Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bring On the Taper Goodness!

Today I wrapped up my peak week for Boise with a lovely warm open water swim with friends. 

Not quite.


Today I wrapped up my peak week for Boise with a frigid open water swim with wonderful friends who get up early on a weekend to swim with me.

Much better.

Nigel, Steve (who will do the swim leg of the Big Kahuna tri on a relay team with Nigel and Jeff in October), Melissa and I headed down to Santa Cruz for a swim early this morning.  Chris met us there and we all trooped down the beach. 

Hmm, it feels rather chilly out here today, we thought as we put our wetsuits on.  Well, let’s get on with it…toes in first…YIKES!  Oh yes, another 55 degree day in the water of Northern California.

After 5 minutes of water polo stroke with heads well out of the water (the better to complain about frozen body parts), we were finally warmed up enough to swim and reach the first buoy.  From there, the gang headed out for a swim around the pier while I stayed and did my workout between the buoys (the pier swim is about a mile and I had a shorter workout on my plan for the day).

When I was finished, I grabbed my camera, headed for the other side of the wharf, and swam out to wait for them to come around.

Waaaaaaaay off in the distance by that boat, I can see them

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Getting closer!

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And then there they were!  Happy smiles from Melissa

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Steve and Nigel are pleased with their first open water practice

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We spotted a baby sea lion hanging out under the wharf

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Done and time to warm up!  Nigel, Melissa, me and Steve

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Nigel, Steve and I had to hurry home so we could clean up and head out with the gang for a rugby match between Ireland and Team USA.

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The highlight for some fans might have been when one of the US players had his shorts ripped off during a particularly rough play.  He had to be brought a replacement pair.

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Jeff, John, Nigel, Alex and Steve made for a wonderful time at the game, even with the draconian alcohol policies that were enforced (we’ve previously been to games at this venue and not faced restrictions that meant you could not drink AND watch the game at the same time).

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It was nice to have such a short workout day and be able to spend some quality time with family and friends just relaxing.

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Training totals for week 23 (May 25-31):
Swim: ~6080 yards
Bike: 53.2miles
Run: 20.2 miles
Total time: 10 hours

(plus 2 hrs of yoga)

Next up, the volume starts to come down.  I think I smell a TAPER!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

This is Not the Ride You’re Looking For

For my key-workout brick at the tail end of peak week, we thought we’d try a new bike route, mix things up a little, break the monotony. 

Note to self: Stick with same-old, same-old and boring.

Extra special for today’s ride, we got friend (and blog-reader-but-not-commenter) John to ride with us.  John was a dogpark/pub friend who left us in suburbia to procreate in Bend, Oregon.  John, his wife and the Golden Child are in town for the weekend and someone convinced him we’d be taking him out for an easy ride.  Oops.

And so we headed out on a chilly calm morning feeling good about the ride we had in store!  Jeff got this shot of Nigel, me and John cruising along.

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Warning sign #1 that this might not be the ride you were looking for: It comes recommended as a fun, easy ride by someone who regularly rides with Chris Lieto.  Yep, I let that one just fly past me without considering it.  Oops.

Warning sign #2: All the fucking windmills.  I have driven this pass on the way to agility trials many mornings and they’ve been motionless.  We got an exceptionally early start today so that we would beat the heat and wind that usually comes later in the day.  Oops.

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The first moments of concern came when I felt endlessly buffeted by crosswinds on a long steep downhill and started to worry about being blown over.  I had been several minutes ahead of the men up to this point and slowed so much to descend safely that they flew past me downhill and took off.

An aerial view of the pass so you have some idea of the scale of the windfarm. This is just a small piece of miles like this.  Our road was the one on the bottom.  You know, right where the wind has to blow through to get to the windmills?

The highlight (NOT) of the outbound trip was definitely when I got tossed around between the crosswind and the pull of a tractor trailer truck going by at high speed – the guys were all behind me and watched me get whipped back and forth before regaining control of the bike.  As we neared the turnaround point the wind got stronger and I got a little more nervous.

