Friday, July 31, 2009


Long drive to Wine Country: Check.

Leaving at 9am allowed us to avoid most of the insane traffic that plagues Highway 101 north of San Francisco, but it still took us about 2.5 hours. 

Short brick workout: Check.

The river water felt – in my opinion – wetsuit legal but still warm enough to be quite comfortable.  I’m excited to get in there tomorrow!

Race check-in and expo: Check.

Thankfully the longest expo line ever went by quickly and we were checked in!  I am going to be very happy to see this finish line tomorrow.

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Race meeting with friends: Check.

Melissa and Blondeez are so ready for the Aquabike tomorrow!

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Pre-race packing/organizational panic: Check.

It’s all been pulled together, packed, and is ready!

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Gnomey antics: Check.

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Obligatory pre-race photo of Chris with her gnome: Check.


Catch you on the flip side, gnomies!  Tomorrow is going to be great fun!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rolling With My Gnomies

The morning started with a call from my father, expressing doubt if he’d be able to race this weekend because his office was underwater.  Literally, a water main up the hill broke and flooded the building.  Luckily by the time I got over there to see if I could help, the “disaster recovery” folks already had most of the water vacuumed out of the building and things were drying nicely.  No major damage to the test equipment was sustained and they’d all be back to business as usual on Monday.

I spent most of my rest day being a lazy slug, surfing the internet and occasionally working, with my feet up.  I did however catch up on a chore that I’ve been behind on – dog grooming.  Max and Stan got extensive brushouts so I would be leaving behind neat and clean dogs.  Poor Max had some gum caught in one paw pad that I can to chop out!

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I’m essentially packed, other than some sports drink prep that needs to be done in the morning (T2 items have to be dropped off tomorrow).  Most importantly, our Smofit mascot “Giant Garden Gnome” is ready to go as well.  I don’t know about giant but he’ll be hard to miss on course.


I’ll try to update again tomorrow night when we’re settled in the hotel and done with the expo, check-in, athletes meetings, etc.  Today I am feeling eager to just GET. IT. ON. already.  I must be tapered and rested, I’m full of jumping beans and ready to go!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Race Numbers and Live Tracking

Yay! There will in fact be live race day tracking on Saturday, via Athletes Lounge at this link.

My race number is going to be 1392! 

My dad is 1212 – that is a great number!

Alrighty then, I guess this thing is real! :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

6 Days to Go!

It wouldn’t be a taper if I weren’t convinced I was critically injured in a way that would alter my race for the worst. 

If you remember, last time around I was certain 1 week before Boise that I had a torn rotator cuff, somehow caused by being blown off my bike in heavy wind.  Of course, by the time race week rolled around and I hopped in the pool, my shoulder felt fantastic and I had to acknowledge it was more likely the pain had just been soreness from my shoulder hitting the pavement after a 40mph gust of wind.

This week, the purported injury of the moment is shin splints in my left leg.  In fact, I’ve found a nice knot in my left calf (after spending all that time at the massage therapist getting one worked out of my right calf) so there is some basis for this theory, but as I’ve iced and stretched and rolled and rolled and rolled it appears to be improving.  I’m still not raring to run right this minute and will give it a few more days to rest, but I should be OK.  Saturday’s run was pain-free and fairly comfortable and zippy!

After my last longish pre-race ride this morning, I’ve more or less spent the day planted in front of the computer tracking my friends racing Ironman Lake Placid.  One more left to cross the finish line and I can finally go eat something!

I’m feeling surprisingly calm about racing right now.  I don’t have anything packed but I have until Friday.  The nice thing about this race is knowing the course like the back of my hand.  It’s my turf, baby, and I LOVE the course.  Just do me a favor and think wetsuit-legal thoughts!

