Sunday, August 23, 2009

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

Warning...this is a dysfunctional 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 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 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'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 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 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 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 HR kept reading 98bpm. Hahahaha. So 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 continual pace and 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 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:


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.

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

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.


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 in the office

Sunday, August 02, 2009

New Beginnings

(quick note...for those who 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!