Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bust?

While it feels to me like my weekend was a bust, there are in fact positive things to report…

On How To NOT Get Some Zzzzzzzs…

We kicked the weekend off with Jeff’s playoff hockey game on Friday night.  10pm start but the ice rink was backed up and it didn’t begin until 10:30.  Who knows why – I guess because it was the championship game – but I stayed up and went to watch, even though I had to be up at 5am.  Sadly, several of their key players were missing and they lost the game.  That did not, however, stop me from yelling and making cracks about the other team all game…when you’re the only spectator for your team, you’ve got to have a little fun with it.  And when someone thinks it’s cool to bring their 3-year-old out to watch at that hour (and proceed to let him beat on the bleachers with a hockey stick), lacing your cheers with some colorful language is a good way to get rid of him.  Just in case you were wondering…

I came right home and went to sleep, but Jeff didn’t make it to bed until about 3am (post-game beers, decompression – ie waiting around for the body to stop sweating, shower, etc).  Ugh, I couldn’t fall asleep again after that.

Hot Hot Hot!

Anyway…up at 5am Saturday to walk the dogs, load them in the car, and head to the pool to steal a lane at masters for my drill swim.  Hop out of the pool, shower, and race to the USDAA trial in Prunedale.  Instead of the usual coastal fog and breeze we get down there when it’s hot inland, it was nearly 100 degrees and muggy with no wind whatsoever BY 10AM.  Even in the shade of the tent, the dogs and I were sweltering.  Give me a swim or a bike or a run in that weather and I’ll gladly do it.  But make me sit there for 5 HOURS (the trial ran slow) before we even get to do our first agility run of the day, and I suffer miserably.

I was very proud of Max for hard work on tough courses in the heat.  I knew going in that these were not courses favorable to his style of agility but he did quite well on them.  Sadly we were not fast enough to qualify in Performance Speed Jumping (where you only qualify relative to the time of the fastest 3 dogs in your class). 

On one bright note, after waiting around all day Stanley finally got to do his one agility run (in only his 3rd or 4th time in the agility ring) and FINISHED HIS FIRST AGILITY TITLE!  He had a lovely Jumpers run with no faults and boy is my baby dog fast!

 Not All Tests are Pass/Fail

Up early again this morning, for my first bike test in ~8 weeks.  Honestly I was just not feeling well-rested for this, and combine the heat/humidity and smoke from a fire down in Hollister yesterday…I was not feeling 100% going into this.  Still, I figured I am constantly learning how to push myself harder on the bike and I will push till I puke if need be.

The ride was hard as hell, all out for 20 minutes.  People on the sidewalks looked at me funny as I went by gasping and panting and peddling away.  I rushed in the house to look at the data after the ride and felt…disappointed.  Just a handful of measly watts higher than before?  After all that work I’ve been doing?  What a bust. I suck.  My run off the bike sucked as I couldn’t breathe and my leg hurt and I finally packed it in and stopped early.

Thankfully Coach set me straight with a reminder that every little watt improvement counts, AND I set a few new bests for critical power along the way, AND I improved my power-to-weight ratio.

OK, so maybe it wasn’t total suckage.  I want to kick some ass on the next bike test though.

Sometimes The Doing is Enough

After the bike test, I grabbed Max and raced back to the trial, for one more run.  I made a point of reminding myself in advance, we do this FOR FUN.  The partnership I’ve built with the big dog is a huge accomplishment in itself and I should never forget that.  All the things we’ve been through together…it makes us who we are.  Max had a beautiful Performance National Standard run, nailing all the hard parts at top speed.  There was a call by the judge that I didn’t agree with (Max and a teeter flyoff? Have you ever seen how slow he does teeters?) but it’s unimportant.  Having a good time out there with my best buddy is what mattered.

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I’m making a point to wrap up rest week by de-stressing tonight, doing some reading and resting up for the week ahead.  Because the Ironman build is finally here – the first of many big weeks begins tomorrow!

Training totals for week 36 (August 24-30):
Swim: 6150 yards
Bike: 34.7 miles
Run: 9.3 miles
Total time: 6.5 hours
Plus 1 hour of yoga

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Countdown!

