Friday, July 31, 2009

Easy rider

I biked an easy 30 minutes (7.14 miles) this AM. The baby bunnies were out in force though, and I kept envisioning having to take my bike to the bike shop with road kill stuck in the drive train asking the bike shop to quickly fix it up so I could get to Sonoma. So that was it!

Finishing packing now. I think I'm one of those athletes who feels compelled to be constantly active before an event. I'm doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom when I should just be putting everything in the car and heading out.

They say they'll have live tracking again, but since it didn't work last time, I wouldn't count on it! But just in case ... click here and from there you can type in my name next to the magnifying class where it says "Name or Bib #" then hit Go. (It gives no indication what race it is for until you enter a name and hit Go.) If you do it now, it just has blanks for my times.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Swim yesterday, run today

I just realized I could update my blog by just posting what I sent to my coach as an update! Two for one.
Yesterday morning I swam 2000 yds. I can't remember the exact time, but it was about 5 min per 250, fairly consistently, so probably 40 minutes. I didn't take a break after each 250, I just looked at my watch and sometimes get a sip of water.
Then I biked to work from the gym, a little over 3 miles. It's probably the slowest part of my commute because I hit all the lights downtown. It took about 15 min.
After work I rode to the bike shop (~1 mile) and got the Endurolytes. I just got the capsules because Hammer's website says that the taste of the powder will limit a person to about 2 servings per bottle, so I figured I might as well just stick to capsules if they admit the powder tastes weird. I then rode over to Fleet Feet (~1-2 miles) and got some more Gu with caffeine and some CarbBoom gels that I like that don't have caffeine. I'm thinking about mixing the two on Saturday. (They are both maltodextrin.) I bought some more Heed powder, too, since I was out. I bought so much stuff someone said it looked like a display at the checkout! From Fleet Feet I rode back to the gym, just about 4-5 miles.
This morning I did my 8 mile run by running to work, and adding an extra mile on the bike path. Took 95 minutes, HR max 169, avg 153, distance 8.1, avg speed 11:43, max 9:24. I can upload the details to Polar when I get home. I tried to stick to walking 1 minute per mile, though once or twice I accidentally ran an extra minute or two.
I love the post-run-to-work feeling! I even arrived at work early enough to stretch for a good 5 minutes before showering. I'll try to remember to stretch at lunch, too. I'm getting a ride home with a coworker tonight, and the bus is the backup plan.
Tomorrow will be a short bike ride and then the long drive to Sonoma for Saturday's Aquabike!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Short post!

Time for a short post after all those long race report posts!

Last week I biked to and from work twice. That was it!  Saturday we had planned to do a 5k, but I backed out when I found out it started and finished in a cemetery. Instead, Dave and I decided to run on our own. All day I hung around the apartment in my running clothes. Finally at almost 5:30pm we went for it. Mostly because otherwise I was rapidly running out of calories for dinner. It was so hot. We almost melted. Who runs at the hottest time of the day? Silly people. Thank goodness for watermelon.

Sunday I tested my smaller size wetsuit. Worked well! I swam at Lake Natoma for about 30-40 minutes, figuring I swam about a mile. Then I biked 25 miles of hills. I rode the hilliest part of the bike path, then I turned around and did it again. Then it was almost 1pm, so sticking with the weekend's theme of being stupid, I ran a mile. A mini-tri. Good fun! My head was hot the rest of the day. Mmmm more watermelon!

Yesterday I did the bike commute thing. Today I ran, about 5 miles. Shoe pod is acting up again. Shoe pod says I ran 4.9, but by the mile markers on the bike path it was over 5, more like 5.5. I don't know if it's better to round up or down in this case. Which is the safer option? Then I biked from the park to work, and back home after work. 3 miles hardly counts as a workout, except I did hit 25.5 mph on I street. Nothing like cars gearing up to get on the freeway to help push me to go faster and get out of the way!

Biggest news of the week: I now have a coach! I'm very excited about this and could write a bit more but will have to save it for another day as I have to stretch and sleep!

