Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So Much To Say

First an update on dog life around here…I’ll blog separately for the rest!

Max joined me at a work function a couple weeks ago – he was SO good, just hanging out under the picnic table and being so quiet some people didn’t even know he was there!  It helped that I snuck him a lot of BBQ chicken.

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Here is Stanley flirting with one of his girlfriends the same week.

When he went to Reno for the dog show 2 weeks ago, he stayed one night with my friends and their Havanese.  He tried VERY hard to get someone to play with him.

And here he is going Best of Breed that weekend! 

Begging for El Pollo Loco this past Friday night.  It must be good luck because he went BOB both days at the show this past weekend!

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At agility class yesterday and happy to be there!

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Today Melissa’s dog Jemma visited while her owner went to work.  It only took 8 hours but they all wore each other out.  Here, Max is pissed to be forced to sit with the other two, Stan is sheepish about Jemma talking him into getting all muddy, and Jemma just wants someone to THROW THE DAMN BALL!!!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

A Raging Case of Randomitis

Another round of playing catchup via bullet points.

  • While I was training my ass off last weekend, Stanley was kicking ass at the dog show in Reno.  I’m hoping to have some video to share with the photos I was sent but it hasn’t come yet.
  • In any event, he went Best Opposite on Saturday and then went Best of Breed on Sunday!  He came home with 7 more points towards his Grand Championship, including a 5-point major.
  • My swim race last Sunday was just a C race, so I felt no shame in deciding last minute to drop down to the shorter distance and only do a 1-mile swim/3-mile run.  This decision was validated when my arms felt like lead 5 minutes into the swim and I did nearly all of the mile alone in no-man’s land.  At this stage of the game, I know better than to kill myself for what is simply a training day.
  • As I posted on Facebook today, it’s nice to know my life/training is at a point where the solution to just about any problem is...eat more.  Wake up feeling like ass? Eat until it goes away.  Legs hurt? Eat more.  Brain fuzzy?  Eat more.
  • The only time this has backfired on me was yesterday when I was hit with what I can only assume was a quick burst of food poisoning.  The only explanation I can come up with is that I made a mistake when handling the dogs’ raw food.  Let’s just say I suffered for about 4 hours before pharmaceutical intervention succeeded.
  • Thankfully I was able to pull my shit together (um, literally) in time for my afternoon massage where I let someone new pound the hell out of my legs (my massage therapist of the last 3 years has gone off to nursing school *sob*).  New girl wasn’t bad, at least pretended to laugh at all my jokes, and found all my problem areas with ease.
  • Training is going remarkably well!  I had a FANTASTIC long run yesterday morning, over 15 miles, where my legs still felt pretty fresh at the end.  Thank you, compression socks and Recovery e21.  I may have been won over into the camp of wearing the socks on my long runs.  I guess that means I should wear them racing too?  Hmmmmm.
  • This week will match my 2nd or 3rd heaviest training week ever, back from the couple biggest weeks I did training for IM AZ in 2009.  It’s awfully funny to be headed into the weekend having put some solid efforts in and still have 9 hours of training to go.  Then, I can rest…a little recovery time to let all this training sink in and taper for Big Kahuna!
  • It’s amazing to be just heading into my biggest part of the year as the season is over or nearly over for others.  Somehow it’s already time to think about next year!  There are races to sign up for and since things sell out fast, you’ve got to get on them quickly.  My calendar is marked for a few items next week :-)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I’d Like to Write a Post About My Day

but I am too tired to say much.  Photos will have to suffice.

We did a wonderful 85-mile ride up at my new favorite riding road Silverado Trail (very similar to IM AZ in terms of flat to gradual elevation changes and wind).

It was so foggy when we started, you could barely see the hills and couldn’t see the mountains.

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I brought fast men to chase this time.

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Occasionally they let me get close before they took off again.

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So I spent a lot of time amusing myself.  And eating, eating, eating.  I think I took in about 3x as many calories as the guys.

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Eventually, on our second loop, the sun did come out.

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We went up a random hill, just because I was curious.

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I’m not sure the guys were as amused with my side trip.

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We ended our day at the nearby Silverado Brewing Company.  I’d promised the guys I would drive them to and from Napa, plus a trip to the brewpub, if they rode with me.  I ordered a spinach salad and a lamb burger, minus the bun, and combined them for a fairly healthy and very pretty recovery meal!

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Now, time to sleep.  Because – oops – I forgot I have a swim race tomorrow!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Santa Cruz International Triathlon Race Report

I know, it’s late in coming.  Even the people who know all the details don’t quite believe the week I’ve had.  IN-SANE.  So perhaps this race report won’t have all my usual long rambling details (because I can barely remember my own name at this point) but it’s getting done so Meredith gets her report!

Anyway…

On Sunday I headed down to Santa Cruz for this Olympic-distance race!  My aunt and uncle and of course training buddy Nigel were all racing it.  Last year we all did the sprint together.