Not to anything triathlon related, but to hockey season! Pre-season games start in 3 weeks – woohoo!  It’s a good thing we don’t have many Sharks home games in October, because fitting in 2-3 night games a week would be hard with all the training I have ahead.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

All A-Twitter

Thanks to my former summer camp counselor Mindy for this delightful link to Justin’s Twitter feed (“I'm 28. I live with my 73-year-old dad. He is awesome. I just write down shit that he says”).

Already I’m wondering how I can repeat classics like this…

“Love this Mrs. Dash. The bitch can make spices... Jesus, Joni (my mom) it's a joke. I was making a joke! Mrs. Dash isn't even real dammit!"

“My flight lands at 9:30 on Sunday...You want to watch what? What the fuck is mad men? I'm a mad man if you don't pick me the hell up."

“Tennessee is nice. The first time I vomited was in Tennessee, I think."

I’m looking forward to my daily laugh following this one!

Shitmydadsays on Twitter

Monday, August 24, 2009

Random Moments from ART

Only my 3rd session with Dr B and he already gives me a hard time for not telling him when what he is doing hurts (I think he’s muttered something about “you triathletes and your pain thresholds…” a few times).

Which brings us today, as I lie facedown on the table gripping my little pillow and he pokes and prods at my ankle and calf.

DB: “Does that hurt too much?”

Me: “Mmmrrrppphhh-rrrphhhh. It’s fine.”

DB: “WHAT are you doing?”

Me: “Biting my hand to deal with the pain.”

DB: *shakes head*

The good news, this is definitely working. My leg is substantially less tight than it was a week ago and even the treatment itself is less painful. With a rest week this week, it gives my body even more chance to recover and will put me in great shape for starting my IM build.

Exercise and Diet

There have been some interesting news reports lately on exercise and diet…what’s best for losing weight, what’s best for your health, and so on.

Time Magazine did a piece on “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin” and it was interesting to see the reactions that varied among my friends.  Some saw the point that they still need to watch calories and focused on that.  My personal reaction was one of disappointment as the author seemed to be suggesting there is no point in exercising for those who want to lose weight, because they will only wind up eating more.  Men’s Health did a nice rebuttal to this article: “Is Exercise a Waste of Time?” 

On the dietary side of things, I’ve been eating a boatload this year but also trying to pay more attention to where my food comes from and what is “in” it.  After reading “In Defense of Food” (the followup to “Omnivore’s Dilemma”) and some other books, I began to take a closer look at what I was buying, what the ingredients were, where it came from, what processed foods I could eliminate, where else I could shop, and how I could transition to more locally grown/raised produce and meat.  Another recent Time article, “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food,” spells out many of the reasons why I’ve been making these changes.

Just some food for thought on a Monday :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

These training weeks just seem to fly by, blend together, one into the next until suddenly before you know it, race day will be upon you.

After a couple days of swim and rest, I was back to training hard Saturday morning with a 2-hour run in Z1-2. I can tell the ART is working because I had no pain at all and my calf/shin only started feeling tight somewhere after the 8th mile. This was probably the best run I’ve had since Boise! I was feeling great when I finished up the run and I ice-bathed and ate as soon as I got home.

Unfortunately my stomach decided to turn into a delicate princess for the rest of the day – I was popping Pepto and other assorted wonders of the pharmacopeia to just feel human.

I went for an OW swim at Shadow Cliffs with my father and my sisters in the afternoon – it would be their last chance to practice before the Catfish 1.2 mile OW swim race in a few weeks and I wanted to get out there with them. Surprisingly, swimming was the only time I didn’t feel like utter crap post-run on Saturday. After that I went home, ate bland foods like chicken noodle soup and saltines, popped 2 Advil PM and went to bed at 8pm.

Today I woke up feeling fantastic! Good thing since I had a long ride on the agenda (in Coach’s words, “This will be rough after the long run yesterday - but just get through it because next week is rest.”). I was on the road with Nigel and Andrew by 7am and Jeff joined us for the middle 25 miles. I was too windblown to take pictures but I gave the camera to Jeff and he got some.