Vineman 70.3 Race Report - Part 3

Because this was a two transition race, we had to drop off our T2 bag (running shoes, hat, etc) the day before the race. The second transition area was setup so everyone had to run the same distance and wouldn't get in each other's way. It worked really well actually. We ran up the right hand side of the racks, where each row was labeled (somewhat), and exited up the left side of the racks. I was in a rack labeled Men <29, because the first few racks were for the young guys, but the racks past that were for Women 30-34 (and were fairly empty, apparently all the women who went to the earlier pre-race meetings and dropped off their run gear earlier on Saturday hadn't noticed these last few racks. I almost overlooked them myself, wondering where I was going to put my stuff!). I was pleasantly surprised that the racks weren't full of bikes. There were plenty of people still out on the bike course. Given that I was second to last cyclist in my first half ironman (at the time, I'd been told I was last), this was a great improvement.
I hung my bike to the rack from my bike seat, took off my helmet, and unzipped my T2 bag. I was paranoid about sprinklers and random rain, so wanted my shoes protected so they'd be dry for my run. They were hot and dry. I pulled off my bike shoes, did another quick change to put on running shorts and changed my socks to thin, wicking running socks. I got my running shoes on and then stood up and took off my gloves. I hate running immediately after standing up from being bent over because it makes me dizzy! I grabbed my hat, and put on my fuel belt which had two 8oz bottles of hot water. mmm. I took a packet of almond butter from my bike's bento box and threw it in the back of my top. I replaced the Gu flask with two packs of Gu Chomps (think strawberry jam flavored gummy bears with caffeine). I used a stick of sunscreen to quickly cover my shoulders, nose, and cheeks, and I grabbed a tube of SPF chapstick for later applications. I turned on my shoe pod so that I'd have instant feedback on my pace appear on my watch. Then I ran off to get out of the bike racks and onto the course.
I was completely elated that I'd pulled into T2 just over 4 hours after I'd started the race. I had 4 hours to run a half marathon to meet my low-expectations goal. I wondered if I could possibly finish in 7 hours. On the bike I found myself pondering that, but then I'd tell myself to be quiet and stop inflating my goals. Also on the bike I kept wondering if my fast pace was going to make me blow up on the run. Now was the time to find out!
T2 time: 6:52.6 official (7:08.8 by my watch)
Now came the part I felt most prepared for! This was the first time I would be running a 13.1 mile race where I'd actually recently run 13 miles in training! Just two weeks earlier I'd run 13 miles at Lake Tahoe elevation. The run on my first half ironman hurt. My knees were quite painful and I had to walk a lot of the course because it hurt so much to run. This time I planned to walk 1 minute after passing each mile marker to hopefully avoid knee pain later.
Just a few minutes into the run, I realized my pace was blank. I stopped and turned my shoe pod back on. Luckily it wasn't a battery issue, it seems I turned it on and off in the transition area. Oops. Within a few more minutes I decided it was time for my first walk break. My back felt a little tight so I stopped to stretch my hands to the ground and then walk 30 seconds or so. I figured there was no sense in battling on for a mile if a quick stop and stretch would fix me up. It seemed to do the trick as within another mile my back had loosened up.
On Saturday, I'd debated whether to bring my fuel belt on the run, but I decided it was so hot that the aid stations each mile might not be enough. What if I was thirsty at a half mile? I was glad I brought it, though I probably would've been fine with just one 8oz bottle. The nutrition plan was to eat one or two Gu Chomps each mile. That's what I usually do on long runs. Each one has 22.5 calories. After a few miles though my stomach didn't feel quite right. The Chomps didn't sound good. (usually they are so yummy I have to convince myself to only eat one at a time!). I started wondering if I'd ingested way too much caffeine. Unfortunately the only non-caffeinated food I had with me was the almond butter, and eating a bunch of fat and protein didn't sound good either. The aid stations had food, but mostly stuff I couldn't eat. Some had fruit but I wasn't sure about that either. My stomach didn't actually hurt, it just felt off, so I decided to just keep going and hope it was my imagination.
The run course had a few trees here and there, but for the most part I remember hot pavement and asphalt with no shade at all. It was brutally hot. Sure I'm from Arizona, but very few people in AZ go running at noon in the summer. During my training for the St Croix half iron, I actually did a 8-10 mile run at noon one day, since I figured that's when I'd be running, I might as well train for it. But I hadn't done any warm weather runs since my early morning runs in AZ in early June. The weather in the Santa Rosa/Windsor area on Vineman race day had been mostly in the 60s during my run. It was about 80 when I was starting the run, per NOAA, but it only grew hotter and hotter. The peak during my run was probably about 95, but it felt like an oven. The cold water at each aid station was so nice. Some of the aid stations had ice. They all had tents to cover the tables of food and drink, so it was possible to hide in the shade for a few seconds here and there.
I'd caught up to Nikki, who I'd met early in the bike, just at the end of the bike leg. We spoke a little in the transition area, and she started the run before me. I kept an eye out for her green Team-in-Training jersey, and found her after two or three miles on the run while she was heading up a hill. There were definitely some hills on the run. Nothing terrible to strain your calves on or anything, but add the heat and be 60 miles into a race, and people start walking up those hills, myself included. My run-walk plan wasn't going so well since I started it wrong. When I hit my first mile marker I just kept running since I'd taken a walk break just a few minutes earlier. I took another quick break before the 2nd mile marker, and then kept running through that too. I stopped here and there to refill my water and drink water at the aid stations, so I figured that counted as walking too. So my run 1 mile, walk 1 minute turned into walk uphills and through aid stations, run the rest. When I caught up to Nikki, I saw she was doing a run-walk too. We were pretty much at the same pace, so it was nice to have someone to chat with and make the time go by a little faster. She's training for Ironman Wisconsin and had done the bike course for our Vineman race the day before! I couldn't decide if that was impressive or weird. I mentioned training for Florida and she'd done that course as her first one last year. Someone behind us spoke up that she had done Florida, too. It's quite the popular race!
I can't quite remember when it first happened, but somewhere between mile 2 and mile 9, I found myself wondering why I was doing this. It's hot. It's miserable. This sucks. It's going to take forever to finish this. Then I remembered I was way ahead of my goal times, and maybe I'd magically get to finish close 7 if I just kept pushing along. What really got me out of the funk though was realizing that when it's time for Florida, I won't be running my marathon in the heat of the day with no shade and 90+ degree weather. It'll be DARK! Florida would be so much nicer than this. I also went back to my mantra of "this is what you're doing today." I was so glad I'd decided to spend Sunday night in Santa Rosa instead of driving 3 hours in traffic back home after my race. I just focused on the fact that I just had to keep running for another hour or two and then I'd be able to find some air conditioning and sleep all night.
On the way out to the halfway spot, I got passed by a 45 year old woman in a bikini, who, if it weren't for her age written on the back of her leg, I would've said she was 20. She FLEW past. I was near a bunch of people running about my pace (~11-12 min mile at the time) and we all kind of looked at each other in shock. She was amazingly awesome and she was booking it. I mentioned her to the people I had dinner with, and the guy who was probably about 5-8 miles ahead of me at some point on the run said she flew past him too. He kept up with her for one hill climb and they passed about 20 people before he thought better of it and let her fly. This woman was amazing. I saw her after the race too and everyone had been equally impressed. I wish I knew what her race number was.
Finally we reached the turnaround point, or so I thought. We entered La Crema Winery and found the mecca of all aid stations. This one had ICE and misters/sprinkler to run through - right on a path we had to follow, so didn't even lose any time. Water conservation be damned! Ah, it was so nice to run through that. Grabbed a cup of ice and rubbed some on my wrists, face, put some under my hat and in my shirt. Then we had to run around a small pond. Okay, okay, but then we'll get to head back right? "Be sure to run around BOTH ponds!" Nikki and I head over to the second pond. Um, this looks like a LAKE to me. It was large and was very enticing. Many of us discussed jumping in. I'd thought the entrance to La Crema was the 6.5 mile marker, so I assumed we'd turn around then. I think we ran at least a mile at the winery. Maybe more. So far though, my times were looking okay. My minutes per mile for the first 6 miles:  10:20.5, 10:42.8, 12:11.3, 11:38.5, 12:34.7, 10:25.1. I think my goal was 12-13 minute miles. I can't even remember now. I was doing alright. I told Nikki I was really hoping to beat 7 hours if at all possible; she told me I would. It's always nice to have the confidence of others.
Shortly after we finally got to turn around, my stomach starting feeling less than okay. I still couldn't identify the problem. But I'd stopped eating the Chomps after the first few miles. Maybe I was drinking too much water? It was so hot though, I was constantly thirsty, and the cold water cooled me off. Nikki suggested I walk more. So I walked a bit. Then I tried running again, realized I felt the same either way, so decided I might as well run. So run, run, run, walk up the second half of that hill, run, run. Wonder what mile we're on. It can't possibly be mile 9, can it? I thought we'd be in this miserable place forever, but we only have 4 miles left? I didn't gain speed at the end, but maybe I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. When I passed Nikki again, she told me I would beat 7 even if I walked the rest of it. That was tempting, but I had the energy to run so I might as well run!
I was so thankful for the aid stations that had hoses, and for the people who lives along the course that would hose us off too. I got drenched whenever possible, especially my head and my hat. Unfortunately, my top would dry pretty quickly, my arms dried instantly, and my shorts did not dry. Running in wet shorts is not that comfortable. My shoes stayed mostly dry, or at least dry enough that I thankfully avoided blisters. I kept pulling my jersey over to dampen my arms. The same jersey I found myself blowing my nose on during the bike course. Now I was using it to cooldown my face and my arms. It never ceases to amaze me how my standards of cleanliness go down the drain during athletic events. The heat and sun were unreal but still it felt like I was moving at a decent pace. This run wasn't dragging on quite as long as forever afterall. I knew each mile was only about 12 minutes more and somehow it seemed doable. Especially when one of the last aid stations had ice again. Ah, ice. I rubbed it on my face. I held it in my armpits to cool my core body temp. I put it under my hat.
My watch is fancy. It gives me pace, distance, heart rate, and lets me hit a button to separate each "lap". That's how I knew how long T2 was, for example. I hit the lap counter at each mile marker. What I noticed though was that each mile was a little short, by my watch. At first they were .98 and .99, but then I had a few that were .85, .83, .89, etc. It was a little worrisome. I knew some of the mile markers were in the wrong spots. They'd told us that the painted mile markers on the street with circles around them were this years markers. But the plastic signs with the miles listed weren't always placed right by those markers. After passing mile marker 12, I saw a guy with a Garmin GPS watch and I asked him what distance it gave for our run so far. He told me 12, so I stopped worrying about mile 13 being really stretched out. My last 7 miles were: 13:14.2, 12:24, 13:19, 13:26, 13:48, 12:54, 12:10.5.
I saw the president of our tri club when I had about half a mile left. She cheered me on and said "there's ice at the finish. ICE!" Ooh that sounded so nice. I ran a little faster. Finally in the finish shoot. I was a tad disappointed knowing that I had no friends or family cheering for me there, but there were lots of other spectators. I smiled for the cameras knowing I'd beat 7 hours, and I didn't sprint to the finish because I didn't want to get in the way of anyone else's finish line photo. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
It was a decent race. I was proud of my finish time. I'm not sure I'd do the race again though because that run was miserably hot and unshaded. If I do ever sign up for it again, I think I'll wear long sleeves on the run! After the race I cooled down at the athlete's food tent, eating tons of watermelon. Then I found the massage tent and treated myself to a well-earned 20 minute massage.
Run time: 2:38:46 (official)
Overall finish: 6:49:23.7 (official)  6:49:23.6 (my watch)
Age Group Rankings:
Swim: 115/154
Bike: 96/154
T2: 133/154
Run: 114/154
Overall: 110/154
Seems my bike leg has gone from worst to best!  This Saturday I'm heading back to do the swim and bike course again, but twice!, at the Vineman Aquabike. 2.4 miles swimming and 112 miles biking. I'm just thankful I won't have to run out there again.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vineman 70.3 Race Report - Part 2


