Monday, January 31, 2011

Hello February

January was a great training month for me.  I really got back in the swing of things!  I went back and looked through my logs – I haven’t missed a workout since November.  Go me!

I finished off the month this morning with loooooooong sets in the pool (workout appropriately titled “Molly Loves To Swim Long Sets”) followed by strength training at the gym.  I *heart* the medicine ball.  That is all.

My totals aren’t as high as people who have earlier season IMs than I do, but they are pretty good for me in January.  I’ve only had 1 month ever (October 2009, the month before IM AZ) with higher swim yardage. 

First triathlon of the year is just 4 weeks away!  I’m hoping our Recovery e21 race kits are in by then.  Check out their Facebook page to see the awesome Splish suits we are getting!

Swim: 34,552 yards (19.6 miles)
Bike: 218.4 miles
Run: 77.4 miles
Strength: 5 hours

Our 15 Seconds of Fame

This completely cracks my shit up. :-) 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

1 Week Down In Operation Big Girl Pants

The wheels haven’t fallen off the bus yet!  2 weeks to go in this build and I’m just staying focused on eating right, sleeping well, and recovering strong.

Saturday was my first ride outdoors with the new bike configuration.  WOW.  This is where I really noticed the difference that all the changes had made.  Since everyone always says TT bikes are uncomfortable to ride, I just assumed that what I felt on my bike was normal.  Yesterday, it felt like I was riding a cruiser, it was so comfy!!!!  I have never spent so many miles in aero ever and it felt great!

After a week of nice weather, it was very chilly out though – Jeff and Nigel were smart and bundled up, and I kept my fleece on that I had worn down to the ride start.  We did a lovely little country route around farms and cow pastures with very few stop signs or lights – it was great to just ride for so long without interruption!




After the ride I stopped by the bike shop to share my thoughts on how it had felt and plunk down some $ for additional changes to my setup.  Hopefully I will be able to share that when it’s finalized in a few weeks.

I wrapped up the workout week today with a nice long run.  Apparently January 30th is when we pay for 4 weeks of no rain by getting stormed on.  But I love running in the rain so it’s all good!

Due to a major drainage grate between the street and the creek, I ended up in ankle-deep water about a minute into my run.


After that it was smooth sailing on the mostly-quiet path along the Los Gatos Creek, a major outlet for water from the Santa Cruz Mountains to San Francisco Bay.



Can’t even see the mountains ahead due to the storm clouds (hard to tell it’s pouring in most of these photos)



So for now, it’s just feet-up and enjoying the NHL All Star Game for the rest of the day.  Tomorrow, the work begins again!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Deja Vu

Something seems familiar lately.

The 8pm bedtimes (I actually asked out loud if it was OK to go to bed at 6:45 yesterday).

The insatiable appetite.

Multiple showers per day.

Spare time spent mapping bike routes and checking weather forecasts.

It’s an Ironman year alright.  And to think, it’s only January…

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Random Thursday Thirteen

  1. I got the introduction email for the whole Recovery e21 tri team this week.  There are some seriously impressive people on the team with major accomplishments.  How did I get on there?
  2. I hope everyone who got samples is enjoying them – I will be sure to post again when I have more.  In the meantime if you are looking to order, I now have a 20% off coupon code for you, which can be found right on the sidebar of this blog.
  3. I am now 8 workouts into my week.  I am tired but feel great.  Let’s just say that again because I’m feeling good about it – EIGHT workouts in the past 4 days.  Woot!
  4. That said, I am sleeping in tomorrow and going to 9am masters instead of 5:30am.  Just because I can.  And because I’ve been up before 5am for four straight days.
  5. And possibly because I’m a wee bit cranky today and clearly need the rest.  People railing fanatically about nonsensical things on the internet do that to me sometimes.
  6. Even lunchtime yoga didn’t fully remove my wrath.  At least not after I had to drive on the same roads as all the crazy people out there to get home.
  7. Today was my first day on the new bike positioning.  The good news is I hit all my tough watts.  The neither bad nor good news is my legs were tired so I can’t really tell much beyond that yet.
  8. I also saw my dentist for my every-3-months visit today.  Yes, I am *special* and have to see the dentist more often than normal people.  My dentist had to point out that it’s short bus special, not cool special.  Let’s just say that I’m the result of a genetic perfect storm when it comes to my gum health.
  9. Surprisingly, my gums were in the best shape they’ve ever been today!  If my dentist weren’t 7 months pregnant, she might have done a little backflip of joy.
  10. Possible causes - (1) I’m getting better and better at the intricacies of handling my teeth on a daily basis (rinse with this, poke with that, inject with that).  (2) The continuing improvements in my diet pay off with dental health as much as the rest of me, and/or my improved body health is also manifested in my mouth.
  11. Either way, I’ll take it.  Clearly fruits and veggies do a body good, many times over.
  12. Our weather has been indescribably beautiful for January.  Oh wait, I can describe it perfectly – sunny and 70.  No complaints here.
  13. And finally, a poll!  What did/do you use for your Ironman bike/run nutrition?  I’m evaluating options for this year and not interested in what I used last time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Difference A Fit Makes

