Sunday, September 28, 2008

Breaking the silence...

Every time I thought about blogging this week, I thought nothing exciting enough was happening to bother. But now that I think about it, I've been pretty busy:

I took Fiona out for her maiden voyage on Thursday, for a short ride, and was very happy with how she felt. We went out today for a longer ride and I'm getting better at changing gears and generally figuring out how to ride a new bike.

Stanley and I went herding again on Friday. My chin was split open from an enthusiastic greeting by a dog at Herding 4 Ewe (and while I feel quite disfigured, it is healing nicely and just looks like a big cut down my chin).

Hockey season is here! WOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO! We went to Sharks pre-season games Friday and Saturday nights. The season opener is October 9th.

I ran a trail 10K on Saturday. The folks at Pacific Coast Trail Runs put on many lovely small trail races and I could see why they are so popular. I was not planning to run all out but to use this as a training run - that said, I still came within 2 minutes of my (flat course, 3-year-old) 10K PR. I came in 6th out of 22 in my age group!

My running is going to pick up this week, as I start training for the Las Vegas half marathon. Last year I nearly ran this race in an Elvis costume and chickened out at the last minute. This year I'm hoping for a new PR and will be enjoying Vegas with several of the ladies of Smofit.* It's also my last week of pre-masters swim and then I have to get out of the kiddie pool and swim with the big girls in masters.

*super-secret fitness message board that some friends and I frequent

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Look what came home today!

Finally, our new family member is here! Jeff says I need to sell my mountain bike to clear up some room in the garage - apparently 5 bicycles is putting us a bit over our limit.

Thanks to the guys at Willow Glen Bicycles for all of their help, free stuff, and advice!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tri For Real Race Report

Adapted from my email to Liz

Nothing went right in the day before the race. Stan is wearing a cone collar to keep him from chewing on a sore spot and banged it around all night. The alarm did not go off this morning and I woke up 5 minutes before my planned departure - and still left the house on time (except without Jeff) because I had packed well. The body marking lady was mean to me. I accidentally let the air out of my tires trying to fill them (usual Jeff duty). I couldn't get the tire pressure high enough. My friend did it for me and broke the stem of my tube, necessitating that I change the tube out. I couldn't get the tire off...thankfully some nice guy helped me change the tire.

But I did get to the race site on time and get my favorite spot in transition there - right near the bike in/out and run out.

Swim: Shadow Cliffs has dropped a couple feet since I raced there in June and grown some nice green mold around the edges. But the water was warm compared to air temperature. The swim was out about 300 yds, turn left for about 100 yds, and turn left for 300 yds back to the beach. There were only 2 buoys total - at the turns - and this made it a bit hard to sight. I was to take this swim easy and just focus on being smooth and relaxed. I followed feet out to the first buoy and through the turn. After the 2nd turn, I was more alone and had a hard time sighting to the bland non-marked beach. I wandered around a bit more than I would have liked in the water but finished feeling good and not tired. In talking to people, we think this course might have been longer than 700 yds.

T1: Hurried through trying to make up time, I was in and out within 2 minutes.

Bike: As instructed, I took it easier for the first 10 minutes, eating and drinking and spinning my legs at a high cadence. There was more headwind than last time I raced here. I picked it up after 10 minutes and started passing a lot of people, especially those in my age group. When I came around for the 2nd lap I was much faster than the first and felt good. The course was under advertised distance here - most of us got ~16.5 miles. I averaged ~18.2mph.

T2: In and out in 30 seconds. Ah the beauty of being RIGHT. THERE. at the bike in/run out.

Run: Miles aren't marked on this course so I used blocks of time as approximate markers to increase pace as per my instructions. I took it easier the first half to full mile, letting my heart rate come down and focusing on good turnover. I was passed by one person in my age group during that time. I was not passed by anyone in any group for the rest of the run. I pushed as hard as I could, especially at the end of the run. There were some steep hills on the trails and as much as I didn't want to, I ran them all. It felt good to pass a lot of guys who started the race 10-20 minutes ahead of me! 4 mi run at avg 8:19/mi - probably my best pace on a triathlon run up to this point.