The Vineman bike course is known for being beautiful. The 56 mile one-loop course takes athletes past dozens of wineries. I think the St Croix course is prettier, but I'm more of a beach gal than a fields of grapes gal. The Vineman course was definitely pretty though, when I made myself pay attention to the scenery.

I started the bike at about 8:05am. According to NOAA, the air was 56F, 87% humidity, and a 3mph southward wind. I didn't notice the wind or the humidity. One thing I forgot to mention when writing about T1 in the last post was that during the transition I decided not to wear my arm warmers on the bike. The night before and pre-swim, I'd planned on wearing them and peeling them off as I warmed up. I've read over and over again that you choose your bike clothes before the race and stick to the plan because post-swim you aren't thinking straight. Well, probably a good general rule. But I was feeling warm with the sun on me and I didn't see any fog, so in T1 I decided to skip the arm warmers and just wear my bike shorts and sleeveless meshy tri top, but I did put on the wool socks. I thought I'd brought two pairs of socks, 1 wool and 1 not, so I could decide based on weather. Well, I wanted the non-wool but couldn't find them. The temperature was fine for the ride though, so I'm happy with what I chose to wear.

I hit the first attention-getter hill after just a few miles, and I thought "oh #$% what have I gotten into? they say the tough hill is at mile 45." I was pleasantly surprised though as that was really the only tough hill until mile 45. I changed gears a lot as the course had rolling hills. I tried to be ready to shift quickly on the descents in case a big hill was around the corner. I stayed in the aerobars when I could, but was on the horns often too, for quick shifting and braking. I'd had my bike readjusted the day before the race and I hadn't had time to try out the new fit. The previous week we'd lowered the handlebars 2cm and raised the seat 2cm. I had some hip pain a few days later and was uncertain as to the cause. Bike change was certainly a possibility, even though it hadn't bothered me on the first ride. So Saturday before the race, we split the difference (moving bars and seat back 1cm closer to its previous position) and hoped for the best. It worked fine. I kept my bike computer set to cadence instead of speed. I didn't want to get wrapped up in my pace. Keeping a high cadence (90rpm on the flats, 60-90 on hills) was more important.

My plan for nutrition on the bike this time was to replace my water bottle at each rest stop. I had two bottles, one of water and one of concentrated Heed. Heed is a sports drink but it uses maltodextrin instead of high fructose corn syrup (found in Gatorade). Maltodextrin is a longer lasting sugar (or so they say). I hadn't trained on Gatorade Endurance formula, and since I knew it had HFCS in it, I wasn't sure I wanted to try it. It was tempting because it's what they'll be serving at Florida, and it's nice to not have to carry your own drink around. I hadn't tried my planned method of drinking until race day. Plan was to have 5 packets of Heed (500 calories) in one bottle mixed with as much water as I could fit in the bottle. Sip that and drink from the plain water bottle with each sip. Basically diluting it in my belly. It was a little strange to do that. Early on I thought maybe I wasn't going to have enough water. I was also eating Gu. I had a flask that held 6 Gu packets, all tri-berry flavor, with caffeine. This was also my first ride that was fueled primarily on Gu and Heed. I had a handful of GF pretzels in my Bento Box, and had two packs of honey almond butter too. I ate a pretzel or two every hour to maintain my sodium level. The almond butter never sounded good. I planned on 4 hours on the bike so figured I should make sure I only drink 1/4 of my Heed bottle each hour.

During the beginning of the ride, I kept leap-frogging with 2 others (mostly I was passing them on the hills and they'd fly past me on the downhill). Finally we decided we might as well introduce ourselves. I met Jason (who I later saw on the side of the road fixing a flat) and Nikki who was also 30 (I could see it on her calf) and has a sister named Kendra. There were lots of cyclists on the road, and it was a bit of a pain to avoid drafting. Drafting isn't legal, so you have to be 4 bike lengths behind the person in front of you. When you get passed, it's your responsibility to drop back! Incentive to keep up the fight!

The bike rest stops were supposed to be at mile 18, 29, and 40. I thought for sure they were off when I came across the first rest stop after just 66 minutes. My goal was to maintain 15mph after all. For bike rest stops, they had portapottys, gatorade, water and probably some bananas, etc. It basically works by having volunteers yell out what they have in their hands "Gatorade, Gatorade", a cyclist comes by yells "Gatorade" and the volunteer yells "Gatorade" back at them while handing it to them as the cyclist whizzes by at 20mph. In my last half iron, I stopped at most rest stops, got off my bike, refilled my Camelbak and bottles, then continued on my way.

By the time I got to the first bike rest stop, my water bottle was about 1/3 full and Heed bottle was 3/4 full. I'd had a few swigs of the Gu too. I decided to use this opportunity to make a pit stop since there was no line and I knew I'd have to go now or at the next stop. A volunteer grabbed my bike and held it was I used the portapotty. The plastic water bottles they were passing out didn't look very sturdy and I was worried it might not stay in my water bottle cage. I was afraid to risk it falling out and then just having concentrated Heed and Gu for the next hour. So I opened up my water bottle and the volunteer filled it with water for me. All this took just 1 minute and 43 seconds!

Back on the bike Nikki and Jason were way ahead of me and I found myself repassing people who I'd passed before my break. At some point a ton of men in their 40s flew past. It was funny how the wave starts were staggered such that I was having super fast triathletes pass me hours into my race. I came to the second rest stop so fast I couldn't figure out what was going on. I checked the odometer, but it looked like they were in the right place. Only 35 minutes had passed. I didn't need more water yet. At the same place there was a timing mat that we rode over. I thought of how my parents and husband would soon see how I was smoking the bike course and be so proud of me. I smiled as I rode over the timing mat. Only after the race did I learn the live athlete tracking wasn't working!

More hills, more wineries, more descents. At some point I hit almost 40mph on a downhill. I stretched when I thought of it. I stretched my head to each side when I could. I stood up and stretched my calves and bent over to stretch my hamstrings. I reached each arm behind me and then straight up. All to hopefully prevent a tight back on the run. The sheriffs and highway patrol were monitoring the streets we had to cross. Plenty of unhappy motorists had to wait until there was a gap in the cyclists. They were great, and some of them even cheered for us. At one point I heard a CHP yell "come on, come on!" I thought it was yelling at us to ride faster through the intersection - he sounded mad. It seemed like good motivation for us to work harder. Turns out he was yelling at a driver to hurry up and get out of our way.

