Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's Getting Fit In Here

You know IM training is hot and heavy when you never find time to blog anymore.  But I'm the fittest I've ever been and getting fitter as I go. Proof?  Here goes...

My favorite TrainingPeaks chart in the dashboard, the Performance Management Chart

This chart covers the entire time period I've worked with my coach, from September 2008.  The blue line, CTL, shows my fitness level.  You can see the build up from scratch to my first Ironman, then the post race recovery, the build up for my A race of 2010 (Austin) and the subsequent recovery, the build last year to IM AZ, and now this year - my blue line at its highest point ever!  Just a few weeks ago I was marveling that I was almost to the peak I reached last year and now the heavy training I did in May just launched me past that.

Who knows how far it will go in the next 3 months before IM Canada?!

Monday, May 28, 2012


Since last week's race, I've been back at training and at it hard.  The holiday weekend afforded me even more time to train my ass off.

I kicked things off with my longest swim of the year so far.  3750 yards and it actually went by comfortably!  Always more fun when I get to do it in one of our nicer local pools.

On Saturday I rode and rode and rode some more...75 miles alone in the wind and cold and hills.  I did get some lovely views down at Uvas where I raced last week.

Off the bike, my instructions were to run the hilliest course I could find.  I planned ahead by parking at one of the trailheads for Quicksilver County Park, which is SUPER DUPER hilly. Even my coach said so when she saw my data :-)  Surprisingly I had a pretty good run, even though it had gotten sunny and hot by the time I was out there.

I spent the rest of my day in a zombie-like state, consuming as many calories as possible.  Because Sunday I was back on the bike for a warmup and then off for a long run.  By the time all was said and done, I had ridden 85 miles and run 17 miles, in the space of 26 hours.  I don't remember the endorphin rush being quite so painful in the past...

Stanley joined me for a recovery nap after all that.

No matter how trashed I was, the boys still require their walks!

This morning, I started the holiday with a nice recovery swim with a Twitter friend at Redwood Shores.  The water was so calm compared to last time I was there!

And with that it was time to enjoy the rest of the day with a BBQ at our house.  The boys wore themselves out playing and begging guests for food :-)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon 2012

I was hoping to wait for race photographer's photos but I've waited 5 whole days and you snooze, you lose, so now the photography company misses out on me buying photos.

So!  I had originally planned to race a sprint up in Auburn last weekend but doing a local race instead saved me on travel costs and it meant I got to go back and do a race I haven't done from start to finish (I've done a relay) since 2008.  This was a nice race to do at the end of a rest week - to kick off another big training block and to get an idea of where my fitness is at the moment.  I love this course - Uvas is a beautiful reservoir and I ride these roads all the time and for whatever reason I always love this run - it's hot and a little rolly and done all right alongside the reservoir.  Plus I got to do it with lots of friends, including my agility teacher who was doing the swim as part of an all-agility-handlers relay team!

I got down to Uvas dark and early on Sunday morning and was situated in transition about 5 minutes after it opened.  It turned out I didn't pick the *most* ideal spot as the bike-out was not where I thought it'd be - I was at the bike-in but not bike out, but it worked out alright anyway.  Since I would not be right near the exit, I opted to clip my shoes into the bike and rubber band them in place so that I didn't run through all of transition in my bike shoes.  Then I pretty much just hung out with everyone and chatted until it was time to start the race.

Headed down to the swim start with my agility teacher Tania - I started taking agility classes with her for Max 9 years ago!
Photo by Channan Fosty
Uvas Reservoir at dawn
Photo by Channan Fosty
The lake was 71 degrees and the water felt fantastic when I got in to warm up.  The wave starts went by quickly and before long I was swimming up to the start line and floating around waiting for the horn.  I felt totally relaxed and eager to finally get my first tri of the year going!  The horn blared and we were off!

