Friday, January 30, 2009


Ahhh...i'm home...and soooooooooooo happy to be home.

First...clarification from my last post...i'm not going to be riding up at the LA Velodrome for another 2 I have two weeks to freak myself out. Good times. And two weeks for anticipation of what it might be like.

I had to fly to TX for work on Sunday for the was not a fun trip on many fronts

Flying out...

...things didn't start so well when I got to the airport and I asked the guy:

Um...i don't have a seat assignment.

He looked at me, looked at the flight and said: Yea, we are in an oversold status...oversold by ONE...and that is you. Best to check in at the gate and see if you can get on.

Here's the part that was lame about that...I had tried to get a seat assigment when I bought the ticket. I put in a request...there were seats...I BOUGHT THE SEAT 3 WEEKS AGO AND NOW YOU ARE TELLING ME I AM NOT ON THE FLIGHT?? Ok that is what I wanted to say to the guy...instead..i just sorta glared at him. I got on the flight in the end...of course a middle seat...but I got there.

The rental car...

I pick up my rental car and the radio isn't working and the radio says: Enter code....hmmm interesting. I mention this to the lady checking my car out and she offers to let me switch cars. I'm tired, cranky and want to get to my hotel so I decline. I also figure I can probably figure out how to punch in the code. So when I get to my hotel...i open the glove compartment, and lo and behold there is written: Radio Code 45934234 (whatever it was). I punch it in. The radio comes on. All is well.

I get out of my car, and double check there are no lights on (because i'm slightly paraonid with rentals) and go to bed. Come out the next won't start. Brilliant. I am supposed to be at where i'm doing my work stuff and i have a car that won't start. Call Hertz...they refer me to AAA...AAA comes out, jumps the car and then tells me that if the radio says: enter code...that's a BAD BAD THING...and CHANGE THE CAR. I tell Hertz...they then tell me to drive to the airport OR go and get it checked out. WHAT? I convince them that their job is to exchange the car...they eventually comply...but only with some minorly pointed arguments. NOT IMPRESSED.

Get to where I am going...and as time goes on we discover that what I am trying to do (i'm running experiments)...isn't really working very well. We are jerry-rigging the whole deal and I am not thrilled with the way it is turning out. I email my manager and tell him about the woes of the trip and say: the trip is going marginally.

He replies: Sounds like the trip from hell. I hope the rest of the week shapes up.

Experiments go south...
Um...unfortunately, things didn't shape up. Experimental points that were to take two days, were a bust in half a day so on Wed I end up having to re-design the stupid set of experiments...on the fly. I wasn't thrilled with it...I didn't feel like it was a great idea to just throw in the towel half way through Wed when I could at least attempt to do more experiments through Friday. Hopefully something unique and interesting will come from it.

I got back to my hotel on Wed and was supposed to do some intervals on the treadmill...i really didn't want to so I sat in front of the TV for a bit and then headed down to the treadmill to do some attempt at this. Pushing buttons...treadmill won't work. Manager comes over to try to help me:

Oh yea, they were trying to fix this today. I thought it was fixed.

Me:( I just look at him...not sure what to say.)

Him: Well I can comp you a movie if you'd like?

Me:(Apparently i don't have any sort of a poker face. I must have given him some sad look of: But...I don't WANT a movie. Granted I really didn't even want to do this workout so I was secretly starting to be relieved.) Uh...that's ok.

Him: Well...i can comp you to go over to the gym across the street.

Me: (thinking: Crap now I have to do this workout)...uh sure.

Workout was done, and done quite well I might add. I was pretty pleased with it considering how tired I was and not really in the mood to be on a treadmill at that time.

The rest of the week...
The final bits of the week were pretty uneventful...THANK GOODNESS...It's really a bad thing when you want to go home on Monday and can't until Friday...but I got through it...and attempted to have as good an attitude about it as I could...but there always seemed to be just something round the corner waiting for me. But be home!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ADT center and lots of other things

Next Challenge:
My next to stop freaking myself out about going up to the ADT center in LA to ride the track. So... it is decided...I have to stop freaking myself out because some friends and I are going up for a women's only session in a few weeks (any takers? Only 10 dollars to learn to ride the track AND ride at the ADT center... More info here.) But after reading this page...I will be honest I sorta wanted to throw up at the thought of it. Why? Here are a few comments from the page that make me go...huh?

