Sunday, October 31, 2010

Making Plans For a New Season

It’s helpful for me to look back when looking forward…this week a year ago, I was finishing up a nearly-18-hour training week, my last big one before the taper to IM AZ began. The body and mind just adjust to those volumes as normal. And adjust right back the next year, as I can’t quite imagine squeezing all of that into my life at the moment.

Beginning to train again for a new year is in some ways the most exciting part of the experience – full of hopes and dreams about races yet to come! I have played around with this schedule for several months now, mostly trying to find some things to keep me entertained over the winter, work on my weaknesses once racing season starts, and build in the best way possible to my biggest goal of the year. I appreciate all the help my coach gave me in tweaking the schedule for the best chances of success.

  • Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 5K, Nov 25 – Come Thanksgiving morning, I’ll be lining up with half of my extended family and a cast of thousands for our local turkey trot. This will be my back-to-training run test, so it’s bound to hurt a bit.
  • Jingle Bell Run 5K, Dec 18 – I miss winter running races and especially small local ones, so why not?
  • Tritonman Sprint Triathlon, Feb 20 or maybe the Stanford Treeathlon, late Feb – 1st tri of the year!
  • World's Shortest Triathlon, mid April – The distances are impossible to resist.
  • Catfish 1-mile OW swim, late April – Time to work on the open water swimming.
  • Tempe International Triathlon, May 15 – Hello, Tempe Town Lake, we meet again, see you in 6 months.
  • Splash & Dash, June 2 – 1500m swim, 5k run.
  • Silicon Valley 1/2 IM, June 12 – Though *still* not formally announced on the race website, we are told it will happen. This race falls in the category of “too local to pass up” i.e. the start line is within running distance of my house.
  • Splash & Dash, July 7 – see above.
  • Catfish 2-mile OW swim, late July – see above.
  • Santa Cruz International Triathlon, Aug 7 – Now that I’m no longer scared of ocean races…
  • Big Kahuna Triathlon, Sep 11 – Once upon a time, when I was just a runner, I said “Someday maybe I will do a triathlon and maybe even a 1/2 IM and I’ll do Big Kahuna.” Well gee, I guess I should finally do this one!
  • Catfish 2-mile OW swim, mid September – see above.
  • Lighthouse Century, Sep 24 – Going back for the 100 mile distance since we loved the 100k so much this year.
  • And finally, there’s THIS, Nov 20 – Oh YES, again!

I suppose I’d better stock up on Recovery Socks and bags of ice now…

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Boys

Fresh from the groomer and showing off their wins from the National


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still Ticking…

I’m still recovering from race day.  Physically I feel fine, but it’s nice to not have to give up those mornings of sleeping in yet.  And I’m still falling asleep before 10pm.  My legs were achy yesterday – kind of like growing pains when I was young – I think they are starting to complain about lack of activity!

The beardies and I went to a local agility trial over the weekend.  It’s a 4-day AKC trial but I couldn’t take Friday and Monday off work after taking time off for the National just a few weeks ago.  Despite getting rained on – and in particular getting drenched in heavy downpour and high winds Sunday – the boys did great!  Stan is really maturing in the ring suddenly and starting to run fast and clean for me.  On Sunday morning, he finished his Open Jumpers title.  Uh oh.  Moving Stanley up to Excellent, where no mistakes are allowed? That will be funny.

The 2011 schedule continues to sit on hold while I wait for race directors to post information.

I need more frozen yogurt.

