Sunday, April 26, 2009

What an awesome day!

The quick and dirty: La Jolla Half marathon was today...According to my garmin= 1:54:32 (granted I also ran 13.2 miles but that is expected...can't run all the tangents and there is always some zig-zagging). Previous half marathon PR in 2006: 1:58:14. A PR by roughly 3:15 on a very hilly course (1800 ft of elevation gain/loss)!!! It.was.awesome!!

The long report:
My running has been improving a lot this season and it has been a lot of fun to watch and challenge myself with it. It's been exciting, but I recently have realized that as my running has been coming along well...I didn't know if it was coming along well enough to PR on such a hilly course. I really wanted the PR and knew I could PR on a flat course, but this one? I had a suspicion that if I had good weather (check), I felt good (check) and it all came together (double check) that I could PR. But races are sorta exciting in a way never know what is going to happen. It is a big surprise in a way.

Being obsessive as any other racer leading into a race...I probably checked the weather report at least a few (hundred) times every day to see how saturday's race would be. Last year it was HOT and in the high 80s...this year...perfect 60ish and at one point was supposed to be overcast...but some winds. (which in my opinion is prefect running weather...not too hot and not too sunny). In the end sunny/coolish/and a slight ocean breeze....pretty much perfection.

I am my own sherpa
Last year the race ran out of water, having run the race last year KatieB told me to carry my own water. I didn't really want to in all honesty, but I also knew that if I got myself dehydrated...even if the race went fine...i'd be mad at I carried my cell phone (for after) key to my know....whatever else I could cram in there. ;-) It wasn't an ideal situation, but it was what it was.

In the end there was enough water for where I was running in the race, but it was questionable to me if people at the back would have enough.

Amazingly there really isn't a lot to tell about the race. It all kinda blurred together and went by pretty fast too! There is a gnarly hill in the middle that is a 420 ft climb over a mile...that was...gnarly...but ok. The beginning of the race and the end flew by. This is only my 4th half marathon ever, but what I find the most interesting I felt the strongest for it during all parts of the race as well as it was mentally one of the easiest for me too.

My friend Sam is a runner and we were chatting yesterday before the race. She is a fearless downhill runner and during our conversation I told her I would just channel her for every downhill. So on every downhill I thought: RUN LIKE SAM! I think that in part is why I did have some fantastic downhill times.

My coach came down for the race and even ran with me for few bits of the race...which was completely appreciated.

Overall an awesome day. I had some friends come out to the race to cheer me on and go out for breakfast. It was great to share a great day with good friends.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Offically taper

My friends and i in grad school called it 'taper madness' because you do go a little crazy during taper. I've tapered some for Sunday's race, but it hasn't really been that bad. I've been more tired randomly than usual...fell asleep in my car for 10 minutes yesterday as I tried to talk myself into my swim workout...which I did...and it did go well in the end.

But the part of taper I forgot: the shopping

My friends and I joked about this during grad school. I don't think i ever really succumbed to this phenomenon at the time, but one friend when she was tapering for a marathon...bought a bike. Another friend during marathon taper bought a bunch random things. I sorta could reign it in just purely from the fact that I had not money to spend or even pretend to spend so 'splurging' on a candy bar really wasn't going crazy shopping. That was just a normal stressful day.

But today it happened, and it didn't occur to me until I came home with the most random things:skirt, jeans, ear phones, new wallet...a PASTA STRAINER...a small mirror, no two of those, a tank top.


None of them actually can be considered a 'splurge' purchase (ok...maybe the skirt, but it was on sale and justifiable seeing that very little of my wardrobe fits me very well anymore...everything is getting too big) as I had been meaning to get all of them at some point I just had been too busy and in all truth...i hate shopping.

Still have a few odds and ends I still need to hunt time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Should I be nervous?

Sunday: Scattered showers and a high of 62...winds West 12mph.

I'm not so worried about the possibility of rain...i did go to undergrad near Seattle. I know I won't melt if I get rained on, but the wind...hmmmmm...not so sure about that one. Everything else is pretty awesome running weather. Overcast, 60ish...very nice. Not like this last weekend where I spent Sunday in August like conditions at an Earth Day festival trying to convince people that science is good and by learning about it they can help the environment. It was pretty hot though.