The blue band:
Because the ADT track is so steep in the corners, riders on the blue band can be a serious hazard to riders who are going fast in the sprinters lane. Fast moving riders in the sprinters lane are tilted over so that their heads and bodies are out over the blue band, so it's possible for them to collide with a rider on the blue band, even while their wheels are a meter apart.

Balustrade:(This is at the top of the track)

The final riding position is the balustrade. Like the blue line, the balustrade has a limited formal role in racing, but is commonly used as a training zone. Generally more experienced riders will do part of their training effort at the balustrade. Be aware that the balustrade takes more effort and skill to ride safely than the lower parts of the track. Although the banking is the same, the radius in the turns is larger so the centripetal force as you go through the corner will be lower for the same speed-- you need to ride faster to avoid slipping.

And in general:
If you slide down the track your session is over for the day. Keep your speed high enough to avoid slipping off. is a mind bend to get my head around it. The track I ride is something like 27 degrees...this one is 46 degrees and two stories tall! BUT I'm going to do it AND in just a few weeks. And I'm pretty stinkin excited too! (even if it kinda still makes me want to throw up...just a little bit.)

other stuff...

Lots of stuff going on with training and regular chaos of life. Went for a bike ride this weekend with a friend of mine and here is a little reminder for your wheaties (or really anything). Um...yea, my friend didn't eat breakfast and bonked so bad she passed out after we had stopped and were looking at our map. Not a fun way to end one's ride for the day. So I will forever ask people I ride with: Did you eat breakfast?

Should I apologize?
Ever feel like non-endurance athletes or just people who maybe just 'workout some' put you in a spot that makes you feel like you should apologize for your endurance?? (and i'm not even in the prime of my season right now!)I went skiing this week and basically skied a couple of the guys I was with into the ground...and could have gone for at least another 5 or so runs if I had wanted to. One of them said to me: just tell me your legs are a least a little tired...please? legs are tired?? Granted I did sorta pay for it in my own way as the next day I was swimming like a rock...but I wasn't sore...just feeling low on energy and tired.

Trying to catch up with everything hard to juggle it all at times...but doing my darndest.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pretty close to perfect

Today was just an awesome day. Even before I got to the pool this evening, it was an awesome day. Internally I've just been hung up on a few things, struggling with others and then mix in some other stuff and I didn't really realize how much internal termoil I had induced upon myself, but I had. And today...i just somehow let it go. Someone made an offhand remark to me, I finally just relaxed a little and things in a lot of areas of my life just...clicked. It felt good. It's been the kind of day where people stopped me and asked me why I was smiling so much and I didn't have an answer for them aside from: It's Friday? When inside I was thinking...i don't know...i just can't stop smiling. But that was even before i got to the pool

Back in December I did a time trial in the pool to get an idea of what my threshold pace was...that time trial in the dark with the leaking roof? (it did make me laugh at the time). But the end result of that was that my average pace per 100y was around 1:50/100y. Nothing steller, but that was the end result. Although what I found in my swim workouts when I had workouts that said: do X amount of yardage at T-pace...i couldn't hold 1:50/100y for longer than 100y and generally not for very many one or two in a it was decided that if something said "T-pace" that I'd go off at 2:00/100y. didn't fuss me either way so that's what I did. So I get to today's workout and see 4x50's descending and then 4x300 at T-pace and then later 3x150 T-Pace...with more swimming stuck in between all of it...but that is the general gist of the workout. So I start and I come up with:
  1. 0:52
  2. 0:50
  3. 0:48
  4. 0:46

hmmm...interesting. I'm pretty happy with those times and get into the main set of 300s. The first 300 I hold what I think should be my t-pace @ 2:00/100y. But I realize...i'm just feeling good. And I sorta think...hmmm...i wonder what might happen if I just push it? Just see what happens. Just go as fast as I can at what feels like threshold pace?

Then that little voice in my head crept in and said: but what if you blow up by the last 300? What if you get REALLY slow by the 150s...what if you really just muck up this workout because you go too HARD at the beginning??

I briefly considered the point. And hesitated for a second and then I thought: Well if I can't screw up a workout then what good IS a workout? SO WHAT if I start going slow. SO WHAT if I find myself at 2:05/100 for my last set. WHO CARES ANYWAY? Sure I wanted it to go well...but if I couldn't 'color outside the lines' a little bit i'd never find out where those lines were anyway. So I figured...just go for it. If i slow down over the course of the least i KNOW where I am...right? So I got to it...what MIGHT happen if I just WENT at what felt like threshold pace ...what might happen?

