Sunday, October 28, 2012

9 and a Half Weeks

Well, my off-season break was *supposed* to last 9.5 weeks and end on November 1st with getting back to training.  But someone's coach was impatient - or perhaps had some idea of all the shenanigans I was up to - and I've got a schedule starting tomorrow.  Kicking off 2013 with a, rest day.

At least I fit in the last of my stupidity this weekend so now I can get back to normal.

I spent most of yesterday in a daze from the side effects of my Tdap vaccination on Friday - not fun stuff.  The dogs still had needs though, so they got a nice hike on the trails before I went to bed for the rest of the afternoon.

Today I dragged myself out of bed after 9+ hours of sleep and went down to Morgan Hill to do a little 5k I'd signed up for, since my friends were doing the marathon and half-marathon.  I haven't exactly been running a lot since IMC.  I don't think I've done more than 10 miles in a week since then.  But oh well let's just go out and run this thing for fun.  There were a ton of kids at the start line so I went out a bit hard just to try to drop most of them.  I ended up running in no mans land on my own but for one kid for most of the surprisingly hilly race - I'd get passed by a 10-year-old boy as he sprinted by and then pass him when he slowed down, back and forth for 3 miles.  In the end, I outsprinted him to the finish, something I'm proud of since those little bastards can't pace for shit but usually they can out kick you.  My run was a couple minutes off my PR - though the course also measured a bit long - but I haven't been doing speedwork so I expected exactly the time I ended up with.  On the upside, I was 2nd in my AG and 3rd overall woman!

If that weren't enough, I went home and Jeff wanted to go ride Mt Hamilton again.  So I did.  We parked at the bottom and rode to the top, then back down.  In the fastest time I've ever done it (like over half an hour faster than in April). We even gained some bonus mileage when the road was closed for an accident ONE FREAKING MILE from the base of the mountain so we had to go up and over on a side road to get back to our car (I was not in the mood for more uphill at that point).  But it was fun to get in one last long ride before I settle down to proper work for the winter.  Not exactly advised or smart (mea culpa) but my first chance to spend quality time with my husband all week too.

It was so clear (and warm and sunny) today that you could see all the way to downtown San Francisco and beyond that Mount Tam (the tallest dark shape just right of center).

It's a twisty turny road of switchbacks to get to Lick Observatory at the top.

I feel like I should emphasize that other than ~2 stupid long bike rides, I've basically been super low volume for all of these 9 weeks.  And I've tried other stuff, had some fun, slept in a lot...and did not live and breath triathlon.  So with that...time to get back at it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Knowing that I'd be racing short distances this year and not doing any long LONG rides, I wanted to get in one more good climbing bike before the weather turned cold and wet and formal training started again.  I just barely made it under the wire on Sunday with a ride up Mt Hamilton and down the back side to Livermore - it started raining right as we drove away from the finish.  On the positive side, I was reunited with Kristi and got to do my beloved Hamilton climb again.  On the negative side, we were all really done at the 40-mile mark and still had to get the rest of the way back to the cars we'd left in Livermore, through all the heavy wind coming in with the storm.

Climbing above the valley floor

Refill stop at Grant Park

Heading up again and looking out over Grant Park

I LOVE climbing this mountain.  LOVE. IT.  It's such fun and really not *too* hard and it makes me happy.

Still climbing, the views keep getting better!

You can't tell in this photo but you could see all the way up the Peninsula at this point. If not for the clouds we would have been able to see San Francisco.

Lick Observatory.  So close and yet still ~5 miles of riding away.

A look down at some of the switchbacks we'd ridden up

At the top of Mount Hamilton!

Climbing a small hill after descending the steep backside of Hamilton (the scariest 5 miles I've ever done on my bike)

The back side of Mount Hamilton is beautiful and surprisingly forest-y but desolate.  There is NOTHING back there but for one small bar in the middle of the 50 miles between the top of the mountain and civilization, so you are really on your own out there.

At one point we looked ahead and saw something large sprint across the road.  He wouldn't hold still when I stopped to take his picture but it was a VERY well-fed coyote!

View of the backside of the mountain we had climbed over, from the Junction (bar)

Climbing out from the Junction entails a few long hills!

The last 30 miles were WINDY and cold.  If we had any choice that allowed us to stop sooner, we'd all have taken it.  In the end I think we were all wishing we'd aimed for a shorter day but it was good to get this one finished.  Now - for reals - bring on the SHORT stuff!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Swim To Remember

Today was my old high school's Swim to Remember event, a swim fundraiser for cancer charities in memory of a teacher who died of breast cancer (while I never was in one of her classes, she taught when I was there).  In the past, I've always been off racing or in the middle of some big IM build for this event, so it was nice to actually be able to make it there for once!

