when in free fall and desperately want to cling to a tree on the side of the mountain.

So here are some learnings of this free fall just this week:
  • I hate the word: opportunity... especially when it is used to depict crap. Crap is crap. it is not opportunity and it SURE does not smell like it either. Please just call a spade a spade.
  • being a home owner isn't the end all and be all in life. I will not be buying this condo...and i will not be purchasing anything in the near future. Many things pointed to the reality that: It was not the right time for me. I am at peace with that.
  • winning 'fake points' during a velodrome class...is still really fun. Even if you suspect the other person let you win. (ok this isn't really a 'free fall' type of learning...but a general learning from the week.)
  • When real opportunity does knock on the door and speaks sweetly...it is scary and you start to wonder: is it really on the other side? And it may or may not be...but the belief that it might is very exciting. Even if the level of sacrifice is high...
  • when in freefall...relax...it could take you where you've never dared to dream. And while those dreams are just dreams...you start to realize how valuable they are when you say: i would give up XYZ for it. And you never realized you WOULD give up XYZ.
  • what happens to a dream deferred? you fight harder if the chance comes round again. you fight like you have nothing to lose because you realize you may only get one chance this time around.
just trying to relax as i slide down and hope of new things that might be in store.

Monday, September 21, 2009

bike shopping

ahhhh...yes...i am shopping for a tri bike. Me being me...i started out over analyzing the situation and almost feeling like I needed to know EVERYTHING about the bike and what i may or may not want before jumping into the process. I finally told myself to : chill out...have fun riding some bikes.

So...i've started having some fun riding some bikes. So I'm sure you will see a lot of MY opinions on various bikes...but they are just that MY opinion. We all ride differently and like different things so these are just what I have observed and what I like. What i learned from my track bike buying experience is that if I ride some bikes...the bike will 'speak' to me so to say...and i'm sure i will be able to figure out what I want from there.

I only managed to squeeze in two bike this weekend...but I decided to start with the standard bike you see EVERYWHERE at a tri...the Cervelo. I know a few people who swear by the Cervelo...and a few who HATE the cervelo...i just wanted to know what the fuss was all about, so I gave one a go.

i'm not a super duper short woman...5'4" AND i have a long torso...so i thought I would be set with tribikes and not have to have the tiny size with the tiny wheels. (i have a somewhat irrational/rational disdain for 650 wheels at the moment...it's boarderline funny) so I was rather surprised when the 51cm bike did not fit me. I had to go down to the tiny 49...with the tiny wheels.

I got to ride it around for a solid 20minutes and the words that came to mind when i road it were: squirrelly, playful, puppy, and yes...giggle. I don't know where the word giggle came from, but I found the bike very puppy-like. I read roadbike reviews and the commentator has some eloquent speech about the bike's handling and this or that...that's not me. I also didn't like the geometry all that much at first...i felt like i had my knees in my belly the whole time (even though they weren't touching and I basically got a bike fit before they sent me out to test ride it. So i know i was set up...props to the Trek store). I chalked it up to never having been on a true tribike and only been on my roadbike with aerobars. I anticpated the difference, but I guess my take away was while the bike is supposed to be fast...it just didn't 'feel' fast to me. (it doesn't mean that's not a fast bike...don't get me wrong...again...my opinion...and i don't get to wind tunnel or time trial these bikes so this is from a 20minute test ride...what do I know? Not a whole lot from this).

Then onto...a very 'gucci' bike as i will now refer to it. A friend of mine works at a bike shop and had told me that they had just gotten some Specalized in my size. I somehow interpreted that to mean: we have these specalized built up. I'm a little dense sometimes. I must have not heard him...so I asked if i could come and try one out to check my size in a Specalized time trial bike. I thought that they had the Specalized Comps built up. I show up...um...no...the only one built up in my size is the fancy high end gucci bike. The gucci bike...the Specalized S-Works transition...it's pretty hawt and the fit is pretty much perfect. Oh my...me wants it. I didn't get to ride it much, but it was a better fit than the P2...and no silly small wheels either...it also just felt right. But that much for a bike...you'd HOPE so.

But the takeaway at the moment is that the Specalized size/geometry could work for me. But i've just started the shopping...and it's FUN. On the list of bikes to try out:
Kestral
Cannondale Slice
Orbea
Felt
Giant
Jamis (if i can find my size)
Guru

Any others i'm missing? I think i can find all of these in my size somewhere in this town.

this is fun ...:-)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Will race for cookies!


This weekend was the Malibu triathlon...where on Saturday there was an olympic distance race and on Sunday was the Star studded sprint distance race that raised money for Children's Hospital of LA. I picked up this little gem of a t-shirt at the race. I do embrace this M.O. In gradschool someone asked me why I did triathlons and I turned to them and said: so i can eat ice cream. I dont' think he believed me but I was being honest. That is one thing I am looking forward to with Ironman training...being able to keep icecream in the freezer. The little perks of training...right?

Since Vineman i have been somewhat 'offseasoned' and mainly have had a training regime of 'do something' for 5-6 days a week. I've been riding my bike some, running a little, swimming occasionally (so as not to forget how) and lifting weights frequently with an attempt to strengthen the hips as well as completely undo all the weirdness I did to my hip when I injuried it. Interesting stuff how the body compensates for an injury. I think i may have developed my amazing heel striker ability partly due to this injury...but that is a topic for another time.

