Friday, December 31, 2010

Annual Year-End Summary, 2010 Edition

I didn’t become an Ironman or anything exciting like that this year, but I did put some serious work into getting stronger and faster, to the tune of 7 PRs and 8 top-5 AG placements!

I am, at heart, a numbers junkie so it’s fascinating for me to compare the stats across the past few years.  Note that I was self-coached in 2007 and most of 2008 and have worked with Multisport Mastery since then. 

Year-End Totals (2010, 2009, 2008, 2007)
Swim: 250,835 yds, 262,170 yds, 143,880 yds, 70,795 yds 
Swim: 142.52 miles, 148.95 miles, 81.75 miles, 40.22 miles 
Bike: 2,293.1 miles, 3,430.5 miles, 2,247.5 miles, 1436.6 miles 
Run: 701.2 miles, 741.4 miles, 735.4 miles, 806.23 miles 
Strength: 25.5 hrs, 15.75 hrs, 11.75 hrs, 0 hrs 
Training Time: 308.5 hrs, 490.5 hrs, 385.3 hrs, 287.6 hrs

Swim: Obviously, I was just learning to swim in 2007.  But the fact that my yardage this year is pretty close to last year just tells me how much I’m improving, as I was not training for an Ironman this year!

Bike: Mountain bike only in 2007, my first century in 2008.  Again, not too bad for this year given that I was training for much shorter distance than last year and considering how much stronger I got on the bike.  A case of quality over quantity.

Run: I did 2 marathons in 2007 with another in January 2008, but I also just ran a lot.  I got faster this year with less mileage than all the previous years.

Strength: I think this is the biggest leap of all, and perhaps one of the best contributing factors to my success this year.

Total Time: Obviously my hours weren’t going to compare to last year’s Ironman training, but I find it interesting that I did more with less when comparing 2010 with 2008.

And that’s enough geeking out on the numbers.  2010 was also a wonderful year for life in general!  I had a blast with the dogs, with Jeff and with friends. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow’s blog post, which I’ve already uploaded as I’ll be on the road all day, looks back at 2010.  Right this minute though, I’m looking ahead to 2011.  I just read Marni’s blog post about planning ahead and factors that play into race selection, and it really struck a chord with how I’ve organized my year.

I was selfish and picked all my races “for me.”

I’m doing primarily local events and not traveling heavily for races.  I’m not counting Arizona as travel because we have the house here, and it’s drivable and/or a cheap Southwest flight away.

By virtue of doing mostly local races, I will have many friends around on race days as spectators and other athletes.

I’m doing races put on by race companies that I really like.  I’m not doing races put on by companies that I have had issues with.

I built a schedule that will sustain me and my motivation throughout the long year.  I will race frequently enough to stay fresh, but I won’t be doing long distance till late in the year.

Bring on 2011!!!!  1st race is in less than 2 months!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Got Hit With the Christmas Stick

That’s my excuse for dropping off the blogosphere for a few days.  I just couldn’t overcome the post-Christmas apathy enough to write anything.

We had a lovely Christmas morning with our traditional running of the dogs on a deserted field on the ASU campus.




After that Jeff took the boys home and I ran the whole way back for my 12 Fartleks of Christmas assignment.  Then we opened gifts and had a nice lunch with my in-laws.

And then I starved the rest of the day.  We will not talk about this further.

I had a swim test on Sunday – with most area pools closed, I had opted to schedule a couple services at a resort spa with its own lap swim pool.  Might as well reward myself!  I am pretty sure it has been a while since that spa pool had seen a hard workout.  Last week was actually a test week for my biking as well – that turned out OK.  It was about where I should be for the start of the year, and better than I started last year.

This week I’ve just been plugging away at my workouts (and quite pleased with how they are going), enjoying the sunshine and relative warmth of Arizona, and appreciating our corporate year-end shutdown!  As well as trying to get back to healthy eating (not too rough) and drinking less alcohol (hmmmm, still working on that one).  I was supposed to leave for southern California today to compete at an agility trial Wednesday through Friday, but the projected rain and cold there swayed me to stay here a little longer instead.  With big tough workouts on the schedule, I’m happier doing them out of the house on a more flexible schedule rather than in a hotel with limited time.  We’ll get out there for the trial on Friday (rest day) then drive home Friday night.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve in Arizona

Who needs a white Christmas? Not me!