I kept a nice steady relaxed pace through the swim, just working on reaching long and good body rotation and sighting.  I was able to breathe bilaterally for the first time in a race, thanks to all the work I've been doing with my swim guru Tim.  Before too long, I was making the last turn and heading in to the boat ramp.  The nice part about having fast friends who are doing relays is they are there to cheer for you when you run out!

Swim: 33:30 (0.90 mi)  All my stroke re-work is paying off!
Swim in 2008: 36:39 (for 0.75 mi)

Trying to balance and remove wetsuit at the same time...
Photo by Channan Fosty

(Photo by Tim Chadwick)
And then it was off to ride my bike! (See those shoes already clipped in!)
(Photo by Tim Chadwick)

T1: 1:10
T1 in 2008: 2:17

The 16 mile bike around Uvas and Chesbro reservoirs is a constantly rolling delight - very few flats but lots of up and down.  I ride this route fairly often from home so I was excited to really go hard on it.  Coach wanted me to cover up my power meter and just RACE it, so that's what I did.  It was hard to get my nutrition in because I was pushing just to the edge of nausea but I still took in what I needed on schedule.  I spent most of the ride passing people and was hardly ever passed, that's a first for me!  It was FUN!
Hard hilly fun!
Bike: 52:50 (16 mi, ~18.3 mph which is great for me given all the hills)
Bike in 2008: 55:59

When I got close to transition, I pulled my feet out of my shoes and pedaled in the last stretch to transition.  I did mess things up slightly right as I came into the dismount chute, when I let one of the shoes go and it hit the ground and dragged.  I didn't realize at the time but it actually fell off my bike.  I kept going but thankfully Tania grabbed it for me.
See? There's a shoe missing on one side! (Photo by Tim Chadwick)

T2: 0:29 - YEP, you read that right
T2 in 2008: 1:24

Finally, to my favorite part, the run!  This 5 mile out-and-back course rolls a little, basically all in the direct sun, but I've always enjoyed it.  I took it easier the first mile, then aimed for steady-hard effort and pushed it hard to the end in the last mile - turned out to be a beautiful negative split each mile!

Run: 39:11 (5 mi, 7:50 avg)
Run in 2008: 42:36
Finishing strong! (Photo by Tim Chadwick)

Total Time: 2:07:10 - near a 12 minute PR!
Total Time in 2008: 2:18:56

Last time I raced at Uvas, I came in somewhere in the bottom third of my age group.  This time I was in the top third!  That plus a 12 minute PR just goes to show what all my work with my coach has done! I went right back out after the finish to do a cool down jog and run some of my friends in to the finish.  It was great to finally get the 1st tri of the year under my belt, as the next one will be a 1/2IM in June.  In the meantime, the heavy training continues!!!  

Thanks to my wonderful coach for kicking my ass on a near-daily basis, my awesome ART guy Dr Justin Brink for keeping me from falling apart in between workouts, TrainingPeaks for the chance to represent them out there (discount code on the sidebar!), and my friends for the cheers and photos!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Food Fight

I still owe a race report on my first tri of the year this past weekend but I'm holding out to see if there were any good race photos.  In the meantime...

With our 5-year wedding anniversary coming up fast, I was reminded yesterday why Jeff and I are a good fit for each other.  Our (rare) fights are so stupid that we can't take ourselves seriously when we have them and end up laughing more than anything else.

We're planning to host a BBQ on Memorial Day and so we've been going back and forth over what food to order (because we're not really up for cooking for a large crowd lately, as busy as we've both been).  I suggested a particular bulk-family pack deal at a local BBQ place and insisted that buying a few of those would be enough food and in fact more than the catering menu item Jeff wanted to order which would cost twice as much.  My parents have ordered this family pack before and it's fed 8 or 9 of us at once.  Jeff insisted it wasn't enough, that my family doesn't eat a lot, that I probably don't remember the actual size accurately (gasp!), that the website says it feeds four (bullshit!).  I was annoyed that he wouldn't believe me - and a little tired from my workday  - and said something like "I don't even want to fucking talk to you anymore!" put the beardies on leash and took them for their evening walk.

