Thursday, May 29, 2008


Inquiring minds want to know.....just *what* have I been up to?!?! Okay, so maybe there aren't inquiring minds, but just let me pretend that there are.

Training is going along, swimming, biking, running, more swimming, more biking, not too much more running. And of course there's work, which hasn't really slowed down too much. Sigh.

With my runs I've been working on keeping a steady pace. Harder than it sounds, really. On my *easy* runs, I'm shooting for 10:15, but somehow manage to hit either 9:30 or 10:30 and nothing in between. I think it has something to do with the lag time of the Garmin GPS. It yells at me "SPEED UP" (well, it beeps insistently anyway), so I do then I look and I'm too fast. So I slow down a tiny bit and we go back to "SPEED UP." Speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down. Hmm, this is more work than a nice easy run should be. Tempo runs have been something like this: 15 min warm up at 10:15 (riiiiight), 20 min at 9:30 (uh huh, sure), 5 min at 10:15, 20 min at 9:30, then cool down for 15 at 10:15. Okay, at least I know I need to work on holding a pace. Doing these kinds of 'drills' has given me some of the fun back in my running tho. I think because I'm not pushing, pushing, always pushing as hard as I can, I can actually enjoy it a little bit.

Swimming, well, I've just been trying not to drown. No, I've actually been doing drills: kicking, pulling, 'speed' drills, etc. I'm not *sure* but I may be getting a tiny bit better at it. T and I have even hit Quarry Lakes a couple of times to get that 'open water' feel. One day we went and it was pretty windy. In one direction it was smooth sailing, but coming back the other way some little waves were slapping us around. So good practice for the real thing, I guess. Now all we need is hands slapping us and feet kicking us and we'll get some *real* practice. Oh, throw in a little claustrophobia and panic too for good measure. Item that needs most improvement: spotting the buoys....I get off line pretty quickly and consistently.

This, by the way, just cracks me up:

Biking has been coming along as well. One bizarre note....we did a longer ride last weekend (37-ish miles or something) and my tush/crotch was NOT happy. (Too much info?!?! Sorry. :-) I was wearing my nice cushy bike shorts too, not my barely padded tri shorts. Then on Wednesday evening we go for a 27 miler and I wear my tri shorts (hey, gotta get used to wearing them on rides) and my tush doesn't complain at all! Very weird, but it seems to me that I do better with *less* padding. Hmmm. Further experimentation may be warranted. I also tried sockless biking on the 27 miler. Didn't feel any different than socked biking, except maybe that my feet were a little chillier, even with my toe covers. My thinking behind sockless biking is that my feet will have a chance to dry out after the swim, while I'm on the bike, and then I can have nice fresh socks for the run. Still debating this philosophy with myself.

Anywhoo, that's what I've been up to...same 'ol, same 'ol basically. Next Sunday (June 8th) is the San Jose International Tri. My longest tri to date ~ 1.25k swim (.78 miles), 40k bike (24.85 miles) and 10k run (6.2 miles). And lucky me, I'm at a conference all next week so my training will be limited to what the conference hotel has to offer by way of gym/pool. That *may*a be a good thing tho. Maybe my body will be more rested than if I was at home trying to do my regular training stuff. We'll see. There are quite a few of my former coworkers from various companies going as well, so the real challenge will be making sure I get plenty of sleep....oh, and not too many cosmos. :-)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Uvas Tri Report

Saturday morning, dark and early, T picked me up at 4:30 for our trek down to the Uvas Tri. The race instructions said to allow 1-1/2 hours from the east bay for travel and to be there 'by 6:00'. Okay, we followed the instructions and got there a bit before 5:30. Parking was supposed to be 1/8 of a mile before we hit the transition area so when we got to the transition without seeing the parking we started to wonder. Evidently, they weren't expecting people *quite* that early and told us to turn around, turn into the first driveway and someone would be there shortly to show us where to park. We finally got parked and unloaded and started walking back to the transition.

This would be of the first people there, we'd get an awesome transition spot. Yeah, not so much. It wasn't first come, first serve, as previously stated. The racks were grouped by age then by bib #. So you basically had to wander around looking for your age group and then find your bib #, which weren't in any apparent order. I always like a bit of organized chaos first thing in the morning. Even after setting up our transition areas we had about 1-1/2 hours to wait until the event started. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that the waves were switched around and T and I were in the same wave. There were a lot of people in our wave so I knew we'd lose each other eventually, but it was nice to be able to get nervous together. Hahahaha.

As the transition area started to fill up, we noticed the abundance of aero wheels, aero helmets, and really, really fit people. I started to think, ummm, I'm in the wrong race!!! I want out! I have to say I was more than a little freaked out at the prospect of getting swum, ridden, and run down by all these folks.