Total time: 1:48. My goal going in for the day was to break 1:55!

I also finally got to meet 21st Century Mom (who totally kicked butt and beat her goal time) and she did get a picture of us together, so keep an eye out for her posting it!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Need I say...busy!

Even when I'm supposed to slow down, life never seems to.

Friday - I went sheep herding with Stanley. Haven't been on stock in a few months so we were back at it with the knowledge that his first herding trial, the national, is just 5 weeks away. It went quite well! Stan is fantastic, I just need to figure out how to handle - and fast!

Saturday - Agility fun match. Max had a bunch of great runs and I took Stan out for a few jumps and tunnels as well. Just some basic exposure to a trial setting so that I could see how he would react - would he be one of those beardies who runs off-course to visit with people and dogs? Nope, he stuck right with me and had a blast. A bit too much fun if you ask me, and we've got a lot of work still to do, but he did well and people gave us a lot of compliments.

No videos or photos of either day of course because I forgot the camera on Friday and found out the video camera was not charged today. *sigh*

Tomorrow - my sprint race. Woooeeeee! It's going to be FUN!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If you loved Les Miserables

then you'll laugh at Les Misbarack!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

*drool* or Why I Spent $15 On Chocolate Today

I have worked for a wonderful woman for the past 8 years, across 3 companies (4 if you include an acquisition). I don't think I could ask for a better mentor. She even understands my crazy dog and triathlon addictions enough to let me work away from the office as needed (sometimes thousands of miles away), train in the middle of the day, take off for races or agility trials, etc. Why? Because she knows that when she needs an emergency handled at 10:00 on a Friday night, I will be there on the phone and emailing with her to get it done. Seriously, she rocks and I'd follow her to any company (and already have several times).

BUT. (There's always a but, right?)

But. She usually has a variety of international delicacies in her office and encourages a taste whenever we meet. Sometime last year, she went through a phase where there was always a variety of chocolate on her table. And that is when it happened. I fell. Hard. For Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate with Marzapan.
As it happens, this delicious and highly addictive treat is not available at most big-name grocery stores. I have to drive out of my way to find it. For the most part, this has meant that I don't have any in the house and am safe from consuming large quantities at once. When I do buy it though, I have to stock up since I won't be able to get it easily, right?
Today we were out running errands (Sports Basement - goggles, pull buoy, swimsuit, Gu2O, Luna moons and bars, etc. Pet Food Express - bully sticks, frozen bones, treats, new stuffed toys because we can not resist buying more for the world's most spoiled dogs) and I made Jeff drive several miles out of his way, in a route that involved 3 U-turns, so that I could dash into Cosentino's (gourmet grocery store) because "honey, there's something I really need there."
Now safe in the knowledge that I have it available when I need it, the chocolate is stashed in the back of my training cabinet (storage spot for Luna Moons, Gu2O, bike water bottles, Cliff bars, etc) and I haven't even cracked open one package. Given how healthy I have been eating lately (and I'm talking uber-healthy, more vegetables than I know what to do with and losing weight I wasn't even trying to lose), I figure it's OK to have a small sweet reward when I need it. At least I'm consuming the high quality stuff and not total crap - I mean, this is fancy Columbian cocaine we're talking about, not your cheap cough-syrup meth here.
Just don't ask me if any of it is left in a week - I can't guarantee it won't all vanish in a post-race binge. If I have to eat the pain, then I'm eating the post-pain sweets too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Revving back up

On Sunday I am doing a small local sprint triathlon. It's my last tri for 2008 and I'm hoping to go out with a bang! A few friends and family members are hopefully doing this one also so it should be a good time. It's not a bad race venue for me - nice warm lake (but cool enough to be wetsuit-legal), flat bike course, and trail run.

I was hoping to go all-out for this race and see how speedy I can be with optimal course conditions like these. Lucky for me, my coach agreed:

This one is short enough that you will need to just eat the pain. Push it out of your head and GO. This is your GREEN LIGHT TO GO GO GO. I don't give those often :)

Woohoo, this is going to be fun!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A weekend of backpacking in the Sierras

All packed up and ready to hit the trail. Hmm, my pack is leaning a bit - no wonder one side hurt at the end of the day.