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Nigel, Andrew and I on the Sawyer Camp trail, the cutover from Crystal Springs Reservoir to Skyline Blvd in Millbrae

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Photo op at Lower Crystal Springs, heading back towards Highway 92

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Coming up a steep hill on Skyline

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Upper Crystal Springs Reservoir

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Today was one of those days that made me love riding. It was cold, it was hot, it was REALLY hilly, it had headwind, it had crosswind (which still terrifies me), it had more headwind (it never seemed to have tailwind – the problem with riding early is the wind shifts after the fog burns off). But it was a beautiful day and a good hard ride!

I was SO excited to ride this route. While the first half was a regular route for us, the second half was new territory to check out. I finally found a safe way from the South Bay to San Francisco! From where we turned around, it’s a mostly downhill glide on Skyline Blvd into the west side of the City! We rode as far north as SFO today, into San Bruno. I guess you have to live here to appreciate how far that feels like we went!

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Most random moment of the day: we’re riding down Canada Rd (closed to traffic on Sundays so that cyclists can ride safely) and I spot someone riding the other way wearing the same bike jersey I am (bear in mind, only a handful exist – it’s for my dad’s company and I’m the only non-employee who has one). I yell, “HEY I’m wearing that shirt!” He glances at me and keeps on riding, and I figure I’ll ask my father on Monday who from his office was riding up there on Sunday. A few miles later we are back at Jeff’s car refilling the water bottles and he rides up…it’s my brother (who also works for the company)! He was out working his Team in Training group and probably hadn’t heard me in the wind the first time I saw him. Anyway…

Training totals for week 35 (August 17-23):
Swim: 5750 yards
Bike: 100.6 miles
Run: 19.7 miles
Total time: 13.25 hours
Plus 1 hour of yoga

Next is REST WEEK (followed immediately by the beginning of my IM build)!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

ART – Part 2

I already posted that my first visit to ART, while productive, was indeed painful.  I was so pleased to see that my next visit (yesterday) wasn’t nearly as bad!  My calf and ankle have definitely improved, though I still have more to be done and some healing up to do.

Check out my pretty bruise after 2 ART treatments.  I’ve got a nice one on my ankle too.

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Yesterday my doctor asked if I had any objection to kinesio tape to help everything heal and support the ankle/calf while they do.  Heck, why would I?  Apparently some people don’t want visible tape on their bodies.  HA!  I went straight to the farmers market with mine, followed by a 3-hour walk-play-dinner outing with the dogs.

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Specifically he asked me to test out Rock Tape, a new brand they just got in that is designed for athletes.  Next week I will try regular kinesio tape and give him feedback on how they felt different.

I got the generic brand-logo tape (yes, Jen Harrison, I DID ask if they had hot pink tape and they do) this time, but next time I’m telling him I want the cow print!

Since I am the master of color coordination, I even managed to pair my leg tape with the appropriate swimsuit at masters this morning.

If you can’t have a little fun with it, why do it, right?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Midweek Catchup

Or…another totally random Wednesday post.

* I had my first experience with ART on Monday. The doctor spent a lot of time checking out my form on things like squats to see that I’m so tight on the entire outer pathway up my legs (calf, IT band, hip flexor) that I’m pulling on my inner pathway and causing the inner shin pain, my hip flexors and glutes aren’t strong enough, my ankles are insanely tight, etc etc…as usual, I’m a total freak of tightness and inflexibility and should probably be injured 10 times over by now. After all the fun diagnostic stuff, I got electrical stimulation to my calf to loosen and massage it (very weird when your foot starts flexing on its own) followed by ultrasound to the soleus and finally ART performed on the left calf and ankle. Yes, you can sum it up in one word: OW!!!! (At one point, I think I asked, “Is there any skin left on that ankle? It feels like you are burning it off!!!”) But it is better I face pain in the short term than risking a real injury that derails my plans for the year. And so I will be visiting twice a week for 3 weeks to get all fixed up, plus performing daily exercises at home to strengthen my weak muscles.