When we turned back, I discovered the full scale of what we’d be facing – 40mph headwinds, at least, going uphill most of the way.  I don’t mind the climbing at all, but I was nervous from the way I was getting tossed around in the wind.  I had to stop and take a little moment to consider my options – biking back was pretty much the only one (“can I just wait and have someone pick me up and finish this on the trainer at home? Nope.”).  Having just bandied about the big-girl-panties line over the mild hills, I had to put my own on to face the wind.  Thankfully Nigel pulled me on his wheel through the first part and then I was able to alternate holding my own with riding behind one of the men for a small bit of wind protection. 

Unfortunately I was not able to fully defend myself from the elements.  A little extra wind gust, a little squidgy bike handling close to my husband, and I went down.  Luckily, while going less than 8mph uphill into strong winds – it might have been my easiest crash ever.  The bike fell on top of me so I saved it from further injury.  The saddle did slap-chop my calf though and leave a wicked cramp that took a while to work out. 

Quick stop on a brief stretch with lighter winds

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We ground it out mile by mile until finally we were cruising in the valley back to our cars.  I think it’s safe to say everyone was relieved to be done.  Except Jeff who thought the whole thing was fun and not the slightest bit difficult.

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My workout was not completed though – I still had 30 minutes to run off the bike.  John and Nigel headed home; Jeff – always the saintly sherpa – sat in the car while I ran around suburban Livermore.  Given everything that had taken place on the bike, I was pleasantly surprised to have a nice run!

I have a great little egg on my left knee where it hit the ground.


I have no idea if spinach salad, hummus and pita, a handful of walnuts, and breakfast cereal (knockoff organic Lucky Charms) make for a good recovery meal, but that’s what I had.

And then we got all of our old dogpark/pub friends together for a little dinner reunion.  As usual, it did not disappoint.  My face hurts from laughing so hard and I’ve lost my voice.

Everyone got a chance to meet the baby.

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And then Nigel’s Drunk Faces began. 

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I actually really decided to edit down the photos I posted…you know, in the sense of fairness to intoxicated people and all.  He claimed he was feeling all-powerful in the presence of petite women…but what role does the baby’s toy play in it?  Hmmmmm.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009


The blog has been quiet this week but life has not.  It just hasn’t been anything utterly exciting to report on.

Training carries on.  I did my last pre-Boise long run on Wednesday, with several long stretches at race pace, and NAILED IT.  I was quite happy with myself for that.  That morning I had tired legs but gave myself a little attitude adjustment and I was off and feeling great. 

I took Max in for a rabies shot so he can be licensed for another 3 years.  This will probably be his last one and we will titer next time he is due.  I already stopped doing the other boosters on him after he hit adulthood.

Stanley is giving off small signs of maturing.  I don’t know why it should surprise me – I do remember what happened with Max between 2 and 3 years old – but it does.  There is a glimmer of a brain under all that hair and he’s had several brilliant agility classes in a row to display it.  Running full courses nicely, sending ahead through the weave poles on his own…slowly it is coming together.

Just my Friday-Saturday-Sunday workouts remain and then I think I start the ssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh taper.

Luckily there is still quite a bit of training on my schedule for the next couple weeks.  Less volume but still work.  Because the taper and I, we have a strange history.  We make each other just a wee bit crazy.  The kind of crazy that Google searches every ache and pain to determine what major injury is indicated, the kind that looks for projects to do because the brain – probably more so than the body – can’t handle not doing anything, the kind that takes pre-race planning obsessing to a whole new level.  Oh yes, fun times ahead, my friends! 

But for now, I am excited about the present.  Friends who are racing this weekend that I am excited to cheer for (through the internet), a new cycling route on Saturday, an open water swim with friends on Sunday.  Bring on the weekend!

Monday, May 25, 2009


Normally my rest days fall on a workday and so I am busy despite not doing any workouts.  But what is a type-A triathlete to do when a rest day falls on a national holiday and there really is the freedom to do nothing?  Sitting still does not come easy.

Take the dogs to the beach.

Can we go now? How about now?  Now? Leaning…

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Probably the one stationary photo I have of all of them together

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3 dogs going 3 different directions

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Stanley doing his Swamp Thang impression

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The only one who seemed to understand the word “stay” today

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10 second clip of them all running around

Bathe sandy dirty wet dogs.

Sad Bath Face

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Owner of patent on Sad Bath Face

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Black-dog BeardieShake

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Grey-dog BeardieShake

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Take a 2-hour nap after all that bathing.