1 week till vacation.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Random Thoughts From The Off-Season

  • I am getting a lot of sleep this week.  Like 9-10 hours per night. 
  • I’ve been surprised at how quickly my appetite has fallen off with not training.  Usually I have to take the steps to cut back because I’m not working out anymore.
  • I’ve had a few drinks here and there but really nothing too wild and crazy for off-season eating thus far.  I had frozen yogurt at lunch today, for the first time in weeks, and it didn’t feel as exciting as it always did after long rides.  It almost feels like my body just isn’t up for partying our way through all the junk food groups. 
  • I went to a concert last night, for the first time in years.  How do people do this on a regular basis?  Little did I know when I bought the tickets that The Warfield in San Francisco is standing room only on the ground floor, so I was spent 4+ hours on my feet.  One opening act played at 8pm, the next around 9:00.  The main attraction, Mumford & Sons, came on stage after 10pm.  Thankfully, they are AMAZING in concert and I felt wonderful from the moment they started till they finished (though that might be attributable to the mass quantities of marijuana in the air).  But we still weren’t on the road home till midnight!
  • I am trying to finalize my 2011 schedule but it’s hard when some race directors don’t have their schedules up for next year yet.  There is a rumored race I am considering but I want to see details first!

One last visit to race day before we move forward…

This was really cool – Texas state guardsmen parachuted in for the anthem with a flag


Pro start


1 leg down, and still feeling positive (and muddy)


Trying not to pass out after running up the hill from the water


It hurt worse than it looks


Can you tell I was happy to be DONE with that day?


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Because My Coach Told Me To Blog About It Already

Austin wasn’t the race I had hoped for.  Some race days are just like that, oh well, moving on, hello 2011 and all that :-)  Oh wait, you mean, really I have to talk about it? Well then let’s get this over with.

I was feeling fantastic going into race day – rested, excited, energetic and healthy.  The lake water was a lovely wetsuit-legal 72 degrees, I managed to get my bike reassembled properly, and my legs felt zippy.  All that you can ask for! 

Waiting and waiting and waiting for the start (my wave went off over an hour after the pros), I was calm and ready and focused on the plan.


The good: I felt strong and smooth and unbothered by the relentless body contact of the mens’ waves behind me (I was groped so much I thought I’d changed careers).  Sighting was a piece of cake the way the course was laid out, with straight lines of buoys as far as you could see until each turn.

The bad: Speculation was that the course was long, based on everyone’s times versus expected times.  This was disappointing since I came in quite a bit after where I thought I should.


At least I am good at transitions.  We had to run up a LONG hill, remove wetsuits, and leave behind no gear on the ground (clean transitions).  I was shocked to see bikes still on my rack, and I got in and out before any of the women who were standing there when I arrived.


The good (miles 0-28): This course could in NO way be called hilly compared to where I live and train.  I flew through the first half of the course (the “hilly” half) going steady and easy as per my instructions to negative split the course.  I was on target to do just that since the back half was the flatter 28 miles.  My nutrition and hydration were spot on.  It was cloudy and calm, keeping the temperatures down.

The bad (miles 28-56): It got windy.  It stayed windy no matter what direction we turned, and there were LOTS of twists and turns on this stretch of the course.  Still, that wasn’t what killed me – it was the soul-sucking stretches of under-paved road that stole so much speed no matter how hard I worked as I bounced up and down in the air.  They wore me down.  They forced me back to my Ironman let’s-get-happy-on-the-bike song and so I spent nearly 10 miles singing 99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall.  I knew I had to start singing when, around mile 45, I started wishing I’d get hit by a car to have an excuse to stop racing.  I pulled out every trick I had to stay positive, and it worked, but it didn’t make me any faster.


Again, I’d memorized what rack to run to, and I was through there fast.


The bad: What I had feared most came true.  A few miles before I finished the bike, the clouds parted and it got HOT.  I stepped out on the run course to sun, heat and high humidity (something we do not get at home at all).  We never got summer in Northern California this year, so I had no acclimation to these conditions at all.  The course was changed from what it was online when I signed up – it became 2 loops of all-hilly trail running (with limited pavement).  After a couple miles, I overheated badly.  I began to bargain with myself – run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute.  I could barely do that, as my heart rate would shoot up, I’d get nauseous and my side would hurt, and I’d have to ease up again.  I pulled a calf muscle and it hurt, badly.