Training totals for week 31 (July 20-26):
Swim: ~6780 yards
Bike: 43 miles
Run: 15 miles
Total time: 8 hours
Plus 1 hour of yoga

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Poor Stanley

He wants to know why he can’t have his girls over every night.  When they went to bed, he climbed in to snuggle for a few minutes before going to sleep on the floor next to them.  He enjoyed watching chick flicks with us all crammed on the couch together.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

And We’ll All Float On OK

Once again, it’s almost time for the weekend.  For once though, I am not completely overscheduled.  Yes, there is a swim and a bike and a run (but shorter ones!), and a slumber party with my sisters on Friday night (chick flix and pizza with three 14-year-olds) and a birthday party for blondeez on Saturday night.  But really, it’s looking wide open from my perspective.  It will be a good weekend to focus on rest and recovery and prepare for the coming week.

After Monday, the week has gone reasonably well!

I’ve been super-productive at work, probably making up for how unproductive I know I will be next week! 

I had my traditional 10-days-before-race massage on Wednesday.  A LOT of time was spent working on my tight calves – something that’s only developed for me recently.  Is it the increased bike work?  Running shoes that were close to retirement?  With no way of knowing for sure, I ditched my older pair of shoes and will be rolling the calves out regularly till they are happy.  I’ll just add that calf work is NOT pleasant – who knew that could hurt more than having knots worked out of my glutes?  I am always reminded of Marit’s experience at ART as I grip the table in pain.   Itsgoodformeitsgoodformeitsgoodforme.  On the positive side, it’s always nice to be told “I LOVE working on you - you are so athletic, it’s like an anatomy lesson every time as I can find and identify all the muscles because yours are so developed.”  *grin*

I conquered a tough peak-week brick today, starting with power intervals on the bike trainer and ending with a run that made me want to hurl.  As it turns out, when you have to put your head down and hold an uncomfortable wattage while dripping in sweat, love or hate her, Lady Gaga is the best soundtrack on the iPod for keeping the cadence up!

The run afterwards involved a build and then keeping a fast pace for the last 15 minutes.  I did it – barely – but not happily.  My legs are still paying the price for yesterday’s massage.

Thankfully tomorrow is a Rest Day!  I went to yoga at lunch today and was pleased we did a ton of leg stretching – just what my hamstrings and quads and shins and calves needed.  I’m already decked out in the compression socks (oh how they will love these at Stanley’s agility class tonight) and supportive shoes.

I’m not really thinking about it yet, or doing any planning or packing, but there’s this little race coming up in just 9 days…  At this point, I know I can finish the half-Iron distance.  But I have goals that were not accomplished last time around and it’s time to put my nose to the grindstone and make them happen.  After Barb’s Race, the focus will turn to Ironman training and that’s a whole different beast. 

Good luck to everyone racing IM Lake Placid this weekend.  I will be glued to the computer on Sunday cheering for everyone!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Crabbypants, Party of One

Just in case anyone ever thought training for endurance sports was all rainbows and puppies…I thoroughly dispelled that myth yesterday. Exhaustion from the weekend, facing a tough Monday at work, and other events all conspired to create a perfect meltdown wherein I spent the afternoon nauseous and/or in tears.

  • I did not discover till Sunday night what my long ride that day had done to me. Knowing that my tri top rides up in the back, I always put sunblock on my lower back. Well, I missed a sliver. More like a wide swath. I sunburned so badly on my lower back, you would think I have a huge tramp stamp tattoo. It's huge, it's very dark red, it's painful, and it scares the crap out of me.
  • I woke up tired and not well rested enough (in part, I'm sure from the shivering I was doing from the sunburn), yet couldn’t drag my sorry butt out of bed in time for my morning swim.
  • I went to the office, where the feeling of being overwhelmed hit immediately, and that was BEFORE my boss started proposing some new projects for me and I completely freaked out and told her ACKITSALLTOOMUCHNONONONO!!!!
  • I ate crappy fast food for lunch because I was craving red meat too much and had no time to buy and make something of higher quality.
  • My high school reunion invitation came. This is where the shit really hit the fan for my day. I’m not attending as I’ll be racing that weekend anyway, but many classmates who live out of town or have children or are teachers expressed disappointment that it is scheduled during the school year and not in the summertime. What we didn’t know until the invite came was that it will also be AT the high school, and yet still cost $45 per person. My high school experience was about what you’d expect for an all-girls Catholic school, not too bad (though there were a couple incidents that happened to friends that I will not forget) and not the best 4 years of my entire life (how sad would my life be if it were?). I don’t hate my alma mater, but I don’t feel any sort of undying affection either. It’s where I took classes for 4 years and that’s about it (my sister was going through cancer treatment for most of my high school years and there really wasn’t time for much in the way of extracurriculars, slumber parties, sports, etc). I understand that other people regard the place as a significant influence in their lives – OK, good for them. Anyway, a flippant remark on Facebook about the setup for the reunion made by a cranky tapering triathlete led to World-Freaking-War III as apparently that meant I was insulting everyone ever associated with the school (again, can you tell it was an all-girls school?). And it more or less ended with the implication that I’m not allowed to have a public opinion on the subject. Good grief.

