Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Belated Happy Thanksgiving

5 years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, I ran the inaugural Silicon Valley Turkey Trot with my then-boyfriend Jeff.  I had started riding our exercise bike while watching TV in the evenings and suggested maybe we go out and do this new running race in town before we do the turkey gorgefest.  I hadn’t run even a mile in years and had never liked running.

Suffice it to say, all 3.1 miles were not pleasant and there was a little bit of walking in there.  But I finished, angry at not being able to run 5K like people who looked less healthy than me and madly in love with racing.  I went out every day to run after that, first 1 mile, then 2 miles, building up.  I found an online training plan to follow, and by the time I could run 3 miles nonstop I was already on to a 10K plan…a couple weeks later I was signed up for my first 1/2 marathon. 

And so it began.

This Thanksgiving Day, on one of the coldest mornings we’ve ever had in San Jose this year (high 20s), I did the race again with my family, just for fun.  Both my parents, one of my brothers, 3 of my sisters, my aunt and uncle, and 3 cousins all did the race, as well as many friends.


Brrrrrrrrr!  I came within 45 seconds of my PR – not bad given that my running has been minimal in the last month since Austin – and I came in the top 10 in my age group, out of 518! 

I am thankful for many things this year – my health, my family, my friends, and being able to keep doing these fun things with my body!  Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ironman Arizona 2010 Spectator Weekend Report

It was a whirlwind weekend in Arizona!  I flew in Friday with Jenn and David, and flew home Monday afternoon. 

We met up with Alex and Susan for dinner on Friday night – so good to catch up with them in person without the weight of a race bearing down on us.


Saturday was consumed with the volunteer meeting, shopping at the expo, and trying to prepare ourselves for a big day of spectating and volunteering.

Sunday dawned early and early, with a 4:30am wakeup call.  We had to drop David at the Temple Town Lake marina for his swim spotting gig at 5:30 and I had to be over to transition by 6ish.

Future site of swim exit


Pros get in the water


followed by age groupers


and after a little more waiting…they are off!


We had some time to kill working at the swim exit


There’s Chrissie Wellington out of the water in the chase pack


Pretty much our job as wetsuit peelers involved waiting for athletes to come down the mat and then mauling them to get their wetsuits off at high speed.


After the last swimmers were done, we got to relax and get a snack!


Then it was time to hang on the bike course.  Chrissie was already in the lead by this point!


A brief rain shower sent all the spectators to this parking garage


Not too long after the lead men came in – maybe 10-15 of them – Chrissie rolled in!


We went out for beers at that point and made it back in time to see her head out for her final loop on the run.


The men’s winner Timo Bracht had a great race!


The first 7 men came in and then…with a new world record (for women in official Ironman events) and chicking the majority of the men’s pro field…there was Chrissie!





I touched her.

*I’ll never wash this hand again*

And then we cheered in a lot of other athletes.  And went home to rest for a while.  And then I was back in the stands at 7pm to cheer in a few more hours of friends.

Great shirt spotted on the course


THIS moment is why we do it.


Fuzzy photo of Wes finishing looking strong!


This is what it looks like to be 12th in the IMAZ volunteer signup line at 5am.


This is what the line looks like by 6am.


On-site registration is a really easy process – they just take your name, birthdate, email address, and charge your credit card.  You complete the online registration later.


As posted earlier, this is what it looks like to be $575 poorer!


Good thing I have a whole year to train.  I don’t have to stress too hard about what is coming just yet!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oops I Did It Again


More on IM AZ spectating and Chrissie-chasing later.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Trial Videos

I managed to get a couple of videos from the weekend in Santa Rosa.

Here’s Max, acing another Excellent JWW course.  He’s got, literally, 100 Ex JWW legs.

And here’s Stanley in Open Standard – clearly more focused than his trials when he was younger.  If he’d just get the darn weave entrance on the first try, he’d be qualifying.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Big Day for the Family Project


Presented at Tenth Annual Diabetes Technology Meeting
by Paul Zygielbaum with Bob McNamara
November 13, 2010
Bethesda, Maryland

I met Jan Lipson in 1968, when we both joined the freshman class at Caltech. I was quickly awed by Jan’s knowledge and intelligence, and by the intensity he invested in every moment. Even his relaxation was intense.