* I spent all day Tuesday icing my swollen ankle and bruise-covered calf. Gee, isn’t getting healthy so much fun?

* I think the ELF snuck a swim test into my swim workout on Monday. I also think I did not-too-shabby on it!

* I’ve been feeling run down this week and sleeping a lot. I’m out cold the minute I hit the bed and not eager to wake up when the sun rises. I’ve felt my mood sagging as well and it hasn’t helped that I missed my farmers market trip on Sunday (because of riding long) and as a result ate like crap Monday and Tuesday. Coach pointed out that some women deplete their iron stores in IM training and I need to make sure I’m getting enough iron to stay healthy. So today I took my first giant-horse-pill vitamin supplement with iron. There are just enough pills in the bottle to get me through IM AZ!

* Today I’m going to pre-drive part of the route I want to use for Sunday’s long ride. I decided that at some point in IM training we’re going to ride to San Francisco and back because, well, how cool is it to say we rode to SF (about 50 miles from here)? So we’re going to go partway this time if the northern part of the route I have in mind looks acceptable.

* In case you missed it, I’m not going to be racing Augusta 70.3 next month. After spending a week plus recovering from Barb’s Race, I just felt the race was too close to my IM taper and right in the midst of my biggest training weeks to waste a week recovering from a “C” race. Coach agreed I didn't need to be doing another half at this stage. Since I already have tickets and hotel for the trip, I will still make the trip to Augusta to see all my friends and maybe even jump in for the 1.2 mi swim before handing my chip over.

* AZ is looking closer and closer all the time! I’m so excited because 2 of my best training buddies and friends just booked their tickets to fly down for the race. Bring the cowbell, ladies!!!

* My poor puppies are being really good about how busy I’ve been. I have to remind myself they get a lot more in the way of activity and outings than most other dogs…but when Stanley sighs and gives me the “I’m bored” look while I’m working at my desk, I still feel bad. We’ll have to get them out for a good walk and lunch on Saturday after my long run.

* Nothing much else exciting to report right now. Jeff is all work, work, work lately while I’m all train, train, train. Good thing he doesn’t mind his wife disappearing for hours at a time. In addition to doing long rides with me though, he’s also training for his part in a 1/2 Iron relay in October, doing a lot of running to get ready for the half marathon! His goal for the race is to beat my 13.1 mile personal best from Vegas in December. We will see!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beginning to Build…

This week marked the beginning of my pre-IM build.  It looks like a couple weeks of getting the volume back up to get my body used to it, a little rest, and then we start the “real” build to IM (the “real” part makes me laugh since it feels like it’s been building all year!).  Basically this week I swam a lot (matching my most yards ever for a week from back in the late spring), I biked a decent amount, including a hard interval workout Saturday morning (AFTER 3000 yds in the pool) that left me dripping in sweat eating cheese and crackers on the kitchen floor in an effort to recover.  And I ran a bit, the highlight being Thursday’s trail run (which I was still feeling in my legs during Saturday morning’s workouts!).

I wrapped up the week today with a long ride and short run off the bike.  As usual, everyone wanted in on a little of the riding action – Nigel rode the entire 60 miles with me, George was with us for about 42 miles, and Jeff jumped in for the easiest and most wind-free 20 miles of the journey (he has a hockey game to play tonight).

The letter for today is H for Headwind.  As there is no drafting in triathlon and I need to kick my butt a little harder on the bike, I suggested that I pull for the most windy sections (when I was on the back, I stayed way back so as to not use the draft from my friends).  There’s nothing like spinning as best you can and only going 13-14 mph, with a bunch of fast guys behind you, to make you laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Despite the wind, we really did have a very nice ride.  The scenery was better than I had expected and the rolling country roads kept me distracted from all the antics of the wind.

38 miles in, making a restroom break at Starbucks

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After some mechanical stops and starts (flat tire for me from a HUGE hole in the road in downtown Morgan Hill – and let me just say WOW I LOVE the CO2 tire inflation – and a flat for George and some readjustment of my tire), I dashed out for a short run and then immediately jumped into an ice bath upon my return.   With the heat outside, it felt PERFECT.

