Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hello, April!

I like April.  It means spring and warmer weather (and birthdays!).  And more tough training still to come!  Halfway through my big badass training block and I’m loving it.

March wasn’t so bad either though!

Swim: 33,596 yards (19.3 miles)
Bike: 290 miles
Run: 65.4 miles
Strength: 3 hrs

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I don’t know whose legs these are

but I’m not giving them back.

I won’t complain if this ends up being my refrain for the year :-)

It simply doesn’t make sense that after a long tough bike/run yesterday, 6 hours of driving, getting to bed late at 11:30pm, up by 5:30am (thanks dogs), another 4.5 hours of driving this morning (oh how this kills my knees and tightens my calves), unloading 2+ weeks of luggage, doing the laundry, sorting the mail and unpacking…

I would go out and throw down a 9+ mile run that started out fairly fast and negative-splitted the rest of the way from there?  Nope, sure wouldn’t have expected that one!

Clearly whatever I’m doing is working.

It’s interesting to look at past years when considering what to expect for this year.

2007- My first year of triathlon, aka How to Survive Sprint Triathlons Without Knowing How to Swim

2008 – Included my 1st Olympic distance race and my 1st 1/2IM but I can safely say I still didn’t really swim

2009 - The year I got serious about swim training (masters).  LOTS of basic form work and strength building just to get me to the point of being able to finish an IM.

2010 – Continuing focus on getting stronger as well as bringing out some short-course speed

2011 – So far, this sure feels like the first year of big girl training, aka the year I’m finally strong enough to take on the hard stuff (and the year I know how to manage recovering from it well enough to keep on taking it).  I can’t wait to start racing and see how it all plays out!!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What a way to end a trip!

I’m back in California now, halfway home and stopped in a hotel for the night. But I said goodbye to Arizona on a high note, with my biggest training day of the year thus far!

Thanks to Krista for leading us out on some gorgeous roads with incredible scenery. She headed off to do her own workout once she got us going but it was a great help! I will HAVE to hit this route when I’m back in the fall.



Totally digging the matchy-matchy thing


I did a LOT more climbing today than I have in a long time but it was well worth it to get where we were going.






Jeff behind me, as we are only about halfway up the return climb from that valley floor below


And when faced with one heck of a long climb at the end of the ride on tired legs, might as well put a smile on the face again and appreciate being able to be strong enough to do this!


Today was the first time I took e21 every hour on the bike. I think it worked out pretty well because even on trashed legs at the peak heat of the day, my run off the bike was speedier than I could have ever expected. Or maybe the fact that I was running to Rock Bottom Brewery to meet Jeff, Krista and Shane for post-workout lunch made me run fast? Relax, I only drank water!

And so, it was another successful March trip to our happy place. I’m going to miss it but it’s good to know I’ll be back there in just 6 weeks to race!

Friday, March 25, 2011

I need to win the lottery

so I can just have fun all day like the people of Scottsdale seem to.  Or I need a sugar daddy.  (*cough*cough* Hey Jeff? *cough*cough*)

The day started out with a chiropractic adjustment to the dog (well, before that it started out with dogs staring and whining at 6am, and then a walk, and then 2.5 hours of work…).  I can’t help but preen at hearing the words “this is the best behaved dog I have ever adjusted.”  Due to the amount of coat care they require, beardies learn early on to just zone out while they are being poked and prodded, brushed, or examined.

The end result: a happy dog, loudly declaring it to the world.


Yo, lady? *I* am ALWAYS happy, why didn’t I get to go too?


Sorry, Stanley, them’s the breaks.

Anyway, from there, after a little more work, it was off to the pool to meet Krista for my long swim of the week.  Lots of band work (where ankles are tied together) - at least it was warm and sunny out!


We were clearly the best dressed swimmers at the pool.


Once we’d worked up an appetite, it was time for lunch and what better spot than Pita Jungle.  Our waiter must have pegged us as starving athletes right away because our food came fast and vanished just as quickly. 

