Thursday, February 28, 2008

Does this pool taste like Iron to you?

First off, let me just say that I love both my husband and my dog. Okay, now let me say that I've been concerned that running with them has led me down the path to, well, loss of 'speed'. If I'm pacing with Jeff for his runs, I'm not running my own pace. And if I'm running with Bam, I'm having to stop to pick up *packages* and find out where she is, etc. So, I've been trying to figure out where to squeeze some alone time runs in.

Today I decided that time would be at lunch. It was sunny and beautiful, and as lunch approached I tried to talk myself out of it. In fact I wasted so much time talking to myself that I wasn't sure I could even fit it in before my meeting. I finally gave in and got changed and headed out. Now, yes, I did want to push a little, but I think I was so concerned about being back in time that I pushed a *bit* too hard. 5 miles in 46 min. Garmin says 9:13 pace. And I sure felt it, but I made it back in time to shower up quickly and get to my meeting, even if I did have wet hair.

Tina and I met up after work to get in our first *official* tri training swim. She had copied a workout from a magazine and we were to do:

warm up for 300
drills 4 x 50 w/15 seconds of rest between
base 6 x 200 w/30 seconds of rest between
pulls 4 x 100 w/20 seconds of rest between
sprints 4 x 50
cool down 100

Total: 2400

Drills weren't really explained in the article, so we made them up until we can do some research. :-) We did one arm strokes, kicks with a board, and catch-ups. Base means an effort of 7/10, pulls are with a float between your legs and using arms only, and sprints are supposed to be a 9/10 effort.

So about 1/2 way through the base set, I'm thinking....this is awfully far for an Olympic plan. The more we thought about it, we finally realized that T had copied the 1/2 iron triathlon training plan. Um, yeah, this is *TOUGH*! We dropped one of the base sets and did a total of 2200 instead. So we covered more water than we will in our first tri of the season. No wonder I'm beat.

By the time we finished up I was *starving*. I don't know what it is about swimming, but it makes me super hungry! Ok, who am I kidding? I'm almost always hungry. I hope I'm burning some calories in that pool, cause I sure am replacing them. :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Spin class = blech!

Okay so I already knew that, for me, spin class is as exciting as running on a treadmill. But I dragged my sorry butt out of bed at 4:45 yesterday morning and went anyway.

I got there just in time to find out the only bikes left were the ones with 'Needs Repair' tags on them. Greaaat. The instructor hopped on them and spun the gears a bit and pronounced them 'safe' if those of us waiting for bikes wanted to try them. Okay, I'm here, I might as well climb aboard. The bike was okay, a little clunky in the gearing, but nothing major. Yeah, it was just as boring as I remembered. Even tho there's music, and you do different types of pedaling, and it's probably *really* good for training my biking muscles, I'm pretty much just watching that minute hand creep it's way around. Slowly. I could swear that it moved backwards once, but that might have been the sweat in my eyes. But I did it. I probably won't be able to make myself get up that early very often, but I'm going to make an attempt to hit the class at least *occasionally*. Now that's commitment, eh? :-)

After work I did a 4-miler at Shinn Pond with the Bams. I think she secretly hates running with me. I get irritated if she stops to sniff too much and slows me down. I really need to work on that 'enjoying' the run thing, not focusing on the time. But then, that's nothing new eh? I bet if I go out to the hilly trails I'll be forced to focus on enjoying the run, because I just can't drag my butt around those hills all that fast. Actually, come to think of it, I can't drag my butt around *anywhere* all that fast. Hahaha!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Too little time, too many events?

I've been trying and trying to figure out how to fit in training for the Cinderella bike ride (65 miles) on April 8th, the Flying Pig run (13.1 miles), and the Uvas Triathlon (3/4 mile swim, 16 mile bike, 5 mile run) on May 18th. What do I concentrate on? I feel like, as the first event coming up, and my weakest, I have to spend quite a bit of time in the saddle of my bike. But then again, I've been in the pool only once this year. And I haven't run more than 5 miles since the Surf City half.