We can be plenty festive anyway.


Doesn’t everyone’s family tradition involve bar-hopping with the dogs and drinking outdoors on Christmas eve?


Other than that, there’s just some napping and eating going on this afternoon.  We’ll go out later for our usual Christmas eve movie theater outing.

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Maggie Day

Today my little sister would have turned 22; instead we lost her a little over 18 years ago, after a long fight with a particularly aggressive form of cancer.

It’s my annual reminder to live life to its fullest, enjoy every day, and take the time to appreciate the ones you love!








Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tourist Trap

I started out my day with an awesome swim (my fastest toy-assisted 100s ever!) and then had a nice chilly bike ride as some light rain showers hit town.  For lunch, we went up to Tortilla Flat, a tiny Old West town.



I hear Canyon Lake is good for OW swimming.


Nice desert scenery in the Superstition Mountains.  It seems everyone rides out here so I guess I’ll have to give it a try next time I’m back in town.


To be even more touristy, we stopped in a ghost town on the way back.



Monday, December 20, 2010

Another Flurry of Photos

I can take better photos than Petsmart.



It was a pretty day for lunch at Turf Paradise.


It’s a whole different world at the race track, some good and some bad, but intriguing for someone who didn’t grow up in that world.


My pretty grey long-short horse came in…dead last.


But look, she led briefly! <bg>


And this evening, we made the quick trip down the street to the Phoenix Botanical Gardens, for their annual holiday event that we’ve never experienced – Las Noches de las Luminarias!


The paths of the gardens are all lit up with thousands of hand-lit candles!



This is called Creeping Devil cactus – very appropriate!


There were carolers, musicians and storytellers stationed along the way on the trails too!



Fun night!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fun in the Sun – An Abbreviated Tale of the Weekend

My dogs know how to relax anywhere anyhow, as proven during Friday’s nap hours by Stanley.


I ran a little 5K on Saturday morning that doubled as my run test.  It was slow (soft sand and loose pebble surface) and it hurt.  I managed 2nd in the 30-39 AG.


We took the dogs to Petsmart to see Santa.  Petsmart has the world’s shittiest camera and the world’s worst photographer.

Santa1 Santa2

We went out with a friend for sushi dinner and drinks.  It was nice to indulge in a little nightlife after being good all week leading up to the race!


Today we walked the dogs around the “waterfront” area of Old Town Scottsdale (“” because it’s a canal).  We have to be careful with Cujo’s walks right now to not get him too excited, so they are shorter and slower than they used to be, with breaks sometimes built in.


Loving the Christmas lights on the palm trees here


After the dogs were settled, we headed out on my longest bike ride since I started back at training!  And what better way to enjoy it than to revisit some IM AZ memories on the Beeline Highway.  I wasn’t sore at all from the race (yep, this stuff again!) and felt so good on the ride – I’m feeling very positive about the year ahead! 


The only other entertaining thing that happened today was, I bought Max another dog bed.  He decided it was better to remove the cushion from the bed…


and take it outside…


and demand it be used for fetch.  I love when my dogs surprise me with their unique thought processes.


Another week is over!  This upcoming week is a rest week in training but I also have swim and bike tests on the schedule.  Ouch!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Promised Update

I still can’t believe I went 10 days without blogging.  Given how I was certain I’d slipped into a space-time continuum wherein time moves at 1/2 the normal pace, it’s amazing that I was so busy I never blogged.  I kept wanting to wait to have photos and I just never got any!

Jeff and Cujo left for Arizona 2 weeks ago, which is why time passed so slowly as I waited and waited to join them.

I’ve done more squats and lunges and atomic pushups than I know what to do with.  And my new favorite: high knee marches, where you come up on your toes each step.  Is it any wonder my calves are tight?

I saw my massage therapist for the first time since before Austin.  There may have been tears as (it felt like) she beat the shit out of my calves.  There were definitely bruises.  I love her.

