Monday, March 30, 2009


I’m starting to get twitchy. 

12 days until my first race of the season, and I’m already having race dreams.  You know the kind, right?  Wherein you

  • get lost on the way to the race (because of a comet that is about to hit Earth) and show up late and miss your wave
  • forget some critical item you needed for the next leg of the race or spend a lot of time fumbling around looking for it in transition/your car/a cabin in the woods surrounded by dinosaurs
  • have to do some crazy out-of-order race like bike/roll a log through the forest/run/shoot your way off an island of prehistoric deep sea creatures/swim with bike gear on.

Come to think of it, Jeff’s addiction to SciFi Saturday may be my undoing.

Many of my friends are racing this upcoming weekend at Oceanside 70.3 or New Orleans 70.3.  I know these are early-season races and yet I feel so behind the curve because I’m not doing much yet.

I keep telling myself, it’s just a sprint.  Not in any way meaning to demean the race but to remind my brain that there are longer races to worry about this year and why the hell does it keep obsessing over this one?

Anyway, 12 days and counting.  One more week of good hard workouts to prep my body for what lies ahead and then likely a lighter week in anticipation of my first race effort of the year.  Next week, I will allow my mind to worry about planning, making sure my gear is laid out, and begin to formulate a race plan. 

At the very least, I will consider race day a success if I make it out of the water without being eaten alive by guppy-sized mutant pirahnas, complete the ride without being plucked from my saddle by a hungry pterodactyl, and outrun the stray Mansquito.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekend In Review

Yes, I still managed to cram this in before the weekend was over!

On Friday night, I went with Jenn to my first bikram yoga class. The room is heated at around 100 degrees and you sweat like crazy. It felt FANTASTIC for my sore and tired muscles. I wore one of my new lululemon tops for the occasion.

Saturday morning started off with a bang as one of Max’s (benign) tail cysts burst and I rushed him to the vet to get it cleaned up. A little shaving, a little draining, some bandaging, and a round of antibiotics and we were good to go.

Then I was off to downtown Los Gatos for a run with hill repeats. I found myself a nice steep hill and was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t completely dying after a few rounds up and down. The rest of the day was a whirlwind of activity – shopping, dog training, hockey game, etc.

We launched Sunday bright and early with the long ride of the week. My dad, his coworker Sasha, Nigel, Jenn and her husband David joined me for a nice hilly route from Almaden to Morgan Hill and back.

Less than 1 mile into the ride, my dad got a flat tire. Notice he packs rubber gloves just for the occasion.

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Eventually though we were off on our way, beginning with half of the San Jose International Triathlon route. It was the first time I’d climbed the Bailey hill and I was pleasantly surprised how good it felt. From Calero Reservoir, we continued south and looped into the Uvas Triathlon route.

The exciting thing to see was Uvas Reservoir has its water back! If you’ll recall, our last visit nearly 2 months ago found it bone dry – not a good sign for May’s race. Today it looked lovely – made me want to dive in and swim!

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Dad at the top of the “Buffalo” hill

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David and Sasha at Uvas

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Jenn is happy I took a picture of her without food in her mouth

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Unfortunately heading back north from Uvas meant one thing: HEADWINDS. Thankfully everyone (meaning *me*) put on their big girl pants and took on the wind knowing it would make them stronger. Or something like that.

Nigel on the return trip over the Buffalo, thankful that we’re only 12 miles from the end

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With 1 mile left in the ride, my father got another flat tire – he found a screw that went through both his tire and tube. How frustrating to have to change a flat so close to the end.

Jeff did not join us to ride today because his hockey team had a playoff game and he wanted to be in form. He joined us for lunch after the ride and then we headed off to his game. Go Ice Pirates! There were some ups and downs but they won the game quite handily and move on to the next round of playoffs. And I even managed to not smack a delusional fan in the stands who was being a sore loser. Trust me, it was an accomplishment today.

Tonight Melissa and I went to a free yoga class at the local lululemon store. I would guess that this class was closest to a flow yoga class. More downward dogs than I ever want to do again in my life, but it was good for me. Melissa completely rocked it and I’m jealous of her flexibility.