Coming into the race I had little expectation. I may have only done one 'proper' olympic distance of 1500m/40K/10k. I've done a few that area 'around' that length, but really only OC tri last year is one of the same distance. Comparing the two...i PR'd on Saturday for an OLY distance. My favorite was to see a 6 minute improvement in my bike split...granted my bike split at Malibu includes stopping and get off my bike to pee.

Not having a lot of focus on the race both training or expectations is sorta a weird spot to race. My legs felt weird, not really springy...so I just went with it. My swim pace was a little slow...but there was a lot of swells out there. My bike pace included a pit stop...so who knows how fast I was going. And my run pace was pretty solid around an 8:40 avg...which I was surprised by since i really just distracted myself by following my foot turnover the whole time. (90-96 footfalls/min)

Sunday I hung around and cheered other TNSers on and watched all the celebrities race alongside everyone. Saturday is a smaller field and you don't have to deal with all the poparazzi. I liked the size of the field much better than how big Sunday was.

The weekend was pretty awesome all around. I had a solid race (which I have sense discoverd I in the top 25% of my age group), got to reconnect with some friends and make some new friends.

And yes...i did have a cookie. :-)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

ebb and flow

ebb
1. to flow back or away, as the water of tide (opposed to flow)
2. to decline or decay; fade away

flow:
1. to rise and advance, as the tide (opposed to ebb).
2. to abound in something: The tavern flowed with wine.

Life is give and take and ebb and flow. What has become abundantly clear to me in the past few weeks is that life can be both....at one time...all at once and not at all. It can ebb and flow in different directions and take me with it in all areas and at the same time leave me somewhat torn on how to even think about it. And it seems that this process leaves me holding my hands open, trying to catch water flowing through my fingers....which is something I cannot....and I must just let it flow and almost helplessly watch the water slip through.

Part of the process is breathing in...and breathing out...and learning to exhale. Breathe in the scents of new mornings with warm sunshine and breathe out all that is weighty and stale. And then accept the grace that is needed to begin again.

and so begin...again...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

1 bike ride, 35 miles, a headwind in EVERY direction, and 176.99 dollars later

Warning...this is a dysfunctional post...total ramble. Read at one's own risk.

i might actually have my legs back. maybe? possibly? almost. Blew off an offer to ride 50 miles yesterday cuz it looked yucky out...ok that was what i said but i'll be honest here...i didn't feel great. Tired. Tired...oh...and tired. not the crazy malaise I had two weeks ago where I would fall asleep at the drop of a hat, but just...meeh. I'm having a hard time accepting that 4 very stressful weeks in the office full of travel, a week of heavy duty experiments, people actively stressing me out at work, a checkpoint, a condo i'm trying to buy and that thing called 'life' that doesn't seem to stop either. It's those 'other' things that seems to be draining me and impacting me more than I would like to admit are starting to take its toll on me. I don't think racing a half marathon a week ago really helped either... So...this week i've just sucked it up and accepted that I need to be 'nicer' to my body. (mostly) I spent half of a yoga class on Wednesday in child's pose because my body just didn't want to do much back bending and it seemed every pose had a back bend involved. seriously? ugh.

So I rescheduled with Kimmy....and we headed out this afternoon after I got out of church. It was supposed to be a chilled out 30ish ride...you know...2ish hours...enjoy the beautiful day sort of deal. And it started out as much granted there was a killer headwind as we went north...but we chatted about how GREAT the tailwind would be on the way back. But then I noticed the holder that holds my super ghetto bike computer decided to swing itself around my aerobars. Ohhh the dangle...looked like a disaster waiting to happen. So halfway through we stopped to fix it at a LBS. 5 minutes later, easy peasy fix...all ready to gooooooooooooo...hmmm...im hungry...shot blocks? 1.99...k....let's rock and roll.

But kimmy is admiring the beautiful bikes. ohhhh and the bike lust set in with all the beautiful bikes. And then bikeshopguy who is a friend of kimmy's starts talking fitting, bikes, gearing, bikes, and more bikes. oh...thinking of buying a tri-bike??....and then successfully SUCKED into the bike store vortex. Current debate I am now chewing on...IF i were to buy a tri bike here soon...what gearing?? Standard crank set vs. Compact when i'm used to a triple at 30/42/52 with a 12-25?...and did you know...they now sell 11-28s? In fact I learned all kinds of crazy rear cog set-ups are available. keep in mind it is only in the past year I even barely started to understand what the gearing was all about and for the record...i never use to CARE.ugh...i think the gearing debate is a post in itself.

so...bikeshopguy asks kimmy about the health of her chain...she brings in her bike and...ut-oh...chain is waaaaaaaaaaay stretched and has impacted her rear cog set in the process. So one new chain, a rear cogset, 175.00 dollars later...we are now ready to head out...ugh 176.99 just dropped on what was supposed to be an easy peasy fix for me.

The rest of the ride seemed somehow to be a constant headwind no matter what direction we went. North...east...south...west. ugh. But I did hammer it a bit down one of my favorite stretches (aside from the crappy pavement part...it's just no stoplight zone for about 4-5 miles)...and the legs are almost back to where I'd like so i'm pleased.