This Sunday is La Jolla Half Marathon. I can't decide if I should be nervous or not. I'm tapering for I am sure some of the antsy-ness will settle in come later in the week.La Jolla is a hilly half marathon with a pretty gnarly hill at mile 6...420 ft of climbing in a mile and a lot of other hills along the way. It doesn't sound like that much, but it is a pretty nasty hill. I did preview it a few weeks ago on my long run, it'll be interesting.

I think what has come up the most with me about this race is the FACT it is hilly and the reality that this is the first time post psoas injury/post grad school/and into a new life that I have actually trained for a season.

In 2006 I trained for and went sub 2 for a half mary at Hartford, but between 2006 and now I: fell down the stairs (and subsequently stopped running for a month or so), gradschool went down hill pretty fast over the next 8 months Jan 2007-Aug2007, I finally graduated Aug 2007, I moved to SD Sept 2007, I injured my psoas Nov 2007, I thought about quitting triathlons April 2008, My training philosopy from April 2008-Dec2008 was pretty much summed up in one word: whatever.

I did some crossfit, i rode my bike when I felt like it, I met up with KatieB. on Friday's to ocean swim (but rarely actually swam in a pool otherwise), I fell in love with the velodrome and BOUGHT a track bike. And in someways looking back on where I was personally and emotionally was probably the best thing for me to do: whatever.

Things started to shift in the fall...I signed up for Vineman 70.3, (granted...I should say I signed up again because in 2008 my hip was not getting better fast and it just wasn't the right time for me to tackle the HIM distance yet) I became part of Team Barney Butter (and part sponsored), I hired a coach (which I never in a million years thought I would every do) and now I am actually training.

But the funny thing about actually training is i'm actually getting faster. Imagine that...funny how that works sometimes. I'm running really well right now and I realized the other day I'm kinda pissed La Jolla isn't flatter because I know I would PR on it if it were a flat course. I almost PR'd 13.1 miles the other week when I was just doing my long run...just one minute off and I wasn't really trying.

Granted with the monster downhill after the gnarly uphill...anything can happen. I don't actually think it is completely out of reach, but I do need to have a good day to make it happen. So i'm hoping for a good day.

Am I nervous...ask me in a few days.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Awwww yea!

I've talked about it...repeatedly...but I have a drafting problem when i ride the velodrome, and i'm sure in general. And by problem, i mean I don't draft well. of the guys in charge of my class offered to meet up with me before class and practice 'bike wrestling' I like to call it. Bumping side to side, and then try to get me to bump his rear tire. This is best practiced on grass with tennis shoes on. Stick your arms out and occasionally your knees if someone gets too close and push into them with your arms. Go won't push them over as long as you both have some speed in the forward direction. He even said cyclists have been known to even head butt during races.Check this out at about 18 seconds into the video and also around 30seconds. He was apparently DQ'd because of this. ya doing Stuey???

I found the whole 'pushing' thing to be i do with just about everything. Granted I was told that if I fell over because I was laughing too hard that would not be cool. Spoil Sport. The rear bumping of my instructor's rear tire was the trickiest for me. I'd get really close and then chicken out...i did hit his tire a few times but he'd just ride around in front of me saying: I don't feel you bumping into my tire. The can hit tires and not fall over.

I'm not sure if the practice helped my confidence level or what...but i HELD to people's tires SO WELL last night. Didn't get yelled at once to draft closer. We did have a guy who was joining in on the class for fun who was quite an experienced racer. He road around with my group all evening and gave out pointers.

After awhile he seemed to pick on me a lot over the evening as he'd sit on my wheel and tell me what to do a lot and point out where I was working too hard or riding too high or whatever. It was helpful. And on many races where he was riding my tail...he'd totally push me to out sprint whomever was next to me...even if we were deep into the field and not about to come close to winning anything. It was good practice.

But the best part of the night was we had a set of sprint races. We were told we would have 3 sets of 4 lap sprints. I can't remember if we were racing for points or not, but the first two sprint sets were pretty hard. After each set we would have to regroup and then they would send us off again. So the third (and what we all thought) was the last set...we made it through the first lap and I just got possessed to see if I could take it...I have no idea why I just WENT..i knew it was chancy since i had THREE laps to go..but I knew everyone was pretty tired I decided 'why not'? I didn't know how good the endurance of the fast guys in my group were(keep in mind this is not the super fast group...but still) I put the hammer down and went for it.

