Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in Review

Another year of dogs, triathlon and life is in the books!  I could spend all day writing a recap and still miss something but the highlights are captured throughout this blog anyway.  I'm hoping to have a better New Years Eve than last year (where the neighbors tried to blow up the neighborhood with sheer quantity of illegal fireworks) and am spending it in a hotel room with the beardies, while we do an agility trial in Los Angeles this weekend.  With any luck, the lack of houses around here will mean minimal fireworks and the sounds of I-405 rolling by all night will drown them out.

To continue the trend of recapping the year's mileage, I made a pretty little table this year to summarize everything and compare to past years.  I started running in November 2005 and so 2005-2006 were run-only years for me...2007 was the year I got the bright idea to do a triathlon to celebrate my wedding and the rest is history.... This time around I added what my main races for the year were, I think that helps explain the mileage better.

Main Races
Two marathons,         two 1/2marathons,          five sprint tris
One marathon,        one 1/2marathon, three sprint tris, one Olympic tri,       one 1/2IM
Two sprint tris, two 1/2IM,      one IM
Four 5ks, one 10k, four sprint tris, two Olympic tris, one 1/2IM
One duathlon, three Olympic tris, one 1/2IM,      one IM
Swim (yards)
Swim (miles)
Bike (miles)
Run (miles)
Strength (hours)
Total Time (hours)

2012 brings a lot of exciting things...a bunch of new fun races (I LOVE to race!), a road trip to Canada, a boatload of dog activities (agility with Stanley, the show ring with Puck, nose work with all 3 dogs) including the beardie National here in California, hockey hockey hockey, and plenty of good times with those I love.  

I wish you all a happy new year and hope this year is a glorious, happy and successful one!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back in business

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  Jeff flew back into Phoenix on Friday night so it was just in time to get my holiday spirit going.  We ate (and drank) out with good friends several times, we saw a couple movies (Tintin and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - both great!), and I did my best to live on a diet of movie popcorn and Baileys/hot chocolate.  And on Monday afternoon, we packed up and hit the road for home - after about 10.5 hours of driving, we got back to San Jose at 2 this morning.

One of Jeff's gifts to me was a juicer - I'm so excited to have some fun with it!  I went right out on Christmas morning and found the only grocery store open and bought a ton of apples, oranges, carrots, beets, and so on.  So far I've tried the following combos: apple-orange, apple-kale-celery-cucumber-beet, raspberry-pear-cucumber, carrot-orange, and apple-cucumber-lime.  They've all been different but very good!

My coach requested my TrainingPeaks account back today and started filling it in with my January schedule.  That means I only have a few days left of going at it alone to enjoy before it's time to buckle down and get to work for 2012!  Of course, nothing intimidates like the first workout of the year being...a swim test.  This year, I'm not going to obsess about it though, I'm just going to look at it as the chance to set a baseline for all the improvements to come!!!

I'll try not to let so much time go by in between blogging this week, especially since I don't go back to work for another week and that means lots of time to have fun!  If nothing else, my usual year-end recap will be up sometime this weekend.  Have a great week!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vacation Days

I had a few unused vacation days going into this week and no critical work deadlines, so I took a few days off.  That meant there was fun to be had!

With Jeff back in San Jose starting his new job this week, I had 3 dogs to exercise.  The beardies are pretty easy but the puppy is a LOT of work!  Mostly because he doesn't walk well on leash yet and isn't trustworthy off-leash yet.  So we rented some space at AZ Dog Sports to play a little agility (Max & Stan), work a little obedience (Puck), and just make them all tired!

 Unfortunately most of the agility equipment was inaccessible when we got there - I would have spent half our rental time trying to drag it out and set it up (plus blown my back trying to set up the contact equipment) - so we mostly worked obedience and the couple things we could get to.
The dogs have been sleeping happily for hours since we got home!

I've also managed to fit in a hair appointment, a "brow design" and a massage in my couple days off!  I said goodbye to my long hair and hello to fun hair!  It will take getting-used-to though as it goes up into a very very small ponytail!
I hope everyone is having a good week!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dam Jingle Bell Run 5k and other happenings

On Saturday my sister and I joined up with some friends to run a chilly little holiday 5k.  I knew it was too soon to race after IM AZ so I just ran it nice and easy with Meredith while my sister went harder (and won her AG!).  The best part was visiting with my friend Sara's beardie puppy before/after the race and then taking my sister to visit Stanley's breeder and her 10 puppies!

 Homemade cupcakes at the finish line was pretty awesome too!

 Max and I hit the road on Saturday night and headed to Southern California so we could collect Stanley from his dog show in Long Beach.  He had a great weekend and went Best Opposite twice and Select once over the three days.  He just needs one more major for his Grand Championship!
And then my boys and I were on our way to Arizona to join Jeff and Puck!
 The excitement of today is that Puck got his first drool :-)
I also participated in someone's birthday swim today, but I'll let her blog about that!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Training Peaks Ambassador Team

Yesterday I received the very exciting news that I've been selected to join the Training Peaks Ambassador team for 2012.  (They also announced it to the internet here!)
I've been using Training Peaks for over 4 years (over 3 with my coach and for a year on my own before that) to track my training, so this is a wonderful way to connect with a company whose product(s) I fully support!