And while a wickedly long 35 mile bike ride due to our little side excursion...still an awesome fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon...on two wheels and with a good friend.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Running in the moment

Today was AFC half marathon...which was an interesting endeavor on many fronts. But the quick and the dirty: 1:56...My 2nd fastest half marathon to date and only 2 mins off my PR at La Jolla. Not too bad for a girl who a week ago thought that her body was being inhabited by an very unfit alien.

Up until Tuesday of this week I was WORRIED about what might happen at AFC since I was a month out from having raced Vineman 70.3. I had spent the previous weekend sleeping, sleeping, attempting to learn to surf, and sleeping some more. Come monday I still had a bad case of malaise, but by tuesday my running didn't look too bad and by thursday I knew it wasn't going to be horrible...it just might hurt a bit.

Since I was showing signs of anxiety about the race, I equally attempted to mitigate some of my fears and tried to figure out ways to just let the race unfold and be in each moment. Since Vineman I've been reading a lot of articles on heart rate monitors and are they useful or not useful? How much information really am I getting from them? What IS it really telling me since HR can vary by as much as 10-20bpm from day to day and then...the impact of weather? And.... don't I know my body well enough to know when it's super easy(walking), easy (aerobic zone), harder (LT zone) and very hard (AT zone) and very very very hard (VO2max)? Actually from all the time trials I did this season and all the times I tracked my HR...i know precisely what these zone are without really needing to look at a watch to tell me this...so it got me thinking...

And then...i've been re-looking at my vineman data and well...what I find curious is the second half of the bike...my HR dropped and my speed went from 18.4 mph to 18.3mph. Not really much of a change in speed for my HR drop. And as it was, i was operating 10bpm lower than that infamous 'zone' that I knew I could be in. The reason why i backed off? I got nervous about the half marathon. So as it was the HR was not telling me anything except I could go faster...but my body was saying: i'm not sure if you push us harder i will support that half mary the way you want. Are you sure you want to go harder?

So I listened to my body and i backed off...and I made the right choice. And...As it was for the half marathon...i had no HR data since when my the HR strap has too much water on it, it doesn't read correctly...and since I kept putting ice down my jersey and dumping water on me...my HR kept reading 98bpm. Hahahaha. So really...off my Garmin the pace was helpful, but I didn't actually use that HR portion of the Garmin for much of anything at Vineman.

Back to AFC...i decided to do an experiment, let's strip it down further...no continual pace and distance...no Garmin/HRM, only my little watch with splits. Just breathe in, breathe out...feel the body...feel where it can push faster...feel when I need to pull back...relax, focus on the foot falls, body position, the breathing the relaxing.

And know what...it was a very relaxing and enjoyable race. It actually went by quite quickly mentally and turned into a great race by just being able to be in the moment.

Breathe in...breathe out

Friday, August 07, 2009

Lost and found?

Dear Vineman 70.3 race directors:


I am writing to inquire about if you have a lost and found from the race? I had a fantastic time racing three weeks ago, but it seems that I am missing a few things post race. Maybe some of your wonderful volunteers have come across any of these items? You see, I came into the race ready and excited and the results of the day were that I had a fantastic day, but it now seems that I may have lost a few things along the way.


Many people say: ‘when racing, to leave ‘it’ all on the course’…and while I believe that the results of some focused training and well planned taper and good nutrition allowed me to leave ‘it’ all on the course…three weeks later I was wondering if anyone happened to come across ‘it’ out there on the course and if a wonderful volunteer might be willing to mail ‘it’ back to me?


You see…I didn’t expect to see ‘it’ for awhile, I understand that the demands of a five hour and fifty five minute race or any race of 70.3 miles may take awhile for ‘it’ to come back, but I had no idea what life was like without ‘it’ so…if you see the following, could you please mail them back to me?


  • One fish…
    • Growing up…my parents considered me a ‘fish’ where they had to pull me out of the water…seems these days it is hard to get me near the water. Although one fish was seen last night under the light of the full moon with a glow stick attached to her cap…so maybe the fish will be back soon.
  • One pair of cycling legs…
    • Preferably ones that like to push a ‘big girl gear’ (heck, I’ll just take any gear at this moment!!)at the velodrome and can actually keep up with the warmup paceline until they actually start to burn out.
    • They can also be described as legs that enjoy going fast and spinning at a high rate of speed.
    • They can also be described at ones that don’t typically get dropped of the motor until later in workouts, not on the first time on the motor at what would be considered a ‘notsofast’ speed for the track.
  • One runner…
    • This is an important one, if you could keep an eye out for her I REALLY would appreciate it. I have a race in a week and oye vey…it’s a half marathon. It would be nice if she would show up for this…or at least for part of it. But part of this is dependent upon the next item that is ‘missing’…
  • One cardiovascular system…
    • I would think that 6 months of training would result in the ability to go out for easy bike rides with friends and not turn into a suffer fest when speeds are quite leisurely.
    • While the HR seems ok…the body keeps telling the brain that it can’t breathe and most efforts, even short bursts…are seemingly taxing on the body. I’m starting to wonder if I’ve ever exercised a day in my life…at least that is what it is starting to feel like in my body.
    • Even small high efforts have induced a wheezing effect which has started to cause consternation.
    • Short 5 mile ‘easy’ runs have been anything but ‘easy’ with one turned into walking the last 2 miles of it.