Tomorrow I have a rest day in training and I’m planning on another bikram class to stretch out my sore muscles. I’m taking on more yoga where I can going forward, as my massage therapist suggested it to work on some of my especially tight areas (in addition to making friends with the foam roller and quadballer). If I’m lucky, maybe this will mean I cry less when she sticks her elbow in my glutes?

Training totals for week 14 (March 23-29):
Swim: 4300 yards
Bike: 76.7 miles
Run: 15.4 miles
Strength: ~0.25 hour
Total time: ~10 hours

(plus 2.5 hrs of yoga)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A little planning goes a long way…

Yesterday I had a bike/run brick on my schedule.  I usually do my workouts in the morning.  It has been this way since I started running 3.5 years ago and discovered what happens when you run right after eating a lunch of cherry tomatoes. 

Anyway, yesterday I had to be at work for some meetings and could not get my training done in the morning.  I motored through my day without thinking much about eating and then headed out on the ride when I got back.  There wasn’t a lot of thinking that went into this….

Should I take food on the bike?

Nah, it’s only an hour!

(of hills)

(and I just ate a hollow chocolate bunny, that’s enough, right?)

Should I take water?

Nah, it’s only an hour!

(of hills.  with a 1/2 hour run off the bike afterwards)

Um.  Yeah.  So…I felt OK on the bike.  But I was slower on the run off the bike than usual, a little overheated (did I forget to mention the weather is suddenly warming up?), and a little weak by the end.

It’s not rocket science, kids, but some days…I’m just a moron.

Enter today, where I was barely able to squeeze in masters swim in the dark before dashing to the office for an early morning meeting, leaving me still needing to do a run with hard intervals later in the day.  This time, I actually *thought* about it in advance and planned accordingly.  I ate a couple frozen waffles before swim, I had a Luna bar after swim, I had fruit and oatmeal and juice at the office during my meeting.  I drank a bottle of water and a bottle of sports drink.  After noon, I got home from work, popped into my running clothes and headed out the door.  Despite heat and a LOT of Z3 intervals, I felt great and energetic. 

I even had to drop Jeff back at home partway through the run because he couldn’t keep up with me.

Wow, this whole FUELING thing actually works.  Duh.  Like I said, rocket science….

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I am about to post something that a number of triathletes might find quite blasphemous.  Compression (tights, socks, funny looking full body suits) has become quite the hot thing in triathlon.  The rationale is that it helps to promote muscle recovery by stimulating circulation.  I started trying compression products in January and I have no doubt that they work – I definitely think my legs are less sore the day after hard efforts.

What I will say that is controversial is that I don’t think you necessarily need fancy, triathlon-specific compression products to achieve the same effect.

I tried a relatively expensive pair of compression tights.  Now, yes, I am a moderately petite person but their XS size was still too large.  There was no compression of anything above my calves.  The tights were too long.  AND the seam that ran the length of the tights rubbed me behind the knees leaving welts.  So.  That didn’t work out so well.

I tried a pair of compression socks from a different company that I also bought at  While I felt these were effective from a compression perspective, the price tag was not negligible.  They were also very thick socks, which was not especially comfortable in warm weather.

Finally, I began and ended my “test period” with plain old cheap compression socks from the drugstore.  I tried several brands and had similar positive results.  At $5 a pop, I don’t feel bad wearing these into oblivion and then buying a new pair. 

So there you have it.  $$$$ bike? Check.  $$ running shoes? Check.  Cheap-ass compression socks? Check.  Apparently, that’s how I roll.

On a different note, I had my annual performance review today.  All went well, no worries there.  I am spoiled with my work flexibility and having such a wonderful boss.  I just had to laugh at one line in her summary on the last page, where she made a reference to triathlon and agility: “I must point out that Molly accomplished all these goals, delivered top notch results while balancing her work with family/personal interests and hobbies…”[and then goes on to discuss my uber-efficient use of time]  I never think of myself as especially efficient with my time – I just do my usual multi-tasking thing – but I hope that this is what will get me through the intense year of training ahead!