At the last rest stop, I knew I needed more water. I decided to give the race course water bottles a chance. I took one last swig of my own water and tossed my Mikes Bikes water bottle to the side of the road. I yelled "water" and someone handed me a plastic bottle of water with a sport top, like the kind you might buy at a convenience store. It fit in my bottle cage, but was a smidgen loose. I tried not to think about all the bottles I'd seen strewed on the ground that had clearly fallen off other cyclists' bikes. When I rode over train tracks that warned "Walk bike over tracks" (a permanent sign, not specifically for the race), I went slowly and carefully to avoid losing the bottle.

While leaving that last rest stop, I knew Chalk Hill was coming up - at mile 45. I had no idea what to expect. Someone told me it's nothing like St Croix's Beast, but that was the type of hill I was afraid of and dreading. At the same time, I love conquering a good hill, and I love riding up notorious hills since they never seem as bad as the Beast. Soon enough, we hit it. I had to ask someone "is this Chalk Hill?" Yes, it was. A minute later someone asked me the same thing. The hill was definitely a hill, but it wasn't nearly impossible, which is what I'd mentally prepared myself for. At some point I realized I wasn't even using my granny gear, so I geared down and just spun up the hill, every so often standing to get some more momentum.

I was pretty much riding on excitement. Here I was at the top of the big hill. I only had 11 miles to go! I hadn't even reached that "when is this bike ride going to end?" stage. Shockingly, I never did! I figured I'd entered some time warp because everything was happening so fast it seemed unreal. Just over 36 minutes after the last rest stop, I was cruising into the second transition area. There were plenty of runners on the course. Someone yelled "Go STC!" when they saw my jersey. We had to dismount our bikes and run a few hundred feet to get to the transition area with the bike racks. I let one person pass me because I was taking very delicate steps running on this grassy field in my bike shoes, trying not to sprain an ankle. Just after we passed another timing mat, I realized I should take off my bike computer so that I'd have the stats (mileages, average speed) from the actual riding, and not this running portion. The bike computer read 56.01 at the end of the day though.

Bike time: 3:15:04.6 (avg 17.22mph) (avg 17.3mph by my bike computer, which doesn't include quick rest stop)

More on T2 and the Run later! Until then - Race Photos are online - Look up bib #878

Friday, July 24, 2009

Vineman 70.3 Race Report - Part 1

One thing I love to do is read other people's race reports. They give me info on what to expect from my own races (physically, mentally, emotionally) and they give me ideas on how to make transitions easier or more efficient. The more details the better. So, I'm taking my turn. Here's the first installment of my race recap from Sunday's Vineman 70.3 triathlon.
I woke up at 4:30am, figuring leaving at 5:30 would give me 45 minutes to drive to the race venue and park. (I stayed at the Best Western in Santa Rosa.) That'd leave me with an hour before my wave started. Well, first I left 10 minutes late (I was sure I was forgetting something! but I wasn't), and then a bunch of kids were at the entry to the parking lot the race organizers suggested we all use and asking for $5 donations for the local schools sports programs. That sure slowed down entry into the lot. (My only cash was in my saddle bag which was packed full and impossible to open, and in the trunk. I gave them the meter quarters I could find.) Long story short, I ended up getting to the bike rack for my age group at about 6:45 instead of 6:15. Then I spent 15-20 minutes in the porta-potty line and a minute or two in the body marking line. (If you ever volunteer for a triathlon, this is the best job in the morning. You get to write race numbers and ages on the limbs of mostly super athletic bodies!) My warmup consisted of running back to my bike to setup T1 with about 10-12 minutes to go before my wave started. I threw everything I wasn't going to need in T1 into the big plastic bag they'd given me with my race number and ran to the swim start where most women my age (30-34) had already entered the water. I was a little concerned about the water being cold because there was seriously steam rising from the water where the swimmers were! Good thing I decided to leave the wetsuit at home because I probably would not have had time to put it on! I threw my swim caps on and jumped in.
Swim: 1.2 miles
The water was the perfect temperature for me. I wore my STC tri top (sleeveless and meshy, perfect for hot days) and tri shorts (like bike shorts but almost no padding, so they dry quickly). The race was a deep water start - my first! We probably started the race at the deepest part of the river! This was the first time I hadn't made multiple port-a-potty trips before a race. But I had a few minutes in the river to warm up the water around me.... The Russian River seemed about 20 feet wide and a few miles long. There were lots of small orange buoys that we were to keep to our left as we swam a counter-clockwise rectangle. Just before the race started, the announcer said we had the largest wave start. Oh good, more mass swim start practices! I got scratched on my left arm and probably hit too, since I've got a good sized bruise there now. I mostly avoided getting kicked in the face, though I'd placed my goggled under my race swim cap just in case (to keep the goggles on my head) I've finally figured out I need to wear two swim caps to do that. Goggles directly on my hair don't seem to stay in place. Hair, then cap, goggles, race cap. I started my watch when the announcer's countdown hit "1", figuring one extra second on my watch wasn't going to hurt me. During the St Croix 70.3, the official photos of my wave start show me in the back starting my watch while everyone else is running into the water. 
It seemed like it took quite awhile for our group to spread out. Each wave was 7 minutes apart. I had a hard time drafting off of anyone though after the first couple minutes. It was basically just a mass of people. Good fun! At one point a woman swam over my legs/back. We'd been running into each other with each stroke because I was taking the shortest route to the next buoy that I could see whereas she was apparently sighting on one of the buoys on the return side. She finally gave up and just swam over me, and continued in the wrong direction for who knows how long. The river had tall trees along the bank of the river. I smelled deisel and sure enough shortly went past a boat full of people that were just pulled up on the edge of the river watching the race. On the way back I smelled smoke and I'm pretty sure they were smoking cigars. Who smokes at athletic events???  I kept looking for the turnaround, wondering how I'd know it was the turnaround. Along the way I realized that the swim leg was basically "swim, swim, swim for what seems like a really long time, then swim, swim, swim some more, then finally turn around and swim back." I must work on my swimming so that 1.2 miles is easy and 2.4 miles is nice.
I glanced at my watch at the turnaround and I think it said 22 minutes. I'd heard the way out was a little longer than the way back, so I thought this wasn't too bad. I was hoping for faster, but what can you do besides train? My swim time is the St Croix 70.3 was about 45 minutes, which was extraordinarily slow for me then. But on St Croix I'd stopped in the water twice to pee thinking it would mean I wouldn't have to pee during T1 - didn't work! and I'd stopped to post for a picture for the rescue diver. I was having fun. This time I wanted to see what I could do. I finally managed to pee while swimming - a goal I'd been trying to reach for many years. But I realized I'd slowed down so much that I should just stop and stand up. Yes, the Russian River is shallow enough that we could stand during the swim. At the pre-race meeting we were told it was perfectly fine to stand up and walk if we needed to. Seems lame to me, but what the heck. I finished the pee (yes, parents, I know this is ridiculous to post to the whole world about bodily functions like this, but it's important for other triathletes to know the important parts about doing a tri, and that includes potty breaks) just as the next wave (<29 yr old guys) reached me. I could see the finish and was so happy to be done with the swim.
Swim time: 40:30.8 (unofficial. official results merged swim + T1) 
I ran along the not very nice gravely occassionally carpeted area which led everyone to the bikes. The rows were identified by age group, but I was in a row that was identified only as <29 men, even though the far side of the racks were for women 30-34. Some guy yelled "move!" as he passed me. I hoped I'd peed on him. I found my stuff and was happy to see that my bike wasn't the only one left. I had placed a large beach towel on the ground under my bike, so I stood on that, rinsed my feet off with my spare water bottle, then dried them off quickly with the spare towel. I do not like having rocks, dirt, or sand stuck on my feet while riding my bike or running. Especially when it's 56 miles of biking and 13.1 of running! I put my socks on. Meanwhile everyone else was just grabbing their bikes and helmets and putting on shoes with no socks over their dirty wet feet. Then I pulled up a long terrycloth bathingsuit cover up to create my very own changing tent, pulled off the wet shorts and pulled on (with great difficulty) nicely padded bike shorts. The race actually had official changing tents for those who like to change clothes for each transition, but it would've taken way too much extra time to use them. I'd decided that I wasn't quite hard core enough yet to ride 56 miles in my tri shorts. The longest I've ridden is 20 miles and that was in a race. It was fine, but as my husband adviced, might as well get used to the transitions I'll be doing during Florida. And I'm certainly changing clothes in that race! I'm not sure putting bike shorts on a wet body is something that I can get better at with practice, but perhaps I should try. Got my bike shoes on, gloves and helmet on. Inhaler in jersey back pocket. Race belt on with number in the back. Throw everything else into plastic bag. Realize it won't fit. Tie plastic bag carefully to the real bag I'd brought my stuff in. Think about whether I'm too dizzy to ride, decide no. Grab the bike off the rack and start running with my bike to the end of the transition area, cross the timing mat and hop on the bike. The bike starts on a short hill leaving the transition area. Some of the pros actually ran up the hill. I was feeling lazy and I'm terrible at running in my bike shoes, so I just pedaled up. Kinda wished I'd been in an easier gear, but I got the job done and was on the bike course!
T1 time: 7:18.7 
Stay tuned for the bike, T2, and run recap! Official pictures should be posted soon and I will try to link to them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vineman - quick scoop