Yes…I do seem to think that ‘it’ is coming back…verrrrrrry slowly…but I would kind of like to know a full arrival date? Do you have a tracking number on ‘it’? The lack of ‘it’ has pushed out the date of when I will start actually racing at the velodrome mainly because…I can barely ride a bike at the moment without the wheezing effect combined with a feeling like I suddenly have a fever. Oh and the malaise that has decided to inhibit my body instead of ‘it’…I’m not so pleased with. You can have that back. I didn’t mean to pick that up at the post-race expo.


I do want to say…the race was wonderful and well put on! Thanks for a great course and such an amazing experience. I really did have a fantastic time!! If you happen to see any of these items please send them to:

Rocketpants

5015 iwishicouldridemybike lane

Runningusedtobefun, CA 55519


oh and ps...if you find the 3 pounds I lost since the race, please keep them. My jeans are much happier with out them.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

just one day...

One day is all it took to undo being out of the office most of the past 2.5 weeks. just.one.day.

I headed to get a massage yesterday after work (which i've been in desperate need of since my HIM) and got into my car and was crushed by a wave of how stressed out I was after just.one.day.

Findings from the massage were punctuated by the puzzlement of my massage therapist when he said: It's pretty amazing you can even lift your arms above your head when you have such large knots in your lats that I can't get to release.

sigh...

I have decided that it should be illegal to let a massage therapist use their elbows. That should be classified as a lethal weapon, not part of a massage.

And when the question is posed: so...when am I going to see you again?
ummmm....that's not actually a GOOD sign...I'm prrrretty sure that's only a good sign when its asked at the end of a good date with a guy I like.

And stress level...oh yes...the insomnia is back! Everything was punctuated by the fact that last night I was not able to keep myself asleep.

all from...just.one.day. in the office

Sunday, August 02, 2009

New Beginnings

(quick note...for those who inquire...my sister is on the mend. It was something slightly odd, but fortunately they were able to figure it out...even after the un-necessary surgery she had to endure.)

Part of what was great about Vineman was that I turned it into also some vacationing. Got some wine tasting in on both Monday and Tuesday and discovered some amazing wineries and labels. My two favorites from those days were at VJB and Keating. Tried some amazing wines there and dropped a chunk of change...but I think I need to now come up with some good reasons to drink wine. ummmmm....i can think of a few. That will be on my lists of things to do over the next few months before IM training starts in Jan.

I even got to meet a fellow blogger, Sarah, who showed up at the race and we were able to catch up in person a few days later. Meeting fellow bloggers is always a fun adventure. She showed me a great spot in Santa Rosa for some good grub and...of course good wine. (a bit of a theme post Vineman)

Upon returning to SD some friends took me out to celebrate with yummy sushi. Can't go too wrong with sushi and friends? My friend Kim topped it off with
a really fun gift. She gave me this box:



(HEY are you trying to say something about my riding??)





Inside the box was this GREAT bell!!! I DO heart my bike!!!!Sadly it won't actually fit on my handle bars...i may have to figure out how to keep it on there at least for paceline warmups and RING the bell each lap. :-)

Although after 3 short days back in SD I headed to Canada for some work and while I did have a lot to reflect post Vineman it's not terribly coherent. While I discovered a lot during training for Vineman the race itself was in many ways something unexpected as far as the lessons learned. But I think the biggest lesson I learned is...this is just the beginning. Beginning of what? I'm not sure... but it is a beginning.

And beginnings are wonderful things. Like the first real snow (not here of course! ;-))of winter when everything is fresh and new and quiet. A new calendar planner with all the days that hold new possibilities. I think part of it is that I feel like for the past year and a half I have been living in an 'interm' period post-grad school. Where it has been a season of beginnings, but I haven't been ready for the beginnings mainly because I just wanted my life to stop spinning so fast. But I've learned: life does not stop...even if you beg.

So maybe i'm finally ready for new beginnings? I'm still not sure about all of them...but i'm jumping in and hoping I learn to swim real quick.

so...with wine glass raised: to new beginnings!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

all together perfectly


pre-race

I headed up to Napa valley a few days early since me and some friends had rented a cabin for the whole week...I was excited...a little nervous...but mostly excited. By Friday night everyone in our little crazy, slanty cabin was there and some nervous excitement bounced around. Saturday consisted of a little workout where I was pleasantly surprised by my bike with a low HR and a high speed and a nice pace off into my run. I was feeling comfortable and confident.

We headed down to packet pickup and then drove the bike course backwards. T1 and T2 are not in the same place so it is a point to point bike. As we were driving we totally talked up the course: its rough roads, its pretty hilly, yea don't get too high expectations for your bike split...ect.

Being my first HIM my coach and i had sketched out possible ranges of times I might have, but I didn't know what to make of all of the times. Were they too fast? Could I do them? I just didn't know. And after talking to my coach we had discussed that I'd probably do around 3:15 on the course because of the hilliness. I was fine with this reality...but secretly sad too. I somewhere deep down thought I might be able to do 3 hours and the hilly bike course was taking the fun out of this possibility. But i let this desire go and realized there are other flatter courses that I might be able to achieve a 3 hour bike and let go of the thought. At the end of the day it didn't really matter the time...i had trained hard and I was going to give it my all and have fun. Time didn't really concern me...racing well and racing smart were more important.

swim like a fish

Amazingly I slept 6 full hours without waking up before the race. I even dreamed (i rarely remember my dreams)...it was pretty funny too since my dream was about going to the velodrome the night before the race and setting up my gears to ride and thinking: hmmm...i don't think my coach would like it if i did this...so I packed up my bike headed home. I started the day with a smile from that. Too random and funny.