Monday, March 23, 2009


Maybe it was because I started out completely inexperienced in the show ring, with Max who is not a “flashy” dog, but I never really cared much about wins.  I loved my dog and he was beautiful to me, and that was all that really mattered.  Max’s route to a championship was slow and arduous.  When it came, it was more of a checkbox – now we could spend more time on the fun stuff: agility!

Showing Stanley was a different sort of experience but mostly a relief that he was so easy.  I was a better handler and he racked up his championship points to finish at a much younger age, then followed it up with a championship in a second country.

Showing at our National Specialty last October was a debut of sorts, Stan’s introduction to the “big boys” (and girls) in the breed.  Again, I love this dog and he’s gorgeous to me but I don’t generally spend time thinking about how others in the breed assess his strengths and weaknesses.  Frankly I was shocked when Stanley won his large 16-20 month dog class in the Sweepstakes and well beyond that when he took Best Opposite Sex in Sweepstakes (with his sister going Best in Sweeps).

Today I finally got a copy of the judge’s critique from the show.  Suffice it to say, I am tickled pink with the praise heaped on the puppy dog.  (So why do I still have such a hard time with praise directed at me?)  If you’re not a beardie person, you’ll have to trust me that this hits upon the high points of structure in our breed.

“Littermate to my Best in Sweepstakes bitch, this 19+ month old boy of correct size and lovely outline is already a finished Champion.  Nice head with good dark pigmentation.  Angles well balanced and not exaggerated.  Appealing flow of neck into firm, strong topline and well-rounded croup.  Very sound to go over with correct depth, shape and length of rib.  Gaited freely with balanced movement.  I was pleased to award him Best of Opposite Sex in Sweeps.” – Judge Tom Dixon, 2008 BCCA National Specialty


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finishing Strong

We all made it home to California by Friday night. I don’t remember much about that evening except spending it in a vegetative state staring at the television before falling asleep. Saturday was a whirlwind of activity – bike trainer workout, obedience class with Stanley, Sharks day game, a quick nap, then out to Los Gatos with Nigel, who missed us while we were gone and needed some intense catching-up beers with Jeff. While the boys reveled in their Jagermeister shots, I ate pasta and drank water and wondered how I’d be feeling in the morning…

This really has been a great, huge, long training week, with my long ride and run in Arizona as well as two long swims. Today I wrapped up the week with a training run at the Mermaid Run. The Mermaid events are a local, all-women series of races (running and triathlon). I did one of the Mermaid sprint tris back in my first year of triathlon (the hardest OW swim I’ve ever had). Many of my Smofit racing friends had been training for the 5K or 10K at today’s race and when I saw a 50-minute run on my schedule for the day, I couldn’t resist – I asked Liz if it was OK to do it within the race, provided I did not blow my workout instructions and “race” the race. It was really exciting to see so many strong women tackling the distances for the first time or the thirtieth time, supporting each other throughout the race. It was freeeeeezing cold and drizzly and windy before the race start, and then just cold and windy for the actual race.

Our 10K crew – Justine, Sara, Melissa, Chris and me

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Two of our 5K racers Christina and Meredith, with cheerleader extraordinaire Marcia

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I ran with the camera too, because clearly I wouldn’t be able to go out too hard while juggling a camera, right? Here is a view along the San Francisco Bay shore where we ran.

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I love this finish line photo of Justine pushing herself hard for a new PR!

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After the race, with Meredith, Mary Sue (who I did not see before the race start - she finished her first race since hip surgery – it is so good to have her back again!) and Christina

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Go Melissa go!!!! Being paced in by Chris and Justine to finish her first 10k!

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So how did my workout go, you might ask? I was a good girl and stuck to my prescribed heart rate zones and paces and whatnot. But you see, I have not run a road 10k race in 3 years, not since just after I started running. And you know, what a shock, my body has improved a bit since then. I ran a new personal best 10k time (by 6-7 minutes – this course was actually 0.2 miles longer than a 10k) and placed 5th out of 72 in my age group. I literally jogged in to the finish line on my cool down, so I couldn’t be more amused by this!

And so, another week ends. A very good training week, full of work that I know will pay off down the line. When I consider that this week's mileage was comparable to the week of tri camp, and that I felt DEAD after camp, and that I feel GREAT today, it is especially encouraging!