Well, at least pilates is over so that frees up my Tuesday and Thursday mornings. We still have training with Elena on Monday and Wednesday morning tho. Well, I do need some weight training anyway, so I guess that fits into a training schedule. Altho, come to think of it, most of the tri training schedules I've seen don't include weight training. Hmmm.

Anyway with all the different sports I need to squeeze in, what should take priority? And how much of a priority? What do I sacrifice to fit everything else in? Work? Riiight. So I've decided for the Flying Pig, I'm not going to try to squeeze in the speed work, just try to keep building some mileage. I'm going to try to make the Pig a 'fun' run instead of a pursuit for a PR. I'm going to hang out with my brother the whole way, as long as he'll hang with me. After all, how often am I going to have a chance to run a 1/2 marathon with my brother? And of course, it's extra special because it's his first half! The way he's going with his training tho, he might just leave me in the dust.

I still need to do some running training tho, maybe just not as much. I've been running with Jeff some, but his pace isn't quite up to mine yet, so I'll need to get some leg time of my own in at some point. I *should* start my training for the Pig 1/2 this week, but may shorten the training time for that one in order to get some more saddle time in.

I did a 5 mile run with T, Bam and Teva on Thursday evening. Took Friday off completely. Saturday Jeff and I took our bikes out for what I had hoped would be a 20-25 mile ride, but we ended up shortening it to 16. Jeff was having saddle *issues* and the on/off rain drops and wind were making for a tough ride anyway. I noticed my higher gears were clicking, not shifting smoothly, so I dropped Ruby off for another free tune-up. Sunday I was hoping to get a 6-mile run in, but did a training run with Jeff instead. He was to run 40-45 minutes straight. It started off okay, but his back was quickly acting up, so it ended up being a slow tortuous run for him.

I'm going to try to work up a training plan this week and see where I can squeeze in biking, running, swimming, more biking and more running. Yikes.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Additional training will be required

T and I have signed up for the Uvas Triathlon which is still a ways away, on May 18th, but you know how these things like to sneak up on you.

Having heard some rumors of a 'steep' hill on the bike portion of the course, we decided to take a trip out there to check it out. I had asked a guy at work who bikes a lot if he had been out there, and apparently it's practically his back yard. He assured me there were no 'steep' hills (depending on your definition of steep, he clarified) out there and pointed the route out to me on a Google map. Well, at least we'd be armed with a map!

The first thing we noticed was how freakin' far away the thing is! I think we drove for about hour to get there. The second thing we noticed, as we arrived at the reservoir, was how *nasty* the water was. It was completely brown. Oh, man, I do not want to swim in that! The picture doesn't really even do it justice. I'd call it a mud pit.

The third thing we noticed was that it was cold. So we bundled up in practically all the layers we brought with us, clipped in, and headed out. It was a bit downhill to start with and as we all know, what goes down must go up. There were quite a few 'rolling hills' and my legs were not wanting to push or pull the pedals. I think I was still wiped out from the 40 miler on Saturday.

It was a pretty ride, through some ranch land and past some ginormous houses. At one point we passed a little stand of trees in an open field and a wild animal came charging at us from behind the trees. Luckily it didn't attack, but just wanted to show us who is *really* at the top of the food chain. Also luckily it wasn't really a wild animal, but a big dog. :-) Had my heart thumping for a while though.

I knew from my coworker's description that THE HILL should arrive once we turned onto Sycamore and soon enough we arrived at the turn. I kept looking ahead to see if I could see THE HILL. "Awwww crap!" Yep, I saw it alright. And it looked pretty dang steep to me. And I couldn't see the end of it, so I didn't know how long I'd be suffering for, but it looked like quite a while. Okay, up we go. And up. And I'm thinking "Why, oh why didn't I get that triple ring! Dang you Fred!" Fred's the guy who sold me Ruby. Sadly, I think he's going to bear my wrath, at least in my head, every time I hit a hill that makes me want to fall over. I hit my lowest gear and the hill was still going strong. Then before I knew it I was stopped at the side of the road, gasping for breath. We actually walked our bikes the last bit of the hill. Sad.