Basically...i threw down the workout.

After that first 300 where I was conservative at 2:00/100y the next 300s looked like this:
5:36 (1:52/100)
5:33 (1:51/100)

Then I was into my 150s. That stupid voice came back in my head: you swam faster than what you thought you could hold...really...but i'm sure you might get tired on these have to be tired by now? Right? I bet your time per 100y will slow down.

I think at this point I pretty much then said to that little voice: screw you

For the 3x150 they looked like this;
2:38 (1:45/100)
2:42 (1:48/100)

I don't know what to say aside from: it was awesome. It felt just felt so easy...It was an awesome way to end a pretty awesome day. Total breakthrough workout for me. I think i'm going to be smiling for days. :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mental Game

Just don't think about your hip hurting...imagine it doesn't. It hurts partly because you think it will. ---advice from coach.

I've been told by people...more than once...i'm somewhat of a complex person. I usually think: who isn't? But I guess not everyone is complex or 'multifaceted'. I can't figure myself out most days so I don't expect other people to figure me out either. But sometimes I feel very duel in nature...and here is one area that I feel somewhat duel because while I love science and experimental evidence ect... that isn't the whole picture either. I've just run into a lot of people who expect that if one thinks that way a lot of the time that many times...they also expect them to behave that way and are a little taken aback by how emotional/spiritual/intuitive I can be also. It doesn't always make sense to some people. (It doesn't always make sense to me either) I'm ok with that.

So the mental game that is also important in dealing with a nagging injury that just won't go away...maybe just telling my body I am healthy will heal it...right? Coach told me to try it. And here is where my duel brain has a big old thrown down going on inside one side thinking:

What are you talking about...just WILL it better? Are you crazy you aren't doing anything to it! How can it get better?

And the other part thinks:of course you can will it better. Mind-body connection is more mysterious than any science project can figure out.

It can be interesting the weird fights my little brain can come up with but this happened to be the one for today. Not much else is working at this point with this injury so I might as well try this technique. So whenever my mind wandered to my hip on my run today I thought:

my psoas is getting longer, running makes my psoas happy.

Basically any positive thought about my hip...i thought. And really wasn't irritated when I finished. Minor trigger point I've been releasing all day...but not too bad.

I've actually done this sort of mental gymnastics before. I was about 15 when I was on a ski trip where I was cold and had no opportunity to warm myself up and we weren't leaving anytime I just told myself: I'm warm. Think of a hot tub...YOUR FEET ARE HOT....warm, warm, warm. And I remember warming up. Some people are better trained in mental gymnastics like these Tibetan monks who can dry wet blankets with just their body heat or there are some yoga techniques where yogi's can slow their breathing down to ridiculously slow rates and low heart rates. It all seems crazy at first glance but much do we really understand about how the body works or even how the mind controls the body?

In my opinion, I don't think we understand much at all. Knowing what I know about science, we know so little about much of anything in the physical world it really is amazing how much there is to KNOW and how little we really understand. Much of what we understand we only sorta understand and much of what we think we understand we are really taking a stab at. Much of the time it is only possible to disprove something, not actually prove it. I am more mystified by how much we don't know...and the fact that many people seem to think that science is one step away from unraveling the all the mysteries of the universe. It isn't.

The mind-body connection is quite mysterious and I know I over look it. And positive thinking, while sometimes seems cheezy to me, can actually do something...even though it doesn't feel like it should (at least to me).But I know the power of positive thought has gotten me through many situations that have been particularly difficult. And even through descending down a hill that has freaked me out where i've just told myself: I AM a good descender...and while it hasn't made me ease up as much on my brakes as I would really like, it has helped me relax a lot.

I have some challenges I am thinking about with the whole mental game...i'll post on those in a few. Till psoas is not is getting loves to run...running helps.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Riding 'round

Now that I think about it, I spent a fair amount of time in the saddle this weekend.