The swim is upstream/down stream in the Russian river. It actually was pretty uneventful. I tend to swim at a stupid speed that no one else swims so I'm generally between the fast fishies and the really slow fishies in no man's land. I do remember thinking at one point: how fast do i have to go before i'm not stuck around people who will resort to the back stroke? I cannot tell you HOW many races I have been in where I have had to deal with a back stroker...and while I don't have a problem with people needing to do the back stroke, I know that if I were a little faster I wouldn't witness this.

Swim time...? There was no swim time, but I had an awfully long T1: 45:xx :-) Granted, I did actually have a ridiculously long T1. I was really struggling getting everything I needed on and at one point I just thought: screw it...this is MY day and if I need to order a pizza, do the laundry and have a picnic in T1...well...so be it. So that being said, I probably swam around 38-42ish. Which was great right where a solid swim time for me should be. I was pleased.

ride like you stole it

The bike course was rolling hills and so in some respects a little difficult to figure out what front chainring to be in most of the time. That got a little annoying, and I tried to be smart so as not to drop my chain. I tend to be quite talented at that...and managed to get through the bike without this reality.

At about mile 30 I realized my avg speed was in the mid 18mph and my HR seemed to be on the lower end of things....like 10 beats lower. So for a minute I got a little excited and sorta wanted to put the hammer down, go a little harder and see how fast I could have a bike split...but equally I got a little nervous about the fact that I was going to have to run a half marathon afterwards and since i was MORE than happy with my time and pretty stoked to see a low HR...i just let the idea of going faster fade and saved more for the run.

I kept playing leap frog with this one guy from the 29 and younger age group. Keep in mind...he was really 4-8 minutes AHEAD of me...but anyway...i'd drop him for awhile and then he'd catch back up...and then pass me for a minute or two, but I swear he'd then just slow down and I would have to re-pass him. I think me 'chicking' him multiple times frustrated him to a degree because after we had to dismount our bikes and run the timing mat ...he RAN around me to hit the mat first. Really? really REALLY? Did he just do that?Sigh...that is so lame.

I loved the bike course...i kept thinking: this is MY bike course. As I pulled into the T2 area I looked down and saw: 2:58....WOW. All I kept thinking was: 3 hours bike split from the girl who could barely hold an avg speed of 16.5mph in a sprint distance a year ago?? I was all smiles...

how many picnics in one day?
OK...T2...ridiculously long...almost SIX minutes, but that was due to needing the bathroom and almost forgetting all of my gels before I left the transition so I had to head back to my rack. Whatever...it was my day.

running on the surface of the sun
It was hot...no...IT.WAS.HOT! People have reported that the temps were somewhere in the range of 90-100 degrees.The course is rolling and...well...did I mention it was hot? I had worried about this and over heating a lot and talked a lot to different people. I had a strategy...water and ice...water and ice. I took ice at every aid station I could and shoved it down the jersey and in the hat and would pour a cup of water on me and drink a cup. There tended to be a little fiddling at times with the ice from the volunteers and when I saw my time of: 2:01 I thought:Could i have gone sub two without the ice?? And then I realized, if i had skipped the ice I probably would have overheated and gone much slower. So really?...what's two minutes if it keeps you running?

When I ran down the finishers shoot I saw the total time on the clock and knew I had gone sub 6 hours. 5:55! I was elated and ecstatic. I knew it was a possibility if I had the perfect day but to realize that I actually had the perfect day was amazing. All that hard work came together perfectly...it was really...REALLY... awesome....I don't actually have the words for it.

post race thoughts
I actually have too many post race thoughts to mull over and emote...but I guess the biggest thing is how much I surprised myself in my training and the fact that I am discovering my athletic nature. Sunday was awesome and I can't stop smiling. I was telling my friend Matt today about it and he just looked at me and said:you're glowing! I guess I am. :-)

I did...

Just returned from a week in Sonoma county for Vineman 70.3 and it.was.awesome. Here is a very brief overview of the loooooooong race report to come, but I need to go to bed right now.

In my last post I mad a few goals for my race and I DEFINITELY achieved them all.

I did...
  • have fun...on more than one occasion had spectators comment on the big smile plastered on my face.
  • thank the volunteers...they were awesome
  • smile on occasion ...actually...most of the time I couldn't get the smile off of my face
  • try to encourage others on the course
  • leave it all on the course...I did this so 'well' that I ended up being ridiculously goofy after the race because I couldn't think straight... it was almost embarrassing.
  • keep my ego in check on the bike...mission accomplished
  • drink, eat, drink, eat, throw water on me, use ice to cool me during and after the race...did it to such a degree that I actually raced the whole race.
  • Finish...with a big smile on my face
  • And the amazing part of the day? Accomplishing my 'reach' time goal of sub 6 hours and finished it in 5:55!!! It.was.awesome
more later...

Monday, July 13, 2009

I will...

Tapering for vineman has made me ansty, but life does not stop for us as we move towards goals either. I'm in the middle of condo buying, big equipment buying at work, big project at work, team chaos with crazy people, some other odds and ends yet the real one that most likely has me the most ansty is the reality that my sister went into the hospital this weekend, had surgery yesterday and now...they still don't know what's wrong. Life does not stop.