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Go to the nursery on the hunt for plants that can survive 3 male dogs.

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Buy food.  Food makes triathletes H-A-P-P-Y.

I realize I visit either Whole Foods or Safeway nearly every other day.

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Dry and brush newly-clean dogs.

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And if you are Stanley, use a game of fetch to sneak in some box practice.

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Install the newly purchased plants.

Use non-triathlete spouse (with the injured back –oops!) to do the hole-digging.

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While planting, use camera to capture the old man in his happy place (and happy because he can’t see the camera).

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BBQ.  Or watch your spouse BBQ.  Same thing, right?

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Go to bed early.

(because tomorrow is swim-bike brick/work/yoga/workworkwork)

See? A very relaxing rest day.  :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009







I left out a HUGE rave for today.  NO CHAFING on the bike!!!  NONE of the saddle pain from last week.  I wore the same tri shorts and rode on the same saddle, so I can attribute 100% of the improvement to a new product I found and tried after lots of internet research last week.  (By the way, no matter what you do, do NOT google saddle sores or you will spend the rest of the day convinced you will need a doctor’s intervention)

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to Crotch Guard Skin Care Oil for making my undercarriage very happy.


Last night I packed and prepped and laid out all the essentials to a good brick today. 

Exhibit A: The Refrigerator.  Chocolate milk for recovery, concentrated bottle of Infinit for the ride, bottle of Carbopro/Nuun for the run, and one candy apple for a good post-workout sugar high.

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Our ride plan was somewhat confusing today.  I was going to start at the top of Crystal Springs and ride to Nigel’s house (Leg 1), where I would meet up with Nigel, Chris and Andrew to ride back to Crystal Springs (Leg 2).  They would then do the return trip to Cupertino with Jeff (Leg 3), who would meet us at my starting point (as it turned out, he drove me there and then spent 3 hours in the car reading the paper and waiting).  While they rode back, I would do my run off the bike and then drive down to meet them.

When I set off from Crystal Springs at 6:30 am, I had not anticipated such cold coastal fog and frigid temperatures.  *shiver*

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If that was unexpected, it was totally shocking that 3 hours later the sun had STILL not broken through the clouds and the wind had only intensified. 

Back at Crystal Springs – the group for Leg 2 of the journey – freezing cold and eager to get back riding

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And Jeff, joining everyone else for Leg 3

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As it turned out I still had 20+ minutes to ride when we arrived, so I turned around and rode back down the hill with the tailwind, knowing I’d have to turn around in 10 minutes and fight my way back up into a headwind.  Fun stuff!

My run off the bike was much better than I anticipated and gave me some confidence for Boise.  Yes, my legs will be tired after the ride, but they will also settle down on the run and respond, as long as I keep “feeding” them a steady diet of carbohydrates.

When I got back to Nigel’s house post-run, this is what I found.  Yes, my peeps know how to recover properly.  Me, I have 20 more days before I can partake. *sigh*

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After some quality recovery eating at BJ’s Brewpub (mind you, I even made smart decisions there and ordered the lettuce wraps instead of the pizza and nachos I really wanted), Jeff and I cleaned up and got ready for Jenn’s graduation party.  With a hard workout in the bag, I *had* to wear compression socks (specifically my pink Recovery Socks), so it was just a matter of brainstorming how to put them together into a party-worthy outfit.  It turned out a Lululemon tank and running skirt tied it all together perfectly.

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So yes, ladies, you might look a little like a candy-cane stripper, but there should be points awarded for coordination.  If nothing else, Jen Harrison should appreciate this one.

At the party with Jenn, now an official nursing school graduate!

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A quick moment to pimp out my friend Jenn.  If any readers have connections in nursing at Bay Area hospitals, Jenn is a reliable, smart and caring nurse-to-be who I can vouch for as I’ve known her since we were 13 years old.  She needs to get a paid nursing job so she can buckle down and devote the remainder of her spare time to triathlon training!

Training totals for week 22 (May 18-24):
Swim: ~7160 yards
Bike: 83.8 miles
Run: 18.0 miles
Total time: ~11.75 hours

(plus 1 hr of yoga)

Next is…PEAK WEEK!!!