We got to enjoy a bit of a reward on the downhill side and pedaled our way back to the reservoir, where another 'rolling' hill awaited us right at the end. Man that was a tough one. I'm pretty concerned about managing THE HILL during the Tri, so T and I have decided we need to do some more hill work, and head back out there at least a couple of times prior to the actual event to tackle THE HILL. I think we'll eventually get it. And it might be much better if we don't ride 40 miles a couple of days prior to attempting THE HILL next time. :-)

16 miles covered
1 hour 11 minutes
13.4 mph average
29-ish mph top speed

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You spin me right round, Ruby, right round

Apologies to Dead or Alive for ripping off their lyrics.

T and I are prepping for our upcoming 65 mile Cindy Rella ride. Our first 'training' ride was last week's 25 mile ride. So this week we figured we could handle a 40 miler. All righty then. We joined a Luna Chix/Valley Spokesman Bicycle club training ride yesterday that started out in Dublin about a half an hour from home. Their web site stressed that we needed to be there fully equipped and ready to ride for the 8:30 start time. So worried about getting there on time, T realized as she picked me up that she forgot some long pants. Doh! Well, we arrived plenty early, got geared up and then....stood around for about 20-25 mintues. So much for punctuality. We did get to score some free Luna bars/drinks/smoothie mix while we waited. Schweet.

After a quick 'instructional' talk about things like calling out to pass, obeying traffic laws, being aware of trail courtesy, riding single file, etc. we were finally off. Within the first 15 minutes of the ride all the above rules where chucked out the window by the majority of the riders. There were passes without calling, riding side by side, running lights and stop signs. You name it, we saw it. A four way stop means everyone stops and takes their turn, not that all the cars have to wait for the bikes. Geeze people.

Anyway, we hit quite a few 'rolling' hills which weren't too bad to get up. You rock Ruby! However because of the number of people around us, we didn't even get to enjoy the speed of the downhill because someone was always in the way. Yeah Phil, no reward for us. Eventually we found ourselves riding along on our own, having stopped to ditch my jacket. We missed a turn, but only one. Good thing I had the route posted to my bars. And good thing it was a dead end we hit when we missed the one turn, or we might still be out there. :-)

After about 30 miles, I was ready to get off that saddle. And when we finished I had some aching muscles right around my knees. Ouch. I have to say though that I'm not as sore today (in the tush) as I thought I might be. Granted I'm not looking forward to the 16 mile ride we have planned for tomorrow, but my butt's not screaming either.

One thing I have to work on is incorporating my technology properly. Whenever we make a pit stop, I pause my Garmin, but I frequently forget to restart it. Sigh. Or I forget my heart rate monitor. One of these days I'll get it all pulled together. Since I was a few miles shy on my mapping, I stole Tina's map. Thanks T. :-)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sensing it

I tried out my new Nike+ sensor today and it worked like a charm. I'll probably jinx it by saying that, but too late :-) The only thing I forgot was to calibrate the sensor before using it, so my distance was quite a bit off. Luckily there's a web site that allows you to adjust your Nike+ runs when you know the distance is off (like if you use a Garmin as well as Nike+ or run on a marked path). So I adjusted today's run down from 5.4 miles to 5.06, which matches the wonderful Garmin.

Now I need to go to bed and rest my tush for tomorrow's 40 mile ride. 40 more miles towards that dollar/mile calculation. Think happy thoughts for my aching butt! :-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


That's what I did tonight....a reverse brick. I was supposed to bike (or in my case spin) for 12 miles in an hour or less according to the training schedule. I was hoping to leave work early enough to walk Bam while it was still light then hop on the trainer and get my 12 miles in.

Well, as usual, I didn't get out of work as early as I hoped. Darkness was going to fall before I could get Bam walked. So, I decided that we'd speed things up a bit by going for a little run. Just a nice easy run to get my girl and me some exercise. She cracks me up...she gets so excited when she hears "Wanna go for a run?" I wish I could get that excited about exercise. Then again, maybe I could if I spent 20 hours of the day sleeping.