Stan is raring to go!

At a rest stop. Now Jeff's pack is leaning too!

Hurry up!

Wet dogs, happy to have arrived at our destination.

Stan is happy to join me for an open water swim

And then it is naptime

Cuddling Jeff

Hummus is not for dogs, Stan

Max is never far away!

Stan even naps IN the lake

Both my boys lakeside

A rare awake moment for Cujo

Hiking out and headed home

Thursday, September 11, 2008


My new tri bike came into the bike shop this week but they determined that the frame was scratched in an unacceptable way and are having the company ship a new one. So I will be waiting another week to pick up the new baby, but she'll be a newer frame for the same price and RED!

I'm headed off on a backpacking trip this weekend so I'll post with photos when I return!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Congratulations, Big Kahuna!

My friends Chris and Justine did their first half-Iron distance race at the Big Kahuna Triathlon in Santa Cruz yesterday. I spent the day spectating and cheering for them (and running and biking in between). If my legs hurt and I'm sunburnt, imagine how they feel.

Anyway, Chris completely rocked the race and beat her goal time and Justine had an awesome time and did fantastic too! They did all their training while working full time and raising young kids - take that, J-Lo!

Here is their wave starting.

Here is Chris finishing in the brutal sand chute.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Well this started out as a test post to see if we can smuggle some Daily Show to Canada but I'm leaving it up because it makes me laugh.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How I Got Here - Part 2

Now on to how I ended up in the world of triathlon.

I started running 3 years ago. I'd started eating healthier a year before, gone backpacking with Jeff over the summers and begun to exercise a bit. I decided we should enter a new 5K race our city was having on Thanksgiving - well I'd never run before and it hurt! Fortunately it made me mad enough to see everyone else cruising along that I vowed I would get even with those 3 miles and train until I could run them. Poor Jeff...he should have known then that it wouldn't stop there. Within a month I was looking to 10Ks and within 2 months I was training for my first half-marathon, which I completed 5 months after that first 5K race. Half-marathons, marathon, rinse, repeat.

Summer 2007 rolled around - Jeff and I were getting married in June, going on a road trip, and then coming home for our reception. I heard about a triathlon that would be taking place just down the road the morning of our reception day and thought - what better way to celebrate that I just got married? (Bear in mind, I'm the same person who thought running the Big Sur International Marathon was a brilliant way to celebrate my 30th birthday) Oh and better yet, I convinced my 57-year-old father to do this with me!

Now let's review the schedule I had going before that race...
June 8th - Drive a couple hundred miles
June 9th - Get married
June 10th-13th - Drive 3000+ miles cross-country (with 3 dogs in a rented minivan)
June 14th-18th - Visit Jeff's family and friends
June 18th-21st - Drive 3000+ miles back across the country
June 22nd - Run around town trying to prepare for the party
June 23rd - Triathlon, wedding reception

And I thought it was a GOOD IDEA to do my first triathlon in the midst of all this?

Maybe this is also a good time to point out that when I decided to enter this race:
(a) I had a mountain bike, 2 sizes too large for me
(b) I didn't know how to swim

But who am I to let a few little obstacles get in my way?

I did manage to survive the race, though I seem to recall thinking at some point during the swim "DROWNING would be easier than finishing right now." During the bike I'm pretty sure I said I'd never do one of these again. And by the end of the run I was ready to sign up for another!

Clearly it didn't ruin my fun at all that night either.

After that first race, I found as many more as I could to do that fall. Each had their own set of challenges...

The swim around the cement ship at the Mermaid

The crowded pool swim at Merced (see how it's always about the swim for me?)

The blazing heat at SOMA (Not a swim item, but...I did try to quit 10 yards into the swim at that race and the lifeguard talked me into sticking it out)

I learned a lot from those early races that helped me to race more solidly this past year. And obviously I got hooked on triathlon. I love that I have to work at skill in multiple sports, I love being able to eat even more because of all the training I'm doing, I love all the positive changes I've seen in my body, and I love the feeling of accomplishment at the end!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How Did I Get Here - Part 1

I realized recently that not everyone who reads this has known me since before I got involved in dogs and triathlon. Today I thought I'd give a brief history of how I turned into the crazy dog lady.