I hit up the gym on the way home to get my strength training done and then it was back to work – see how work always interferes with the fun?  Gotta do something about that…

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Scenes from the Sunshine

Still here, still enjoying some sun (well it did blow crazy winds and rain and freeze on Monday), still training my butt off! I only have a couple days left to appreciate the warmth before I return to waterlogged California so I’m doing my best to soak it all up.

Tuesday’s windy adventure on the Beeline (IM AZ course)



Wednesday’s Angels-Giants game with the Lynn family



Thursday’s even windier ride on a new route




When faced with scary riding (fast traffic, no shoulder, stiff headwind), best to put a happy face on and tough it out!


In some ways it was kind of nice to not know what to expect on today’s ride – there was lots of gradual climbing that felt great (little did I know the tailwind I had, hahaha). There were also virtually no traffic lights which meant plenty of steady pedaling! It’s too bad that I found out later we missed the good part of the long road we were on – the part with a big real gorgeous (safe) shoulder! Oh well, next time!

Thank you to everyone for all the wonderful comments about Max. He's feeling much better and not showing much trouble at all with moving around (though I am still limiting his activity to let him heal). I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The End of an Era

I mentioned the other day that Max had hurt himself running full-tilt into Jeff when we got home Friday night. We went to see the vet today since he clearly still had discomfort in his neck and limited mobility.

Not a happy camper


Max’s neck is indeed injured (stiff, painful to turn one direction and hot to the touch), and it appears his back is tender as well. As his 2nd neck injury in a year, this is a game-changer for our agility experience. For ourselves as human athletes, we can clearly pinpoint where our pain and injuries come from and make an informed decision about how far we are willing to push ourselves. Dogs can’t tell us where it hurts or if something is a little sore or if they’d like to take the day off to rest an injury, so we have to make that decision for them.

Yes, I wanted to chase after that MACH2 title with Max. But it’s not worth his health or happiness to do it. Agility is first and foremost about having fun with my dog and it’s not fun if he’s in pain. I won’t be one of those people who pushes their dog past the limits of comfort for their own vanity. So once Max is healthy and recovered, I’ll be dropping him down to Preferred where he’ll run at a lower height (16”) and start all over in Novice and have a darn good time for as long as he wants.

I’m going to walk through the treatment plan we’ve laid out, in case it can be of help to anyone else who faces a similar situation.

  • Max is on Tramadol every 12 hours for pain. It’s been just a few hours and he’s already perkier. Ah, opiates! We chose Tramadol over Rimadyl because of some of the risks associated with Rimadyl (ulcers, etc) as well as the studies showing that NSAIDS actually hinder healing.
  • The vet gave him an injection of Adequan in his back and we may continue them for a time during his recovery. Adequan is supposed to be phenomenal for reducing inflammation.
  • Long-term Max will be on Duralactin and fish oil pills. Both will help to reduce chronic inflammation and support healthy joints.
  • The vet noticed that Max is developing cataracts in his eyes that may have limited his night vision and caused his crash into Jeff in the first place. So he’s now also on Ocluvet eye drops long-term that will help to improve his vision.
  • We’ll be seeing another vet in the practice later this week for chiropractic adjustment and/or acupuncture, and continue with treatments with our dog chiro back home.
  • And finally I’ll be looking into aquatherapy/swimming when we get back home to help strengthen his muscles in a safe low-impact way.

It sounds like a lot, but Max’s rehab and regaining full mobility are a priority. He’s got many years left and he needs to enjoy them to his fullest! I was sad today, not because of lost dreams of chasing titles that mean nothing to Max, but because he was in pain (and being as stoic about it as he could). Hopefully he will heal up fast so his momma can stop worrying so much!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Just Say No

to the 4th lemon drop.  And possibly the 3rd.  At least I can still remember the entire evening, and I didn’t do anything too embarrassing.  That you know of.

If not for e21 and advil and water, I’d have been in far worse shape this morning.  Jeff and Nigel weren’t feeling so hot either but we all put our game faces on and went for a trail run in the desert.

Great choice! I felt so much better for having gotten out there.


And with the last workout of rest week done, my day is all about food and a nap and relaxing.  Tomorrow I kick off a big bad ass base training block (really, my Training Peaks says so) and it’s a big one!