On Wednesday I had my first real professional bike fit.  I had asked Jeff for this for Christmas, as I knew it wasn’t cheap.  One of our riding friends had gone to this particular bike shop and gotten a good fit, and I knew they handled a lot of triathletes so I figured I’d be in good hands.

I had no idea.

In about the first 5 minutes, Elliott (my bike fitter for the day and the general manager of the store) identified every single problem I have on the bike, before I’d even told him what was bugging me.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First I walked in the door with Jeff.  Elliott took one look at my bike and at me and immediately voiced a concern that my frame was too large for me (this has since been validated by others).  So with that in mind, we’d see what we could do to improve things for me.

I began by just spinning on the trainer to warm up while Elliott videotaped me and pointed out some things I was doing to Jeff.


Among the things noted…you can see in the photo the angle (or lack thereof) in my knee at the bottom of my pedal stroke.  My hips wobbled back and forth in the saddle, more to one side than another, which is probably why I get saddle sore predominantly on one side.  My left heel angled in, and my right knee, as Elliott put it, was “doing the Saturday Night Fever thing” bouncing all over the place in my stroke.  To compensate for a lot of this, I was doing a significant amount of my pedaling with my toes pointed down, which explains the calf tightness I’ve been getting.  My aerobar positioning was such that I had to work to keep my arms so close together in position, my chest was compressed, and you can see the downward bend in my wrists needed to hold the bars (I also can’t shift while holding that position).


So essentially I’m starting out so fucked up on this bike that it’s a miracle I’ve done all the distance I’ve done.

Next Elliott adjusted the saddle height and position – there was juuuuuust enough seatpost left to saw off a few millimeters to get me dropped down.  I already felt the difference with that change and my knee angle moved into the edge of acceptable space.


Then the fit really began.

Elliott spent a significant amount of time evaluating my flexibility and biomechanical limitations.  He measured my hamstring and hip flexibility, did some tests to see if I had any sort of leg length discrepancy or hip imbalance, and checked out my feet to see what sort of support I might need.




Then we started making changes!

  • New, larger cleats and pedals with less float.  I’ve been on the Speedplay pedals since I started with my road bike but they have a very small surface area to support the foot and transfer power, and clearly my body was taking liberties with the many angles of float.


  • Added inserts to my bike shoes to provide better arch support for my flat feet. (Before I’d even mentioned that my arches used to hurt on long rides last year)
  • Added a shim to my left foot to even the knee angles out between the two legs.
  • Added a different kind of shim to the right shoe to gain better knee alignment (this was the knee that I was flopping outward all over the place).
  • And then finally, a new aerobar setup!  Elliott suggested we take a break and hit the store’s coffee shop while he tried something and when I came back there it was.  The new configuration and aerobars, by widening the elbows, open up my chest for easier breathing and drop my shoulders into a much more comfortable position.  You can see from the photo I no longer have the bend in my wrists either.


The end result is a HUGE change in my bike configuration and about as optimal a position as I can get for a bike frame that it is becoming clear is not ideal for my body.  We spent THREE HOURS working to this point – I never felt rushed or ignored, the amount of personal time and attention to detail we were given is staggering.  The final work on my bike was done after I left and it was ready for pickup before the end of the day.


