Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Tails

My dogs both went on the same road trip this weekend but participated in entirely different activities!

Stanley lived the glamorous (ha!) life of a show dog.


Hey, someone hold the paparazzi off until I have my face put on.


I didn’t want to be a distraction to him in the ring so I hid up a hill, behind a fence, and did my best to take photos at a distance.


Stanley showed beautifully for his new handler and picked up a Select!

Max took Jeff for some exercise and a day hike just up the road in the National Forest.




He was a very happy guy!


The boys enjoyed their days but were very happy to reunite in the hotel room.

Tomorrow, we repeat it all over again before coming home! Not a bad way to spend a holiday weekend together (and apart).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Stanley’s News

Another tough peak training week mostly done and finally a holiday weekend with some fun activities planned.  Nothing too major to report at the moment, except…


We’re very excited here too! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Makes It Fun?

Let’s face it, when you put in hours and hours of endurance training every week, you have to have things that make it fun or you would lose your motivation quickly.  The teasing and jokes at masters between sets, the group rides with friends, the burn in your lungs running hard.

For me, biking took a long time to love.  Essentially I’ve been on improperly sized and fitted bikes for all of my time biking - 4+ years – until last month.  I will tell you, it’s NOT fun to always be dropped from the ride as you struggle to keep up.  So how did I learn to love the bike?  By appreciating the scenery and all the hidden gems I discover in “my own backyard” ie the area I grew up in and have lived in, on and off, for over 30 years.

Just today I found this zero-traffic, beautifully paved little side road in Palo Alto that avoids a big busy hill


Rolling through Arastradero Preserve outside Palo Alto


In the redwoods of Portola Valley


Seriously, how can you beat this?


Now, my biking has come a long way and I’ve learned other things to love – the thrill of going fast, the moments of keeping up with, and occasionally wearing down, the guys, the trust that my legs will deliver when I ask even though they are tired. 

But I’ll always appreciate the view along the way.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nailed It

The workout notes said “harder than it looks on paper.'”  It looked pretty damn hard on paper actually – reading it the night before I thought I should just jump in the ice bath now!  The instructions said “run on a course that simulates your race” – I drove 3 miles down the road and ran on the actual race course.

Note: all photos were taken on my post-run recovery spin on the same course.

During warmup I began to wonder if my legs could really hit those paces…good time to change the thinking pattern, instead I reminded myself I had eaten and slept well for this and I could do it.

The run course is all on the paved trails around Lake Almaden and begins with an out and back along the creek that feeds into the lake.




As I returned to the lake, the Garmin beeped and it was time to kick it up – a series of descending pace intervals over various mileages, run through multiple times with no rest in between them.


The lake looks much bigger here than it is – it’s a tight squeeze to fit a 1500m swim in there and involves a lot of zig-zagging.


The very first interval felt hard and doubt crept in about being able to descend the pace, repeatedly.  But when the next beep came, my legs found another gear.


The path runs all the way up to the percolation ponds near my parents’ house.


In the end, I hit my intended paces perfectly and got faster each round through.  I even did the last, fastest one right where the finish line will be next month.


Running on the actual race course gave me even more confidence that it’s going to be a good day for me there!  Fun racing season ahead!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It’s Bright and Yellow and Hovering in the Sky

*blink*blink*  It’s been days since we saw it but…I think…it’s the sun?


Too bad it didn’t peep out from the clouds until after my drizzly masters swim and slogfest of an easy hour run.

While rainy cold cruddy days aren’t much fun for training, they are good for snuggling up inside with fuzzy slippers and the heat on (OMG, did I actually turn the heat on in MAY? Yes.).

Max napped on Jeff’s lap in my office the other day, until I mentioned the word dinner and he bolted for the kitchen.


Stanley has the snuggling up thing down pat and even arranges his bedding to his own specifications.