The beardies and I went to Los Angeles for an agility trial last weekend.  It was 80+ degrees and sunny both days – LOVED IT.  The dogs proved that they run better in hot weather, as it takes their overexcitement down a notch and makes it manageable.  Stanley made some nice breakthroughs in his runs.  Max was amazing, qualified in 3 out of 4 runs, and double-Qed on Sunday.  I got to meet a Facebook friend who has Stan’s little sister and she was awesome.  I also visited Kiersten, an old summer camp friend who I haven’t seen since we were teenagers!  I love when you can easily you can fall right back into friendship with someone after nearly 2 decades apart.

Jeff has been quite busy managing some heart problems with Cujo.  It’s taken a couple weeks of visits to the cardiologist to stabilize him and get his medications just right.  He seems to be doing well and we are continuing to monitor him.

I closed out my last important work deliverable for the year – phew!  I spent all day Monday in a windowless room working with our department heads on 2011 goals.  I was quite relieved to finish up my last meeting for the week on Tuesday and…

I hit the road for Arizona on Tuesday night and arrived Wednesday morning (5:30 am), with a short stop for a couple hours of sleep outside Indio.  I’ll continue to work from here until our corporate holiday shutdown begins, at which point the real vacation begins.  In the meantime, I am content to be reunited with the other half of the family and just *be* in our happy place here in Scottsdale.

I have my first real race of the new season this weekend!!!  A little local holiday 5k.  It’s my token contribution to the runner in me that wants to be out racing all winter.  The triathlete in me knows I need to take it easy this time of year because my volume will get plenty big later on.

I think that more or less covers everything!!!

Recovery e21

Delinquent Blogger Alert! There is plenty to update on and I will have to write a separate post to catch up on what’s been going on since I last blogged – gah! – 10 days ago. But this post is for some exciting news I got last night!

I’m thrilled to announce I was picked for the Recovery e21 triathlon team for 2011!

home_banner_2 I know I mentioned liking the product in my last post but I should go into a little more detail about what I’ve experienced. Several months ago, I started seeing Facebook comments from friends I trust about using Recovery e21 and experiencing less cramping during training/racing and less soreness after. Michelle’s blog posts alone were a strong case for effectiveness.

So I figured, sure, let’s get a sample pack and check it out. I started taking 2 capsules each day of Recovery e21 Electrolyte Balance beginning a few weeks before Austin. On race day I took 2 before the race and 2 more after. I could have taken them during as well but since I was new to the product I played it conservatively. Now…my spirit may have been a little battered by how race day played out, but my body? Nothing. No soreness. At all.

I thought…well, it’s just DOMS, it’ll show up in a couple days. I hauled my bicycle case through the Austin airport without a problem. I flew home. I went about the next couple of days of work and dog walking. And the soreness never came.

At this point I should tell you…the first time I ever ran in Arizona heat, it took 2 hands and a firm grip to lower my body to a seated position for the next 3 days. That’s how badly it hurt.

70.3 miles of racing triathlon on hills, in heat and humidity that my body is not accustomed to?

Nothing. Really? Really.

Since then, I have dutifully taken my 2 capsules per day and plan to increase that when heavy Ironman training progresses. I’ve been put through the wringer with strength training for my upcoming year and have felt none of my typical soreness. Recovery e21 isn’t going to solve my biomechanical issues that result in tight calves – I still have to foam roll and see my massage therapist, as well as look into a professional bike fit this year (hello, Santa?). And my muscles are still tired after a tough week, but they do seem to be bouncing back quicker and taking on more work with less complaint. And...I'm not walking around sore all the time!

In addition, after Jamaica, where I inadvertently aggravated something in my shoulder with a set of tricep dips, I added the Recovery e21 Joint Health product to my repertoire. The result? Buh-bye, achy joints – shoulders, knees, and all. Plus, with everything I do to my body and as much as we all depend on our joints, I really ought to be supporting them as best I can.