Bob McNamara arrived at Caltech in 1970, and the three of us formed a close bond. We were roommates over the summer of 1971, when we met our three wives, who were nursing classmates at USC Medical School. Jan and Janyce, Mac and Evelyn, and Michelle and I have been part of each others' lives ever since.

Jan’s second son lives with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and suffers the effects and uncertainty that accompany that condition. This is why Jan decided to devote his later career to finding a way to free his son and so many others from blood draws and nocturnal hypoglycemia and all the other tyrannies of this medical condition. He conceived our company’s technology and was the technical visionary who sparked the effort that has brought us so far, upon which Jan reported in these meetings in previous years.

Jan once said, "You know, Paul, if I hadn't been an optical physicist, and my son hadn't had diabetes, and you hadn’t had your unusual life circumstances as well, we wouldn't have this company." "Jan," I said, "there's a fair wind blowing. Who knows why? Let's just stay on
course." And a steady stream of rather amazing coincidences has continued to propel us forward since the beginning.

Now we know that Jan was not destined to reach port with us. But we shall continue the voyage that he envisioned, undertook and helped so much to further.

Janyce Lipson was unable to be here today, but she asked me to extend her congratulations on the occasion of the Tenth Annual Diabetes Technology Meeting, her sincere thanks to Jan’s friends for the many condolences that she’s received, and to David Klonoff, Yoram Tamir and the entire Diabetes Technology Society for their friendship for Jan over the years.

One more coincidence related to C8 marked the very end of Jan’s life. Jan was an avid and accomplished bicyclist. He loved every moment that he spent riding. It is tragic that his life ended during one of his frequent 75-mile rides just about 4 months ago, when he lost control of his bike and ran into a tree at high speed. Among the population of California’s teeming Silicon Valley are just a few dozen people who have been C8’s clinical trial test subjects. Just after Jan’s accident, as he lay by the roadside, near death, a group of scooter riders came to his aid. One of them just happened to be one of our very own test subjects. The C8 team immediately took this
as a sign that we were to rededicate ourselves to realizing Jan’s dream of creating the ideal glucose monitor.

In that same spirit, at our request, the Diabetes Technology Society has established a memorial fund in Jan’s name, and C8 itself has held the First Annual Jan Lipson Memorial Ride for Diabetes, benefiting the society as well. Now, it’s with a sense of great humility and hope that, on behalf of C8 MediSensors, Mac and I present these donations from our company’s many friends.

Thank you.


Jan’s Ride is on for September 17th, 2011!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Decisions, Goals, Unnatural Weather and Other Nonsense

It’s the middle of November and it’s been 80+ degrees in Northern California for several days.  We aren’t complaining but it sure is odd, even for our generally mild fall/winter weather.  It will be cold and raining by the weekend but I will be…

In Arizona!  Frolicking around the Ironman course without a care in my heart this time.  Catching up with friends who are racing and friends who raced last year and friends who are spectating and friends who are volunteering.  Wetsuit stripping.  Stalking Chrissie Wellington. 

The beardie boys and I spent the weekend in Santa Rosa for an AKC agility trial.  Stan is showing wonderful focus and drive in his runs – no Qs for him but they were all very close.  We need to work on his weave entrances more.  Max ran his little heart out on Saturday and had a great time, then double-Qed on Sunday! 

I am nearing a decision point on Max’s agility career – as of today, he has 18QQs and 270 points towards his MACH2 (20QQs and 750 points needed).  We are trialing heavily through mid-January (and hope to fit more trials in beyond that for as long as my training stays lighter) and then I need to decide if we will pursue the MACH2 or if I will drop him down to Preferred and run him at a lower jump height just for fun.  If we can pick up a decent number of points in the next couple months, then I’ll be amenable to chipping away at the number slowly over the next couple years.  Either way, it’s all about the two of us having fun at this stage of the game – and he’s still having a blast.  He knew he rocked the Standard course on Sunday and he strutted around wiggling with joy afterwards.

In between agility runs, we visited Beth’s house as it’s only a mile away from the trial site.  The boys were – of course – thrilled to see their sisters again – it was a mutual lovefest!