I survived and PRed! I'll write more later but here's the quick scoop.

unofficial splits
swim (1.2 miles): 40:30.8
T1: 7:18.7 (i changed into bike shorts and had to bag all my swim gear up.)
bike (56 miles): 3:15:04.6 (avg 17.3mph by bike computer, bike comp time 3:13.55)
T2: 7:08.0 (changed into running shorts)
run (13.1 miles): 2:39:09.1 (12:14 min miles, incl quite a bit of walking because the sun was SOOO hot)

Overall: 6:49:23.6 to travel 70.3 miles with some goggles, a bike, and running shoes.

I was really shocked to beat 7!  Woohoo!!

And the limiting factor was really the sun on the run. No shade for a lot of it. It was really the only time I questioned my decision to do the race. Not sure I'll do this course again because of it. But the bike was awesome (I kept wondering if I was going to blow up on the run because of how fast I was riding, but it was fine!), and the swim was okay. Most importantly, no serious aches and pains other than a minor lower back cramp in the first mile or two on the run, but it eased up with some extra walking early on.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I feel unready!

I feel terribly unready for tomorrow's race. I have aches and pains all over. My SI joint has been bugging me since Thursday, which makes me wonder if the new bike setup is going to cause serious problems tomorrow. I'm toying with raising the handlebars and lowering the seat, but I wouldn't be able to do a real test ride before the race, so that concerns me. A toe on my left foot has been hurting all week. Basically as soon as my left ankle stopped hurting, the toe started. It's ignorable for the most part. My right foot is also hurting. I'm also guessing my neck is going to get stiff on the ride. Also my alarm clock probably needs to go off before 5am tomorrow, and that sounds pretty early right now. All in all, I feel like my body is not ready for this!

I'm planning on ditching the wetsuit for the swim. I may be cold but I think it'll be okay. Mostly not going to use it because I think I need a different size, and they couldn't get me the smaller size in time for the race. I'm really hesitant to try to return a wetsuit after I race in it, since it's a 2 transition race, all my swim gear is going to end up in a giant plastic bag all day, in the heat. Not great for a wetsuit to get resold as new. Water temp is high 70s right now, 78 is the cutoff for allowing wetsuits anyways. But the nights are getting cooler (fog) and the water temp is expected to drop. I'm hoping it's not sub-75. The water is very shallow so the temp fluctuates easily. Any time I'd gain with the wetsuit would probably be lost in T1 since I'm not practiced in the art of removing a wetsuit. I do hate being cold, so I'm not thrilled with this whole situation, but it is what it is. Oh and my new goggles seemed terribly tight last time I swam. I adjusted them but I still don't think they're perfect. So I'm expecting sore eye sockets today too.

I think I've complained enough to have at least a few readers wondering why I think triathlons are fun. They are, really. It's all worth it. It's just easier to write about how this race seems to have come up on me way too suddenly than it is to write about how much I love participating in a sport where for the vast majority of the participants, people are just competing with themselves. (Unfortunately for me, I've got a very competitive competitor in that regard.) People encourage each other and cheer for each other. There's often free booze at the end. (never appealing!)

My directions to the race expo (registration and T2 drop off today), hotel, swim start are printed. I even printed directions home because even though it's pretty simple, I think I may be tired. After the race, we take a shuttle back to the swim start to pick up cars, then have to drive back to T2/finish line to get bikes and swim bags. I'm starting to appreciate single transition races more and more.

Time to try to navigate the Gatorade website to see if I can find the nutritional scoop on Gatorade Endurance and decide if it's got enough sodium. (The website is a perfect example of how to make something look cool, and in turn, make it impossible for anyone to actually find anything.)

Just need to keep telling myself this is a practice race. All these problems occur now so that I know what I need to figure out before November.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Brick and race prep

This morning was my first brick workout in who knows how long. I rode to work, 7.5 miles (30 min on the dot), then ran 2 miles. My running was fairly well paced with pretty even splits, each mile was exactly 10:16 min, though each 1/2 was slightly varied. I don't plan on cruising that fast on Sunday. I didn't feel any back cramps creeping up though, which is what sometimes happens in a brick. The ride home in the afternoon was fine too. Also took about 30 min. I'd meant to take it easy because the air quality is poor today (basically any hot day), but Artemis didn't ride her bike today so I didn't have her company to keep me at a relaxed chatting pace.

I'm trying to start packing my stuff for the race. I'd hoped to do it last weekend, but bike shopping really took a chunk out of Sunday. I'm typing up my tri checklist. I couldn't find the one I handwrote back in April, and I figure I might as well make a more permanent list since I seem to do these semi-often.