The good: I hit every aid station for water to drink, water over my head, ice down my bra, sponges soaked in ice water to shove in my top and squeeze over my head, and Coke to get some calories into me.  Around mile 5, I started running again and realized I was not feeling so bad anymore.  I was able to run, albeit at a much slower pace than my goal (which was easily achievable for me) had been, for most of the remaining miles, with only a couple walks on the biggest hills.  I didn’t give up.  I didn’t quit no matter how many times I thought about it.  By a small margin, I negative split the run course.  I finished.


I finished.  I wheezed.  I got choked up.  I wheezed worse.  I got a free trip to the med tent (T-odd assures me I paid for it, I might as well take advantage).  I wandered around aimlessly until I found someone to ask where my stuff was.  I hobbled down a hill to get my bike.  I hobbled up the hill with my bike.  I hobbled down the other side of the hill to get my gear bags.  I hobbled to my car, loaded it up, and sat in traffic in the parking lot for 45 minutes before I got out. 

I thought about crying, but that seemed like a waste.  The fact is, I was trained and trained well for this race.  But sometimes shit happens.  A day spent doing something we love (even if I wasn’t loving every minute of it) should still be considered a good day.  And I’m reminded often that I’m lucky to be healthy enough to doing all of this at all.  There will be another race, another day, another chance.  And I WILL hit the goal I was shooting for.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

Except that I was lucky to end my day on a much better note, at dinner with good friends who live in Austin. 


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Twas the Night Before Race Day

I’ve checked in, dropped off my mandatory gear, driven the bike course, etc etc etc.  Random points of note:

The race will be wetsuit legal – we were told the lake measured at 72 degrees this morning (1 degree cooler than yesterday) and that they won’t be measuring it again.  I found it nice and comfortable on my practice swim today.  I laughed at the people who called it cold – they should come swim Santa Cruz and our nice balmy 55 degree water sometime.

I’m dying here, eating bland boring food and avoiding all the good stuff.  I want sugar and margaritas and Mexican food so badly.  It doesn’t help that every street corner in Austin seems to have an interesting looking restaurant.

I got back to the hotel around 1 this afternoon and figured I’d be planted for the rest of the day.  Wrong.  I went to pack and found my goggles used this morning were somehow suddenly short 1 lens.  Being that I’m not interested in a one-eyed 1.2 mile swim and that I hate my backup pair, I hauled ass over to Austin Tri-Cyclist after an internet search showed they carry my brand.  I bought their floor model as that was the only tinted pair left!

So now I’m finally ensconced in my hotel room, watching sports movies to get all revved up.  I’ve started with Invictus, which I am enjoying tremendously.  After I order up some dinner, I’ll finish with Tooth Fairy just to end on a cheesy note.

I’m hoping my legs have one last PR for the year left in them.  Either way, I’ll give it my best tomorrow and love every minute of it, doing something I never thought I could do a few years ago.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A case of the buts

It’s race week.  I’m ready (physically).

But I’m still not (mentally).

I’ve trained more and harder than ever before for a 1/2 IM.

But what if it’s not enough?

I’ve been working on improving my swimming.

But what if it’s not wetsuit legal? (won’t know till race morning)

I’m definitely a stronger cyclist.

But I don’t know the course because I’ve never been to Austin. (It CAN’T be harder than Vineman though, can it?)

Running is my happy place.

But my legs are worn down from last week’s National.  (I’ve been sleeping 9 hrs/night though and they are catching up fast)

Yes, it’s that time of race week where I’m definitely tapering (evidenced by the incident yesterday where I smacked myself in the face with the freezer door) and it’s a little too early to pack but never too early to panic.  Come race day, I will be calm and confident – there’s no other way to be, because it’s the only way I’ll be able to function.  But now is when I get to work through all my worries and doubts.  I would like to think that all my training will culminate in one final PR for the year, but I need to take it one step at a time for now, one leg at a time on race day, and focus on the task at hand.  All week, I’ve been focusing on lots of sleep and eating clean.  Yesterday was tuneup day, both for my bike (dropped it at the shop) and for me (saw my massage therapist for some ritual beating).  Tonight, I’ll pack my gear. 