I’m continuing to refine my race schedule for next year.  As dates get officially announced, I’ve been either signing up or researching other options when there is a conflict.  I’m just waiting for the dates on the 2 shortest races of the year to complete things.

My primary goals for next year involve the races on the schedule and the times or experiences I want to get out of them.  But I’ve been thinking a lot about the sub-goals that I have along the way – things that will support the larger goals or just things I want to do.  Like…

Muscle.  I put on a lot of muscle mass last year in Ironman training.  It more or less sat there undisturbed this year.  I want better muscle definition for next year.  Hence, I am busting my ass doing all the strength training workouts assigned to me.  This pays off in other ways as well…every time I’m doing pushups on the stability ball and thinking I’d like to cut the set short, I remind myself that I would regret it during the Ironman swim when I have to rely on those strong muscles to get me through.

Food.  In conjunction with the previous goal, I am back to watching what I eat.  I am NOT at the point of limiting things too much or calculating exact #s of grams of carbs I need to intake, but even the process of tracking what you eat tends to result in better decision-making.  When the volume gets intense again, I want to have well-established good habits to fall back on, as well as a framework for determining what I need to eat when to support the training.

Sleep.  I am on top of this one like white on rice.  I worry that I may be overdoing it, to be honest, but I’m averaging 9 hours of sleep per night lately.  There’s no shame in going to bed at 8:30pm, right?  In any event, I know how important proper rest was to staying healthy during IM training last year and I intend to sustain that this time.

Yoga.  I slacked this year but I was religious about going last year - stretching and flexibility are just as important as the other parts of training.  This is me committing to weekly (at a minimum) yoga classes once the training year gets rolling.

And more as they arise…this is just what’s been in my head at the moment.  Happy Monday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Read This Blog

My baby brother, who’s done a number of 1/2 IMs over the last 2 years, has signed up for the Vineman Full for next year.  Follow his journey on his blog right here! 

Tri Tri Again

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Hobby

I think I could enjoy pro-stalking as my new hobby.  I kicked off this new activity today, as my aunt and I went to a talk sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group at Sunpower Corporation.  It was also a taped radio broadcast that will be archived here over the weekend, in case anyone is interested in listening to it.  The speaker was…the current Ironman world champion Chris McCormack!


What is there to say about Macca that hasn’t already been said? He’s hilarious in person.  And interesting and smart and touching (he teared up talking about losing his mother to breast cancer and his Macca Now foundation, which raises money for this cause).  Those who have followed his career may feel he’s had a chip on his shoulder at times (and who wouldn’t, having to deal with those German pretty-boys), but he seemed much more relaxed and at peace after his victory at Kona 4 weeks ago.  His wife is pregnant again and he’s not sure if he’ll do Kona in 2011.  He implied he’s eyeing the 70.3 World Championships, which he scouted with his win at Silverman last week.

Simple put, he is awesome.  And yes, I touched him.  Coach says I just gained 20 watts.


You may think I’m blushing (it’s possible) but I promptly went home and was diagnosed with a gum infection an hour later.  So I’ve got that going for me…

This was just a warmup for the kind of stalking I plan to do of Chrissie Wellington at IM AZ next week.  Bring it on!

Collection of Nonsense

I’m pulling out my Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes book and redrilling its principles into my head.  I may even go back to religiously tracking my intake.  Since I started working with Coach 2 years ago, I’ve put on about 15 pounds, most of it last year during IM training and I believe predominantly muscle.  However, I’ve never quite mastered the art of leaning out for race day just right, and it’s something I want to work on this year.  I know Ironman training = ravenous appetite but I’d like to do a better job of putting in the proper foods when stuffing my face 24 hours a day.

On a similar front, I’m reassessing my alcohol intake.  Not that I’m a heavy drinker as it is, but sometimes I end up with mixed drinks that I don’t really enjoy for all the excess calories and sugar they contain.  I may just stick to drinking beer this year, which fills me up faster and is fairly low calorie by comparison, on the occasions when I do choose to imbibe.

I *ahem* really really need to pry open the bike box and finally put the damn thing back together.  This long delay is definitely a first for me.  I avoided it last week by skipping my only bike workout and heading to Jamaica.  I don’t think I can really avoid the bike any longer.  I need to reframe my mindset on this and look forward to all the beautiful winter riding I can do in the crisp air!