This week is going a long way towards beating up my legs well.  I hadn’t expected my bike/run brick on Tuesday to leave my legs complaining the way it did, but I got right on top of that with compression tights and Recovery e21.  They bounced back today until I crushed them again with a masters swim workout that included 900 yards of IM and 500 yards of kicking.  Hence my very tired legs for the run.  But it got done and some days that’s the best you can hope for :)

I hope the re-emergence of the sun means I can return to riding outside tomorrow.  If you watched any of the Tour of California today, then you got to see my home town hills!  Everything looked so nice on TV, I can’t wait to get out there and experience it on my own again!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Random Blah Blah Blah

Another weekend gone too fast!  Life’s been busy around here but nothing all that exciting to report.  I was thinking today that my world has certainly changed when I do an Olympic tri, take 1 day off and jump right back into training again.  My recovery tactics have certainly improved over time!

On Saturday I spent 10 hours out of the house at an agility trial with the dogs – we had nearly 6 hours between our first and second runs of the day.  Max debuted in Novice Preferred (his first time running at a lower height so we can keep him trialing longer) and had a blast but I need to get him out of Novice as fast as I can so I don’t have to wait all day to run!  When I finally got home, I had a long ride to do and with thunderstorms threatening and heavy winds blowing it became a trainer ride.  Our trial was at Casa de Fruita, a well known highway rest stop – fruit and nut farm – tourist trap, so at least I fueled up on lots of dried fruit and nuts all day!  I was thoroughly toasted by the end of the ride – took a quick shower, put my compression tights on and recovered with one of these.


The rain hit pretty hard overnight and was forecast to continue through the next day, so I opted out of sitting around a trial freezing and soaked.  Which meant I could get my long run done earlier!  The run wasn’t meant to be fast – good thing because I don’t think I had that speed yesterday – but it got done.  And then I finally gave in for my first ice bath of the year.  MUCH better after that.  While I was out for a cold and windy run, Jeff was doing a metric century ride with friends down at the coast.  He got an extra dose of wind for his day – I don’t know that I would have braved a long ride in those conditions.

My family was busy too!  I have three high school age sisters and two of them had big events this weekend.

One had a big dance concert – she’s front left starting at about 1:00 (back left before that).


And the other went to the WCAL swim finals and WON her 500 freestyle race while taking 15 seconds off her best time!

Speaking of swimming, I got some good feedback from my video taped last week and have some specific items in my stroke to address now while I have time to change it for my bigger races of the year.  I hopped in the pool at masters 10 minutes early this morning to get 300 yards of swimming with the ankle band done.  The ankle band (tying your ankles together) seems to be so love-hate depending on who you talk to – I think the strong kickers might hate it most, but I really enjoy it because it forces me to focus on good body position. That drill work carried over into the rest of my swim today – now I just need to keep up the work and slowly burn the changes I want into my muscle memory!

I hope you have a great week – at least Monday is finally past!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Iron Gear Sports Rio Salado Olympic Triathlon Race Report

That was a mouthful!  (That’s what she said.  Har har har)


As a reminder, this was not an A race for me but a chance to just get out there and get some experience and try new things.  Some of them worked and some didn’t but overall it was a fun day! 

New thing #1: I took First Endurance PreRace in my sports drink before the race start.  It looks like rather than giving me an edge or buzz, this contributed to way-too-high heart rates in the swim and early in the bike, as well as nausea heading out on the run.

My aunt and I were in two of the last waves (sprint racers went first) so we had time to put our wetsuits on in a leisurely fashion and watch the waves go off after we were kicked out of transition.  The race began about an hour after sunrise and things were warming up quickly.  I got in the water a few waves early to paddle around and warm up – as I slid off the bottom step into the water I bashed my foot on the rock wall of Tempe Town Lake.  It felt skinned but I didn’t really think much of it.

Swim: In-water start, heading straight into the sun.  I felt steady (and completely unbothered by body contact) but a little slow.  I ended up out of the water about 2 minutes slower than my Oly race last year. I think a lot of this had to do with not being able to see a single yellow buoy while swimming straight into the sun’s reflection off the water, but I’ve taken some swim video for Coach so we can work on my stroke as needed.

Gee, I look extra short behind that guy.  That’s my “hurry up move faster get out of my way!” face.


