Saturday, April 30, 2011

And the fun never stops

Modeling my birthday present from Jeff *serious face*


Lemon drop at the Sharks-Red Wings game!


Jeff’s surprise at the game! (Ignore the score, we kicked their asses in overtime)


After-party with friends and family at the local pub



I only had ~2.5 drinks so with a little Recovery e21 before bed, I felt pretty good this morning.  Lucky since my day was go-go-go!

Stanley and I drove down to the dog show in Hollister (about an hour away) to meet up with a handler I’ve been emailing.  She’ll be showing Stan for me in conformation this year and I’m very excited!  They really seemed to like each other so it should be a lot of fun.

I went for an easy bike spin with my dad – I’m glad I was supposed to take it easy because it was WINDY out!  Still fun to have some time together.

Then I drove back south to see the bike shop about tweaking the fit of the new frame.  2 days of riding on it showed me that this bike was going to be great for me but something was just off.  The owner Bruce spent time watching and measuring and listening to what I felt was off – I know they had really worked to try to preserve my fit when they changed out the frame but there are bound to be differences between companies/frames.  As it turned out all he needed to do was move my saddle forward about 1/2 an inch and BINGO my fit dropped into an ideal place!  We ran through all the same measurements, videoed me pedaling, added more resistance to check that my form didn’t break down when applying more pressure – all good!  I’m so excited to put my new precious through its paces in a race 1 week from today.

And so we say goodbye to April and hello May!!!

Swim: 30,900 yards (17.6 miles)
Bike: 301.3 miles
Run: 77 miles
Strength: 3 hrs

Friday, April 29, 2011


So many random good things going on!  Birthday weeks are good that way.

I hit over 10,000 yards of swimming this week for the first time ever!  [I’m told I should mention that all swimming was done within 4 days – 3 swims – rather than a week, because it makes it sound even better LOL]  I’ve flirted in the high 9,000s but this was my first time crossing that 10,000 barrier.  I felt surprisingly good and smooth on that 3rd swim.

Did you see my new bike frame? Wheeeee!

Stanley has a big schnozz.  And sometimes it picks up friends.


It’s a beautiful day here in Northern California.  I got to watch the sun rise from my vantage point on the track.



While on the track, I completed my Big Birthday Track Brick!  It was awesome.  Bike-run-bike-run-bike-run-bike-run-bike.  Lots of race pace thrown in there too.

34 feels pretty good so far! And my Recovery e21 race kit passed its test ride/run with flying colors!


It was also pretty on the drive back from dropping the dogs at the groomer.  Green and sunny!


The day got even better with birthday flowers from a good friend!!!


Clean dogs are icing on the cake.



Did someone mention cake?



There are still some tweaks needed to the fit but I finally have a frame sized better for my body!  Bring on the biking!!!


Sunday, April 24, 2011


OK so it WAS a cold.  Thankfully it only lasted about 2 days total and I felt well enough to tackle my Thursday-Sunday workouts without a problem.  Another workout week in the books!

I’m living, breathing, eating and sleeping hockey right now.  It’s on every night in our house until I finally fall asleep to hockey (because Jeff is still watching and I have to get up at asscrack-thirty to train).


Even the dogs crowd onto the couch to watch hockey.  Or perhaps more accurately Max luxuriates in a neck rub while Stan mopes over losing his spot next to Jeff. 


Easter is a great day to be a heathen.  I ran the dogs on the high school field, went for a long run, faced no crowds at the grocery store, colored my grey away and pretty much sat on my ass watching hockey for the rest of the day without a care in the world.

The upside of having a cold this week was it killed my appetite.  I ate because I knew I HAD to but not because of the triathlete tapeworm.  It’s making my first attempt this year at pre-race leaning-out a little easier.  Well, that and the fact that I am not allowing myself to buy any more Senior Mo’ Mints (basically dark chocolate-covered peppermint cremes from Whole Foods) until after the race – I haven’t opened my only container for fear of not having any when I REALLY need a dose of chocolate.

