Friday, January 30, 2009

What happened to global warming?

I leave for tri camp in Florida on Wednesday. The long range forecast is not looking like the sunny warm training weather I was expecting. Sure, all those people from the Midwest will be frolicking in t-shirts and shorts. But I will be the frozen Californian shivering and complaining about how cold it is.

The 25 Random Things About Me game has been flying around on Facebook. I posted my list there but thought I'd put it up here as well, with some minor edits. Looking at other people's lists, I remembered a few other things worth adding, so here are my 30 Random Things.

30. I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
29. I like hitting things. It's very therapeutic.
28. I got my scuba certification when I was 15 (I imagine it has lapsed by now).
27. I *heart* Doug Murray. Don't worry, Jen, I will share him with you. (But I'm sure we're not the only 2 old married ladies in San Jose eyeing him)
26. I talk a lot. Even more if I drink. It's a wonder my husband doesn't run screaming from the room some days.
25. I am so proud of my mom for taking up hiking for the first time in her life!
24. I am the oldest of nine siblings.
23. The youngest five are adopted from China and Vietnam. They are way cooler than me. As you all know they also swim faster.
22. I now live 2 blocks from my high school (the *shame*!).
21. I am a rabid hockey fan.
20. I married my husband for his hockey season tickets (just kidding!).
19. A lot of our schedule revolves around the needs (wants?) of the dogs.
18. We spend a few weeks in the winter and spring in Arizona and it never feels like long enough.
17. I am spending the majority of 2009 training for my first Ironman (and some other triathlons along the way). I think anyone who reads here knows this by now!
16. I did not play team sports in high school.
15. I did not know how to swim - and could not put my face in the water - 2 years ago.
14. My parents make raising kids look way too easy. If only everyone could do it as well as they do. I know I couldn't.
13. I feel bad that I am too busy to see my friends and family most of the time.
12. I am a recovering addict. My vice? Tim's Jalapeno Chips. I have reached the point where Jeff does not have to hide them anymore and I am able to resist.
11. I feel like I wasted my college years (socially).
10. I think it is funny when Max jumps on the bed and takes over Jeff's side before he can get in.
9. I think Facebook has been pretty fun to reconnect with old friends.
8. It feels weird to be Facebook friends with ex-boyfriends though. Even weirder that they all have kids!
7. I haven't taken a honeymoon yet. Maybe next year. If it doesn't conflict with any races...
6. I am so over my job.
5. I might be starting to like swimming.
4. I am hungry. All the time.
3. I think it's cute when Stanley growls and barks in his sleep.
2. I broke my wedding ring when I crashed my bike last summer. I eagerly await a replacement.
1. I'm 5'0" but I wear size 9 running shoes.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Times Flies....

Has it really been a whole week since I last blogged? My apologies but it's been an uneventful week of work (many many meetings!) and training.

After all the beautiful sunshine and warmth we've had for the last couple weeks, it was no surprise when proper January weather returned, the temperature dropped and it rained for five days straight. Despite that, I stayed right on schedule with training. I ran in the rain (one day, I even ran in and out of the rain, alternating between strength moves on a stability ball in the house and drills/running down the street). I made it to masters swim at 6am three days this week, in large part due to peer pressure. Melissa would know if I failed to show up.

One word on masters swim at 6am on Saturdays?


It's just wrong, I tell you!

Today I had a 2-hour hilly bike ride scheduled. The forecast called for pouring rain overnight and into the day, so I came to the conclusion that I'd learn how to ride in wet conditions (after all, if it's rainy on race day, I'd better know how to face it, yes?). After all that, it was dry as could be -and even sunny! - this morning for our ride. It was, however, full of swirling whipping winds. Guess what happens when you put a lightweight on a light bike and send her downhill at high speed and then blow wind at her? I came close to wiping out a couple times but thankfully was not blown over. It's raining outside now so it appears we timed the ride perfectly nonetheless.

Training totals for week 5 (January 19-25):
Swim: 5100 yards
Bike: 42.6 miles
Run: 13.4 miles
Strength: ~1 hour
Total time: 9.5 hours

I have been thinking about my training this week. My husband will tell you this is a bit of a recurring theme.

I'm not obsessed.


Now shut up and listen.

Even with days of nonstop rain, I'm not facing the harsh weather conditions and endless indoor training that other triathletes in more wintry locations are. I might delay workouts for a few hours while I deal with tasks at work, or whine a bit

OK, a lot

about getting up early to swim (outdoors! in rain! in freezing rain! in a pool that has not been adequately heated!), but I am jazzed up for every workout. I get excited when I see new additions to my training schedule - I read them, I re-read them, I check my calendar and start blocking space off for them... NOT obsessed! Anyway...

So what's different for me this year? I really think having a coach who is determining the best training volume and mix for me helps.

Let me give you just one example: Last August, the last weekend I trained on my own before contacting Coach, I did a brick workout: a 39 mile hilly bike ride followed by a 9 mile run. On the hottest day we had last summer. I didn't take enough water on the run and had to ration it. I ran 9 miles TO A BAR and after chugging one water HAD A BEER. With all this in mind, let me add that my only upcoming races at that point were a sprint tri 3 weeks away and a half-marathon over 3 months away.