When I started the pool was crowded so I ended up in a lane with a bunch of high school girls.  One of them introduced herself and I mentioned that I'd gone here many years ago and my sisters were a year behind her now.  A couple laps later, she stopped me to ask "wait, you went here? What year?"  When I told her I graduated in 1994, she didn't even believe me.  Yes, triathlon does a body good. :)

Thankfully after my warmup, I was able to move over and share a lane with Tim, who coached me though improving my stroke all year.  That was much easier than sharing with 3 chatty high school girls who hung off the wall and blocked the whole lane kicking side by side.  I didn't really have a goal when I started but just figured I would swim until I didn't feel like it anymore.  It's not often you get unlimited lap swim time around here but the afternoon session of this event went on for seven hours!

So...90 minutes later...

4000 (very easy) yards done!

On the more bizarre side of parents' poor pug - repeatedly misdiagnosed with bladder infections - had a humungous bladder stone removed yesterday.  She came home today and is resting and recovering.

I'm not kidding.  It was huge.

Thank goodness that's out!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012 Bearded Collie Club of America National Specialty

It's that time of year again, the beardie National!  I seem to go every other year, or whenever it is close enough for me to get there with my dogs.  2002: Monterey, CA, 2006: Mt Hood, OR, 2008: Santa Rosa, CA, 2010: Loveland, CO, 2012: City of Industry, CA.  As I've done the past few years, I roomed with my best beardie buddy Shannon and her handsome boy Beckham (Stanley's cousin).

Day 1 - Agility Trial

Happy dudes at the trial

One of Stanley's runs

Beckham, Stanley and Stanley's son Keegan teamed up for the relay event and won 3rd place!

Welcome party with a view of the mountains through the smog!

Days 2 through 4 were rally, obedience, futurity, sweepstakes, and the dog and bitch classes (non-champion).  I showed two of Stanley's sons, who were very good walking in the ring with a stranger.

Stan's daughter won Best in Futurity!

Stan's son and his mom relax ringside. Sooo stressed out :)

Max, Beck and Stan romping in the room

Beginner Puppy showing!  Puppy classes are very entertaining :)

We also went to the health seminar, an abbreviated version of Pat Hastings' Structure in Action workshop.  I highly recommend this one to show and performance dog people, as it was eye-opening in terms of looking at structure for  performance and basic structural integrity!  We came back upstairs and immediately went over our dogs to compare to what we had learned.

Day 5 (Friday) was Best of Breed judging.  I showed Stanley and was very happy with how good he was out there for me.

For the first time ever, I got to show him in the Stud Dog class too with two of his kids.  It's so nice to see what he is producing - great structure and SUCH sweet temperaments!

Once I was done in the ring, I got to hang out and watch with Max.  He had a blast all week socializing with everyone he met.

And then...something totally awesome happened.  Rather than a pro handler or an old-time breeder winning, Shannon and her beautiful Beckham won the whole damn thing.  I cried. A lot.

So happy!

Since that last night was the awards dinner, it was perfect timing for us to drink a lot and celebrate!  We finished off the night hot-tubbing with a view of all the city lights and then letting the dogs have a good hard run together.

Now that we are home, I have realized how exhausted I was from the whole week.  9 hours of sleep per night for multiple days and I'm not caught up yet!  Good thing this is the off-season :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Off Season

Wow.  You'd think I haven't posted because I've got nothing to talk about but in fact I've been busier than ever.  So busy that I keep cringing at how much blogging there is to catch up on.

It's the off-season.  I'm not training.  I'm exercising, here and there, but not training.  It's been 7.5 weeks since IMC and I still have 2 weeks to go until I'm back on plan.  The ELF wrote a wonderful blog post about this time of year and how important it is to take that break from training and it sums up beautifully the philosophy I believe in!

So what have I been doing?  Embracing the "if I feel like it" mentality.  I might go to bed thinking I'm going to swim in the morning, but if I wake up and I don't feel like it, I don't go.  No guilt, no worries, it's the off-season.  There will be plenty of other days I haul my ass out of bed in the dark and cold to go because I have to.  This is my reward for that.  I go trail running if I feel like it, I go for a ride with the guys if I feel like it, I take a bunch of rest days if that's what works this week.

But I haven't been sitting around doing nothing.  I've been working way too much, I've been doing a lot with the dogs (more on that later), I've been studying (I'm taking a couple of classes from the local community college) and I've been busy doing an unimaginable amount of paperwork for some big ideas I have on the back burner (more on that in a few months).

So anyway, that's my excuse for being such a poor blogger.  I will do my best to get the next post out sooner, as I need to update on my week spent at the Bearded Collie Club of America National Specialty!  *lots of hair*

How are YOU enjoying the off-season?