I did manage to hold them off for the next 2.5 laps and it was only with half a lap to go that three guys had to work together to chase me down. One of the guys on the sidelines told me after wards that I had a quarter lap gain on the rest of the field and those 3 guys that did reel me in had to work pretty hard together to pull me in. Totally satisfying.

It didn't 'work'...but man it was FUN. :-)

I learned a bunch of things:
1)Three laps is WAAAAAAAAAY too long to go all out on...2-2.25 is about all I can probably manage.
2)If you time it well you can take people by surprise.
3) Don't suddenly think that, that guy over there is suddenly going to be really fast if he hasn't been all evening in any sprint. Same for yourself.
4)It's not all about speed...learning more tactics can help the game.
5)Making people work hard to chase you down...even if it doesn't work is totally satisfying.

You would have thought I actually WON the race yesterday because of how giddy I was. I didn't even place well...but it was just awesome that I didn't hesitate and just left it all out there. I learned a lot by mucking it up.

One guy afterward complimented me on pulling away from everyone...even if i didn't still was fun.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


I really didn't mean to...but I don't know how I 'forgot' how to get off my track bike...not once but TWICE...with the second time yielding the big gash in my front fork paint. The first time I just ran into the bench with my tire. It's only slightly challenging to get off a fixed's NOT challenging, it just take some thought and preparation before getting off the bike.

How can I go from knowing how to stop my fixie and never having an issue to: uhhhh i've clipped out one foot and then suddenly forgetting that I have to PUSH backwards on the clipped in pedal to get the whole bike to stop? I kinda do this hoppy clipped out dance where i've slowed down a lot and i'm hopping on the foot that is clipped out and pushing backwards with my clipped in foot. (it's probably pretty funny to watch)

I clipped out and it was like my brain stopped functioning. Completely. Suddenly I just didn't know what to do and my mind went completely blank. I even remember thinking: "um, how do I stop now? I'm going to hit that bench." Very weird...especially since it happened 2x.

These kinds of things happen to me all the time. I'm not-so-graceful in life. At least I have a good enough sense of humor that I can just laugh at myself. But sometimes I also have to just shake my head.

The funniest part of track class tonight for me? The 'handicapped race'...where my group got a 1/2 lap head start on the other group. To do this we had to go to the other side of the track and hang on to the wall over there. APPARENTLY....ahem...they said: RIDERS READY!! (and if you ready you shout yes...and put one hand in the drops which is the international sign for READY). I did NOT put my hands in the drops because I was not clipped in...i was CLIPPED OUT with one foot. But they whistle blew anyway, so the other4 people took off and I had to tell them to go ahead...and I then had to clip into my other pedal AT SPEED. Keep in mind, clipping into a fixie has its own set of challenges mainly the fact that you can't coast while clipping in. So here my team-mates (sorta) have taken off, i'm trying to pedal as fast as I can as well as clip in with the pedals spinning pretty fast AND not get caught by the other group. I did manage to clip in and catch my group, but our lead really didn't help us much sadly. and my pedals tonight!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Crazy busy weekend

The science festival
My weekend started early on Friday at noon...driving a UHaul around...getting lost...four wheeling it on dirt roads all to pick up lots of stuff all for the San Diego Science Festival on Saturday. This is where I had the opportunity to organize 30+ volunteers over the course of the day and deal with the chaos that having 3000+ people come through the booth brings with them.

The day was filled with its share of insanity and varied other crazy bits and pieces.The day was a test of patience at times, but rewarding and something I completely love even if it means that afterward my legs are so tired it feels like i've run 15miles and then been run over by a big truck. Not two days before this shin-dig I already signed up to help organize a booth to teach about science for earth day. It's how I roll.

An 'official' Time Trial
This week has been a bit of re-testing for LT with some timed efforts. It gives an idea of where I am speed wise in the various disciplines. My run TT on tuesday went really well aside from the massive side stitch I got. I did a swim TT on Friday and I sorta expected my times not to change that much from last time (between 1:39/100 and 1:47/100), but my pacing was pretty spot on with a nice negative split over the course of all 10 x100s so I was pretty happy with it. So that left the bike TT.