Bike Clinic
Saturday I decided to check out a bike clinic and see if I could gain some insight into developing more bike handling skills and fun stuff like that. I think SO much about bike handling is...well..not thinking about it. There are some things to think about, but if a person thinks too much about it...more likely than not one will fail while attempting to do it. We practiced picking up water bottles off of the ground and playing tag...on our bikes and other fun things...but many times I realized if I could just shut my mind off about the thought of: how does one do this? How do I do this? Will i tip over when I do it?...and just DO is so much easier. Analytical skills do not come in handy here. I did pick up a handy tip on cornering though...LOOK where you want to go eventually. Look through the corner and your bike will go where you intend it to. I thought I was doing it, but at one point one instructor sorta yelled 'Look ahead' while it was my turn and I realized I wasn't doing it and once I did look ahead the cornering got SO much easier.

Women only ride
Sunday My LBS was sponsoring a women only ride and I thought I'd check it out since my friends were going to be there. I don't normally skip church to go on a bike ride, but these things can happen in the middle of January when its 80 degrees outside. Always fun to meet more women who enjoy riding so i thought it would be good time, and it was a lot of fun. It was a pretty chill ride which was great and I got to meet some fun women, but one of the thoughts that I kept realizing as we were climbing up hills and such...was around how fit I was for January. My HIM training started on Monday and the reality that I am as fit as I am right now as I start my base building is really amazing. I think my main two things this season I only worry about are: burnout and aggravating my psoas injury. If I can avoid both...this could be a really great racing year for me.

Track Sunday
And what would a weekend be without...the track? Sigh. It might become apparent that I could write a post every week about the track that basically just says: I love the track. And not much else. I basically would write: I love the track and post the same picture every time and would pretty much get my point across...which is I love my bike AND the track. sigh. Ok...i incorporated a new picture...this one has PONY on my bike. She deserves her own post in all rightfulness...but PONY rocks pretty much. She came to Europe on my last trip with me (really she did!). Side note: she used to be a purse PONY but I swear she chewed through my purse strap on the trip and protested being in the purse. So now she just sits on my dresser...but I may have to find a new purse and see if she will tolerate a new purse or not. (If you haven't figured out by now, I have a penchant for silliness on a regular occasion).

Anyway, back to the track...sorry I get distracted easily. By the time I got there I was actually pretty tired. Between getting a 'baby cold', not sleeping well and then riding on Sunday morning I was pretty tired...but I still managed to get in about 15 miles on the track in total. Some nice paceline work, got dusted in a sprint and generally just enjoyed being out I normally do.

Overall a great weekend, but I fear my baby cold is turning into a monster malaise. While the level of horrible coldness isn't that bad, I feel terrible. No energy at all. I would have left work at 1 today except I had an important meeting and now I am counting down the minutes til I can go to bed as I don't want to go to bed too early for fear then I'd just wake up at 2am and not sleep anymore. Oh YEA...i can go to bed now!! Excited.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


There has been lots going on in my little world this week. First week back after two weeks off and I job must really stress me out. I don't know why. In all truth I don't have crazy deadlines right now and the topic of my job in general is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life...but well...the insomnia has crept back in. This is the type I hate (although there isn't one kind of insomnia I actually *like* though is there?). I can get to sleep fine, but my busy, busy mind wakes me up and no more sleeping from that point on. I picked up some homeopathic remedies, but also gave myself the rest of the week to see how I did. Only one episode. But still...i get the feeling there will be a repeat showing of this particular movie in the future. I'm not impressed.

Unfortunately I worry I have taken on too much in my life already and I am not even knee deep in every aspect of my life yet. I don't know what to dump or pull back on do I want to...i just know it will all exhaust me especially with trying to balance it all with HIM training.

My HIM training started this week and I discovered: I need to plan time better. Everything was (so far) executed alright, but I always felt rushed. I had great plans of trying not to have too many evening workouts so that I can have some evenings free...alas...that works if I actually get to bed early enough (oh and no insomnia). Again a planning issue. I hope to get the hang of it with time.

Then...some stuff has recently turned into a situation where I have come to the realization that not everyone in life will get a gold star and a comment of: plays well with others. I'm particularly not fond of pedantic and patronizing attitudes. sigh...must.not.scream.

Lots of other insanity going on can be just too bizarre at times.

Friday, January 02, 2009

One more thing...

