Wednesday, March 31, 2010


*No, not the nasty icky evil race Wildflower whichIwillneverdoagain, the outdoors growing kind.

It’s wildflower season in Arizona!



After a pre-dawn swim and some conference call action, Jeff and I headed to McDowell Sonoran Preserve for some trail running in the desert.


Less than half a mile into our run, we came around a curve, moved to the side to let a mountain biker flying down the hill go by, and came to a grinding halt.  The mountain biker had come on so fast, he’d surprised the heck out of this scaly critter.  Oh yes, that IS a rattlesnake and he rattled quite loudly his displeasure at us.  We took a little breather while he settled down and slithered off into the bushes.


Everything was up-up-up and – you guessed it – UP!


Partway up the trail looking back at the way we came


At the top of the ridge finally!  From there we continued on some steep downhills (I am paying the price for one particularly steep rocky section with knee pain – hello, ice pack!) and of course more uphill before we turned back.


Hooray for downhills! Gee, is there enough cactus in that picture?


Thankfully we had some cloud cover today while running so it stayed slightly cooler than yesterday’s transition run.  I’m surviving a tough training week so far, woohoo for that!

In other news today I finally bought tri shoes for my bike to replace my old roadie shoes.  My goal for the year is to figure out how to get my feet out in motion and be able to run into transition without the clop-clop-clop of shoes on.  Anyone have tips on this?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And the fun parade rolls on…

Based on the number of swims I have this week, I will either drown or be heavily chlorinated by Sunday. 

Early this morning Jeff and I enjoyed a nice ride up-up-uphill into the desert.  I had to work hard to keep my watts up on the return downhill trip so we really flew back at high speed!



He makes it look so easy! No matter how hard I have to push, he just cruises along behind me (and I hear the click-click-click of him coasting).


My hair is so short right now that all I can do to hold it back on the bike is these stupid pigtails.


After the ride, I had a transition run that was a bit less fun.  The day was really heating up and I felt it big time.  At least it made my special time with the foam roller and the ice bath feel worthwhile.


We caught a couple hours of the Giants-Cubs spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium this afternoon.  I drank so much water, it wasn’t even funny…put me on a bike, make me run or swim and it’s fine but just SIT there in the sun and do nothing?  I feel the heat even more acutely.  The nice part though was I spent half my day in the powerful Arizona sun without the slightest pink tinge to my skin – thank you, Kinesys!


Finally, we wrapped up the day finally using a Christmas gift certificate from a couple years ago to the Melting Pot.  Forgot the camera so we had to make do with our Blackberries.

Bread and cheese- my favorite.







We paid the dogs off for our absence with a good run on the golf course in the moonlight.  Now off to sleep before another long day tomorrow!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


After a nice ride in the sunshine (and wind) this morning (sorry, I forgot the camera), I figured there was no better way to wrap up a recovery week (and Hell Week at work) than a spa day. 

I had never been to a spa until I was 30 years old and on my pre-wedding bachelorette trip to Phoenix with my college roommate.  Lucky for me, she took me to the Willow Stream spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale.  Unlucky for me, no facility I’ve been to has ever compared!

Example of just one nice feature: the outdoor waterfall pool.  Each waterfall has a different intensity for shoulder massages.001

I spent an hour reading in the sunshine at the rooftop pool with this view before my massage and facial.  (Sorry the photos aren’t better, I really wasn’t sure about the etiquette of toting a camera around a spa so I had to be stealth.)


My treatments were very nice and I came home to find that Jeff had even come up with a creative way to exercise the dogs to spare me another walk today (he borrowed a friend’s dog for them to play with).  The downside of all this relaxation is I’ve been walking around in a fog all evening!  I need to remind myself that I often end “rest week” more tired than I started – it’s the natural process of the body healing and recovering and it doesn’t always feel good (much like a taper!).  I have no doubt that come Monday morning, I’ll be rested and eager to tear through my workouts. 

Tomorrow is the beginning of a couple hard weeks of work before my 1st triathlon of the year.  Vineman Showdown, I have a bone to pick with you after last year (bike mechanical) – grudge match, it’s on!

Training totals for March 22-28:
Swim: 6900 yards
Bike: 29.0 miles
Run: 9.9 miles
Strength: 30 mins of TRX
Total time: 7.4 hours

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego

Anyone else remember this early computer game? Tracking down an international spy using history clues to figure out the next destination?

After one doozy of a workweek (being promoted + a big project kickoff = way too many long days of meetings), the beardie boys and I are on the road again.  The clue to our first stop is…

my favorite pool! 


We’ve finally joined Jeff and Cujo, who left a couple weeks ago, at our place in Arizona. 

This morning I had a medium-length run that built to a harder pace by the end.  Compared to my usual first run upon arrival in Arizona sufferfest, this went pretty well and I had some nice paces (even while *cough*slightly hungover*cough*).  It got me thinking about the PRs I’ve gotten so far this year and what my run workouts have been like…I’ve been running for 5 years now and working with my coach for 18 months, so it’s about time I start seeing paces I thought myself capable of!

Not only did he run with me, Jeff even came along to swim.  This pool is so nice, no one can resist!


What a difference short training days, especially on rest week, make!  There is actually time to do all sorts of other things with your weekends.

Like visit the Tempe Festival of the Arts.  It was most excellent for people watching.


And for funnel cake eating.


And just chilling in the sunshine.


I will work from here for most of the week and then we continue the roadtrip to another exciting destination for dog-related fun!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wouldn’t Want You To Miss Me

Before I go on to the bigger highlight of the weekend, let me mention that my boys went to the groomer on Friday.  I loooooove when they get groomed – they are so clean and handsome! Now that the rains seem to be past, we’ll see how long I can sustain this.