Rather than do a TT all by myself...i (stupidly) decided to sign up for an 'official' one....official as in I paid people money to time me. Note to self, the day after LONG day on my feet is not the time to RACE against all kinds of people kitted out with race wheels, aero helmets, skin suits and TT bikes. When the alarm went off at 445 I really contemplated my warm bed and how being out 30 bucks really wasn't that big of a deal. But I sucked it up and went anyway.

It did help that I knew a few other people who would be there. I hate going to races and not knowing anyone. I have learned some of the cycling world rituals of pre-racing...bring the trainer and your fight face. Wear your fight face as you are warming up on the trainer and scare everyone else. Granted I am not sure if I have learned the cyclists 'fight face' yet and doubt I could scare anyone if I could muster a fight face. In reality, I felt rather self conscience and I didn't belong there and that someone was going to tell me to leave or something.

There is also a 'cyclist' way to pin the stupid number on the jersey. I noticed this at my first bike race at Bulldog in Feb, but didn't really worry about it since i didn't think it was that critical. But here I knew that a flapping number could pose more of a time problem. After 4 attempts I managed to get it where I wanted to...only to be told right before I took off...I had put it on upside down. I'm so smooth. Then there was the: holy crap moment when I knew I had 3 minutes before I had to take off, couldn't go back to my car...when I realized that I STILL had on my cycling long pants as well as my knee warmers and had to strip those off of which I had to put them in the ditch to retrieve later. Again...i am so smooth.

And then there is the fear of the unknown...THE STANDING START (or whatever you call it). This is where someone will HOLD your bike as you sit on it and the other guy says: in 15seconds...10seconds...3...2...1...GO! And the guy then sorta pushes you away. I've never done this so I'm debating whether or not to do it...sorta wigged out...but after realizing he doesn't just LET GO of you...he does sorta push I realized I probably would be ok (i hoped). As he pushed me away I realize the stupid fear was...well...stupid. It was super easy.

My goal for this race was to break 20mph avg speed. The course was a 20K...3 large loops of Fiesta island. The morning was pretty calm...few spots of a slight headwind but pretty good all around. I at least had two other reference points on Fiesta island to compare against. While the other two TT were not a full 3 laps just 30 was still a good comparison. Dec speed for 30mins: 18.5mph, Feb speed for 30mins 19.5mph...Sunday's TT for 20K: 20.6mph for 36:11! Very very happy! Goal achieved!!

It was a crazy busy weekend all around, but good. Things are settled a little bit...granted now I have an earth day booth to make some posters for and recruit volunteers and a huge checkpoint at work coming up...oh La Jolla half...err...easter is this training this week is pretty heavy...nope things don't slow down much around here...but that's the way I roll.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Dear Mr. Garmin:
What is your insistence on being so mean to me? I clearly see from that pretty graph I get to read each time I upload my data into your system that 29.9mph was NOT my max speed from track class. In FACT...when I look at that pretty little graph it says: 32mph. And while I should not complain as over the past 4 weeks when I started my track class you told me my max speed was 28.1mph. And if I dug back into January I saw that my sessions at the velodrome only showed max speeds of only 24.5mph...quite clearly you are now jesting me. To show me such a pretty little graph that doesn't show a sharp point at 32mph but in fact the graph implies that some actual time was spent over 30mph. I understand that you don't think 8 seconds warrants registering that it was over 30mph, but 8 seconds is a pretty long time too. World record holders for the flying 200 would almost be done with their sprint (10.831 seconds).

No 32mph is not fast compared to those world record holders, but Mr. Garmin...i'm just saying 8 seconds is a lot of time and hence i do not understand how you think that my max speed was only 29.9mph. I mean 8 seconds of time over 30mph...could you just pretend and give me the 30mph? I mean how hard is that? I even got a shiny new cog and managed to get the right chain for it last weekend and now you just tease me with the idea that I might have actually gone faster than 30mph. sigh.... You are so mean.

And to top it off...what in the world did you do to yourself? You have managed to clear all of your information from the past in my data file off my computer and you have become resistant to your power switch. As well as refusing to store very many of your previous pretty graphs. I do not understand, but I worry about your health. Have you seen a doctor recently? You should really get that checked out.

But in the future would you kindly just give me the true max speed...the one that your graph implies...and if that is truly NOT the max speed...don't put it on there. That is just mean.