UGH...triathlon sometimes just seems like: Just one more more more piece of wait ....time to replace the shoes/swimsuit/bike/whatever. Since I found myself with a coach a few weeks ago I have been introduced to the joys of Training Peaks. I cannot express how much i LOVE this beautiful piece of software. It is truly amazing. I am having a lot of fun with it. I can graph stuff...ohhhh...i'm in heaven. I am a data geek at heart. Probably why science has suited me so well for so long of my life. Granted it has lead to my current conundrum...How to analyze my current loads of data?

I bought a Garmin Forerunner 305 this summer and have enjoyed it. And while I do hoard data, love, no...NO...wait...i need to emphasis this...I.LOVE.DATA...I like making graphs and all of that. What is sorta funny about me though is that I actually try to keep some (ok...granted it doesn't work too well..) of my WAY too analytical mind out of my training or should I say the analysis of my training. I had a love hate relationship with my experimental data in graduate school and since I took up endurance sports while in grad school...I actually tried to only observe my training data to a very small degree and not delve too deep into it. Basically hold it at arms reach. I always knew I could take another look at it. I knew I could analyze it to death and probably enjoy analyzing a degree.. but I also knew that it could taint my training since I was having such a difficult time in grad school and much had to do with my experimental data in the lab. So in some ways since my early days of training I haven't really picked my data apart as much as I have the capacity to do.

Here is a bit of a confession of mine. Since buying my Garmin 305...i hadn't installed any software about my Garmin til...uh...uh...i got a coach a few weeks ago. I know, I I have this very powerful training tool and really all I was using it for was distance and speed and HR. That's all I really wanted it for so it was doing its job...and my training had its own set of hurdles last year between injury and the reality that I came (very) close to breaking up with triathlon... so I really wasn't that fussed about the tool in itself.

Now here is my conundrum...the Garmin came with one piece of software and then there is another piece of software that Training Peaks also lets people use for free. From my scientific perspective...they both suck. BIG.TIME.
I can't chop off parts of what is recorded unless I had hit the lap button...and well...i'm a smartie in general or a better word really would cadet...and like today I forgot to turn off the stupid thing from my cool down and into my car and my drive home. So now during my run it show that I hit 65mph...yes...if that were the case it would would be a justifiable reason have the moniker 'rocketpants' :-P it comes back to the whole "just one more thing"...I realized on the Training Peaks website there IS a software package that would allow me to analyze my data to DEATH. WKO+
a quick little tour of the software made me salivate. (Anyone out there use it? Thoughts?) is the's just one mo
re thing. This desire to acquire this software also competed with me thinking back to the day when I spent my first two racing seasons on an early '80s

(a picture of the beloved bike before I sold him)

racing bike with down tube friction shifters (that frequently stopped working...especially during a race and then i'd have only my front two chain rings)that I had found at a pawn shop for 75 bucks when I was an undergrad. I'm kinda sad that I parted with him before I left MA...even though he actually was too big for me.

Sometimes I look back on those first two seasons of training and have a few reactions. One is pure laughter at myself and the stupid things I did unwittingly or even just how 'green' I was when it came to endurance sports and no concept of really any part of it. (Coming into my first sprint race I wasn't sure if I was I going to survive exercising for1.5 to 2 straight hours without falling over and bonking or something if my heart rate went too high for too long. And I had followed a 10 week training plan for the T. My UTTER concern makes me laugh now...but I was very concerned about this when I was doing my first race.) But in some ways those first few years were pretty simple. I was a poor...poor grad student and I couldn't race too much because I couldn't afford to...I didn't have much gear unless I had been given it for my birthday or Christmas (aside from shoes) for quite a few seasons it was all pretty simple gear wise. I didn't even own a wetsuit until my fifth season...and that was this last summer when I bought one, since I now am not a dirt poor grad student.

Triathlon can just get so complicated some times. I think that is why I fundamentally love riding the velodrome so much. While I'm not terribly fast, or strong, and I really don't have any aspirations to ever race ...riding a track bike on a track is just SO simple and to be honest...quite beautiful because it is so simple. One gear. Want to go faster? Pedal faster or apply more pressure to those pedals. (or get a different gear ratio)...but
at the heart of is just so simple. Somehow that speaks to me.

It doesn't mean that I won't salivate over the potential to get some new fangled software or contemplate a new piece of equipment, or drool over every bike when I go to a bike shop... but it is also good to remind myself regularly that sometimes keeping it simple IS equally important.

I think Thoreau was on to something: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.