After waiting through the pro/elite wave and the mens wave start (each wave 15 minutes apart), the women were finally ready to go.  We took off from the beach and dove into the chilly ocean water.  Swim swim swim for one loop, run across the beach, and dive back in for a second loop.  That one seemed to go quicker and I was out of the water in my fastest Oly swim ever.  32:27.  5th in AG. 

Serious face?

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From there it was a long run up the beach and down several city blocks to transition.  The sidewalk was under construction so they made us run on the road.  My feet are STILL bruised from this.  In n out of transition quickly and onto the bike.  T1: 0:54.  1st in AG. 

The bike was 4 loops around Santa Cruz.  Many of the women I’d started with were doing the aquarun so it felt a little quiet out there but I just kept plugging along.  I sent my race wheel with my Powertap back to Saris last week for repairs so I was racing without data and just trying to go off of feel.  I learned on the first loop where the “fast” segments were and pushed those harder on the subsequent loops.  Before too long the bike was ov-ah!  1:17:05.  6th in AG.

One loop after another…

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T2: 0:37.  1st in AG again.  Yay me! 

As I rolled into T2, I had seen a friend headed out on the run who said “Well there you are, what are you still doing out there???”  OK then, my mission was to run her down!  Heading out on the run the sun finally came out and things warmed up – I tried to hold a steady-hard pace and see how much I could get out of it.  I messed up my Garmin somewhere along the way in the race so I was flying somewhat blind on pace in the run too.  I hoped to run down as many women as I could but I only passed a handful, including tearing right past my friend 1/4 mile from the finish line.  50:21 (8:07 pace).  1st in AG.  And a new 10k PR by 1 second :)

Look, Ma, no touching the ground!

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Nigel was waiting for me at the finish as he’d started 15 minutes ahead of me.  We knew with his swim skills I’d be unlikely to catch him but I did beat his race time by 20 seconds – something for him to think about next time :)

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With Nigel and my uncle – I’m not sure what happened to the photographer when my aunt joined us after the finish.

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In all it was a 13 minute PR for me at this distance and I ran myself into 2nd place in my AG! 

Fun little podium moment!

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Even better was that my friends/family podiumed too!  Nigel and my uncle Dave went 2nd/3rd in their AG and my aunt went 2nd in hers!

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Next up is Big Kahuna 1/2 IM in ~3.5 weeks – lots of heavy training to do before then though! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ode to the iPhone

I swore I didn’t need one, that I wouldn’t get one, that I had no interest…oh how I was mistaken.  And I’m willing to admit it.

I wonder how I survived without it now.  Suffice it to say, my iPhone is the best recent addition I’ve made to my technological life!

  • I can check my email quickly and not have to wait wait wait for each browser page to load for each email as I did on my work Blackberry.
  • I can check-in places on Facebook (though some who have to see my Facebook feed all day might disagree that this is a good thing).
  • I can identify a new song that I’m hearing, buy it and download it all in one fell swoop.  No more anxiously waiting for the radio to play it again and trying to guess who does it.
  • GPS mapping to get me anywhere I’m going without packing a separate device.
  • I can find the closest Starbucks to wherever I’m at, just in case I need a frappuccino fix.
  • I can create, edit and upload home movies without my laptop computer and some fancy software.
  • I can listen to podcasts while driving.
  • I can Yelp from wherever I’m at to find whatever I’m looking for.
  • When I stumble down the street in the dark walking the dogs at 4:45 am, I can use the Star Walk application to identify all the stars, planets and constellations in the sky.  Even if it makes my neighbors think I’m photographing their houses.
  • I can quickly look up gluten free menu items and ingredients when we eat out.
  • I can watch my TV shows anytime, anywhere.  I’m no longer tied to what Jeff is watching on our TV!  I’ve been watching lots of shows on my trainer – the phone fits perfectly on my aerobars!
  • Two words: Angry. Birds.  Need I say more?

And now, that’s 2 blog posts in a week – I feel like I should throw myself a parade or something! :-)  At least I am not the only one having difficulty finding time to blog. 

It makes me wonder what on earth I did last time around (slack at work) but there’s no doubt this year: I am definitely training for Ironman.*

*most recently evidenced by my request to Jeff to pick me up baby wipes and Desitin at the grocery store**

**Get your minds out of the gutter.  Baby wipes are the easiest way to clean up enough post-long-ride when you have to be in public and can’t go straight home to shower.  Desitin…well…I may need it with all the upcoming time in the saddle I see on my schedule.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

*insert blank look here*

I’ve been trying to start a blog post for days and my brain keeps freezing up.  As such, I’m apparently incapable of tying together the disparate components of my life in one neat pretty little post.  So I’ll just do the random bullet point game and hopefully you will excuse me for my limited Ironman-training brain.

  • You know you’re riding long when the nutrition for one ride takes over more space on the kitchen counter than your food.

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  • I hammered out my long ride Saturday at my best pace to date.  Definitely loving the new bike.

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  • I had fog for the first 50 miles and didn’t pull my arm warmers off until somewhere around 65 miles.  I won’t tell you how proud I was to be able to get them off without stopping…

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  • It turned out I’d parked in a great location for my run off the bike – right onto the Napa River Trail (trail to the left in the trees).