Thankfully, I put at least some semblance of a positive spin on the day with a dog walk in the sunshine, half a beer (I can’t seem to get past the halfway mark anymore), agility class with Max (who was still very tired from the trial also), and steak dinner prepared by the World’s Best Husband.

Onward to today, where a much better day was had. After all the weeks of drill swimming I’ve been doing post-Boise, I finally got to go back to masters!!!! And my lanemates claimed I was faster. OK, I paid them to say that, but still!

So there you go, kids, don’t ever assume that training days are all fun and games. And…perhaps it’s best to stay the heck away from me when the IM taper begins?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Roller Coaster Ride

Agility trial weekends always make for a roller coaster ride of emotions – you’re up, you’re down, you’re laughing, you’re confused…you have it all.

I kicked off the weekend by deciding Friday afternoon to bathe both dogs in the heat of the day so they’d be fresh and beautiful for the trial.  I’m a sucker for clean fluffy beardies.  Our preferred method of air-drying is a good game of fetch out in the sun.

Now that the trial is over, the first thing to say is… I’m fried.  I don’t mean tired this time (though I am), I mean literally burned.  I wore pants to cool, foggy, coastal Carmel on Saturday and didn’t think when I switched to shorts as it was still cool and often foggy/cloudy. 

Oops.  Can you believe – all the training I’ve done this year and this is the first sunburn I’ve gotten?!

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Our highlights from the SMART USDAA trial:


  • Stanley in PI (Starters) Gamblers: Spent a lot of time wondering what he was doing there and looking overwhelmed.  He did get his dogwalk contact (once he finally got on the thing!) but that’s about it.
  • Max in PIII (Masters) Standard: Clean run, but 1 second over course time – bah!  3rd place though!
  • Max in PIII (Masters) Jumpers: Clean run - completed his PIII Jumpers title!
  • Stanley in PI (Starters) Jumpers: Stanley finally woke up and realized what he was doing there!  Even with a couple bobbles, he finished speedily and won his class. 1st place!!!


  • Max in PIII (Masters) Snooker: Nice controlled speedy run and won the 22” Performance class of 15 dogs!  1st place and a Super Q!!!

All in all, I can’t complain about the boys a bit.  Stan showed he is coming along, and Max showed he’s still an eager and willing partner who wants to work for me at anything.  Even with the runs we didn’t nail, he tried so hard and I’m very proud of him.

When I got home after today’s show, it was time to head out on my long ride for the week.  Nevermind that it was already 90 degrees out, it had to get done so off I went (properly equipped with salt tabs, water, etc and coated in sunblock).  It was not pleasant but it wasn’t as bad as a run in those conditions.  I’m sure it was good for me, as we’re still not sure what Mother Nature will bring for Barb’s RAce but it’s likely to be warm.

Another week done and gone.  And I think I get to say it now…TAPER TIME!!!

Training totals for week 30 (July 13-19):
Swim: 5660 yards
Bike: 68.4 miles
Run: 16.7 miles
Total time: Just shy of 10 hours
Plus 1 hour of yoga

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sharing the Fun

Today I introduced one of my sisters to the joy of open water swimming.  Since I bought a new Xterra suit with the Vineman coupon code, I had my old one for her to use and it fit her perfectly!