I expect I'll have a lot more to say in the coming year about the benefits that Training Peaks provides but just a quick summary from my own experience:

  • Outstanding, customizable calendar to view and plan all of your past and future training
  • Customizable dashboard that makes it easy to see the metrics and graphs I want to see about my training
  • Nutrition tracking pre-loaded with just about every food item I've been able to think of
  • An array of tools for training analysis
  • The best setup I've found for delivery of coached workouts and ease of interaction with/feedback to a coach
  • Simple data uploading and great display of information - I LOVE looking at the maps with my path on them as well as all the graphs that go with them
  • All sorts of useful and educational posts on their blog
  • Free webcasts
  • Awesome iPhone app!  I love being able to look up my workout or log it in from my phone!
Anyway, clearly I already have had great experiences using TP and am excited about the year ahead working with them.  I'm unbelievably honored to be among the 20 athletes selected for this role and I hope to make them proud!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Coming Back Down

Wow, 2 weeks without a blog post, that might actually be a record for me.  You know how it goes, sometimes life just takes over - and given how long life took the backseat to Ironman training this year, that's OK.  I've been busy with dog activities and spending time with my husband and working working working so I can wrap up my projects before our corporate holiday shutdown.  It doesn't help that I spent the first few weeks post-race with a bit of a foggy brain but I know that's normal for me too.

So I'll try to summarize everything going on in bullet points!

  • I reacquainted myself with beer.  And it was good.

  •  I used the 100% leaf cover on our lawn to take funny photos of the dogs.

  • I reacquainted myself with pie.  And it was good.

  • The dogs met Santa.  Max was happy, Puck was a little confused, and Stanley was just not happy about the dog in line growling at him.

  •  Jeff had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.  The dogs were eager to help him recover.

  • I've been swimming, biking and running on my own and enjoying a free-form schedule as I wait till January to get back with the ELF for coaching.  I went to a TRX group class last week that was a blast.  I tried a Powerflex class at Ballys this week (a weight training group class).  That was...interesting.  I'm very sore so it was a good workout.  But it was just too much gym-bunny for me.
  • Speaking of swimming, I've enlisted the help of an expert to improve my swim stroke and can already feel the difference as he is totally altering my stroke.  It's ON for IM Canada in 2012.
  • Puck turned 4 months old.  He's about 30 pounds and all leg.
  • I went on a beer ride (ride to the brewery, have lunch, ride home).  It was extra awesome.

  • I gave Puck a twitter account.  PuckSaint can be found here.
  • I put up our dinky little tree.  All that really requires is carrying it out of the garage and plugging it in.  But it took me a few weeks to remember Christmas was coming (Ironman brain strikes again) so this helped get me in the spirit.

  • The boys VERY much enjoyed the cold mornings we've been having.

  • They did not enjoy quite so much their post-bath holiday dress up time.  Stanta is pissed, the elf is in hiding and the reindeer is passed out.

  • I've ferried the dogs around to various activities.  Since Jeff had knee surgery, I took Puck to puppy class last week.  Stanley has done a few shows since he's been home.  In fact, last night I didn't get home until 1am because I was out on I-5 handing him off to his handler who is taking him to a big show weekend with her.
  • I gave a big presentation at work today and despite my sleep deprivation (see late-night handoff to show handler) I nailed it.  And now my whole department has a better idea of what I spend all of my time doing.
  • I'm enjoying celebrating the wonderful things happening to people around me!  I'm so excited for my friend Mary who started with a coach this month.  She's going to see some big gains in racing this year!  I'm also excited for my aunt who signed up for Ironman and started a blog, all in the same month!  And I'm extra excited for my husband, who feels like he's been looking for a job forever but always held out for the right fit - he got the offer he was hoping for yesterday!
  • I got some pretty exciting news myself today but I'll save that for a separate post tomorrow.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Now What?

After a couple days of limping around feeling a little sore, I was ready to fully embrace the off season and all of its delights.  I think, in order, that, sushi, more beer, donuts, more donuts, even more donuts, and pizza.  Followed by more pizza.  And Fat Tire.  The scary part is, I haven't really gained any weight.  Much to everyone's amusement, I'd really LIKE to gain some weight and not sit at race weight all winter.  I was so sick of junk food after the first week though that I greeted brussel sprouts with glee this past Monday.

I drove home after Thanksgiving, took Stanley to a couple days of dog shows (where there was a drive-by shooting), did a body fat dunk test (seriously, did all those donuts mean nothing to you, body?!), went back to work (that went about as well as expected), and have been managing Max being sick.  He's in the midst of a much more intense bout of prostatitis than he had a while back and we're waiting for all his meds to kick in so he can get some relief.  I've made the decision to neuter him now that he's done showing and that is likely to end his problems in this realm.  So my stress levels have been a bit higher than I'd like, without the hard training to boost my mental health.  Oh and the weather sucks too. what?  I've been on my bike for some slow small-ring spins to loosen my legs up. I swam once and my shoulder hurt when I did, so I gave myself a week off swimming to let it heal.  I'll get back in the pool tomorrow (really, I swear) and take it nice and easy.  I'm flying solo for the month of December without a coach, before I get back to training with the ELF in January.  I haven't been self-coached since August 2008 so it's good for me to have a break, even if I did panic when I first got the message from Training Peaks that she dropped me like a hot potato (I kid, I kid).  I'm going to spend a lot of time in the pool this month, take a TRX class (I want to learn more moves than the ones I know and do at home!), and reunite the trio of Awesome (Jen and Lisa) to do a little mountain ride in Tucson around Christmas.

My race schedule for 2012 is more or less set, though I have to wait until January to hear about the Alcatraz lottery.  I still can't decide if I really WANT to get a slot for that race or not...but I'll do it if I get the opportunity!  I'll get around to posting the schedule for next year in the sidebar sometime soon.

Until then, I enthusiastically raise a donut to the off-season!