When I got back, Jeff was out walking Puck, so I took the opportunity to grab my car keys and cellphone and head straight to the BBQ restaurant to pick up one of those family packs.  20 minutes later I was back home with a huge bag of food which I tossed on the counter and said "Here's your fucking dinner, asshole."  Right as he handed me the list he'd made up of what he wanted to order for the party and it had my item instead of his on it.

Dinner ended with the words "You were right, I was wrong.  It's a lot of food and it feeds way more than 4 people."  And both of us cracking up at each other.

Thank goodness I'm married to someone who gets me or Ironman training would cause damage around here!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Double Double Toil and Trouble!
Yesterday: Long ride all over the south valley in the morning, then a long ride on my trainer in the afternoon, followed by a run off the bike on the creek trail (my tri club was putting on a Chick Chaser 5k so I timed it just right to get over there and run my 30 minutes in the 90 degree heat - ugh!  At least I got to see Jill!).!
Today: Long run on the coast in Santa Cruz, followed by a 1 mile swim around the Wharf with my agility teacher and my tri club, then another run this afternoon in the heat.

Toil...yeah, that's what I'm calling my long swim on Friday, full of long sets but the "best" was clearly the 1500 straight with 50 fly every 250.  My coach loves me, she really really loves me.  And I'll be damned if my freestyle didn't get faster every single 250 after that 50 fly.  Between masters, more masters, my weekly swim lesson, the Coach Really Loves Me swim, and the open water swim, I swam more yards this week than ever before.

Trouble...that would be me.  I just knocked off the hardest strongest training block in recent memory and I'm still feeling a bit spunky.  Yes, I'll probably feel like ass tomorrow (and most of the week) but training right now has me feeling SO EXCITED to race!  Now it's finally time to rest and let my poor legs recover a bit, but they should have a little spark in them by next Sunday when I tackle a local sprint that I last raced 4 years ago.

Have a great week!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I think it's hard to be successful in modern life without some multitasking skill.  It would be just about impossible to be ME - crazy overscheduled always-busy me - without a lot of multitasking talent.  Right this minute, in fact, I'm eating lunch, writing a blog post, fielding work emails, and listening to a TrainingPeaks webinar. No big deal, right? Haha.

The reason I have time to squeeze in a blog post today is because I only had one workout to do and it was done before 8am - what a pleasant break!  And one I am enjoying fully since I had 3 workouts yesterday and have 2-3 every day for the rest of this week.  Just 4 little days left until this tough training cycle is done and I'm so pleased with how it's gone.  There has been some really tough work done and my body is holding up.  I have a feeling by the time I get to my 2nd run on Sunday, I will be ready to be DONE and just in time.  Once again, Coach will have nailed it just right as far as pushing me right to the point of not wanting to train anymore and then letting me rest.

Speaking of rest, I took a 2 hour nap in the middle of the work day yesterday.  I never nap.  But I could feel my body needed it so I just went with it.  I was much more productive when I got back up.

Yes, I know I'm rambling.  See Multitasking above.

The other day, I got my schedule for the last week of May and went "Oh shit I really am training for an Ironman!"  Funny how that sneaks up on you sometimes.  I just realized my volume has been a little above 1/2IM training and now it's about to take a leap.

Coincidentally, I also noticed the other day that I'd been out of chocolate for 3 or 4 days (miraculously I was so busy over the weekend that I hadn't realized it).  I immediately panicked, broke out an emergency bag of chocolate chips and then drove to the grocery store.  While confusing the Whole Foods clerk immensely (doesn't everyone buy only veggies and chocolate bars?), I remembered those Groupon-ed Easter candy bars I hid somewhere in the house.  Moral of the story - don't run out of chocolate while training for Ironman, or you will lose brain cells.