When I went looking for a bearded collie in early summer 2002, it seemed like everyone had just wrapped up their spring litters and there wasn't a whole lot left. Still I talked to a number of breeders and none of the puppies seemed like just the right match (of course, I was for some reason looking for a blue bitch at that point - why?). Anyway, I ended up getting referred to Beth who had no puppies but suggested I talk to Jane. Jane had a little black girl puppy that I might be interested in, but she also had a little boy who might be a better match. She emailed a picture of him on over and that was it, I knew this was my dog. The only thing was...she wanted him to be shown in conformation. I had never done anything like that but figured sure, I'd give it a try. Jane took a chance on me - a newbie who'd never had a beardie - and flew Max on down from Washington.

It's been love since Day 1.

Max and I had a bit of a rough start as it was a steep learning curve for us both. Together though, I'd say we came through it pretty well. I started showing Max and then at a year old he blew his puppy coat and went naked and we had to find something else to do with ourselves. We went to obedience classes and got his CGC (and along the way met this nice guy with a St Bernard...). We got certified through a therapy dog organization and went to visit people in a convalescent hospital. We went to agility classes - I figured it'd be fun for him and maybe we'd do the agility competition at the beardie national one of these days. I wasn't going to be one of those crazy people whe trialed all the time but we'd do it every so often for fun.

At our first trial out, Max took two 1st places with two perfect scores. He finished his Novice Jumpers title at the next trial a month later. We started trialing once or twice a month. We got better, we worked our way up and we finished more titles. Next thing I knew, Max was 3 years old and we saw Beth at a show (the day Stanley's mother Maude finished her championship) and she said he looked great and to get him back out and show him again.

So I started trying to do conformation shows and agility trials at the same time. I double-entered weekends and frantically drove 50 miles from one to the other trying to make our ring times in both. We were busy but we were having fun! Oh yes, and I took up running around this time, so I'd start off the day by running a few miles around the fairgrounds before the competition.

Max finished his conformation championship in January 2006. Yay - more time to spend on agility. Well, by my math, he needed one title in a third venue and he'd get his Versatility Excellent title from the BCCA. So we got into rally obedience! Max finished his RN and with it got his VX, all before his 4th birthday.

I had been wanting another beardie for a while but Jeff was resistant. For Valentine's Day 2006, his gift to me was a card made up with Max's puppy pictures, telling me to get a puppy already! I knew what I wanted and would end up waiting another year for Stanley to arrive.

And we plowed on in agility, trialing as many weekends as I could fit in. Routinely driving 100 miles each way for 3 days straight to trial and then relax at home. Around this point, Stanley was born and as soon as he came home to us, he was along for the trials as well. Max was gradually racking up the wins needed for his AKC agility championship (MACH). In addition, we'd done some trialing in USDAA events and wound up qualifying for the Cynosport World Games (aka USDAA Nationals) in Scottsdale, Arizona in October 2007. USDAA Nationals was a fantastic experience and we were so proud to represent bearded collies (as Max was the only one there). Stanley also got to herd goats at the same event and is now very serious about his sheep.

If you've been reading this blog long enough, you know that Max got his MACH this past March at a 4-day show where I also showed Stanley in conformation and rally (phew!). We still trial in agility a bit, though not as much. Once Stanley is ready to trial seriously in another year, we'll be back out there more often. I've enjoyed the break from heavy trialing and put the time to use training for triathlon. I also showed Stanley to his championship in the US and Canada this year. I expect to have him out in the show ring, rally, obedience, agility and herding at the beardie national in October. I'd like to qualify for USDAA Nationals again for 2009 as long as it doesn't interfere with IM training - but I think it would be perfect to get to do the race course a month beforehand since the events are in the same place!

So in essence that's how one little black dog got me hooked on a whole range of dog sports!