Science degrees, IQ and whatever else aside, the plain fact is this.

I am not smart enough to train myself.

Oh yes, I could read books and design a training plan. But I am not smart enough to train myself smartly. To know when to listen to the feedback of my body, when to change up a workout, when to NOT push myself hard, when to push properly.

Having that hard brick day was the best thing that happened, to help me realize that. And now? I have someone else who does the heavy thinking for me. I have stayed uninjured and happy, even while training to my fastest 1/2 marathon to date. My job is to do my workout as indicated, report back, and trust in the mastermind to get me to race day healthy and prepared.

Sounds like a good deal to me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Just a quick post tonight. After a trail run and a ride today, I have been a zombie of sleepiness. Insert food, enter bed, repeat.

My "rest" week - which contained both a bike and swim test - is over and another build week begins tomorrow. Jeff has the day off work but I will be starting a hell week of endless meetings. I've managed to schedule it all to allow time for my workouts. This year, that's just non-negotiable for me. I am not sure whether it was a compliment or not, but my boss did mention last week that I am much better than her at enforcing a balance between work and life.

Training totals for week 4 (January 12-18):
Swim: 4950 yards
Bike: 30.6 miles
Run: 8 miles
Total time: 7 hours

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Test Day

As much as I tried to hide my head in the sand, Saturday morning appeared right on schedule and that meant it was time for my swim test. Visions of drowning danced in my head, along with Coach's email from earlier in the week about the tests on our schedules:

The tests are HARD. You should be giving an all out effort. Do what it takes to leave it all out there. This should be quite uncomfortable and by the end of the test you should want to stop!


Luckily I had convinced Nigel to join me at the pool for a swim so at least I wouldn't be alone.

Though if I'd been smart about it, I would have shared a lane with him and utilized his draft to enhance my performance.

Anyway...I eased on through the warmup sets, trying to ignore what was to come but eventually there I was with timed 10 x 100 all out (R:10) next on my list. I won't sugarcoat it - it hurt A LOT. I was reminded just how much swimming sucks.

And then it was over and I was getting out and emailing my results off to Coach. I didn't really think to look back and compare my total time to my last swim test in early September.

Imagine my surprise when she emailed me back to tell me I cut 12 seconds off my average 100 time!

Hmm. I guess this means I have to keep working at swimming. Damn.

After my swim, I headed over to the International Swim Center in Santa Clara to watch my youngest siblings - Mimi, Cai, Grace, Jack and Ryan - compete in what I am told is the biggest local swim meet. A few thousand kids + one pool = recipe for insanity!

The kids did awesome. They are such better swimmers than me that it's not even funny. Oh, their laughter when I told them my swim speed....good times.

Here is Jack in the 50 fly

Mimi in the 100 breast

Grace in the 100 breast

Ryan and Jack waiting to dive in the 50 breast

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dude, Where's My Lane?

aka More Adventures In Learning To Love Swimming *snort*

After the holiday break and a week of cancelled masters due to pool repairs, we started back up this morning using the pool at a local cabana club. Luckily I spent part of the summer swimming at my parents' cabana club so I knew what to expect: kiddie sized pool, no real deep end, and what our coach called "the closet" for the locker room.

But YAY I was back at masters!

(can you FEEL the enthusiasm?)

Really though, it was good to be back with our coach, so I get the feedback on my stroke, and swimming with a group, which always pushes me harder.

Imagine my surprise when I hop into the last lane, none of my usual lanemates are there, and two new people move into the lane.

What I want to say: Uh, folks? I don't do the same workouts as the rest of you. I'm too slow. I'll drive you nuts....

But there aren't enough lanes in the kiddie pool and so I have to suck it up and swim with the big kids. My coach says, "Grab some fins and just try to keep up."

I can't say I made every interval or that I didn't get dropped sometimes...OK a LOT of times, but I did my best to cling to the heels of the girl in front of me, to ignore the diminishing supply of oxygen and push. No time to shoot the shit at the end of the lane or catch up with my coach after 3 weeks away, just SWIM.

In the end, I think that was an hour I can be proud of. I have a long way to go but it's nice to know that my masters coach thinks - and actually said- that my stroke has improved dramatically.

Saturday will be a measure of whether my speed has improved though...Coach has a swim test scheduled.


Monday, January 12, 2009

It's all new territory from here...

I knew this would be a long training year, pushing myself to new training totals and reaching well beyond my limits. I can tell you this...I did not expect, in my 3rd week of training in the 2009 season, to already break my own existing records for distance covered.

I swam more yardage this past week than I did in any week ever before, even when training for Vineman.

Not only that, I swam more yardage this past week than I did in the entire months of January, February, or August 2008.

Now before you get the notion that I'm swimming superhuman amounts, let's say I really avoided swimming where possible last year!