If you are in the Bay Area and looking for an honest assessment of your bike fit and skilled help in improving it, I’d say to run – or pedal very fast – to Concept Cyclery in Morgan Hill.  OK, so maybe you should make an appointment first but really…they rock.

I’ve got a couple rides to test out this new fit and think I’ll be very happy with what I see.  I’ve been encouraged to come back as much as possible to provide feedback and tweak the fit.  And…there may still be a frame change in my future sooner rather than later if I get hooked on this whole instant improvement thing :-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Big. Girl. Pants.

I’d better dig through my drawers and find them because I will need them for the next training block.  Oh my, I have some big work ahead! 

I’m really excited to tackle the big (yes, I keep using that word!) stuff Coach has on tap for me.  This is the work that will make me strong for the huge (there, I found a different word) year I have planned. 

It’s also quite thrilling because I look at the schedule and KNOW I could not have handled this in January/February the past 2 years.  This means I am in a different place and ready for more than ever before!

Bring it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wisdom and Youth

Bet you can’t tell which is which :-)



With the completion of a long swim this morning, rest week is ov-ah!  And not a moment too soon – I feel like crap on light weeks.  Bring on more big work!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Not-So-Green Green Smoothie, In Photos

I got a lot of funny comments on Facebook the other day when I excitedly posted about how much spinach I could cram into a smoothie that still tasted good.  Or perhaps disbelief is a better word :-)  And so, I give you…the smoothie making process.  This thing packs a whole lot of fiber!

Start with basic cheap blender


Ingredients: Almond milk, 1 banana, frozen berries, spinach


Start with as much spinach as you want.  I used 4 cups here.


Add 1 cup plain almond milk.  (You could probably use regular milk if you wanted but I like almond milk for the lower calories and mild flavor)


Add 1 banana.


Add frozen berries (I used 3/4 cup).




Keep blending, and mashing things down, until liquified. 


The end result is a not-green-colored berry-flavor-dominated smoothie that gives you a ton of veggie servings as well!



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Full Contact Masters

We had some space/boundary issues at masters this morning and as a result my hand and wrist took a beating! 


I still did over 3600 yards though :-)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Keep On Keepin’ On

Life and training continue on as usual here.  Last night the beardies had their first agility class in 6 weeks – finally not rained out!  My at-home practice with Stanley (see video below) is clearly paying off as he was much more focused and drivey, and he made all his weave pole entrances!  Max was wonderful as always in class – I’m working his contacts closer to the way I taught Stanley and it’s a noticable difference of driving to the contact zone instead of his old hesitation.  We finished his class up with a sort of relay race that was hilarious!

I wrapped up a big 3 week training build on Sunday with a swim and a hilly run, then kicked off rest week on Monday with another swim (500s – ooooh boy).  I suppose it was no wonder then that I spent the rest of the day with deep aches in my arms.  Somehow I never really feel the burden of all the training – other than of course tired muscles – until rest week, then it hits me all at once! 

Yesterday I loaded myself up with Advil and chocolate as painkillers for a deep tissue massage.  My massage therapist spent a lot more time on my arms, back and shoulders than usual but they felt wooooonderful when she was done.  Even better, the compression calf sleeves I’ve been wearing when biking and running for the last month are clearly working because my calves were significantly less tight and problematic (read: painful to release) than my December visit.  *deep sigh of relief* 

The exciting workout today was a new strength routine.  I have been working so hard on the strength training this year because I know how much it pays off later.  Every time Coach gives me a new routine, I love it.  I get to see where I’m already strong and where I am weak I’m going to get stronger.  The core work showed me that I’m doing well but can do even more, like start pushing to hold my planks longer! 

Tomorrow marks 10 months till IM AZ – so much time and yet I remember from last time how fast it flies by.  It’ll be here before we know it!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things – Sunshine and Moo Cows

It was the rare Saturday in January where it did NOT rain.  Not only that, the weather gods smiled upon us and the temperatures are topping out in the 60s today.  It was truly a beautiful day for riding!


Photo fail but I liked it anyway


I was forced to peel down the arm-warmers relatively early, as the boys put up a brisk pace for the warmup (they were all freezing)


We headed into the south valley, where all the pretty ranches and farms are


I could not pass up an opportunity to moo at the cows


The guys went on to hammer the climb while I spun along.  Before too long I’d caught up with them again!