Training totals for week 13 (March 16-22):
Swim: 5000 yards
Bike: 87.3 miles
Run: 19.7 miles
Strength: 1 hours
Total time: ~12.5 hours

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dear X…

It seems today’s post will be a bit of a rave for products/companies I am having fluffy thoughts for at the moment…

Dear San Jose Sharks, I *heart* you no matter what.  We sure did have nice seats at least on Tuesday night.

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Someone please tell Wayne Gretzky to stop fake-baking.  It is NOT attractive.

Dear lululemon, how did I not discover you until yesterday?  Your clothes are so cute (but expensive) and I thought I was going to have to wipe drool off my husband’s chin when I wore one of your tank tops out to dinner last night.  He insisted on returning to the store today for more.

Dear Saturn of Scottsdale service department, you rock.  You are incredibly fast, inexpensive and a delight to deal with.  You never try to talk me into extra service I don’t need.

Dear Louis Garneau, I love the new Flow running singlet and shorts I picked up on last week’s visit to  The top even had a pocket I could stash my camera.

Dear legs, thank you for a rockin’ long run today.  Even though I haven’t treated you very kindly lately – and have in fact heaped on the abuse – you powered me through 11.5 miles from the car dealership up into McDowell Sonoran Preserve and back.  Over the course of this run, the temperature went from 57 to 81 degrees!

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It all just seems to go up!

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OMG my ass looks huge.

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Dear Scottsdale, I will miss you.  Sadly, all good things must come to an end.  We head home tomorrow morning.  Every time I hear Krista talk about Rocky Point, I know exactly how she feels because Scottsdale is the same kind of place for me.  This trip went by too fast and it’s hard knowing I won’t be back for more than a weekend until October.  That said, with temps starting to hit the 90s, the dogs will be VERY happy to go home.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Swim. Bike. Run?

On Monday morning I swam in my favorite pool – the El Dorado pool run by the city of Scottsdale.  It is clean, beautiful, open long hours, cheap, and always has lane space.

I am somewhere in this picture, I swear.

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Life as a pool gutter is BORING.

This is how nice the pool is – this photo was taken underwater – look how clear it is!

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After my gazillion-yard swim, I spent the day at another favorite place – the Willow Stream spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale.  A total indulgence when I can afford it, this place is all about pampering.

Today it was time for our epic ride!  We’ve always done somewhat boring routes when riding long in Arizona so I was excited to get out and enjoy the desert with some distance and hills!  It was a BEAUTIFUL day of wildflowers, green hills, and cacti!  There was also quite a lot of headwind – my eyes are still bloodshot hours later!

On the Beeline Highway (part of IM AZ course)

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Jeff had to take a work call after we passed Shea

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Climb, climb, climb

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A little downhill on Bush Highway before more climbing

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The hills around us looked so green!

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Saguaro Lake (and cactus gives you the finger)

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On the return trip, Jeff was not up for any delays (he was having a bit of a rough day).  The road closed due to flooding sign did nothing to dissuade him from crossing the Salt River on McKellips.

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My brick run off the bike was not a stellar one.  I had to cut it short due to an upset stomach.  But I learned one more nutritional product that will not work for me, so it’s a success in its own way.

Now that we’ve recovered a bit, we’re headed across the valley for a hockey game.  Happy St Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy Dogs Come From California

But they sure like Arizona a lot.

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Stan is a mellow boy who relaxes in the shade after a game of fetch

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Max always wants more and is not afraid to tell you about it

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Everyone with a Chauncey son knows this bark by heart!

Week. End.

I wrapped up my rest week today with a bike/run brick.  Jeff and I rode out to/on the Beeline Highway (part of IMAZ ride).  It was exciting to finally get on part of the course with my bike!  We waited until nearly noon so it was warm out but also windier. 

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Melissa will be proud that my fashion did not clash with my bike.

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Looking at this picture I am reminded that my aero positioning is not particularly aggressive.  But it is comfortable.  Being as short as I am, I can’t raise the seat any without losing the bottom of my pedalstroke.  Perhaps at some point I will lower my handlebars – we will see – as I said, it’s quite comfortable as it is.