This morning, it was another family affair at the Benicia Run for Education.  My mother and sister Cai (both who did their first run race last month) were doing their first 5K and my brother Jack was going to run the Kids’ 1-Miler.  My sister Grace came along to take photos for us.

Warmed up and ready for the 5K!  I went for nice bright colors so that my family members could always find me in a crowd. :)


The course was far hillier than advertised (or than was evident from the elevation map) – there were many short steep rollers!  I stuck with my race plan and pushed as best I could, even when I felt like I was completely running out of gas at the finish line.


It still wound up being a PR by a minute and thirty-five seconds and good enough for an age group placement.  I was also in the top 10 women (7th, to be precise) out of 230+ women.  Sweet!

Cai rocked her first 5K with a great time for a new runner


and my mom beat her goal time even with all those hills! I am super proud of both of them.


I love this one of my brother in the kids race.  I love how the young ones all just go out hard, with no worry for pacing or pain.


Dragging only half of my family out results in quite a crowd :)


My friend Meredith also raced, her first time out since being ill – she looked great!


Post-race “ice bath” in the San Francisco Bay was followed immediately by compression socks


with which I completely dorked up my first podium picture ever!


Next week brings a rest week for me before a big build to my first tris of the year.  Also some travel is on the horizon for the boys and me!

Training totals for March 15-21:
Swim: 8950 yards
Bike: 43.6 miles
Run: 15.8 miles
Strength: 50 mins of TRX
Total time: 10.7 hours

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring is Sprung

Sunshine and 70s – check.


Frisbee fun – check.


Agility class that doesn’t require scarves, gloves and coats – awesome.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Just Keep Swimming

Saturday brought the excitement and nervousness of my first ever swim meet.  The forecast was for cool but sunny conditions – we got lucky that it turned out a little warmer than expected. 


Melissa completely rocked her heat in the 1000 free.


My old Campbell masters crew


After what felt like all morning waiting around, the longer distance events were wrapping up and I started to warm up.


First up was the 50 free novice.  I wore Kate O’s cupcake suit.


It was my first time diving off the blocks!


And it didn’t look very pretty.  My masters lanemate Heidi, in the adjoining lane and also doing her first masters meet, was much better at it!


With the Campbell swimmers after our 50 free heats


Heidi and I celebrate our first swim ribbons!


After that was the 50 back novice and the 100 free.  I’m not quite sure why I entered the back, other than it was a novice event.  I’m not a very fast backstroker.


The 100 free was easily my happiest moment of the day, as I managed a 7 second PR in the 100 yard distance, as well as broke what has been an unbreakable time barrier for me.  And I did it without flip turns, which means I can still get it faster!

In the end, I wound up with a 3rd place W30-34 in the 50 free novice, 1st place W30-34 in the 50 back novice and 1st place W30-34 in the 100 free.


It was definitely a different experience doing a swim meet.  People of every imaginable age were there competing and all so supportive and welcoming.  I saw people have to be helped up on the blocks with their canes, then dive on in and swim gracefully.  I felt so honored that my masters coach skipped the big childrens swim meet that was going down this weekend (my brothers and sisters were competing at it) to support his adult swimmers at this event.

As a followup on my first TRX workout, I didn’t experience any life-changing soreness but I definitely felt the work I had done in several spots, especially triceps and chest.  My entire core was on the tender side for a few days – doing a situp to get out of bed did elicit a grunt or two.  This will be so good for me!!!!

Training totals for March 8-14:
Swim: 5350 yards
Bike: 53.7 miles
Run: 12.0 miles
Strength: 1/2 hour
Total time: 9 hours

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Goodbye, Comfort Zone

It seems March is a month of trying new things and taking risks.  Last weekend, a time trial; this weekend, a swim meet.  And today…TRX!

TRX is best explained by Coach here.  After reading that, I knew it was something I needed to give a try.  It takes a lot for me to put on muscle (it’s taken 3 years to develop moderate swim muscles) and I’m willing to work any way I can to address weaknesses in my body strength. 

So today was day 1 of TRX!  I was a little nervous after reading Julia’s post about how sore she’d gotten.  We’ll see in another day if any insane amount of DOMS kicks in – I tried to moderate my first time on the equipment and ease into it.  Some of the moves I did felt intuitive and I loved being able to use my body weight to work the muscles harder.  Others…were a bit of a challenge – I can tell I will gain all sorts of core strength if I keep this up, I was working so hard to hold positions!


Yes, I had to use Max’s red velvety dog bed as padding for the moves the required knee contact with the floor…it was too ouchy to have them directly on the hardwood! 

And with that, I need to crawl off to warm soft bed and collapse…

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Slowest. Week. Ever.

I can’t believe it’s only Tuesday!  Busy Mondays mean feeling like a whole week’s work has been done by the end of one day. *sigh*

We celebrated Max Day with birthday cookies


and agility class in the rain (we were the only ones who showed up, so it was a private lesson!)


and of course a niblet of cake, topped with a string cheese candle.




Of course, any exciting day has to end.  Max felt that, being wet and muddy, Jeff’s pillow was the best place to begin his recovery.


I’m already a swim, bike and a run into this week.  Not only am I pleased to feel stronger in my few outdoor rides lately, I am actually looking forward to crushing each bike trainer workout that Coach gives me.  I KNOW it will hurt and I will have to push, but I know I CAN hit the watts she gives me.  It makes the training very exciting right now!  Tomorrow, another tough workout on the trainer and my debut using the TRX!!!