Even better in my view, these supplements are all natural products. As I continue my progression from junk-food eating 7 years ago to a focus on whole, identifiable foods, I want to know exactly is in what I’m taking in. I want to be able to identify things on the ingredient list! The Electrolyte Balance is made from a little microalgae organism in the ocean waters off Australia – it even smells/tastes a bit fishy, that’s how close it is to its original state. The Joint Health comes from green lipped mussels, with glucosamine and chondroitin added. If I give MY DOGS this kind of stuff to protect their joints as canine athletes, shouldn’t I be taking similar precaution? :-)

So? Long story short (too late), I’m pretty darn excited to have a chance to share these products with everyone else! I’ve never applied for a triathlon team before because I was never sure I could really find myself standing behind the product and believing it was the best. There is no doubt about that here! I will have a discount code sometime soon as well as samples to share with others, so stay tuned!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Setting the Table for Success

I’ve spent the last couple weeks getting back into the kind of healthy eating routine that I want to be in for training and racing this year.  I’ve had a few years to experiment with what works for me and what steps I have to take to ensure success, so it gets a little easier each time. 

Rule #1 for me is a steady supply of fruits and vegetables.  A variety of veggies keep me full and cuts down on the snacking.  Fruits can fill in for sweets cravings and my 3-desserts-a-day habit nicely.

IMG_0334 How many cups of vegetables can I cram into one lunch wrap? (everything is good with bacon)

Rule #2 is accessibility – I have to make the good stuff always available, even at the risk of occasionally having it go bad before I eat it all. 


Rule #3 is to allow certain craving/”bad” foods but to limit the available choices.  I don’t need 5 different kinds of ice cream or chips in the house, but I can make a healthier chip choice and have that around.  Or a small container of really rich gelato that will satisfy with a few spoonfuls instead of hoovering an entire quart of cheap ice cream. 

In addition to trying to eat more “whole foods,” I’ve been doing everything right with regards to recovery and staying healthy.  I figure it’s never too early to establish good habits in an Ironman year – the Recovery Socks still go on after every tough workout (I LOVE those things!) and I time the pre- and post-workout eating carefully.  In addition to my daily vitamin, I’ve been taking Recovery e21 daily for the last few months.  I think this is making a huge difference – I’ve been doing lots of strength training work (the kind that would result in difficulty sitting down for days in the past) and the soreness has been minimal this time around!  I’m pretty impressed with the effects of these little algae pills!!

It’s not all healthy, all the time, of course.  I had myself a big old piece of sheet cake at Eileen’s baby shower yesterday.  Look how cute and tiny she still is at 7 months pregnant!


As we head into the holiday season, it’s nice to know that most holiday food isn’t a big temptation for me.  My bigger challenge will be alcohol once I head to Arizona for Christmas.  What’s more festive than a Baileys & hot chocolate?

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I want to write a longer post later about what I’ve been up to but I have to dash out the door to a baby shower.

Today seemed like a good day to post a few links that I think are great reminders this time of year.  I do worry about people I know who fly from one race season to the next, each year bigger than the last, without sufficient rest to their bodies.  It can wreak havoc on not only performance but health!

These posts are worth reading!

Give It A Rest

Fitness & Health

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back To Work

After a bit of a rest last week – and a generally mild ease-back-into-it period for most of November – things seem to be picking up on the training front this week.  I’m back to masters more seriously and I’ll be damned if I didn’t do 3 back-to-back 25s of butterfly yesterday.  The 3rd one was not pretty.  I’ve had my longest run since Austin – only an hour but it felt great.  And today…right there on the schedule with no way to avoid it, it was back to Coach’s tough bike trainer torture.

I set up everything I’d need to get it done.


And that wasn’t it, for this was a bike/strength workout, which meant it was time to drag the TRX out into the garage as well.


Now I know some of you actually ride your trainers IN your house, which is all well and good if it’s a quiet one or you live alone or your pets don’t get a little freaked out by it or your spouse doesn’t work at home.  But for us, I ride in the garage.  Unfortunately it’s “winter” as we know it in Northern California and my garage was, at best, 40 degrees.

Yes, I started the workout in my parka.


Thankfully that was shed after the warmup set.  From there I spent my time alternating between hard power intervals on the trainer and strength moves with the TRX.  Those pushes on the trainer get harder the more squats and lunges you do…

November, as mentioned, was very light with training being fairly casual and drill-focused up to this point.

November Stats:
Swim: 12,800 yards
Bike: ~70 miles
Run: ~46 miles
Strength: 4.5 hours