She made me laugh today when I was on the phone with her because she was so bummed that she had to miss her first 5K because of needing to...you know...go to the hospital and all that. She joked: I sure have bad excuses for missing my first race. All I really wanted was the t-shirt.

The thing is, i'm bummed for her too. I've been helping her all spring...psudo coaching her by giving her more interesting workouts at the gym so she doesn't go completely crazy and she's gotten so much stronger, fitter and leaner. I'm so proud of her. Especially when she got all excited about signing up for this 5K that she wanted to run/walk. She even thought about doing a super sprint this summer. But many times our plans are really just that...ours. They aren't the plans that life has laid out. Too often I think I actually have a 'say' in what those plans are...but many times I do not. And...life does not stop.

But...life... sometimes in weird ways does put things into perspective. While some of this endurance stuff really is crazy I think I find some beauty in that. When it hurts it's because I can push my limits because my body is healthy enough to let me. That is something that the past year I have come to truly recognize is a privilege not a right. So in light of many learnings from this year and people I have bumped into I have come up with various goals for my race.

I will...
  • have fun...i don't get paid to do this, it better be fun
  • thank the volunteers
  • smile on occasion (even if it hurts)
  • encourage someone else
  • leave it all on the course
  • be smart about my pacing and try to keep my ego in check on the bike
  • drink, eat, drink, eat, throw water on me, use ice to cool me during and after the race
  • Finish
  • make some time goals, but not let them dictate whether or not I had a 'good' day
  • remember that I GET to do this
I am really excited, but i'm also really wound up right now due to much of the aforementioned chaos so i'm glad I'm leaving a few days early to unwind before the race.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

misplaced nerves and Tour trash talk

I'm 10 days out from Vineman 70.3 and the other day when i stopped for a second I discovered....

i'm nervous about...RACING the velodrome in a month.

what?

Yep...the other day I had this HUGE wave of nervousness about what is NOT in front of me for awhile. Um...need to check in with current state of real life.

And because i'm rather excitable, full of too much energy I have also discovered I will randomly talk to strangers. At work today two guys (i have NEVER seen in my life)...were in front of me in line to get coffee...and they are doing what I call: The Tour Trash Talk.

Tour Trash Talk is the invested discussion about the riders in the tour...what they may or may not do on the next stage...what team is doing what...what politics are going on...and generally acting like those of us who are having the conversation are actually involved in the comings and goings of the Tour. I do it...those of us who follow it do it...and you know what....its really FUN.

I love the Tour and it is the ONLY time during the year I wish I A)had a TV that I could do more than watch DVDs on and B)had DVR. I don't watch TV, don't have cable so generally just have to watch small clips about the Tour online. I somehow survive, but am considering that next year this will not be the case. (gasp...i've not actually had a TV I could watch proper television since 2002)

Back to the guys in line...due to my current apparent lack of internal filter that tells me: NO...we do NOT BUTT into the conversation of TWO random strangers who are merrily having a nice conversation with out YOU. I suddenly discover that I have to join their conversation about what they think Astana is going to do on this next stage.

They let me join the conversation (because what other choice did they have?)...but definitely look at me sideways. And I even got the: Do you ride? Question. I should have gone for the fringe sport in my reply...yea...track bikes. (hahahahah)

You see...i have no one who will PLAY Tour Trash talk with me at work. My cube mate thinks i'm nuts...my group mates equally so. Lately i've been dying to talk the Tour with someone. Even though I really only know enough about all the riders to actually sound like I know who's who...its just so much FUN to hash out the previous stage or what might happen in the next stages. Mix in all the excitement about the Tour with my current phase of taper and well...i might as well be an excitable 5 year old waiting for Christmas.

I wonder what people would think of me just skipping up and down the hallways. :-)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Things that make me happy...

Different things make each of us happy and I don't think one thing or one person can really ever make a person happy...as in a permanent disposition of happiness. But there are times when happy things do happen and I think it is good to drink those in and enjoy them because this world can be harsh so much of the time that it is good to reflect on the good things and be thankful for those.

I've had a very "Things that make me happy..."kind of week even though it has been rather stressful on MANY fronts and too many times I have raised my voice at people when trying to make a point, rolled my eyes at interactions(ok maybe not DURING, but surely after), and wanted to throttle too many people. Given THAT disclaimer...i still found some happy things to be happy about.

Things that make me happy...

  • Riding my 'real' racing gear at the track, 50x15, and lovin it (even if it hurts a little more).
  • Not getting dropped in a paceline as frequently and mainly getting dropped when I would screw up and gap myself off the paceline
  • Seeing my actual Garmin watch (which is known to LIE ), register its highest number to date at the velodrome: 30.2mph (which was probably more like 33mph)
  • Riding the velodrome and seeing constant improvement
  • Seeming like I have boundless energy and I haven't even started taper
  • Discovering that the condo I am in the process of buying is within 2 blocks of the coolest coffee house. I knew I was in heaven when they had TURKEY ruben sandwiches as well as doubling as a psudo-wine bar in the evenings.
  • Having said condo inspected only to discover the ONE minor repair that is needed on the place may cost me less than 100 dollars and it is as cute as I remember it.
  • Going for a 'gossip' bike ride that is focused on...chatting...chatting...ooops there's a big hill...and chatting and generally enjoying the ride and catching up with a good friend.
  • Gearing up to run my longest run i have ever done, 16miles, and looking forward to the final 3 mile because my good friend is going to join me
  • Having good friends who enjoy similar activities
  • After making my announcement about IMCDA to family and friends and discovering that many seem inclined to be my ironspectating section. (ppppsst...it's still open...any takers?)
It is good...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

367 days...