T1: Out of the water, straight to the wetsuit strippers and then a run through Tempe Beach Park to the transition entrance.  It’s no secret I pride myself on fast transitions – I had the fastest T1 in my age group!

New thing #2: Mounting the bike with shoes already clipped in.  Despite my practice earlier in the week, this could have gone better.  But eventually I did get moving.

New thing #3: My new aero helmet.  AWESOME.  Didn’t feel the heat at all on the bike and barely knew it was there.  Could have sworn it made me faster.

New thing #4: My new bike frame combined with my new fit, finally racing together.  DOUBLE AWESOME.


Bike: So by now you might have figured out that I very much enjoyed the bike ride.  The good thing about being a weaker swimmer and stronger in the other sports is you get to spend your subsequent legs passing people!  I tried to keep my power up at all times and not slack off when I had a tailwind pushing me faster.  In the end, I was rewarded with a 5 minute Oly bike PR!


T2: Dismounted without shoes and raced through quickly.  2nd fastest T2 in my AG and if only my shoe hadn’t caught on my heel it would have been the fastest (0.6 seconds was the difference).

Run: And here’s where the fun began.  I think race day topped out at something like 97 degrees, so suffice it to say it was HOT when I headed out on the run.  I’ve never gotten off the bike feeling queasy before and we’re fairly sure this was from taking the PreRace.  In any event, I figured out pretty quickly that I needed to pace very carefully to avoid a meltdown.


It was a 2 loop run so I focused on keeping my stride light and easy to keep my already-elevated heart rate from climbing any higher.  The course is mostly concrete with no shade so it felt even hotter than the official temperatures!  At the end of the first loop, heading over the Mill Ave bridge, I saw a woman sobbing on the roadside while EMTs administered an IV and took her off in an ambulance (turns out she was running in 2nd in her AG before she collapsed) – another reminder to be careful and keep drinking and dumping water over my head!


As I neared the end of the 2nd loop, on the Mill Ave bridge again, I finally caught up with my aunt finishing her 1st loop.  We ran together for a minute and then it was all downhill to the finish.  My run time was 5 minutes slower than my 10k PR, but I’m pleased at keeping it together – at a fairly even pace for the entire run - in conditions that had a lot of people walking.  My final finish time was only ~2.5 minutes off of my Olympic PR.

I was VERY happy to be done.


New thing #5: Racing with Recovery e21.  I took 2 capsules before the race, 2 capsules early in the ride, 2 capsules after an hour on the bike, and 2 more at the finish line.  I managed the heat much better than I’ve ever been able to and I was never sore from this race.

My aunt managed a 23 minute Olympic PR!!!  She’s worked hard this winter and it all paid off!


Post-race, I was amused to pull my running shoes off and find blood all over my foot.  I guess when I thought I just scraped it getting into the lake, I did a bit worse than that!  I won’t share the photos (you’re welcome) but let’s just say I gouged it pretty good.  It’s a testament to the heavy lubing-up of my racing flats that I never felt it, nor blistered, on that hot run, even with all the water I was pouring on myself.

So anyway, it was a fun race and I had a good time trying new things without too much pressure and enjoying some serious sunshine and heat and finally RACING!!!!  Thank goodness I don’t have to wait too long until the next one.  Thanks for your patience in waiting for this RR!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mood Lifters

For whatever reason, this week has just been a total downer for me.  Maybe it’s hockey (grrrr), maybe it’s returning to less than hot weather after Arizona, maybe it’s just that lull that comes after a race and before training gets hard again.  All I know is every day has seemed more heavy and bleak than the last and I haven’t quite been able to snap myself out of it.  I cut back heavily on Facebook posts because I found myself, more often than not, poised to say something not very nice. 

With that in mind, today’s workout was a welcome lift to my mood – a ride outside, not too long but enough to get out to the pretty areas away from town and just tackle hills and wind and the neverending quest to keep up with my husband.



Riding hills "with" Jeff tends to look something like this :) Good thing he let me draft off him on the way home.