As I get my head in gear to go back to Ironman training again, I’ve tried to remember all the complications along the way and the life sacrifices to be made.  One funny thought did occur to me, brought into focus by this recent off-season break.  Everyone always says your sex life more or less dies during Ironman training…that you are too tired all the time.  I never found this to be true at all because this is what happens to me during the off-season when I’m NOT training – I sleep and sleep and am totally lazy and sluggish.  I still found PLENTY of energy to molest my husband during Ironman training, or perhaps he would have objected more strenuously to me signing up again.  *shrug* I’m sure not complaining!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Leaving Paradise

All good things must come to an end, and so on Sunday it was time to return home.

But first…breakfast!


And one more visit down to the water, and looking longingly at the bloody island that I still didn’t get to see.


Right after this photo, I jumped into the water for one final swim and got promptly dropped on my ass onto the rocks that had shown up overnight as the sand washed away. Ouch.

Saying goodbye to our new Canadian friends. Lee’s dad was doing Ironman Florida this past weekend!


I extended the vacation as long as possible with one last margarita as Margaritaville in the airport.


Our connection in Dallas left very late due to mechanical problems, and we didn’t get home till nearly 2am on Monday. Color me exhausted!

I was glad to see my first impressions of Jamaica were right – beautiful country, constant warm weather, warm water and incredibly friendly people.

A few thoughts on Couples resorts for those who might be interested:

  • Couples only (any gender combination, I believe) – no kids, no large family groups, just couples.
  • All-inclusive - covers food, drink, activities and excursions including scuba, golf, horseback riding, our Dunn River Falls trip, the fancy reservation restaurants, etc
  • Amazing service. I got a little embarrassed with being called mi’lady so much, but everyone went out of their way to help keep the visitors happy.
  • AWESOME food – SOOOOOOOO much better than any other all inclusive places I’ve ever visited. Really one of the hallmarks of Couples. I ate new fruits and veggies, including things I’ve never tried, with every single meal.
  • No tipping allowed. They say it and they mean it – employees would get fired for taking a tip. This eliminates any pressure to tip or even carry money around from the time you arrive.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

No Worries

I told Jeff if we got up the next day and it was NOT a red flag day, we were going to be on that island as fast as we could get there.  No such luck, so we came up with a different activity for our morning.


Welcome to Dunn’s River Falls, where, with the help of a guide, we climbed 900+ feet of waterfall, one careful step at a time, as part of a human chain.



There were various pools and falls along the way to stop at.  Here, we stood on some rocks and then fell backwards together into the water.




The guides were quite keen on putting us in embarrassing positions for photo and the videographer.


In case anyone was wondering why I wore a shirt over my bikini, it’s because the guides and videographer were insistent they’d be zooming in for some hot action if anyone’s bikini top was thrown out of position by the falls.  Um, no thanks.


When we returned to Couples and headed to the pool, we were rewarded with blue skies and SUN!!!  It’s about darn time!


Not a bad way to spend an afternoon at all


I still needed to get some open water swimming in.  People were floating around in the small swim area but that gets boring in a hurry.  I found a buoy another ~50 yards out and swam back and forth to that till it also got boring.  Then I got ambitious.

If you look very closely in this photo, you will see a dock floating a little ways in front of the island, just under the tower.  It’s the boat dock for the island, that they moved out offshore before the hurricane came.


I decided I’d swim out to that – it can’t be more than 300 yards and even in rough choppy water I knew I could do it without any problem.  It was very nice heading out – I had to stop a couple times to let logs (churned up by the storm) float by (didn’t want to get clocked in the head by one).  Perhaps my mistake was in climbing ONTO the dock and waving at everyone back on shore.  That set off the watersports staff who started whistling and yelling from shore, so I hopped back in and headed back.  With the strong current and wind blowing, the way out had been tough –the return trip was like swimming on a conveyer belt (I finally know what the IM COZ folks were talking about!) – sweet!  It was totally worth the ire of the water guys to do.

Dear Jen Harrison, this photo is for you.


This is what it looks like to lie in a beach chair and watch the ocean at night. :-)


This is what it looks like to smoke a Cuban and drink a Scotch while watching the ocean at night.