It was a normal Tuesday. Nothing special about it. I was checking my email and reading some blogs and happened to find myself blog stocking someone's blog who had just finished IMCDA. I looked at my watch and realized that it was more than 24 hours since the Ironman Coeur d' Alene 2010 slots had opened. And for whatever reason I found myself on the website looking through the finishers and eventually looked at the sign up page for the event because I thought: There would be NO way it would still be open? hahaha...NOT that I would sign up for it...errr


I thought that m-dot races usually sold out in MINUTES...so i thought that it was very odd that at 9pm on a Tuesday 36 hours after registration was opened up that it should still be open. (FYI, I’m writing this on Thursday and they are STILL open) I thought it might be a glitch with Active. But.... it's not. After an hour or so of thinking about it...i realized i have actually thought about doing IMCDA for years because if I were to do an Ironman, Idaho is my home. So somehow that makes more ‘sense’ IF I was going to do an ironman...this would be the one. Granted NOTHING...nothing...about an Ironman is logical…so I’m kidding myself trying imply i had a 'logical' reason for chosing this event.


Right then I wanted to just go to bed and just not sign up...but after an hour of deliberation i knew i would be disappointed if I let it go. A few months ago in the middle of my current training for Vineman 70.3, I had a conversation with someone who said: you have to at least do one ironman for the experience. And i got to thinking….And thinking. And back in April i had very seriously toyed with making sure that I had my finger on the computer when registration opened on June 22nd...but then I got overtrained...and then I thought triathlons were silly...


My plan was to start racing at the velodrome after July. Actually…its still IS my plan and something I WILL do. Although, I think there was a point I even contemplated stopping a lot of this endurance silliness. And even considered never being a triathlete again. really. ever. (granted I like to be a drama queen in my head, so I don’t think I would have actually ever done that) I had plans to be a roadie and velodrome girl and life would be good. So somehow i sorta thought that maybe it was 'meant to be' if it was still open 36 hours after registration opened. We MUST be in a recession.


WTF did I just do?


yes...2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running...all in one day...all in less than 17 hours...oye it's pretty crazy and pretty silly. But as I put it to someone else..."people climb mountains solely because they are there and well...Everest is much further away, more expensive and I don't think I would like sleeping in the snow or climbing over dead bodies. "


So...yes...I will embark upon 140.6 miles of insanity in 367 days.


In the meantime…I’ve got half of that silliness to focus on. Just under 4 weeks til Vineman 70.3! And I am….EXCITED.

Monday, June 22, 2009

just how many needles?

Back in May I fell again on my right knee, which began to aggravate my (least) favorite injury my psoas. But for weeks it was just sorta aggravated and then a week chalk full of cycling REALLY aggravated it...as in: i'm trying to not throw up while releasing this trigger point...type of aggravation.

So...i decided to try acupuncture. It's easy to be skeptical about acupuncture, but if you find a good sports acupuncture person they really can help. Especially if there are muscle imbalances and you need muscles to fire correctly as well as muscle spasms. My friend had recommended a sports acupuncturist in the area so I decided to give it a try. I've had it before but wasn't really that impressed with the previous person. This time...i walk in: it's your right hip right? Yep...it is.

She poked and prodded me, noting that my right hip is actually correctly slightly tilted anterior-ly while my left hip is tilted posterior-ly. She found all sorts of interesting things going on in my body, not necessarily related directly to the psoas injury, but not unimportant either. The body tells a story even if you don't want it to. It will give away all of your secrets if you have the right person who can actually read all of them. From some of the comments she made I think she can.

She then proceeded to poke me with a zillion needles as one would expect in an acupuncture session, but she also did a modality called "cupping"

I have laugh this guy in the video and his comments related to this modality that is it soooo relaxing... oh no...it doesn't HURT...um...yea...LIAR. I have one spot that is a bright purple circle and then a region that is very purple and it was very uncomfortable. (still is a bit) The purpose of this is to help move stagnant blood that is in the interstitial regions that stagnates which can happen due to training, ect. The practitioner is also an iron distance triathlete so she understands the demands of training as well as not making me feel like i'm 'too hard on my body' (as one massage therapist told me a year ago).

The interesting part was her trying to get my glutes to activate...at the beginning...not so much and by the end were firing. Now that they actually are being activated while exercising...lets just say after my 9 mile run on Sunday my butt is very sore. But glute activation is actually what I need long term to happen to counter this silly hip issues.

So i think i'm on a good path to both holding off this injury from becoming full blown before Vineman half...as well as figuring out what my body needs to be strengthened equally to be better functioning with less injury in the future.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

please...just take my money...

So...awhile back I mentioned the whole "trying to buy a condo" thing...well that didn't work out so well previously...but I found a cute new place that does need some updating, but great price, love the location. Little itty bity glitch...sorta. LITERALLY half a block away from what is my default bike shop. Please...here is my pay check...just cash it. It will be less painful.