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  • While I was running around all weekend exhausting myself, Stanley was showing beautifully in the ring at the Richmond Dog Fanciers’ show in Dixon.

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  • My Iron appetite has gone missing.  I’m not sure if it’s something to worry about or just one of those things about absorbing your nutrients better being gluten free.  For once I’m really nailing my fueling on the workouts so maybe I’m just not running as calorie-deficient?  I’m totally eating meals and snacks, I just haven’t hit that starvation mode I remember from last time around.
  • Stanley and I wrapped up the obedience class we’ve been taking with a little graduation Monday.  He REALLY wanted his graduation cookie but sat nicely till I was done with the photo.  The LOOK he gave me though!

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  • We had to teach a trick for graduation day.  I don’t know a lot of exciting tricks to teach dogs (mine all know shake, high five, etc) but we cobbled this together from our agility touch training.
  • I let Max tag along to Stanley’s agility class last night – it was his first time back at class since he injured his neck over the July 4th weekend.  You’ve never seen a dog SO HAPPY just to be at his old stomping grounds, even if he was just watching.  After class I let him run with Mary’s golden puppy Essie and did a bunch of tunnels with him – he was in heaven!  Every tunnel he took, Stanley bounded over the A-frame above it – the boys had FUN.

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  • Speaking of Stanley…on the off chance someone is here for the dog stuff and not the triathlon stuff LOL, he has what should be some very nice puppies due up in Washington in a couple weeks – feel free to contact me if interested and I’ll pass you on to the breeder.  In addition, we hope there will be some more coming along in the Midwest in a couple months.
  • Today is 8 years since Jeff and I got together.  Time does indeed fly when you are having fun!  What are we doing to celebrate? Um, well…he’s off to backpack in the Sierras and I’m racing this weekend.  I guess that makes us an old married couple for sure! :-)
  • And that’s about it for my weekly brain dump! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Moments in Time

Lindsay started this last week with a post about random meaningful moments caught with the cellphone camera.  I have only had my phone for a little over a month but I managed to dig up some pictures to share :-)

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Probably the first photo I took with the iPhone – Jeff at lunch at Britannia Arms on a summer day

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Our view most of our days in Cabo.  Hard to believe it’s been over a month since we were there – where did July go?

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My sweet Max and his beloved soccer ball.  He likes to fetch but is extra-obsessive about fetching soccer balls.

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Bike riding in Northern California – it kinda all looks like this year round!

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Wet dogs in jail – they were not pleased with this option.

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San Jose Giants game last week.  I love our little local stadium and the small-town feel.  The cheap tickets and food help too :)

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Wet Stanley.  They look like drowned rats at bathtime.

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Dry Stanley.  I can smell the clean coat from here!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Whirlwind Weekend Saga

It was another insane weekend of travel, activities and training!

The dogs and I headed up to Sonoma County on Friday afternoon.  We took the scenic route and checked out my intended long ride bike course along the way.

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We were up north because my brother was going to be racing the full Iron distance at Vineman!  I spent Friday evening running errands in Santa Rosa, hitting a cute local gluten-free bakery and getting dinner at Whole Foods before trying to go to bed early.

And so we were up bright and early Saturday (ok, maybe a little grumpy and tired but it was 4:30 am after all) to drive out to Guerneville for the race start.  After some major pre-race drama, things got going and Robert was off for a long day of racing!  Once he hit the roads on the bike, I drove the beardies over to Beth’s house to play with their sisters for the day and then drove myself to Calistoga for my long ride!  I’d been tipped off that Silverado Trail was a great place to ride, roughly 27 miles long with only one stop sign the entire way and a nice big bike lane.  It did not disappoint!  (Well it might if you get tired of views of grapevines and hills)

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And 4 hours later, I was done with my longest ride of the year so far.  I even had a really good run off the bike, I could have done it all day – I think I finally got my fueling on the bike just right.  Then it was time to swing back to get the (now tired) dogs and get over to Windsor to spectate the race again.  My brother had just headed out on his first loop of the run when I got there so we had time to get settled in with the family.  The boys enjoyed all the attention!

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Putting together a great race, Robert finished his first Iron distance triathlon looking strong!

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From there it was a 2 hour drive home for me and the mutts, a quick unloading of the car and off to bed at 11:30pm to try to get some rest for the next day’s workout. 

I wrapped up the week Sunday morning with a long run.  My instructions were to do a HILLY TRAIL, so I went up Lexington Dam for the first time in ages (possibly have only ever done this on my mountain bike) and then further up the hills behind it.

You can barely see the path running across/up the middle of the dam going to the left.

Here’s what it looks like from below as you approach.

Dam photos stolen from this site, I didn’t run with a camera.

And with that, I was done, exhausted, FINISHED for the week.  We saw Cowboys & Aliens (very fun movie) and otherwise I sat around in a tired daze all day and tried to eat a lot.

Hope everyone had a fun weekend!