One more solid week of work to get through – with some interesting training challenges – and then it’s race week.  I can’t wait to FINALLY do a triathlon this year – hopefully they are chemical-treating the heck out of Tempe Town Lake right now to ensure there are no more cancelled races this spring!

Have a good week!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Random List Wednesday

  • Did I mention I had a kickass track workout on Monday morning?  I went home, downed a bunch of e21, put my compression tights on, and went to work.  Tuesday morning?  Fresh legs ready to attack a 3500-yd IM- and kick-filled swim at masters!  I love this stuff!
  • Allergies continue to be an issue in our house – after spending Sunday morning out watching the race in the wind, Jeff got progressively more stuffed up and sneezy and ended up spending most of Monday laid up in bed.
  • The dogs try their hardest to be nursemaids.  When I left for the office Monday morning, Jeff was out cold and snoring away in the guest room, with Stanley jumping up and down on top of him honking his stuffed raccoon toy.
  • So yesterday afternoon of course my throat started hurting a little.  It’d better just be some slight allergies or Jeff is dead meat. #notgettingsick
  • OK, I give up, I’m buying a Coldbuster and spending the rest of the day in bed.
  • I’m so proud of how well my dogs have done at agility class the last few weeks.  Stanley has really been doing some nice mature work for me!  Our next trial is the weekend after my race next month and I can’t wait to see how we do.
  • I got a call today that my on-order-for-3-months bike frame might actually be coming sometime in the near future.  Hurry up!
  • I had more ART done today – my calf tightened up a little after Monday’s track workout and my hip ached so both areas got a bit of attention.  I always feel like I could run out and conquer any big workout after ART.
  • Except today I’d just like to conquer napping my afternoon away.
  • Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Watch and Learn

Having to spectate a race instead of doing it isn’t all bad.  Given that the Reservoir Tri yesterday was a relatively small event, I got to spend lots of time up close and personal with transition and watch how everyone from the winner to the newbies raced.  Of course just cheering wasn’t enough, I had to analyze and observe how everyone raced as well.

My good friends know what a stickler I am for speedy transitions and it was encouraging to see that I’m doing a lot of the right things there.  Transition is FREE TIME!  But there’s always more to learn and it’s good to watch the fast folks to see more about what they do!

Pre-race: Walk the transition area – KNOW where the swim-in, bike-out, etc are.  Know where the mount and dismount lines are.  I can’t tell you how many near-crashes (and 1 actual crash) I saw at the dismount line because people came around the corner and were “surprised” (despite the volunteers yelling).

Swim: With the water temp officially at 58 degrees, warmup was a must.  Getting to the race late and scrambling to organize a spot in transition took away a lot of time for people to get in and warm up before they cleared the start line.  The fastest folks out there took the entire available time to get a good long warmup in and get used to the cold water.  At the swim exit, the fastest people out of the water swam until their hands hit the boat ramp – standing up early and trying to walk out in deeper water is slower and more exhausting.

T1: Pulling off the wetsuit was the longest time expenditure – after that it was all about efficiency.  The fastest racers went without socks (I love doing this – I’m so glad I bought tri shoes for my bike!) so they just put their helmets on, grabbed their bike and ran for the exit.  I have not yet raced with my shoes clipped into my bike at transition BUT I’ve got “transition practice” on my schedule for my upcoming race week and you can bet I’ll be finding an empty parking lot to practice getting my feet into shoes while riding. 

I think the key for transition is Keep It Simple Stupid!  I saw one guy with 4 or 5 Whole Foods paper bags full of gear lining his transition spot, presumably each with something he needed to race.

Bike: For those who *didn’t* practice it in advance, I saw a few cyclists end up in a ditch alongside the road while weaving along trying to get into their shoes or drink in the first 100 yards of the bike course or strap their Garmins on their wrists or other such nonsense – don’t do crazy shit during the most crowded part of the bike course!  That goes double for the dismount line where everyone is slamming on their brakes all at once in a narrow corridor.