So, I hoofed it with Bam for about 4.2 miles in a little over 42 minutes. Surprisingly she was NOT lagging behind on the way home. I think she was ready for dinner. :-) But sadly, dinner had to wait while I did a quick change of shoes and shorts and hopped on the bike to put in my 12 miles. It was kind of slow going, but I covered the 12 miles in about 55 minutes.

I have to say that I think a reverse brick is easier than a regular brick. Well 'easier' relatively anyway. And are you ready for this....hold onto your shorts.....I actually really enjoyed my run tonight. Maybe because it wasn't on a schedule anywhere. I was just running with my girl. No time goal, no distance goal. Just go until it was starting to get dark, then turn around. Now if I could just keep that attitude with *training* runs. I'm going to have to work on that.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

End of the Week Summary

So, no rest for the wicked as they say. (Who, exactly, are 'they' anyway?)

Thursday I was supposed to spin for 14 miles and do it in an hour, according to the training plan posted for our upcoming 65 mile ride. I got home from work with a roaring headache so I opted out. Instead I got my butt up Friday morning and jumped right on the bike. Well, not right away. First I swapped out Jeff's old saddle for the new one I got him for Christmas. It's got a 'bring it back if you don't love it' guarantee from the bike shop where I got Ruby. Jeff's bike is on the trainer and it's so much easier to just climb aboard his bike than to swap out for Ruby. So after swapping saddles, I climbed aboard and pumped out 14 miles. Whew. I thought about doing a run as well, but let myself slack on that one.

Saturday, I actually did NOTHING. Well, no exercise anyway. I got my hair cut, washed the car, did laundry, walked the pup, grocery shopped and did general errands. That was exhausting in and of itself.

Sunday was the 25 mile Break Away from Cancer Ride. It's a charity ride sponsored by Amgen to raise money for the Wellness community which supports cancer patients. I feel a *bit* bad because I didn't do any fund raising. I just donated the minimum that I needed to secure my spot. Ah well, at least I did that much, right?

The ride started out in Palo Alto, just off of FootHILL, on a road called HILLview, which is really close to Sand HILL. See a theme emerging here? Now, you may recall that I opted for the compact gearing on Ruby, thinking I wouldn't be doing too much 'climbing'. So, I was getting a little concerned about the talk of hills. Then we heard one guy say they're more 'rolling' hills, kind of like an overpass. Okay, I can probably handle that.

We met up with Brian and Phil, 2 Fat Kids relay team mates, and headed to the start line. We somehow ended up in the last wave, but that was okay. It's a ride, not a race. Soon enough we were off at a nice pace, hitting a few gentle ups and downs, running some yellow lights so we didn't have to stop, and losing Phil in the process. We were tooling along quite nicely for about 7 miles and then we hit an uphill that seemed to keep going and going. It was long, but not steep, so my gears and I did okay. At the aid stop, around the half way point, Phil caught back up and we took off again. Hit a few more uphills that weren't too bad, and really got flying on the downhills, up to about 32 mph. Awesome fun, that was. Oh, except for Phil. He likes to use the downhill as a reward for making it up the hill and give his legs a break. Me, I like to see just how fast I can get going. :-) Okay, so I guess there may be a *bit* of a speed demon in me after all. We had no mechanical issues until the second to last hill when Brian popped the chain off his bike. A quick fix and a minute or two later we were off for the last 3 miles of our route. Within the last mile there was a nasty little hill. Maybe it wasn't that nasty, but my legs were tired and I was wishing I had opted for the triple gearing instead of compact! I didn't think I was going to make it up the hill, but finally we crested the top and pedaled down to the finish to grab some post race goodies.

Phil, Brian, T, and yours truly

Home again, home again, where I had promised Jeff I'd run with him. He's training to do a leg of the relay team that my cousin is putting together for the Flying Pig Marathon. Luckily it's a beginners program and we *only* had to do 3 miles. And luckily he's just starting out and keeping a nice even pace that doesn't hurt his back too much, so I didn't have to push myself. We took Bam, and when she lagged behind, or I need to pick *something* up that she left behind, Jeff would keep going and I would pick up the pace to catch up. It was actually kinda fun. Not quite a brick workout, but my legs were wiped just the same.