I'm getting in the ocean this weekend for my first OW swim since IM AZ last November.  I'm not quite sure how it happens that I can go an entire 6 months without open water swimming but there you have it.  I'm curious to see how it will feel after all the changes I've been putting into my swim stroke.  A few weeks ago, my swim guru put wrist weights on me (about 3 lbs, I think) and had me swim with them on to work on high elbow position and a strong pull all the way through the stroke.  I love how he manages to come up with innovative ways to make these little changes to my stroke that are not intuitive to an adult-onset swimmer.  And he's so nice I can't even hate him as I'm struggling through a 25 because the extra 3 lbs of weight around my wrists is causing me to sink to the bottom of the pool.

It's almost time to get off this webinar and go back to the office for a meeting (where of course I will also be eating, Facebooking/tweeting/reading blogs, and texting my husband asking what's for dinner), so I'll stop the babbling now.  I hope your week is going well!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rest in Peace, Maurice Sendak

Author of my most favorite childhood book ever, Where The Wild Things Are, and many many more.
Then all around from far away across the world Max smelled good things to eat so he gave up being king of where the wild things are

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Divas Half Marathon

As I mentioned last week, the plan was to train right through the half-marathon this weekend.  I had some tough mid-week workouts and then a double long ride on Saturday.  Just what you want to do right before a long run race, right?

My first Saturday ride was just a nice rolling "go out and ride" kind of thing.  Our riding buddy George went with me and the company made the time pass easily.
 I had enough time between rides to run home, shower, eat lunch and relax for a little bit before it was time to head out again.  Lucky for me, George wanted to ride some more!  This time it was hill repeats up the access road to the IBM Almaden Research Center, followed by more "just riding."
The view from the top, back down the road

After my Saturday rides, I had to clean up and head north to check in to my hotel and meet friends for dinner.  We had quite a large group of friends doing this race, from as far away as the east coast.  I was looking forward to seeing Andrea again for the first time since I cheered for her at IM CDA in 2009.  Among the many other friends in attendance, my blogger friends included Meredith, Mary, my aunt Johanne and Clarese.  I was super excited for my college roommate Lisa who was doing her first half marathon ever!

In an *ahem* overly pink race, one thing I was adamant about was not going all out in pink.  There were an abundance of tutus, tiaras, sequins and more, including tiara and feather boa aid stations on course.  The people watching was phenomenal.  My personal favorite might have been the balding mullet-headed middle-aged man who ran shirtless, with painted-on abs, carrying a leash that went around the neck of his bedazzled tattooed significant other.  There MUST be some photos on the internet of that somewhere!  We had heard that there would be firefighters handing out medals at the finish line.  What we didn't realize at the time was...they'd be quite...muscular shirtless firefighters (you think I'm kidding).  Hmmm, thanks for the eye candy?
Just a handful of the friends who were racing
(Photo by Mary's husband)
As it turned out, Andrea and I ran together stride for stride for the entire 13.1!  She just did the relay runs at New Orleans 70.3 2 weeks ago so she wasn't looking to push quite as hard this time, and I had very specific heart rate instructions to follow as a training run on tired legs.
(Photo by Mary's husband)
Even with a nice restrained run that was 10 minutes slower than my 1/2 marathon PR, we did quite well overall in the race (I was 24th/686 in my AG and 159/3558 total).

Mary, Andrea, me and Johanne - finished and blue standouts in a sea of pink!
(Photo by Mary's husband)
ELF athletes!

While I was off doing race things, Stanley was going Best of Breed at the dog show in Hollister!
Stanley LOVES Shannon
 Winning is thirsty work!

Aahhhh, much better!

I have a couple easier training days and then it's right back to the tough stuff leading into one more big weekend.  THEN, finally I will get a rest week :-)  Have a great week!

Thanks again to TrainingPeaks for the comfy race kit and getting to represent in this crowd with something not pink!!!