T2: Again, keep it simple.  The fastest folks dismounted without shoes (I started doing this last year and again – LOVE IT!) so that they could run to their transition spot faster.  Throw the bike on the rack, get the helmet off and do the bare minimum needed to get going again (put on running shoes).  Hats and race numbers can be grabbed and put on while running – don’t waste time doing that in transition.  Also, put quick laces on the running shoes or otherwise loosen them so feet can go in quickly – don’t waste transition time tying shoelaces like I saw some people do!

Run: Just run – duh!  Seriously though, knowing the course and the start, finish and any turns pays off here as much as anywhere – you’re tired and any extra distance will only wear you down more.  I definitely saw where practice running off the bike pays off – you can see it in the loose easy gait and stride of the runners who have worked on running off the bike versus those who aren’t accustomed to it.  Fast turnover was the signature feature of the day for the faster more efficient runners – keep those feet moving!

Finish: Don’t slow down!  I can’t tell you how many folks I saw passed in the finish chute because they let up at the end.  I try to tell myself “you have nothing else to do today” to give myself permission to smash my body at the end (even if by the end of a long race it looks like jogging to some LOL).  Walk it off, don’t let your muscles lock up right away.  If the water was cold, go back and stand in it to ice the legs.  Don’t wait till the athlete food line is a mile long and decide you’ll just grab something at home.  Pack ahead with your recovery items of choice (I like Ultragen or chocolate milk) so that you can get it in within the recommended time frame.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

PS – This morning’s track workout rocked – many miles at tough paces.  I more or less collapsed on the couch when I got home (and was promptly attacked by dogs trying to lick the salt off me) and have slept-walked my way through the rest of the day.  Is it bedtime yet?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

More Please, Sir

Yeah yeah I know, I said I would enjoy rest week and appreciate it. 


Take rest week and combine PMS, excessive amounts of airborne pollen and hockey playoffs and it’s a surefire recipe for frustration.

Yes, it’s the most wonderful – and stressful – time of the year: playoffs!  I may age 10 years before the first round is over.


The wind is blowing relentlessly and one of the trees in the backyard gives off a massive cloud of white every time I accidentally throw a frisbee into it.  Jeff is in the full throes of allergy misery, stuffed up and sneezing and all.  I only feel it in little ways – like, oh, having trouble breathing for my one and only hard workout of the week and therefore struggling to hit any of my intended paces.  Sweet. 

On the upside, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow and should clean the air out a bit.  That should dovetail nicely with the butt-kicking track workout I need to do in the morning.  Thank goodness I get to go back to hard work this week as I start building towards my peak Olympic races!

I got a fresh dose of motivation today as I spectated the Reservoir Triathlon down in Morgan Hill!  It was a lovely day for racing – cloudy start but PLENTY of sun in time for the run.  Once I heard the lake water was in the 50s, I was glad I waited this year to kick off my season in warmer conditions, but I still just loved soaking in the race environment – triathletes must be “my people” because I felt right at home. 


I can’t wait for my turn – less than 3 weeks to go!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Like Magic

I’ve been dealing with tight calves for as long as I’ve been running, but I’ve been dealing with one particularly tight calf for what feels like forever but is in fact about 6-8 months.  My massage therapist works to loosen it as best she can every month and I go right back to tightening it again with training.  My bike fit improved some of the calf issues but not all.

Lately though (OK, again…for a few months – yes I can spell D-E-N-I-A-L) it’s just tight all the time.  When I started my bike test last month, it tightened up immediately during warmup.  When I start a run, I feel it within the first 10 minutes.  It’s not pain, just a very very tight muscle that I can clearly tell isn’t giving me 100%.  I’ve resorted to wearing a calf sleeve for bikes and runs to try to hold it all together.

And so I finally decided enough was enough – no more putting my head in the sand and waiting for an injury - and scheduled an appointment with my ART doctor for the first time since Ironman training in 2009.  (In case you were wondering, what is ART?)  Rest week seemed like a perfect time to tackle this and so I saw him yesterday.

I explained the situation and we did some functional tests to see where the cause was – everything down the line in your body interacts and the area the issue manifests in may not even be the true problem!  Some really clumsy squats on my part indicated hip flexors or ankles (or both), and shifting to doing those squats on a small “ramp” that flexed my ankes turned them into beautiful squats – bingo, culprit found.