So, time for bed so I can get up and start the training madness all over again this week. I didn't know that I was *this* wicked. ;-)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Dead sensor

Well, I may have figured out my Nike+ issue. It's giving me a 'sensor battery low' warning. So maybe the sensor has been dying for a while and that's why it was bonking on me. I asked my favorite Apple employee about getting me a new one, so we'll see if that works out. :-)

Been taking it a little bit easy this week to see how the knee would do. I think it's almost back to normal. Almost. I still get a 'tweak' once in a while, but it held up yesterday to jump squats and lunges. Good sign.

T and I signed up for a 65 mile bike ride that's coming up on April 5. We should be riding about 80 miles a week according to the training schedule, so we're a *wee bit* behind on that one.

I spun my wheels on the trainer for 8 miles on Tuesday and did a 4 mile run yesterday. Oh, and did Pilates Tuesday and Thursday, and worked with the trainer on Monday and Wednesday. And this is an easy week?!?! Sigh, no wonder I'm so tired. I'm thinking tomorrow is gonna be a rest day. Schweet. :-)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Another dose of demotivation

I was looking through the demotivating posters last night and I saw one that was so fitting for my current state of mind. I don't need to stop running, I just need to learn how to do this:

So if anyone can help me out with how to accomplish this goal, that would be great. :-)

Monday, February 04, 2008


After sleeping on it, and some serious contemplation, I think the Flying Pig half might be my last half. I'm not getting any better at it, and I'm just not really *enjoying* running 13.1 miles. So, if I'm not having any fun it may just be time to move on to something else. Maybe focus on tris and stick to 10k or less for runs. Of course if I have a phenomenally entertaining time at the Pig and really have fun I'll probably reverse everything I just said. That remains to be seen. Right now I'm just hoping my knee will feel better very soon and contemplating my next athletic endeavors.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Race report: Surf City 1/2 Marathon

Friday: Tina and I flew down to Huntington Beach (well, we flew to Orange and *then* went to Huntington Beach) for the Surf City 1/2 marathon. We arrived a little bit early at about 7:30 and expected the shuttle from the hotel to arrive around 8:00 since Tina had scheduled a pickup earlier in the day. We waited.....and the chilly night air. The Super Shuttle guy kept yelling over "where you trying to go?" until I finally yelled back, "it's okay, we have a shuttle coming." How stupid did I look as we kept standing there with no shuttle showing up? We gave them until 8:05 and then I called the hotel. The guy that answered seemed surprised that we were waiting for the shuttle and said "he'll be there in 15 minutes." Obviously they were just sending the guy out. Little did we know it, but this was a sign of how the weekend shuttle situation would be. We finally got to the hotel, walked across the road to the shopping center and grabbed some burgers for dinner. Back to the hotel to crash for the night.