I hope everyone had a nice weekend, even back home where it’s pouring rain!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Excitement Abounds

After 5 months and a day of sitting around doing nothing, my wetsuit made a break for it yesterday and hit the clean cool waters of Bartlett Lake.


Special thanks go out to e21 teammate and dog mom extraordinaire Krista for organizing a fun group swim!


The water felt cool after standing around in the sun but then was quite comfy – probably mid-60s!  Nigel is visiting us for the weekend and was drafted into swim service as well!


And when we finally got home from the swim, there was a whole box of awesome on my porch!  I’m all set now to swim, bike, run and race, e21-style!  Sooooooo exciting!!!!


Today has been a little less awesome but I’m coping as best I can…one of my dogs had a Level 2 case of the dire rears on our morning walk, necessitating a dash home to the hose.  My other dog walked headfirst into my bike trainer last night as Jeff was carrying it into the house and has a very sore stiff neck now.  And then my Powertap hub battery died 23 minutes into my bike ride this morning, 2 minutes before my bike test was to begin, and I had to wait 6 hours to get it fixed before I could do my test.  Speaking of bike tests, so great is my fear of them that I treat them like a race – no alcohol for days beforehand, compression tights, lots of sleep, and a good “pre-race” dinner the night before.  On the upside, the test is now done and the best bike test is always one that is no longer lurking in the schedule waiting to be done.

In other words, someone find me a lemon drop.  I’ve got one more day to go in rest week and I don’t want to waste it.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Is that even a word?  Well, it was 2 years ago today that I discovered the massive money-suck that is Lululemon.  I’ve more or less replaced most of my daily wardrobe in that time span, handing down some LL items to my mom and sisters as my taste changed or whatnot. 

I have, however, saved the information tag off just about every item I ever purchased.


Yep, even I don’t know what to say when viewing the magnitude of the addiction :-)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rest Up, Legs

Given my cheery mood and attitude, I bet you’d never believe I’m on a rest week right now.  I guess I can enjoy rest week a bit more when I’m in our “happy place” than back home, maybe because I’m already so much more relaxed down here that I don’t need exercise endorphins as my own personal anti-depressants.

My workouts this week have been fairly light and for once I’m not complaining.  I have another bike test this weekend – always a frightening prospect – and I want all the rest I can get in my legs before tackling it!  So far I’m feeling better in training here than I usually do upon arriving in Arizona – between copious amounts of water and frequent doses of Recovery e21, I think the desert has been less successful at dehydrating/depleting my body than in the past.

Today I got my first view of the entire next training block, my last block of base training, and I have some SUPER MEGA HUGE work ahead of me again!!!  I love it!!!!

Speaking of e21, they’ve got a deal going on the website right now where you buy 1 packet and get 2 additional packets for free ($40 savings)!  It only runs till the end of the month so check it out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Now We’re Talking

We’ll call today my first real day in the desert.  Yesterday I was too busy being tired from the whole travel thing and running errands – like buying $$$ of food – to get myself established and situated here.

I kicked it off in the best way, with a morning trip to my favorite pool, where the water is warm, the lanes are always available and the sun always shines.  Really!


Jeff came over about halfway through my hard swim (the intervals were challenging to say the least) and swam for a while too, which made it even better.


I got some work done and then Jen arrived from Tucson to play for the day.  After a little workout and lunch, we braved more traffic than we expected to go a few miles to the new Salt River Fields for the Angels-Diamondbacks game (did I fail to mention March is spring training time in Arizona? Par-tay!).  First we slogged through nearly 30 minutes of traffic to get in the parking lot, then we spotted the Game Sold Out signs.  Aaargh!

Still we wandered over to the ballpark hoping we’d meet some scalpers along the way.  No such luck.  Jen and I ducked into a restroom and when we came back out – like 2 minutes later, tops – Jeff was standing there with 3 tickets!  Miracle worker, my husband!

90 degrees and sunshine!


The new ballpark is nice!  I was quite pleased with our lawn seats.


We only stayed for about half the game before Jen had to get back home for her kids and I had to get back to work, but today was a perfect way to settle into Arizona Molly mode!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Catching Up

2 hours, 15 minutes of riding got done in the hotel room on Sunday morning


The dogs were clearly quite bothered by the whole thing.