Basically my ankles have reverted lately into super-tight mode (I’ve even thought about it recently and how oddly tight they felt), my inner calf muscles are weak (making the tightness of my outer calf muscles an even bigger danger), and my hip flexors are weak.

Now what I love about seeing Dr B is he isn’t just about having me come in for endless appointments to loosen me up, he wants to give me the tools to fix myself by addressing the weak areas in my kinetic chain.  He did some work to loosen up the irritating calf (ow) and the rock-tight ankles (ow ow) and the bottoms of my feet which were pulling even worse on the ankles (ow ow ow) and finally the hip flexor on the side that was compensating for the calf (quadruple whammy OW).  And then he taught me some new strength moves and stretches that I need to do daily – stuff to strengthen my hip flexors and inner calves and to stretch and stretch my ankles – I went home and did them all last night.

Today I set out for a nice easy-paced hour run.  My legs felt light and springy – so THAT’S what range of motion in my calves and ankles feels like, I had forgotten!  I didn’t feel any tightening in my calf until late in the run and immediately afterwards I went through all my stretching moves again.  The true test will be next week when the intensity and volume are back up again - if things aren’t quite right yet I can go back for some more ART on the tight spots to keep working them loose.  However I’m feeling quite optimistic about finding the problems early – and before I injured anything – so I can gain greater balance in my muscles now and reap the benefits come race time.

And if you’re in the south Bay Area and looking for someone who will give you a good assessment and fix you up without telling you to stop doing your crazy endurance sports…check out the folks at Premiere Spine & Sport – they rock!

PS.  Now that my legs are feeling groovy again…is rest week over yet? Is it? Is it? Can I go hard again now?  What about now?  Are we there yet?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

And On the 28th Day, She Rested

I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated a rest day more than I did yesterday.  I put in some good work over the last few weeks - my last full day off being the day 4 weeks ago when I flew from Phoenix to San Jose and back again in the same day (not really restful) - and my body needed the break.

I slept in (at least as long as Stanley would let me).  I went to work for some meetings.  I grocery shopped (OH was this overdue).  I took Max to the vet for another Adequan shot. 

And I finished off my day with some wonderful deep tissue work with my favorite massage therapist.  She tackled all the little kinks I’d worked into myself over the last month.  And she said all the swimming I’m doing is visible in even more muscular development.

I had a short run and a light ride today – my legs are still tired but I’m feeling more human again.  I’m going to continue to enjoy the mostly easy days this week as best I can and I’m sure I’ll be chomping at the bit for harder work by the time next week rolls around.

It amazes me every time, the realization that I LOVE the challenge of hard training.  You’d have to understand how much I HATED working out in “the old days” to get it, but really…nothing thrills me more these days than seeing big volume or big intensity in my schedule.  I spend the early days of the week hitting refresh over and over in Training Peaks, hoping to see what Coach has in store for me next.  Today I was rewarded with a peek ahead – I asked for something worthy for my birthday in a few weeks and WOW did she deliver.  *gulp*  I may need to take a whole bottle of e21 with me that day, but what better way to celebrate growing a year older than to prove you can push yourself to new limits!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

And That’s A Wrap

I finished up training this week with a long run and a spin on my bike, all completed before 9 this morning.  We’ll leave out the part where I attacked the kitchen afterwards – I was just taking seriously that comment in Training Peaks about “rest, EAT, celebrate,” right?  Or was it REST, eat, celebrate?  I suppose we put our own emphasis where we need it…

13.5 miles of swimming, ~275 miles of biking and over 65 miles of running all in the past 3 weeks – a nice way to finish up base training for the year.  I still can’t believe quite how good I feel at the end of it all!  I’m feeling more confident that I’m stronger this year than I’ve ever been.  And I have to thank e21 for keeping me going like never before!

In any event, once I was done with training and firmly squeezed into my compression tights, it was off to Dillon Beach on the Sonoma County coast for some fun for the dogs with a bunch of their family members.

Loki, Beckham, Max, Stanley, Beatrix and Maude








The scenery along the drive out to the coast is as stunning as the beach!