Afterwards, I did my run on the Scottsdale Greenbelt.  All in all, it was a great workout day and a positive way to end the week!

Training totals for week 12 (March 9-15):
Swim: 5300 yards
Bike: 32.6 miles
Run: 9.4 miles
Strength: 0.75 hours
Total time: ~7 hours

Saturday, March 14, 2009

S is for Saturday

Swim: I started off the morning with another swim test.  My last one was 8 weeks ago, before I went to tri camp and had my stroke analyzed by Liz and Jen.  (When I saw this on my schedule, I believe I sent Liz an email that went something like “You hate me.  You *really* hate me.  Another friggin swim test?!!”)

Despite the trepidation I felt going into the test, I tried to focus on the task at hand.  I decided to pretend it was another workout at masters and to just work one 100 at a time (the test set is 10 x 100 all out with 0:10 rest between them).  I will not lie – it hurt.  My shoulders hurt, my arms hurt, and I’m pretty sure I threw up in my mouth a little on that last 100. 

Then when I got out of the pool, I was hit on by a one-legged man who liked my Bling Bling Splish.  It took some work to extricate myself from the conversation.

Here is an excerpt of Coach’s comments on my test:

Yet again another fabulous test!  You have dropped ANOTHER 7 seconds from your 100 pace…Since we started you have dropped nearly 20 seconds from your 100 pace. That is quite impressive progress!!!


Sun:  Jeff and I went to our first spring training game of the year today. San Francisco played San Diego, though so few people at Scottsdale Stadium actually watch the game it is hard to tell sometimes.

I would rather see the Cubs but that’s all the way in Mesa and we’d have to drive.  It’s much more convenient to walk 2 blocks to see a game (and much easier to stumble home if one has been drinking at the game).

View from the outfield grass

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It gets quite crowded out here

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Most of the people hang out behind the stands drinking and never even realize there is a game being played!

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Even the standard attire seems very non-sporty to me.  Clearly I am too much of an athlete these days!

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Sushi: The best part of my entire day was saved for this evening!  We went to our favorite sushi place in Scottsdale and stuffed our faces.  Between the two of us, we had uni (sea urchin) nigiri (*gag* this is Jeff’s favorite), ikura (salmon roe) nigiri, unagi (freshwater eel) nigiri, 2 orders of salmon sashimi, shrimp tempura roll, spicy tuna roll, and softshell crab roll.  We mowed everything as fast as our sushi chef could make it.  Here is one plate just moments after arriving.

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Jeff didn’t want to be in any photos but for some reason I was happy to pose with a giant statue in old town Scottsdale.  I blame the beers I had with dinner.

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Sharks: Nearly my final S for the day.  We are watching the hockey game. 

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And then it will be time for…


Friday and Friends

We kicked off our visit to Scottsdale with a lovely ride around Camelback Mountain.  The weather so far is perfect: high 70s with clear and sunny skies.

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Then it was time for a nice 120-mile drive south to Tucson.  It was mostly dull flat scenery along the way but every so often there was something to appreciate.

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While Kate was doing her long run as part of camp, I amused myself with stops at Trisports, Target, Whole Foods, and Taco Bell. 

I have to say, the people of Tuscon were so welcoming and friendly.  Especially the truck driver on I-10 who held up a sign asking me to show him my kitties. 

I’m sorry, Sir, I have no kitties, only dogs.

Oops, that was not a “k.” 

No, you can’t see those either, my apologies.

Eventually I caught up with Kate and company at a beautiful resort in the Tucson foothills.  I met Marit and chatted with everyone while the athletes cold-dipped their tired legs.  Kate and I toasted her camp adventures!  Believe me, that woman is stronger than she gives herself credit for.  She climbed miles of Mt Lemmon with a tri bike (not as friendly climbing gearing as a road bike) – I wouldn’t even want to climb the hill back to their resort!

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The wonderful athletes at Jen’s camp were generous enough to let me crash their group dinner and hang out with everyone for the evening.  And then finally they were all zonked and ready to rest, while I had to get going on the 2-hour drive back to Scottsdale.

I’m so glad I was able to see my tri friends on this trip!

Saturday’s plans: swim test, baseball game, sushi!