The highlights of this past week were my first "long" run since Vegas and a 90 minute long hill ride with a 20 minute run off the bike (I *heart* bricks!).

Notice I don't mention swimming.

We are having an unseasonably warm stretch here in Northern CA. Rather than the usual 30s to 50s that we see this time of year, it's in the 70s! Who wouldn't want to enjoy that with lots of outdoor training? Today began a rest week for me - I can only hope this weather lasts until things build again next week.

Training totals for Week 3 (January 5-11):
Swim: 6300 yards
Bike: 45 miles
Run: 10.4 miles
Strength/Core/Flexibility: 2 hours
Total time: ~10.5 hours

On the dog side of things, Friday's trip to the snow thoroughly wore the boys out. We gave them a 4-mile walk on Saturday morning and that pretty much finished Stanley off for the rest of the weekend.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Beautiful Day

Today was my rest day from triathlon and I enjoyed it very much by taking the beardie boys snowshoeing in the mountains. Even better, we had the company of super-triathlete Eileen Swanson and the lovely lab lady Belle!

Max and Stan were enamored from the start but Belle was not so sure about Their Royal Barknesses at first. All canines bonded nicely over a good romp in the snow though!

Trail doggies

Stan was a big fan of Belle

Bookend beardies

Serious dogs

And not so serious...

Eileen and the mutts

And some good solid evidence of my total lack of a tan. Think this will be a problem in Florida next month?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Aches and Pains

I'm now well into my 3rd week back at training and the volume is starting to pick up. I've had 2 strength/core/flexibility workouts in the last 3 days with another to go this week. I'll let Coach explain the importance of this kind of training. She also does quite a good job of depicting the aches and pains that go along with it. Despite the soreness, I love this stuff because in the end I know it makes me stronger!!
funny pictures of dogs with captions

Big news today - fellow Smofitter Andrea announced that she is doing Ironman Coeur D'Alene this coming June. She signed up the day after the 2008 race and she's kept it a secret for 7 months! I understand the nerves associated with signing up for such a big event and why she waited till it was a bit more real before sharing the news with friends and family. Clearly I am way too much of a blabbermouth to ever hold anything in for that long though! Anyway, Andrea will be racing in CDA just 1 week after I race in Boise. Right now I'm trying to figure out the logistics to go cheer for her. It's not often that one of your friends does their first Ironman after all!

Tomorrow I have my first "long run" since Vegas. Nothing too long but I am excited to get out there again. I love long run days! Ever since I first started running there was something special about the day you went out for the long haul, thinking just a bit more carefully about nutrition, hydration, route, etc. I can't wait!

No shortage of hair around here!

I just scanned all the nationals photos I bought from our awesome photographer. Enjoy!

Max on the agility course

Stanley in his very first trial

Prepping Stan to go into the rally ring (remember what a fiasco that was...)

Stan in the Sweeps ring

and right before he won Best Opposite in sweeps

In the Best of Breed ring

Sweeps Win Photo

And a non-dog photo. The only one I bought from Vegas, I clearly look ill here sprinting for the finish line but my feet aren't touching the ground!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Home, Sweet Home

We drove home from Arizona on Friday. Nothing depresses me like leaving 70 degrees and sunshine to return to 30-50 degrees and rain.


Thankfully the weekend in San Jose has been sunny, though not remotely warm. I opted to swim indoors on Saturday. That ended up being an interesting choice...

I knew I might face a bit of the “New Years effect” at the gym.

What I did not expect was to find 25 people in a 4-lane pool, most of them using it as a hot tub.

Note: there is an actual hot tub 5 feet away.

Let’s just say there were some minor cultural differences at play here.

On the positive side, I got some great practice at open-water sighting as I checked my path and dodged around people standing mid-lane. Despite getting bumped out of lanes several times by incoming aqua aerobics classes, I managed to have a breakthrough swim. I watched this swim drill video before I headed out to swim and it made quite the difference in understanding high elbow catch. Now it will take lots of training to put it into practice!

On New Years Day I had my first outdoor bike ride in 2 months. We were still in Scottsdale, it was 72 degrees out and we had a lovely time exploring neighborhoods around Camelback Mountain. It felt SO good to be out there again, I knew I would make every effort to do my rides off the trainer when possible. Today I had a short bike ride scheduled and it was roughly 30 degrees out but I decided to go for it anyway. Jeff gave me a lot of bike clothes for Christmas and I put the layers to good use. It ended up being a fantastic ride and I was never cold!

Though it did take about 20 minutes to feel my toes again.

I end Week 2 back at training with my volume increasing but I'm feeling great and eager to tackle the next workout!

For December 29th to January 4th:
Swim: 4000 yards
Bike: 41.36 miles
Run: 8.93 miles
Strength: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Tomorrow I return to work.


2008 was a very busy, successful, demanding work year. I am not heavily invested in continuing this pattern in 2009. I have some plans to change things this year but not right away, and in the meantime I am not looking forward to a return to the office and setting new performance goals. All things considered, it is some consolation that I know my boss feels the same way.

Happy New Year!