There will be race coverage online for Vineman. There's a twitter account that will be updated, but I'm not sure what will be there other than how the pros are doing. Athlete tracking is also supposed to be available through IronmanLIVE. If it's not there, check or My race number is 878. I'm expecting good results for two women I know who often place in their age groups in local events: numbers 782 and 515. They might easily beat me to the finish by over 2 hours. My wave starts at 7:18am. When I've followed people online during a race before, I've noticed the results are sometimes a little delayed. I'm really just posting this so when I'm out there suffering, I can pretend all my friends and family are anxiously hitting refresh on their browsers, and so I have to push forward so they can see something new.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Race prep

I'm not sure how ready I feel for Sunday's race, but it's coming soon whether I like it or not! I like to follow other triathlete's blogs. One guy training for IMFL makes me laugh all the time because he barely trains at all. Apparently two years ago, when training for IMAZ, he swam once. So far he's swam twice, so he's feeling good. One of the guys in the tri club just sent out an email to our list saying he's going to do his annual "swim once before I race" tonight. I'm pretty sure he's doing the half iron on sunday, too. I also seem to recall riding with him once and hearing that he's super speedy in the water even without ever training. I'm not quite like that. (I bet my husband would be though, should he ever try a tri.)
Lots of shopping and packing to do before the race. Need to find my arm warmers, or buy new ones. Must buy some more Hammer Heed, or decide to use the race's Gatorade Endurance formula - something new to me. Will probably go check ingredients for the Gatorade and if it's got high fructose corn syrup in it, I'll stick to my Heed, even though it'll mean losing a few minutes to stop and mix it. Or maybe I should have a super tank for my bike for extra liquids... I also need to sit down and figure out my nutrition plan. When and what I'll be eating/drinking, and then make sure I have everything I need. I'll probably stick to my usual running plan of eating a Gu Chomps w/ caffeine once or twice per mile with some water. The swim will have no food or drink (well, some drink but not intentionally). That leaves the bike, which is the most important part for nutrition. Probably drink a bottle per hour, water and Heed (or Gatorade Endurance?). Definitely need to intake some sodium. Am thinking of adding salt to my drink, but I've never done that before either. I can bring GF pretzels, but they are bulky. I've ramped up my sodium intake for the next few days (i.e. putting a few grains of salt on my food).
Just a few more workouts this week. I'm taking it easy even though I hadn't planned to taper before this race. I get nervous when I realize how soon IMFL is coming up, but then I think about how quickly I ramped up my cycling mileage in May, and I think about all the people who never run more than 15 miles before an IM, and it makes me feel better. So I feel like I can afford to take it easy before this race and see how well I can do feeling rested, if not trained.
I got 9 hours of sleep last night, in lieu of getting up in time to do a 30 min swim. I think it was definitely worth it. I actually woke up before my alarm went off for a change. I realized I had time to run a bit with Sierra before work, so we did a 1.6 mile run. (After 2 days of all day play with other dogs, and this morning's run, I think she's going to be comatose for awhile.) I would like to do a short brick workout before Sunday since I just realized I haven't done one for a few weeks. OOPS!!! I think I'll bike to work tomorrow, then run a mile or two once I get downtown. Friday I'll swim - hopefully in the medium wetsuit to test it out. Saturday, I'll probably just rest, or bike a few miles.
Sunday's race should be trackable online. Meaning, you can track my progress live. I'm looking for the info and will post it when I find it. I'm planning on finishing within 8 hours. I should be sub-45 min for the swim, 5-10 min to get my wetsuit off, bag my swim stuff up (it's a two transition race, so the race organizers transport our swim gear to the finish) and get on the bike. (Basically an hour altogether so far.) The bike is my biggest unknown. I did lots of riding in May but since then my longest ride was a pretty flat 48 miler a few weeks ago. The race is a hilly(ish) 56 miles. I should be able to maintain 15mph. Add in stopping for bathroom, refill bottles, etc, and that's a 4 hour ride. My half marathon PR is 2:20. I certainly don't expect to run anywhere near that. But 3 hours seems pretty doable. Hopefully my back won't cramp up too badly from the new riding position. Voila, 8 hours. My wave starts at 7:18am.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Riding on bikes with squirrels, Sponsor search

I had a great ride this morning. I snoozed a little extra when the alarm went off so I didn't get the 1 hour+ ride I'd hoped for, but it was pretty close (55 min). I dropped Sierra off at daycare so alleviate any guilt I'd normally feel from working out for more than 30 minutes. There's access to the river bike trail quite close to the daycare, so I hopped on the trail there. The weather was perfect, which means it'll be HOT this afternoon, but I probably won't ride much in the afternoon other than the mile or two to the car and Sierra. (It's just way too hot in the afternoon to even consider riding my bike from home to the day care with Sierra in her doggie trailer. I think she would melt.)
The new fit on my bike works well, I think. I felt faster than usual with it. The handlebars are a little lower, so it's a more aggressive position. My neck gets tired in the aero position. The bike shop guy, Joe, said riding in aero is like swimming open water. You're mostly looking down, but every few strokes you look up to make sure you're on course. This morning I practiced riding with my head more downward and just looking up every so often. Every so often as in every 10 seconds or so. The danger, of course, is other cyclists, and cars if you're on the road. The danger on the bike path is mostly squirrels. They all have a death wish. I actually almost killed one test riding in Davis (Did I mention how awesome it was to test ride in Davis on a weekend in the summer? Riding around UC Davis is the best place to test a bike. Tons of bike paths with no cars allowed, and nobody was there! I even rode the "hills" in an empty parking garage.) The squirrel in Davis actually darted out, went between the wheels, but somehow it lived. (I think.) I've tried yelling at them, asking them politely to stay off the trail, etc, etc, but it seems the best thing to do is grab onto the hoods and slow down a little and hope it's having a nice day and wants to live to see another. 
Almost every time I ride in the morning, I have to turn around and go to work before I'm ready. The whole working for a living can sure cut into training. I suppose I could just get up earlier, but that cuts into sleep. No, I can't really go to bed earlier, because getting home at 7pm means getting to bed by 9 at the earliest. That's my goal each day. I almost hit it yesterday. 9 hours of sleep is ideal. So since I can't cut my sleep hours, and I want to expand my training hours, maybe I should start looking for a sponsor so I can cut those pesky work hours.
1. Provide me with a base salary of $50k.
2. Pay for all race entries and transportation to/from races. ("all race entries" = any race, anywhere, that I want to do) Oh, I better include food, housing, and, of course, transportation for my cheerleaders and puppy.
3. Buy me a new bike, or three, maybe four. Probably not more than five. Will settle for one if it's a deal breaker.
4. Not expect anything in return (i.e. no wins). Except that I will wear clothes or ride a bike with sponsor's advertising. I'll even add a link to sponsor's website to my blog.
Let me know if you get any good leads for me.
Stats from this morning's ride:
Bike computer: 15.67 miles, in 55:33, max 23.7mph, avg 16.9mph. HRM - mostly in zone 3 (i need to check those zones...) I did a few intervals on the way back and they got me into Z4.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bike shop and masters swim

I spent all day Sunday at the Davis bike shop, and I left only because the bike shop was closed, not because I ran out of energy. Bike shopping is exhausting and usually I leave after a few hours because the bike shops open at 10 or 11 on weekends, and who wants to be out test riding at 2pm? Not me. I like getting my exercise done in the morning! In spite of them not opening at 8am, I love Davis Wheelworks. They are so incredibly helpful. Real cyclists. Not just trying to sell me something, but trying to make sure they help me find my ideal bike. I almost bought the Cervelo RS, but then I asked the guy who was helping me if there are any other bikes he thought I should try. He said it's worth trying the Cervelo S2 again. It's in the line of bikes I first tried a few months ago and thought they didn't fit me right. But we found a good fit on the RS (a few hours of measuring, riding, adjusting, measuring, etc) and the frame geometry is very similar so can probably do the same fit on the S2. I'm too tired to go into details, but I'm heading back next week to ride the S2 and then I'll make a decision. I'm leaning towards the RS right now though. I'm excited that I've narrowed my choice down to two bikes! (For those of you who know about these bikes, yes, I realize they serve different functions and that the S2 is the clear choice for a triathlete. A plush road bike appeals to me almost equally though.) Once I buy one, I should have it in my hands within a few days, a week tops. I expect I'll have a new bike for the Vineman Aquabike on August 1. (Aquabike is the swim + bike portions of an IM distance race in Sonoma.) The Aquabike uses mostly the same swim and bike course as Sunday's 70.3 so I'll be able to compare my ride stats for the same course!