In 2 days I’ll be on my way to Austin!

Monday, October 11, 2010


What a crazy week!

I finished off the National with showing Stanley in Breed on Friday.


He and Beckham worked off some steam post-show with a wrestling match back in the hotel room.




And at 5am on Saturday the boys and I were loaded up and hit the road for home.  We stopped in Elko, Nevada for the night (THERE was an experience, OMG) and then were back on the road by 5 on Sunday. 

It’s good to be back…exhausting trip but a great one.  Now I’m trying my best to rest up because it’s race week! Eeeek!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Catching Up – BCCA National

Basically if I don’t blog now, I’ll fall hopelessly behind on this entire week.

The boys are quite happy to be rooming with their buddies Loki and Beckham – 4 beardie boys in the room equals vigorous playtime!


Tuesday was the National agility trial.  Elayne was kind enough to come and take some great photos – you can see them here!  The boys had pretty good results – Max went 4th place in both Excellent Standard and Jumpers for a double-Q and Stanley went 3rd place in Open Jumpers!

One highlight of the agility trial was seeing Stanley’s son Keegan!  What a chip off the old block.


Another highlight was the fun team relay that is done at the end.  Our team was The Princes and the P (3 boys and Piedra).


The relay is all about entertainment and funny things happening.  We did not disappoint.

Wednesday was rally obedience, obedience, futurity, and sweepstakes.  Stanley and I picked up his last Rally Advanced leg with a 1st place to finish his title!

Later in the evening, I got to show Max for the first time in many years in Veteran Sweepstakes.  It is SO much fun to get out there and show the old dogs again, and I was emotional over it the whole time.  Max couldn’t quite figure out what the heck we were doing but he was having a blast.



In summary, so far, the week has been fun, exhausting, too little sleep, too much time on feet, and wonderful.  I’ve been squeezing in my workouts too – boy can I see how strong an athlete you can be from training at altitude!  Off to another day at the dog show…

Monday, October 4, 2010

1237.5 miles of solo driving later

the dogs and I have arrived in Loveland, Colorado.

Tomorrow (well technically today but I didn’t attend) begins the insanity that is the Bearded Collie Club of America National Specialty.

One hotel.  Hundreds and hundreds of bouncing, wagging, barking, lunging, hypertastic dogs. 

It’s a spectacle like no other.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Inaugural Jan Lipson Memorial Ride For Diabetes

We survived the bike ride day.  Despite not participating in the ride, I’m completely trashed from spending 10 hours working the event and most of it on my feet.  Overall it went quite well – we learned about things we would improve for next year but the feedback we got was mostly positive.  The routes were tough – the long one because it was insanely mountainous and the short one because it was still challenging for the new riders I had recruited to do it (thankfully they all seemed to finish with a smile).  We had a couple folks get lost along the way, one of them an elderly gentleman from out of town doing the long course but eventually he rolled in and we fed and watered him as best we could.  I think for next year a combination of stronger warnings and some course changes would make the day even more enjoyable for everyone.  That said, we had great food before and after the event, a fantastic raffle where nearly everyone won something, and wonderful SAG volunteers to support the ride.

Where is everyone?

I loved this lady, she specifically asked for # 69.

Jan’s wife, ready to ride 

Brief memorial on the ride routes

Ready to feed riders!

Wonderful friends who rode and volunteered!

Ghost bike up on the course at the crash site, in memory of Jan

Friday, October 1, 2010

Finally Friday

It’s been touch and go but I’m surviving the week…I got a huge work deliverable signed off – it was due Sep 30th and I finally got the last signature from Ireland on the 29th – phew!

Tomorrow is the big ride event I’ve been planning the last couple months.  I am optimistic it will go well but also very nervous in general – a lot of stress and blood, sweat and tears have been poured into this.

On the upside, we made the newspaper!

Once I survive tomorrow’s ride, it’s a scramble to get ready for the next thing, a HUGE roadtrip that starts Sunday.