IMG_0817 IMG_0823

And then we went back to the agility trial for another day.  We had quite a successful weekend – Max double-Qed in Sunday and picked up some points, and Stanley showed HUGE improvements over his last trial, running smooth and focused – he even went 1st place in Excellent A JWW Saturday! 

Then it was time to drive some more!  My GPS definitely wins an award for most obscure, beautiful, isolated and maddening route for the way it led me from the north San Diego area to the Palm Springs area – more or less straight up and over the mountains in between!  Technically shorter but harrowing.

It started out simply enough…(yes, we went OVER those mountains)


It’s hard to tell here, but I’m driving along the edge of a cliff that drops right off into that valley waaaaay down below.


Halfway down the mountain, with the Palm Desert/Indio area below.  This road basically dropped thousands of feet in very few miles via many tight switchbacks.  Eeek!


Thankfully once I reached Indio, I knew the way – straight on I-10 all the way to my happy place!  The dogs and I rolled into Scottsdale, Arizona around 8:15 pm, unloaded the car, hoovered any available food and crashed.

I would like to say I spent the next day enjoying visiting with the husband I hadn’t seen in nearly 2 weeks but instead I was at the airport before 7am!  I had to fly back to San Jose for a work meeting, and returned to Phoenix after dark Monday night.

So finally I am here enjoying sunshine and warmth (all while still working of course) and I haven’t taken a single darn picture.  Blame my total exhaustion from my own version of Planes Trains (Bicycles) and Automobiles this weekend.  I will try to correct that tomorrow – it’s supposed to be 90 degrees!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Road Trip

Totally completely exhausted but trying not to far too behind.  We left on a big road trip Friday and while we’re still in California (for the moment) there was some lovely scenery along the way.





So far we have braved the path through Los Angeles in Friday night rush hour, done 1 day of an agility trial, and visited with the dogs’ relatives.

Stan and his baby sister Aggie


Max was so tired he fell asleep in the water bowl


He re-energized to spend the evening flirting with a new friend


It’s always best to end your day slobbery on someone else’s couch


Tomorrow the sun rises 1 hour later but the agility trial starts at the same time.  And I have a long ride to fit in before we go.  I thought I’d go ride around Fiesta Island so I didn’t have to worry about traffic, but it appears there is a TT taking over the island in the morning (plus it’d be a 45 minute trip each way).  So given my current weariness, I’ll take the extra sleep and ride the trainer in my hotel room before we head out.  And after the trial we are on the road again!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to Max

Today Max is 9 years old. If I thought Stanley’s birthday was bad, hoooo-boy Max’s is even worse in terms of leaving me wondering how time has flown!

Some dogs, you love with all your heart, and some dogs…are your soulmate. There’s no doubt for me – that’s Max. It’s impossible to accurately quantify our connection, but we read each other without a need for language. Maybe it comes from having both been underdogs when we started out together and having to fight to succeed in everything we did, but I’m forever proud of the relationship and teamwork we built.


2005_July11 073

MaxPortrait 002 (2)

Max is very picky about what he likes and does. He will only come up on the bed at night and only snuggles at our feet. He’s got the gentlest mouth and is careful to never touch your hand with his teeth when he takes a treat. He’s got a monster deep bark that he comes by honestly from his sire, and he’s not afraid to use it, perhaps more so as he ages. He does not like us watching hockey and gives us a disgusted look before stomping out the door to sleep outside for the duration of the game.

He likes his crate, if you leave the door open. (“I’m an adult and should be trusted like one.")

2005_Oct08 035

He LOVES agility, especially at trials where he really gets amped up to run.


At the age of four, he suddenly decided he liked dog beds so I bought one for every corner of the house.


He can be found in them at any given point during the day.


Max likes to find a well-loved toy every few months and free it of its stuffing. Who, me? What do you mean, there’s something on my chin?


Max loves to just go out and be with us everywhere!


I am humbled and forever thankful that Max’s breeder Jane took a chance on me and allowed me to share a lifetime with Max.

I love this dog!