Anytime I start to feel good about my swim I should just head to a masters workout. I'm totally worn out and I didn't even do the whole workout. I swam for about 10-15 min on my own before masters started, swimming about 400-500 (I must get better at counting laps when I'm swimming drills, speed, etc). Then the masters warmup was 1000 with every fourth length in a different stroke/drill. I think I swam about 800 by the time everyone else was finished. I can't remember what the next drill/swim was, but it might have been when I left. There was a 4x100 IM drill but I had to leave to pick up the puppy at day care (so glad to have an excuse!) and the coach suggested for my cooldown I do a 4x100 free with each 100 slower than the previous (not hard to do even without trying!). I swam about a mile or so.

I definitely have that post-swim sleepy feeling right now, and I'm wondering how I ever swam 2 hours at a time when I was a kid on swim team. I guess that was it for my exercise each day though, and it was only 4 or 5 days a week. I'd love to feel that great about swimming again, but I'm still not convinced it's worth more time in the pool (or lake, etc). The swim is roughly 10% of the IM. If I can improve my bike just 1mph over the distance, I'll be a lot better off. I think even if I swam masters 5 days a week, I wouldn't improve enough to make it worth the time/energy sacrifice. I'm going to try to go to one full masters workout per week though. I'm going to say maybe part of my post-swim exhaustion comes from lack of sleep, so heading to bed before 8:30 to make up for that.

Tomorrow morning is a road ride to make sure my newly adjusted bike is comfortable enough. The bike shop adjusted my bike for me similar to the fit we came up with on the Cervelo. Nothing like changing things up a bit a few days before a half ironman. Maybe I'll get my new wetsuit in time for the race, too. I decided to have Xterra send me the medium to see if that one fits me better. 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ankle getting better

My ride home yesterday went fine.  7.54 miles, 27:58, max 25.1mph, avg 16.2mph. Pretty sure I hit the max on the streets downtown, but it might have been going down a hill. Will try to pay better attention next time. Would love to now how high I can push it when I've got a car behind me trying to get on the freeway. Riding my road bike to/from work is so much faster than on my hybrid. It's really hard to complain about a sub-30 min commute on the road bike. Not many excuses to avoid it.

This morning I tested my ankle by jogging for the first time since Sunday's long run. It went well. Did a lap around the block (~1.25 miles) with Dave and the dog nice and easy. Something like a 12 or 13 min mile pace. Then Dave and I did two more laps plus a bit to make it a nice even 4.0 mile run. I'd post the rest of the stats but I can't find my watch! yikes. I hope I didn't leave it at Dave's as I need it for the race next weekend!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Morning ride, food, gear, logistics

Took my road bike out for a spin for the first time in a week today. I rode on the trainer for a few minutes to make sure riding with the clipless shoes didn't bother my ankle. (I rode with my running shoes on my hybrid yesterday.) It was fine, so I headed out, planning to ride to the park, ride about an hour, then continue on to work. Before I was even out of the apartment complex I realized I was going to be too cold with just the short sleeve jersey so I went back home to get my arm warmers. You'd be surprised how hard it is to find two hot pink sleeves! I probably spent 15 minutes looking for them before deciding a long sleeve running top would do the trick. I'm really glad I went back for the extra layer because I never got too warm. It was a windy morning.
Ride stats:
distance: 20.00 miles (unplanned, so pretty neat it was on the dot)
time: 1:16.18
max 24.4 mph
avg 15.7 mph
It was windy enough that within the first block, that I knew when it comes time to ride home from work in the afternoon, I'll be hating myself for riding the whole way to work. ("whole way" sounds like I think it's really far to ride my bike 7.5 miles to work. I don't. It's just easier to use that phrase to distinguish it from days like yesterday when I only rode half way.)
I think my ankle is definitely improving. It doesn't hurt to walk anymore. I'm ready to give jogging a try tomorrow morning. Sunday morning will be more cycling. Maybe a trip to the bike shop too. For more test rides...
Food...  mmm food. I love food. One thing I've noticed with all this training is that my tastes have changed. I find myself putting salt on my food for the first time in my life! And butter (well, Earth Balance) sometimes, too! (My brothers will be so proud.) I'm not sure if I'm a salty sweater, but I've noticed after a long bike ride (you know, the ones where you leave the house at 8am and get home around 3pm), I definitely love a good salty meal. So maybe I need to work on intaking more sodium throughout my workouts. Vineman 70.3 is just around the corner and I am starting to stress because I don't have a nutrition plan for the race yet. It's a good practice race so I should be practicing everything, especially what and when I eat. Also I need to find my hot pink arm warmers for the race! I think Sunday will be dedicated to the bike shopping and the race-prep. I should probably pack for the race too, so I can figure out what else I need to find.
Gear... Oh there's always more gear to buy! I just bought new RX goggles because I lost my last pair at the lake swim race last month. I just got the new wetsuit, but I'm still trying to decide if I need a different size. Of course there is the new bike to consider. And do I want new sunglasses that have more coverage than my current RX sunglasses? Sure! But my RX is so strong that the curved sunglasses won't work for me, so I need the ones that have double lenses... a clear lense close to the eye that clips to the sunglasses. Seems kind of annoying, though I haven't tried any on. So if I don't want those, then it's back to contacts which I haven't worn for a few years. If I wear contacts then I need to find new un-RX goggles that I like. I'm buying so much stuff that I feel like I'm new to the sport! Who has time to shop and train?
Logistics - Really the question is who has time to shop, train AND figure out logistics for the IM. I booked a second condo for FL this week. I can't decide between them. Another person from Sac who's doing the IM mentioned the second place to me. It's cheaper, seems nicer, but is 4 miles from the race start/finish/transition. Hopefully Dave can come to the race to cheer me on and he can buy a cheapo bike and use it for the week and on race day can ride the run course back and forth cheering me on. Flying to Panama City is not the easiest thing to do from the west coast. So do I fly to Tallahassee? Pensacola (and see the town from Flight of the Navigator firsthand?!?)? Both are over an hour away driving. Or do I go with Southwest Airlines and fly somewhere that's 6 hours away so I can have a cheaper/free airfare? (and add a few more states to my collection). But do I want to drive 6 hours THEN fly across the country just a few days after my ironman? not really. Scouting airfares also means paying attention to how much the airlines charge to bring a bike. Wow they are ridiculous. Delta has the best fares to Tallahassee but charges $175 each way for a bike. ???? I decided yesterday to just use the tri bike transport company that handles bicycle transportation logistics for the ironman events. I'll just have to take my bike to a bike shop in Davis about 10 days before the race, then they put my bike on a truck and drive it to FL (a truck so it doesn't have to be taken apart and put in a bike box and put back together, etc). My bike magically appears at the race expo a few days before the race. Then after the race I can just hand it back to them, if I finished by 10pm, otherwise I have to get up before noon the next day to hand it to them. That's housing and transportation now. What about food? On the gluten-free diet so basically should probably bring as much GF food as I'm going to want or need. So that's another suitcase... I suppose I need to pay attention to which airlines charge more for extra bags too... Or maybe this is another excellent reason Dave must come with me. So he can live out of a small carry-on all week while I check 4 bags for myself?
Perhaps all this stress is why yoga is good for triathletes...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Back on track

Feeling particularly lazy last night, I decided to ride my bike to the mailbox instead of walking the 75 meters or so. Once I got on the bike it was so nice to be riding in the early evening that I just rode around the parking lot at my apartment complex for a little while. Probably didn't even ride a mile, it was just nice and gentle and it didn't hurt my ankle. It was the only exercise I'd gotten since my Sunday swim at Tahoe because I skipped the potential swim after work yesterday when I realized masters would be swimming and I'd be stuck in the lone available lane with any kiddies that would be splashing around (plus my afternoon exhaustion had set in).