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Once I had finally cleaned up and had a bit more to drink, I met Jeff and Nigel, who’d gone out for lunch and drinks.  Lots of water for me, thanks!

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It looks like this next week will be more of the same, with a little bigger long run/long ride.  On top of that my boss will be back from Maui and things will be busier around the office!  For now though, I’m ignoring the reality of an impending Monday with plans to nap and read the rest of my day away.

Training totals for week 34 (August 10-16):
Swim: 7600 yards
Bike: 92.3 miles
Run: 15.8 miles
Total time: 12.25 hours
Plus 2 hours of yoga

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fluff

I needed another blog post to share more freshly groomed fluffiness.

My baby dog is growing up so handsome!

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He was very patient about waiting for his turn at agility class tonight.

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And a little video of one of his runs from class.  He was TIRED but trying hard!

The Great Outdoors

As this week has kicked off my pre-Ironman build (the official IM build begins in just a couple weeks), I’ve been spending a lot of time outside!  Not very shocking, right?  I’ve done bike/run, I’ve done swim/run, I’ve done swim drills, I’ve done trail run…I’ve got another 6.5 hrs of workouts this weekend before I am finished!

Yesterday, the beardies and I went to Shadow Cliffs for a playdate with their buddy Belle.  Eileen and I both forgot our cameras (aaaaahhhhhh!) but the dogs spent an entire hour swimming and having a blast.  Belle whomped her way through the water to fetch her bumper while the wild and wet shaggies chased her and barked their fool heads off.  It was quite a sight.

Tired muddy swampy mops

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The reason I let the boys get so filthy yesterday was because they were going to the groomers today!  Voila!  Instant clean good-smelling dogs.

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While the boys were off on their spa date this morning, I was in the Cupertino foothills running trails!  Trail running…I know it makes you a stronger runner, but it’s still so HARD for me  Some of you may live somewhere with nice gently graded trails, little rolling hills, but HERE the trails all do one thing – GO STRAIGHT UP.  Somehow I always wind up on the loops that spend 5 miles going up and 1 mile coming down (and going the opposite way would totally blow my HR targets, so the longer uphill it is).  Surprising to me though, I really did fall into a rhythm on the hills today after about 30 minutes of suffering and then the run was quite enjoyable!

The run began immediately with a climb from the parking area to the dam at Steven’s Creek Reservoir.

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For a very short time (maybe 1/3 mile?) it ambled along at the level of the reservoir.  See that nice trail across the water?  I didn’t get to go there.

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Instead I turned uphill away from the water and began climbing into the hills.

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I came around one corner and bunnies scattered everywhere.  I only caught one of them before he darted away.

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Going up…

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and more up…

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and up.

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A crossroad…and I’m going – you guessed it – up again.

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I got to a point where I was above a lot of the trees and the landscape changed to dry California summery hills.

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At the top of the ridge, I got a panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay. (click to see more detail)  The highest point on the other side of the water is Mount Diablo over in the East Bay.2009_August13 018

From there I ran the trail along the ridgeline – rolling but still uphill until the final drop back to the trailhead.

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Eyeing each other

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I was highly tempted to dive into this gentle little creek right next to my car!

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In the end, it was 90 minutes of running,~8 miles covered, with (supposedly) ~2750 feet of climbing.  Good thing tomorrow is a rest day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Race Photos

I ordered the entire CD of digital photos, but in the meantime I “borrowed” these from the photographer’s website. Don’t fry your brains trying to focus on details, they are fuzzy non-full-quality images.

Smile says Yay, swim PR!

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Riding around a corner 9 miles into the bike course

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I LIKE this one, even if I am visibly suffering on that hill. It makes my tummy look small.

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I look pretty unhappy about the heatfest that was the run

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2nd loop

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Finish! (check out the gnome in the background!)

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AND look at my dad out there rocking the Aquabike course!