This is the shop where i bought my track bike...it's a fixie focused bike shop and the club I will race for when I start racing at the velodrome. (did I just say...when?)

Yes...actually...i did say when. And that when is not too far away actually. August = when. A second night of racing has started on Friday nights and they have added a women's category. And know what...if we could get all the women to show up at the same time...there might be a field of 10-20 women out there. How cool is that?

Funny thing about it...i SWORE up and down and to anyone who would listen that I would NEVER actually get out there and race...ever....ever...ever. (granted I don't think anyone believed me) I bought my track bike with the one intention of being able to ride the velodrome when I wanted to all winter and that was my only intention.Really...it was... Ride all winter take classes til...forever, but race? no way... So I bought just a basic entry level track bike...nothin fancy...just standard entry level beauty. And that is true...he is a beauty. sigh :-)

And my beauty just got an upgrade i CANNOT wait to try out. NEW CHAINRING!!!!! I just bought him a 50...I have a 48x15 geared up right now and typically ride with that...but I do have a flip flop hub and can run a 48x16 if I want to. So...going to gear up another 4 gear inches to a 50x15! YEA for leg strength. Only concern i have pushing a bigger gear is that reality that I have no 'jump' when we start. I'm pathetic on a smaller gearing until I can get up to speed so a bigger gear is just harder with getting a 'jump' at the beginning. Will have to see how it goes. More plyometrics?

Monday, June 15, 2009

I took the train to Disneyland! (and then...rode my bike home)

This weekend was the end of two pretty heavy training weeks with a culmination of me taking the train to Disneyland/Anaheim and then riding my bike back with Chris and another guy from the tri club. 81miles...longest bike ride ever for me and it.was.awesome. The day was perfect, overcast and not too windy. We all just kept saying: itsn't this such a great ride! Ok...at mile 70 i was hurting a bit, but it didn't matter and Chris somehow convinced me that I really should do that 2 mile brick that I really didn't want to do. But just 'something' to get the legs movin, nothing special.

If anything those two miles gave me huge confidence about Vineman 70.3...ran off those 80miles even with things hurting, into 9 and sub 9pace which is where i'm hoping to hit for my race. Very happy.

Told my family about my adventures only to hear: you are nuts. I'm used to hearing that now.

Unfortuantely since late last week the ol hip/psoas issues have been back. Not inducing actual hip pain or knee pain as it has in the past, but lots of tenderness and LOTS of massive trigger points on my belly and into my hip. Not fun especially when it is contracting and aching and it feels literally like I ate a rock.

Been trying to use some massage therapy to help it out...and today my massage therapist and I further continued to try to find the root cause of some of this. While the spasm was profoundly noticed after I fell in Nov 2007 I actually have believed for a long time I have some sort of functional leg length discrepency. My massage therapist noticed today that while standing, my injured side is shorter than the other even though my hips are aligned and in the same plane. PT's have noticed this as well as chiropractors, even though my legs hip joint to heel are the same length...MY question is: WHERE IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF THIS LENGTH DISCREPANCY??!!

So far...no one knows. It doesn't make sense (at least to me) and really my massage therapist just keeps giving me 'homework' every time I see him to try to help with the psoas. (like I don't have enough things to do?) Last time it was just to stretch out my QL region where you make the number 4 with your legs and reach for your toes. Ok...easy enough...this time? 1)I need to work on exhaling...um...what? 2)And I need to go to yoga. Of course a yoga teacher would tell me that, but I think he does have a point. ug...back to yoga...i do try to love it...but if I'm honest about it, I don't.

Friday, June 12, 2009

the track....sigh...

I do want to clarify from the last post...and in general...while riding at the velodrome for whatever physics related reason it is quite easy to go over 20mph. 30mph does start to get up there speedwise, but it still isn't *that* fast compared to other crazy speedsters out there...i've seen many a speedy sport hit well into the high 30s motorpaced and i'm sure some were going faster. It does feel pretty fast, but it's not like trying to go that speed on the road. It's not the same for whatever reason.

Sometimes I forget that riding the velodrome is a little on the 'fringe' side even for bike sports. Today I walked into a local bike shop here, that is more tri focused. But since I won that awesome 100 dollars the other week, i've got some money to burn there and I was trying to figure out what to spend it on.

I walk in the door and warned the guy that I had a bunch of questions and start with: Do you guys have chain rings? I'm looking for a 50...my track bike is set up with a 48x15 and I'd really like a bigger chain ring.

blink, blink, blink

Him: um...i'm not sure we carry just chain rings...we have crankset. In the end we found out that they do...but I did get stared out blankly for a bit...no 50 sadly. The conversation turned into Bla, bla, bla..how often do you ride the track??? This seemed to be quite the curiosity. Once again...i realized i tend to do weird things, apparently the velodrome is one of those weird things.

The point...oh yes...the point of the post (if there is one)...they have started another day of racing at the track that is for beginner racers/juniors/spinters and women. OYE...i want in! Yes please! No...i'm not actually going to start racing til after Vineman HIM...but i went tonight to help out and got to be the lap girl and the bell ringer girl (you ring a bell to notify racers of the last lap). Let's just say, i will be CHOMPING at the bit in Aug to race. Very excited and I know i'm going to get my butt kicked, but i'm still super excited.