This morning I'm feeling back on track though. Got up with the 6am alarm and was at the gym lifting weights a little over an hour later. I did upper body weights for about 30 minutes, then hit the pool. I swam pretty slowly as I was trying not to kick or push off the walls. I didn't even bother counting my laps but I think I swam about half a mile. I have a deep paranoia about getting electrocuted in a pool, so when I noticed one of the pool lights was not in it's correct position, I swam back to my water bottle and jumped out. The light was on the pool deck, with the thick wires running back into the socket in the pool. I'm sure it was fine and since this is an outdoor pool, it wasn't on. But I only had another few minutes to swim anyways. So about 18 minutes of swimming, then I biked to work from the gym at a leisurely pace, trying to be careful not to pedal up any hills too hard. My arms are a little shaky here and there. Love that post-weights feeling. I think I'm going to try to figure out a way to do weights every weekday, just alternating upper and lower body. Probably not best to start an intense weight-lifting regime the week before Vineman 70.3 though!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I have nothing to report. I haven't done anything but sit around and RICE my ankle. It feels a bit better right now but I was resting it all night obviously. I had set my alarm to get up at 6 and swim before work and do upper body weights, but I woke up at 5:58 and felt dead to the world. I decided to change the alarm til 7 and it took me almost 2 minutes to wake up enough to change it. When it went off again at 7, I snoozed it for 20 minutes. So I think I needed that extra sleep! (I don't usually snooze.)

I had a funny dream about an ironman race. The day before the race, my dad and I were going to go on a bicycle ride that would include a picnic lunch. Since I was in training, I had to carry the cooler on my road bike. I think the dream ended there because my brain recognized the impossibility...

My training buddy Rose is getting an award tonight from the city in which she works because she was one of the top 5 commuter cyclists in May! It's nice having a friend who is familiar with the training involved in an IM. We basically never see each other because we're both so busy training. I owe her a dinner from winning the bike month contest in May but we're both trying to eat healthy so going out to dinner isn't really on the top of our To Do list. Maybe after Vineman?

My swim gear is in the car, so assuming I can get out of work at a reasonable hour, I'm going to head to the gym and do some swimming - no kick, pull only! Probably won't be able to pull more than 30 minutes but it'll be nice to get some exercise. My body can't figure out what is going on. Too much rest!

(Be sure to see the previous post as I just added a photo from our hike.)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Weekend wrap-up

Friday, I took Sierra for a bike ride. I lured her into the bike trailer with some chicken and rode to the dog park. It's only about 2 miles away so I put my hybrid into a high (hard) gear and rode as fast as I could. I switched to my running shoes at the dog park and ran around with the dog for about 30 minutes, then we took the scenic route home on the bike. She weighs almost 45 pounds so it's definitely a workout pulling her around on my hybrid. Sierra and I were up late the night (various puppy problems) before so my plan for a long bike ride didn't work out since I slept in so late. I wasn't about to start a 3 hour bike ride at 10am! But I did ride with the dog for about 45 minutes and then rode my trainer for about 30 minutes once we got home. Not exactly the same but I did what I could.

Saturday morning Dave, Sierra, and I drove to South Lake Tahoe to spend the weekend with my former roommate and her husband. The elevation knocked the breath out of me. Going from 10 ft above sea level to 6,000 ft is definitely noticable. I was winded walking upstairs, but I was convinced to go on a hike because it would apparently help me acclimate more quickly. I think it worked. We hiked for a little more than an hour with the dogs. (see photo below) They loved it. Sierra got tons of exercise wrestling, and we got to see her scary face that made me laugh so hard it counted as my ab workout. (Think Monty Python's killer rabbit but in the shape of a dog.)

There's a 5 mile off-street paved bike/pedestrian path in South Lake Tahoe that starts very close to where we were staying, so it was easy for me to find a good place to do my long run on Sunday morning. I ran along that path, ran through the Lake Tahoe visitor center's rainbow walk (with an underwater viewing window), through the Tallac historic center, doubled back along the path a little to pick up some extra miles, and headed back to the cabin. It was a fairly flat run but it was pretty chilly. The combination of the cold air (according to NOAA it was 42 when I started) and the elevation made me a bit slower than usual for the first few miles. I felt like I was running at a 10:30-11:00 min pace, but it was actually 12:11 and 12:24. I picked up the pace after that though and my average pace over the 13.04 mile run was 11:35. I spent a lot of my run sending good vibes to my online training buddy, Laurie, who was in the run portion of Ironman Germany at the time. She finished in 13 hours and 56 minutes and was 2nd place in her age group (only American to podium!).

Unfortunately, within about an hour of finishing my run yesterday morning, my left ankle started to hurt. I'm not sure what happened, but I just got home from the urgent care center where they x-rayed it. They didn't see any stress fractures, so I've just been instructed to rest, ice, compress, and elevate. I was so happy to see a medical professional who knew what the Ironman was! (She did, however, admit she didn't realize there were ironman races other than Kona.) She said "just swim a bit extra, no running for a few days." I swam yesterday at Lake Tahoe - in my new wetsuit - and so I'm taking today as a rest day (vacation day too).

Swimming at Lake Tahoe was great yesterday afternoon. The water temp was fine with the wetsuit. (The guys swam with just trunks on!) I love the flexibility of the new wetsuit. I need to read a bit more about fit to make sure it fits me well. I wasn't sure how much water intake is acceptable. The neckline is super flexible and comfortable; I'm just mildly concerned it's too comfortable and that's why I felt a gush of water every so often. Sierra has never been a big fan of water. (She tolerates bath time, though she always tries to escape once and has a "I don't know why I put up with you" look the whole time.) But at the dog beach where we swam, she ran after me into the water and just kept swimming to me. So sweet of her to be concerned about me. It was awesome to watch her swim! (It was less awesome watching Dave chase her half a mile down the beach later when she realized how many other dogs and people she could meet.) Sierra had a triathlon weekend with her first swim, our bike to the dog park, and her running on the hike. Now I just need to find a dog-human triathlon for us to do together.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Quick update

Tired. Really tired. So happy for a 4 day weekend. We're heading to Lake Tahoe for Saturday/Sunday with my college roommate and her husband.

Exercise since last post: walking dog, biking between doggie day care and work on wednesday - a whopping 2 miles or so, a 2.75 mile run this morning.

New gear: bought a wetsuit! XTerra Vortex Prox2. Should arrive tomorrow. I can return it if it doesn't fit right or if I don't like it after I swim in it. Blue Seventy wouldn't give me that option.

Plan: Friday - hilly bike ride, Saturday - swim at Lake Tahoe in new wetsuit, Sunday -13 mile run at Tahoe.