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She even broke out some butterfly in the lake!

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My dad, in the meantime, tried to blend into the buoys

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My dad and sister

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Me and my sister

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At 13-almost-14, she did great in her first OW swim, zipping past all of us and cruising along in the lake.  A few more practices and she’ll be ready to race the Catfish Swim with me in September.

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The beardies and I are doing an agility trial in Carmel all weekend.  Knowing that I’m close to tapering, I figured I could fit in a trial with my training.  This is a new venue, on a golf course and supposed to be really nice, so I am looking forward to it.  Given the close proximity to the Central Coast, the weather should be relatively cool too.  Hopefully we will have some nice reports from the weekend!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Agility Video!

Here is Max’s qualifying run in Performance National Standard at the July 4th USDAA trial.  Almost blew it on the last jump but we pulled it off!  If we can manage one more of these sometime before mid-September, I’ll be running him at Nationals (officially known as the CynoSport World Games, or something like that) in November!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Flying Hairballs

We were lucky at the beardie playdate the other night to have the hosts’ good friend the photographer there to capture the action.  I had to share some of the best of the bunch.  All credits to Tim Raiman.












Monday, July 13, 2009

Completely Inspiring

If you haven’t already, head on over to IronMakeover’s latest blog post and look at the short video on her friend Mary, the 90-year-old triathlete.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Time Warp

Ever since training picked up the pace this year, I feel like I’m stuck in a time warp where the weeks blur together, one to the next, the weekends zip by in a flurry of training and eating and sleep, where I’m left still wondering what happened to June much less the first half of July.

I guess busy = happy so I shouldn’t complain.

(By the way, this image, and many like it, also comes up when you google time warp. Interesting…)

Friday was a rest day. The way the week was going, I took the rest notion to heart big-time. I slept in, I went to yoga class at lunch, and I scheduled a spa facial for after work. I even napped in the “quiet room” at the spa, and I ended the night reading a good book with my snugglebugs.

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After a quick swim and run on Saturday, Jeff and I hopped a plane to Long Beach for Jeff’s college roommate’s annual beach party. I got to watch Jeff play volleyball while I drank bottle after bottle of water trying to stay hydrated for Sunday’s training.

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Gosh I love that man.

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Even when he’s covered in sweat and sand.

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Today I headed out on my own to do a long ride where I had to hold various power intervals with a main set of 3 x 20 minutes. While I am not happy that Nigel was suffering the effects of a bad curry selection, it was a good day for me to ride alone and put 100% of my focus on meeting my specified targets. Thankfully I was not alone on the roads, as the San Jose Livestrong Ride event was going on today, as I learned from the many directional signs and riders on the road. I wish we could have all the large signs warning drivers about riders on the road every day!

Towards the end of my ride, I swung over to visit with the family at the Almaden Relays swim meet – 100% relay races! In case you hadn’t known it already, I’m the oldest of 9 kids, and the youngest 5 are adopted (from China and Vietnam).

My dad is now a swim official.

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I stayed long enough to see all the kids compete in the 200 back relay.

Ryan and Jack (who apparently never races with goggles)

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Grace, Mimi, and Cai (who kicked halfway across the pool off the wall before she even began her stroke!)

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Once I finally got home and ice-bathed and showered, it was time to clean up the dogs and take them for their own social outing of the weekend. Playdate at Eva’s house and beardie friend Piedra was there as well!

You know you’re in Willow Glen when even the dog treats are ritzy

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Rare shot with all four beardies

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Could you find us some more toys?

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Finally Stanley and Eva got to play chase!

Another weekend gone so fast, another week to begin. I hope my 7-hour budget meeting tomorrow goes as fast as my weekends seem to fly by!!!