Anyway, only a dog person will drive 4 hours roundtrip to give their dogs less than 2 hours of fun on the beach.  Back to resting, eating and celebrating!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Going Up

When I posted on Facebook Friday night that I’d be doing hill repeats on Highway 9 for my long ride this morning, I got some interesting reactions.  “I am not jealous one bit.”  “I am not doing hill repeats on hwy 9 tomorrow. I can definitely appreciate that.”  “Have fun. At least, as much as possible...”  “Be careful!!!!”

You’d think it didn’t sound fun or something!

Don’t worry, I didn’t climb the whole thing (I assigned that to Jeff and Nigel, who were left wondering how they ended up being conned into climbing a mountain), I had repeats of a set time to do so I went back and forth roughly between the 0.5 and 2.5 mile marks for about 400 feet of climbing each time.

All the spring rains mean GREEN everywhere (Nigel behind me)


The highway twists and turns the whole way up, nothing to see but trees and the next bend in the road.


Overall I felt really good on the repeats after dragging a bit through the warmup (which was also a climb over ~15 miles to get to the base of Hwy 9).  I took 2 e21s every hour of the ride and was right on top of my fueling, if possibly getting a little sick of the latest stuff I’m trying.

My favorite (sarcasm) repeat was definitely the last one when I was required to stand up and go hard for the last few minutes of the climb.  It’s right along where this last photo was taken and around the last curve the shoulder drops off a steep embankment to the creek below – I had sufficient motivation to keep hammering because I feared I’d fall over and right off the road if I didn’t.


The ride was followed in rapid succession by food (I might have snuck a mimosa in there too – hey, it’s Vitamin C right?), shower, nap, compression tights.  One more day to go before I end a very big week and I need all the rest I can get to finish it off strong.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Cleaning

With the start of racing season finally in my sights, it’s been time to do some cleaning and preparation for the work ahead.

Yesterday I went to Sports Basement to buy some new bike bottles.  We have a cabinet crammed with bike bottles, in various stages of degradation and leakiness, but only use a few of them.  Ever since Krista posted about her favorite things, I’ve wanted to address this situation.  I own one smaller bottle like the ones she mentioned and I use it for masters – I wanted nice ones for my bike.  And with that, I went in with the intent of just buying new bottles.  Several swim caps (to match my e21 suit – duh!), 2 vats of sports drink powder, and 6 bottles later…yeah, that’s what Sports Basement is like.  And I was on a conference call the whole time too!  I also bought some cute new bike socks:


I threw out a ton of old nasty bike bottles and filled the shelf with the pretty clean new ones – oh so happy!

I am loathe to throw out workout clothing in an Ironman year (I remember all the DIRTY LAUNDRY) but let’s face it, socks with holes in them aren’t doing anyone any good.  So the new socks meant…it was time to clean out my clothes drawers!

I ended up with a good pile of clothes for my sisters/mom, and I tossed the oldest bike/run socks as well as any ancient uncomfortable bike/tri shorts.  There is no time in my year for damage to my undercarriage caused by old shorts either.

And with THAT spring cleaning task done, I had time for a little decorating.  Back at the Stanford Treeathlon, I received the most awesome gift from Meredith and it took us till after our Arizona trip to finally put it up!


I have a ton of old medals but I picked the milestone races to hang on this awesome medal display. From left to right: my first 1/2 marathon (completed just 5 months after I started running), my first marathon, my let’s-run-a-notoriously-hard-and-hilly-marathon-for-my-30th-birthday-as-a-celebration marathon, my first triathlon, my first Olympic triathlon (who does Wildflower as their first Oly anyway?), and my first 1/2 Iron triathlon.

In case you were wondering where Mr Ironman went, that medal has its own special spot just next door in the frame Jenn (who *ahem* hasn’t blogged for 3 months) gave me for Christmas that year.


I wonder if I will have anything exciting to decorate with this year :-)

Training is going well…I might actually be looking forward to rest week in T minus 3 days.  I’m wrapping up my last week of base training (remember BIG BAD ASS BASE TRAINING BLOCK) and it’s been some good hard work alright.  In the first 7 days of April I’ve already ridden 100 miles.  Gee, I guess I AM doing an Ironman this year.  Thank goodness for Recovery e21 for helping me hold it all together!