Headwind and all, it was still a glorious day to be out on the quiet roads!


It was also nice to finish up the ride feeling wonderful, while all my fast-guy riding buddies complained of dead legs and tight backs.  *giggle*  Consistent training – or doing any training in the past few months – does make a difference!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


This title clearly does not apply to my blogging lately!  I don’t know how another week flew by without comment, so I have to play catch-up again. 

My training, however, has been very consistent!  I’m 3 days from wrapping up a big training block and looking forward to my rest week.  I’ve really been tested with some tough workouts but I’m happy to say that I gave them my all and have been fairly successful.  I’m even pushing myself to average more yards at masters.  So far, all my focus on nutrition and sleep and recovery practices is paying off and I’ve felt great.  A wee bit sore but that’s because I finally conquered the pike pushup on the ball!  Oh I have been trying to do this for weeks…

The beardies and I went to an agility trial in Southern CA over the weekend.  Max picked up his 20th QQ for his MACH2; now he just needs 400ish points.  Given our (lack of) trialing schedule this year with me racing, that will take a while.  We also got to hang out with Max’s little brother Stix and his owner!


Saturday night in the hotel room, yin and yang tired dogs


While the boys were getting their snooze on, I was doing my 2 hour brick in the very same hotel room! 


I’m embarrassed to admit it, but my bike trainer workouts this year have been done while watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  *hides in shame*  I’ve just finished Season 2 so I have a while still to go but…knowing all the big workouts I have ahead this year, what trash TV shows should I look to next (that are available for live streaming on Netflix) to ensure maximum performance on the bike?

In other good news, Jeff came home from Arizona after 5+ weeks away!  Max was so happy to see him that he sat on him and would have spent 2 hours cleaning his ears in joy.


And so, the training goes on and I don’t have much else to report!  I’m looking forward to biking OUTSIDE in 67 degree sunshine this weekend.  For once this winter the rain is holding off on the weekend so I will get out there and enjoy it!  I’m entered in an agility trial about 90 minutes away but we’ve done a lot of travel lately (like, oh, a month straight), so I’m going to stay home and just train and relax and try to remember what normal people do with all those wide open weekend hours.

I hope you guys are all enjoying the Recovery e21 samples – you wiped me out!  I will post again when I have more to share. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Catching Up

  • I’ve been cracking up reading everyone’s New Year blog posts and it seems like the vast majority start with “I don’t really do new years resolutions.”  Well, me either.  This must be something inherent about us as triathletes.  We spend all year trying to improve ourselves and by the time New Years has come around, we’ve already got goals that we are dedicated to for the next year!
  • On our last full day in Arizona (December 30th), it snowed (click photo to enlarge).  OK, so it didn’t stick and it only snowed for 5 minutes, but it’s something.  It was very cold (by Arizona standards) our last couple days there.  That meant my last ride and run were CHILLY, especially since you don’t tend to pack the needed cold weather workout gear when you go to the desert.  Layers.  I was a big fan of layers.


  • At 3am on the 31st, the beardies and I hit the road for home.  We got back to San Jose a little after noon, unloaded the car, saw my parents for a quick New Years dinner, and slept like bricks.  Except when the assholes tried to blow the neighborhood up around midnight, of course – then I had one dog shaking on my feet and one sitting on my head for an hour.
  • I went to one of the free New Years yoga classes at our studio.  I got high in class off my yoga mat. Seriously.  Jeff bought me a new yoga mat for Christmas and I bought a new mat towel to go with it.  I used them fresh out of the packaging so they hadn’t exactly aired out yet and WOOEEEE there were some good chemical fumes in my face for that hour and a half.
  • I got a full weekend of rain at home to get used to normal Northern California winter again.  As long as they still get to run on the field on the dark mornings, the dogs don’t care.


  • Of course now it’s sunny with all sun on the forecast horizon.  Still cold though…35 as I dashed across the pool deck to dive in at masters this morning!
  • Training has been going well!  The volume is getting up there again and I’m getting some tough workouts, but my body is handling it nicely.  Speaking of which…
  • I got an awesome care package from Recovery e21 and I now have samples available for those who were interested.  I’ve already mailed some out to those I remembered wanting some but if I missed you just send me a message!