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Active Recovery

My week of active recovery post-race has gone quite well.  I’ve really tried to use this time to let my body rebound from last Saturday’s effort while still keeping moving forward.

Monday: All I was capable of doing was walking.  Trust me, it was enough. 

Tuesday: 30 minute swim.  It felt GREAT to be back in the pool and even better to get out after only half an hour :)

Wednesday: 45 minute bike that was supposed to be a 30 minute bike but I missed a turn.  Getting back on the bike hurt less than I expected but I could tell my legs were still tired.  Followed by my post-race sports massage to work out all the knots and such.  One word for this: OW.

Thursday: 30 minute swim again.  At lunch, in the sunshine, ah so nice and relaxing.  Except for when I got out of the pool and was so hungry, my hands shook the entire drive home and I practically physically assaulted Jeff to get my sandwich when he walked in the house.

Friday: 45 minute open water swim!  Around the Santa Cruz Wharf for only my 2nd time, aiming to just go light and easy, and it mostly was, until one of these 600 lb boys popped up in the water next to us to say hello and didn’t want to go away.  Finished the mile 3 minutes faster than when I swam it in June!

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Also of more interest to some, I got my hair cut on Friday.  A lot.  It was overdue – my sisters told me to wait till after my race so that I could still get it into braids that would hold through swim/bike/run.  Good thing I have time to grow it out again before Arizona!

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Saturday: My first run since Barbs.  I was a little nervous…my legs felt great on race day but have been all sorts of tight and cranky since then.  It turned out to be OK once I was warmed up – not 100% but much better than my first run after Boise!

Then we commenced Operation Break The Dogs.  Every so often, Jeff and I give the boys a big day of hiking, swimming or some activity that is designed to exhaust them to the point where they aren’t dancing around at 4pm asking “Walk? Walk? Walk? Now? How about now? Can we go yet?”

In this installment, we decided spending the morning in San Francisco sounded like a good idea.  After a quick 50-mile drive up there, we were off on a long walk along Fisherman’s Wharf to Aquatic Park, Ghiradelli Square and anywhere else that looked interesting on the route.

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Hey, look at those crazy triathletes going for a swim in the frigid water.  SUCKERS!  Wait…what?  I did virtually the same thing Friday night?  Oh come on, details, details…

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The scenery of the City can make any picture look better

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Alcatraz in the background.  Max says, stay means stay.  Stanley says, I am not happy right now.

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Say cheese!

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After our ~3.5 mile walk was completed and we were tired of being swarmed by tourists wanting to pet the dogs (seriously, we should have made like the street vendors and put a tip bowl in front of the dogs), we drove across town and into the fog for a romp on Ocean Beach.

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I bet you didn’t know beach running actually warps your entire face

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So many things to look at, so little time

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The fun did not end there. Just as they thought they could fall into the lull of recharging their engines on the drive back, we stopped at a favorite brewpub for lunch.  While our dogs are used to eating out and generally settle down under the table, they’ve never been quite this fried.  *cackles* Cujo chugged his complimentary bowl of water and never moved again.

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Mission accomplished.  4pm, 5pm, 6pm rolled around and no one moved a muscle, much less demanded a walk.  They were barely waking up and more hungry than anything else when Jeff and I got back from a fancy steakhouse dinner at 9:30 pm.

 Sunday: 45 minute light and easy bike ride in the sunshine.  Afterwards I rode the 1/2 mi from where I parked my car to the farmers market to buy a few things.  Riding back just the short distance with my bags of food was interesting – a reminder of how every small bit of weight affects a TT bike dramatically!

Training totals for week 33 (August 3-9):
Swim: ~3800 yards
Bike: 21.4 miles
Run: 2.1 miles
Total time: 3.5 hours

And so, with more margaritas under my belt than I care to admit but still not as many as I wanted, it’s time to buckle down and get back to work.  15 weeks to Ironman – my build begins tomorrow!

If you want to read something hysterically funny, go look at my coach’s account of her day at the Chihuahua Races.  I laughed even harder at this because of my experience in the dog show and agility world.  Yes, dog owners, we are a slightly nutty bunch.