Training totals for week 29 (July 6-12):
Swim: 4800 yards
Bike: 85.2 miles
Run: 18.5 miles
Total time: 11 hours

Plus 1 hour of yoga

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Brain Today, Gone Tomorrow

Being a 2-year-old boy, Stanley is still experiencing the inconsistencies of intellect associated with his age, gender, and raging hormone levels.  Tonight, in agility class, there were real breakthroughs that suggested he might have a brain!  And…of course, there were moments of WTF?  I will let Stanley narrate our evening.

*exerting Beardie Mind Control* Start the car and take me to class. NOW, Human.

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See? Much better.  I might let you sleep tonight.

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Damn I look good out there.  I should get to do this all the time.

I think I will wake her up at 4am tomorrow so that we can continue her lessons.

It’s all baby steps but the little man is coming along well.  I really like the foundation he is getting together, even if there is a hiccup or two along the way.

Deep Thoughts..or maybe not

  • The reprogramming of my brain continues.  Swimming with an ankle band is starting to not seem so bad.  Next thing you know I’ll be befriending my captors and taking up arms in their defense.
  • I’m excited for some fun non-triathlon activities in the next few weeks.  A trip to Long Beach for an annual beach party, an agility trial in Carmel and BOTH dogs get to run, a slumber party with my little sisters.  No shortage of cool stuff going on!
  • Sports massage = ow.  I knew this already but cleaning up my legs after Big Bike Week (and some continued post-Boise work) was excruciating.  I thought flushing my quads out was bad until we hit a tight knot in my calf (cue *weeping and gnashing of teeth*).  For the record, there are only so many times you can repeat “it’s good for me” and grip the edges of the massage table while pain-induced sweat pours down your face.
  • On the subject of things that are good for me but hurt like hell…power intervals on the bike.  At one point today, I wondered if I would need Marit’s special bowl.
  • Distractions can be useful.  Jenn played music and amused me while she rode alongside me on her patio (she was probably starting to feel quite thankful she doesn’t own a PowerTap based on how I looked after the first few intervals).  2009_July9 002
  • Hard miles run off the bike…are going to be hard.  When I first saw this workout, my first thought was, “Seriously? Can I do that?”
  • I did it.2009_July9 003 I did wish for the bowl again afterwards though.
  • Le Tour has been very exciting to watch this year.  This is the most I’ve ever paid attention to strategy, standings, and each stage, and it is all fascinating me. 
  • Good luck to folks racing this weekend!  Rhode Island 70.3, the infamous Death Ride, and more, I’m sure.  Rock it, folks!
  • I’m getting really really REALLY excited for Barb’s Race 1/2 Iron in just 3 weeks and 2 days.  All the frustration from Boise is fueling my desire to get out there and spank a race course hard!  With so many friends and even my dad racing on the same course, it will make for an awesome day.  But first…more pain in training :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

To Be 14 Again

All through my childhood, I desperately wanted to be older, to be grownup, to be through with the annoyance of adolescence.   Nowadays, there are times where I wish I’d enjoyed that phase a little bit more.  But today, I also had a reminder of why I’d never want to go back and do it again.

Being a 14-year-old girl = DRAMA!!!!!!  I have 3 sisters all turning 14 at various points this year and 2 brothers turning 10 this month.  For the boys’ birthday party, I joined them all at the cabana pool to celebrate today.  There was endless twittering and texting and plotting and whispering over the presence of a boy that one of the girls has a crush on…missions performed back and forth to scout for information…accusations of disloyalty and the whole 9 yards.  ZOMG, it was all too much (though entertaining as a spectator).

Hanging out with my sister Mimi.  She’s the most like me (except for the part where she’s a superstar swimmer) and wants to do an OW swim race I am planning on in September.

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My brothers Jack and Ryan enjoyed playing with the waterproof camera

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With my 3 sisters (l-r Mimi, Cai and Grace) – I’m still the tallest!!!

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For D and Marit, sheet cake

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For $2.99 a day, you can feed an entire starving Vietnamese family. (I have no idea why they mugged for the camera quite like this)

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In other important news that came out of partying with the family…due to my incessant badgering of them…





Yay!!!  Now I just have to book a hotel for them and micromanage every step of the way to ensure that they really do show up.