And just like that, much improved spirits!  Thank goodness for the wonderful endorphins that training brings for helping work out the ickier moments in our lives.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Fun Weekend In AZ

I know, I know, it’s not a race report yet.  I’m waiting for the official photos.  But it was fun and I finished with a smile on my face so that’s the important part!

I utilized the DC Rainmaker bike insulation method to ensure that my new steed was well protected for its foray into TSA inspection-land.


It reassembled beautifully on the other end and my aunt and I dropped our pretty Specialized bikes off at transition Friday night in the high-90s heat.



We had our pre-race dinner at Caffe Boa in Tempe, just a few blocks from the race site – delicious!  As we waited (with my younger cousin) for my (other) cousin and her boyfriend to arrive, we ordered an appetizer to tide us over.  This picture was taken just before we all hoovered it at top speed to avoid having to share with the remainder of our party when they showed up :)


The meal would have been enhanced by a few drinks but we were good athletes and abstained – we made up for it the next night after the race with lemon drops!


My totally cute cousins


Other things that may or may not have occurred that night include:

  • The conquering of one massive B(acon)L(ettuce)A(vocado)T(omato) sandwich!
  • Spillage of my 2nd lemon drop all over the table.  I hate those top-heavy martini glasses
  • An intention to utilize the bushes alongside the Scottsdale canal…until some creepy people came walking by and instead I sprinted across the Yogurtland parking lot in heels…all while my family was sitting in Yogurtland snickering because there were public restrooms inside

I flew home early the morning after the race and I’m still trying to catch up a bit.  I promise I’ll get the RR up as soon as the photos are posted!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Getting Race Ready

Taper.  You’re doing it wrong.


This weekend’s event is a B race for me, meaning I won’t be peaked or fully tapered for it.  My main goal is just to get some race experience in – living in California it feels incredibly strange to be in May and not have done a tri yet.  But I am having a lighter workout week as we approach the race and am enjoying the sparky feeling developing in my legs!

I had a little brick on tap for today – great chance to feel out the new bike fit with some very short race-pace intervals.  And clearly California is trying to prepare me for the sun and heat in Arizona by finally giving us some proper May weather! (sorry photo is fuzzy)


And then it was time for transition practice!!!  I was very excited when I saw a note to practice transitions on my schedule, as it’s something we rarely work on that can really save us time.  Given that I’d recently read this blog post, I had a lot of things I’ve been wanting to try.

First of course I needed to really test out my new helmet and work out any issues of putting it on in a hurry.


Then it was something I’ve never done before – mounting the bike with shoes already clipped in.  I am not brave enough for the flying mount (beautifully demonstrated in that linked post above) at this point and I just about crashed into Jeff’s car the first 2 times I tried getting my feet in the shoes but eventually I got the hang of it.


The best part was discovering I’m not so bad at the flying dismount!  Which I did over and over again until Jeff got a good picture of it.


So with just a few light easy workouts to go (and Coach’s instructions to rest the legs a bit more based on how they felt today), I’m feeling pretty confident I can go out there and execute my plan for Saturday – get some race experience under my belt for the year and try some new things out!

Now who wants to pack all this gear up for me?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Month of May

Now I have the Arcade Fire song stuck in my head.  Anyway…

May started out brilliantly yesterday with a long run and another successful hockey game (sorry, Detroit fans…). 

I also joined in a challenge for May that a number of Facebook friends/fellow bloggers are participating in: the elimination of all recreational sugar use for the entire month!  My eating has been pretty good but I certainly don’t need the sugary snacks that creep into my diet sometimes.  So for the entire month, I’ll be taking a pass on my little dark chocolate treats, those slices of cake that follow me home from Whole Foods, frozen yogurt after a hard bike ride, and so on.  Eeeeeeek! 

2 days down, 29 more to go!  There might be a little sugar party going down on June 1st…

In other news, IT’S RACE WEEK!  I started pulling together my gear for packing and had a nice massage to loosen everything up.  My aunt will be doing the race as well and two of my cousins will be there to celebrate with us afterwards - it should be a fun weekend!