Anyway, hope you all survive 1 more day of work till the weekend and then have wonderful sunny training weather (it’s currently cloudy, cold and rainy here but a girl can hope)!

Monday, April 4, 2011

On a lighter note

I had a lovely bike ride with my dad on Friday morning before the shit hit the fan.  Nice weather, pretty scenery and Dad’s new bike!


The dogs and I needed something to distract us on Saturday – thankfully we were signed up to do agility demonstrations at Filoli’s Spring Fling!

Filoli is a big historic estate in Woodside, California – the house is pretty but the gardens and grounds are the really amazing part.


My teacher and her dog (and the heavy crowds we had all day)IMG_0991

The beardie boys enjoyed the agility AND the chance to go visit with the crowd after each performance.  While everyone else’s dogs stood nicely at their sides for the introductions of the teams, mine were wrestling and rolling joyfully in the grass.  They know just how to put a smile on my face.

We got out for a long ride on Sunday morning.  Jeff had a playoff hockey game that night so the guys only rode partway before heading back, but I was glad for the distraction of nearly 3 hours on the road.


Oh yeah, and nearly forgotten in all the trauma of our weekend…I bought a new car on Thursday.  The better to fit dogs AND bicycles, and great gas mileage to boot, my new Honda Odyssey!


Everyone enjoyed taking it for a spin around the block after it came home.


Sunday, April 3, 2011


Thank you for all the kind comments here and on Facebook – Jeff and I really appreciate them.  I’ve told him that Cujo touched more lives than he ever realized and the stories everyone has related regarding their memories of Cujo have only proven my point.

We are definitely feeling the gap in our home right now…it’s a lot quieter around here (amazing how quiet 2 beardies can be actually) and a lot sadder.  Many tears have been shed and I’m sure there are more to come.

Cujo lived the best life a dog could possibly have.  He spent his summers backpacking in the Sierras and Idaho, he played in the snow in the winter, he went on long walks 2+ times a day (as often as he could con Jeff into them), he snuggled Jeff on the couch for TV time every night.  He merely had to give Jeff the right look at noon and he got to go out to lunch.  He slept where he wanted, ate when he wanted, and only wanted to accompany his master anywhere and everywhere.  He deigned to let me live in the house and he liked his beardie brothers, but he lived for Jeff.

I made this video several years back, so it doesn’t even come close to covering his whole life but I think it demonstrates the fun he got to have at all times.

Cujo’s last day with us started out as normally as ever – he got to go out to his favorite field and stroll around marking the fenceposts and reading his p-mail.  The beardies went off to the groomer and he hung out with Jeff at home.  Cujo got excited about something Jeff was doing and did the world’s most cute little spazzy dance of joy.  It is likely that this is when he bloated. 

Jeff went out to run an errand and I kept an eye on Cujo while working around the house because he seemed a bit off.  When Jeff got back less than half an hour later, we talked about it and watched Cujo who then threw up.  Jeff went to pet him and found his belly swollen and hard.  They immediately headed to the vet, and I finished up at the house and followed.

By the time I reached the vet’s office (@#$% Lincoln Ave lunchtime traffic), they’d already done an x-ray to confirm bloat and tried to drain off some of the pressure with a catheter.  Cujo was quite distressed, uncomfortable and panting heavily, which would only make the condition worse.

It came down to the fact that Cujo would not survive bloat surgery due to his progressing heart failure.  Our vet, cardiologist and the criticalist at the specialty hospital agreed – we could do the surgery but he was unlikely to survive it and it would only put him through more pain.


In the end, he was sedated and comfortable and we were able to spend time with him before saying goodbye.  Our hearts were broken - and still are.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Rest easy, sweet boy

I had other things I planned to post about today, but life has a way of changing things.

Farewell to one man’s best friend ever.

Ch. Serpentina's C. Artemis CGC
August 6, 2002 – April 1, 2011