Saturday: We woke up to sunshine and beautiful skies. We opted for the hotel restaurant for breakfast because we didn't think we'd be able to hold out to go down by the expo and eat. Bad choice, the buffet sounded good but the waffles were like wood, there was something *nasty* glued to the bottom of my juice glass...yes, inside the glass....*gag*, and the service was less than stellar. Oh, did I mention the kid that was squealing at the top of his little lungs through the whole thing? Okay, now that we've carbed up on bad food, it's off to the expo. The expo was pretty good, lots of shops and freebies. We also picked up our bibs and our long sleeve tech t's. Schweet. After cruising around the expo for quite a while, we decided to take the free shuttle downtown and check out the shops there. On the way to the shuttle stop we passed a kettle corn booth and decided to get bottles of water. Did you know there's such a thing as fried twinkies and fried oreos? Well, I sure didn't, but they were selling them. NO, we didn't get any....that's not good pre-race food! Sounded good tho. :-) We hopped on the shuttle and a few minutes later were down town. Cute little down town. We checked out a few shops and had some lunch, then found a little grocery store where we stocked up on water and 1 banana. Well, they only had 1 banana and neither T nor I are too fond of them, but they're supposed to be good pre-race food so we got one to share. We got t-shirts from this little street stand that sold shirts with 'famous' movie phrases. I even saw Parkers little onsie that says "nobody puts baby in a corner". :-) I got Jeff one that said "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.", because we *love* Princess Bride. Eventually we headed back to the expo and called for our hotel shuttle to come and get us. Turned out to be the same guy that got us from the airport. We needed to find some bagels for pre-race food, and *subtly* suggested to the driver that we'd like to hit a grocery store on the way back, but he didn't (or didn't *want* to) pick up on the hints. So we hoofed it about a half a mile from the hotel to the nearest grocery store and grabbed some bagels before hitting a pasta place for dinner. When the waiter brought our check and asked "Can I get you anything else?" T says "How'd you like to give us a couple of garbage bags?" I have to say he looked a bit confused until I explained that we were running in the morning and it was supposed to rain. He started laughing and said "Oh, so you want some ponchos!" It was pretty funny, and even better he brought them for us! Awesome! Then after a quick stop to pick up a carmel apple for post race, we hit the hotel to prep our race gear and hit the pillows.

Sunday: The alarm went off at 6 a.m. and we were up and getting ready and stuffing our bagels and peanut butter into our mouths. We packed up our stuff, grabbed our *ponchos* and headed down to catch our 7 a.m. shuttle. Luckily there wasn't a glitch this time. Which was quite surprising because we'd checked 2-3 times to make sure there WAS a 7 a.m. shuttle and that we were on the list for it, and never quite got the same answer twice. The rain was really coming down and as we arrived at the drop off spot, we realized that not only was it raining but it was windy as well. Bonus! :-( Well, at least we didn't have to stand around long. We dropped off our post race stuff at the gear check and headed straight to the corral. I decided to leave my sweatshirt on under the garbage bag because with the wind, I was really chilly and didn't want to get too cold. About 10 minutes later we were off and running. I have to say it was an experience that I'm not eager to repeat. It didn't take long until my pants were soaked through. My shoes and head were soaked through before we even started running, but my torso stayed *mostly* dry for most of the run. T and I kept up a fairly decent pace through about mile 8. Then we hit the turn around, between mile 8-9 and I felt a sharp pain in my knee. Great. It was doing *okay* as long as I didn't try to push the pace. Sadly, I was supposed to be pushing the pace the last few miles. Soon T was just a purple-hatted speck, then I couldn't even see her and stopped looking as I struggled to keep going. My knee and my lack of energy were saying "just stop, you can just stop running and walk" but I tried not to listen. I tried singing to myself, counting my footsteps, but all I could really do was look for the next mile marker and pray I'd make it to the end. I was miserable enough to consider that this would be my last 1/2 and I'd stick to 10k or less. Then reality hit me and I realized I'm already registered for the freaking Flying Pig. Sigh. I finally saw the finish line and hobbled weakly across. I had a technologically challenging day and neither my Nike+ nor my Garmin were fully functional. So, I looked up my *official* time and I hit 2:17:02. Sad. Even sadder, my body started feeling like it did when I was sick...just tired, exhausted through to my bones. T met me at the finish and we worked our way over to the first aid tent where I got an ice pack wrapped around my knee and T sprayed my cramping, tightening calves with a cooling spray. I have *never* had such sore calves from a run. Not even the full marathons. I'm not sure what that was about, but it was freaking miserable. We worked our way through the food stations and headed back to catch our shuttle. The shuttle was so full, we were stuffed in the back cargo section with about 4 other runners. Oh well, at least we got on! Back to the hotel to get showered, packed and off to the airport. We arrived early enough to catch an earlier flight home, and now I'm ready to crash. The knee is touchy if I over extend it or try to squat or bend too deeply. More ice and drugs and hopefully it'll be right as rain soon enough. The positive of the day, T had a PR and while I'm sad that she broke 2:15 without me, I'm happy for her. Way to go T!

Over and out race fans.