Wednesday, July 22, 2009

all together perfectly


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 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) 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 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 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 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. was my day.

running on the surface of the sun
It was! 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 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 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. does not stop. 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.


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 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 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. ('s still open...any takers?)
It is good...