Soon they started announcing that the transition needed to be cleared, but by then we were down by the water in preparation for our warm up. The bottom of the reservoir was very mucky and I could see the water was still not clear, altho much better than the mud pit we saw the first time we cycled around it. The Elite competitors started, followed a group of men (younger, tho I forget the age breakdown), then us....women 39 and under. The start was an 'in the water' start, so depending on how close to the starting line you wanted to be, you were either treading water (up close), or standing at some depth. The countdown got to zero, they yelled "GO!" and we were off. Immediately I had trouble. There were a lot of people (expected), the water wasn't clear (expected), and I felt claustrophobic and like I couldn't breathe (totally unexpected). I've never had a problem with the open water swims before. I don't know if it was the bad visibility, the distance (3/4 mile), the tension of the long wait or a combination of many things. I do know that I had to talk to myself pretty much for the entire swim. First I had to talk myself out of just bailing, then talk myself into relaxing and breathing, even if it was more frequently than was efficient. Finally about 1/2 way into the swim I felt somewhat relaxed into my stroke and tried to settle in. It was a really tough swim for me tho, surprisingly. Also, I was WAAAAAY outside the line, so I'm sure I swam a lot further than necessary. I came out of the water in 27:49 according to the results, so while I'm no fish-woman, I had expected 1/2 an hour so I'm pleased.

The first transition seemed amazingly slow. I had to run to the furthest corner of the transition area and I struggled a bit with my wetsuit, so I have to work on that. My T1 was 2:54, so maybe not as slow as it felt, but still a lot of room for improvement there.

Finally got all my biking gear on and ran out the transition and mounted up. I was trying to push the pace, but still keep some energy for The Hill that I knew would be coming around mile 11 or 12. I hadn't seen T, since we were in different transition areas, but she found me on the bike and then zoomed around me on her way to the hill. It was amazing how tired my legs already were, even tho I felt like I didn't kick nearly as much as I should have during the swim. All I kept thinking about on the bike was The Hill. When would I approach The Hill. How much further to The Hill. Oh, and also to notice how many people were flying by me on the bike section. Definitely my weakest link, I think. Soon enough we made it to The Hill and I quickly ran out of gears, spinning slowly, ever so slowly in my lowest gear. It's a damn good thing I knew what to expect from that hill or I may have bailed and walked up, as we saw some people doing. I kept telling myself "You've done it before, even on tired legs, so just keep going" and "You know it's not that long, you can almost see the last section, just keep going." Finally I saw the mailboxes that I knew marked the top of The Hill. WOOO HOOOO! I did it! I was hoping to finish up the ride in under an hour and as I cruised into the transition, I thought I was just over. Ah, close enough. But actually my 'official' time on the bike was 58:44 for 16 miles. Nice. :-)

Through T2 in a fairly speedy 1:18, if I do say so myself, altho I'm sure there's room for improvement there as well.

The run you ask?!? Well, the run was a bit of a struggle. It had warmed up to probably somewhere in the mid 80's, which for me is a bit toasty for running. There were some rolling hills, and very little shade. Also, I decided not to carry a water bottle, as they had stated there would be support at every mile. That was probably a mistake. I took 2 glasses of water at most of the stations, one to throw at my mouth in an effort to get some hydration and one to dump on my head in an effort to cool off. I would have liked to keep about a 9:30 pace, but just felt sapped by the heat and my legs were so tired. I finished up the 5 miles in 48:35. I'm happy to have kept it under 10 min/mile at least.

My overall results: 2:19:22 in my first 'official' tri. Not too shabby, a middle-of-the-packer. :-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Do the event butterflies ever go away? It seems that for running events I don't get nearly as many as for tris. In fact, I think they've started swarming (hm, do butterflies swarm?) earlier than ever.

My first tri of the year is this Sunday. It's the Uvas tri ~ 3/4 mile swim, 16 mile bike, 5 mile run. I think part of the nervousness is because the swim is longer than any tri I've done to date. In fact, I think it's *almost* twice as long as any tri I've done. Great...I've freaked myself out even more.

Also, it's supposed to be quite toasty and while the 'official' start is 7:30, my wave doesn't go off until 8:05 (yeah, I'm in the old lady last group). So there's plenty of time after the swim for the bike and especially the run to be nice and warm. Important point to remember: hydrate!

Well, I guess I gotta start the season somewhere and Uvas is as good a place as any.

Quick summary of recent workouts:
  • 70 min run on Saturday, nice easy pace (something new I'm trying out, I'll explain more later)
  • 3hr 15min, 43 mile ride on Saturday with some killer hills (for me) including the infamous Uvas "Hill"
  • Weights on Monday
  • 3000 yd swim on Tuesday and a baby brick (spin 35 min, run 15 min)
Okay, I have to stop thinking about the tri or I'm going to vomit. Think cool, fast thoughts for me on Sunday.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Oink Oink

I arrived in Illinois on Thursday evening and was met by my brother and my niece, Spencer, who seems to have grown about a foot since I saw her at Christmas. We grabbed some food and headed to their house to crash for the night before driving to Cincinnati on Friday. En route, "Tainted Love" came on Rob's iPod and we were singing and drumming along when my niece pipes up from the back "I'm so embarrassed by this." Uh, yeah, she's 4. Where does she get this stuff?!?! Despite several downpours en route to Cincinnati, we made it in time to check into the hotel and have some dinner. For dinner we had a group of about 12 people, including Aunts, Moms, Grandparents, cousins. It was really good to see everyone.

On Saturday we arose to cloudy skies and sprinkles. By 9:30 we were heading out to the expo and Spencer's race, The Flying Piglet. As we were walking along, it started raining a bit harder and it was a bit longer of a walk than expected. Eventually we arrived at the packet pickup area and realized it was only the packet pickup for the kids races. Argh. So, we had about an hour and a half to wait for Spencer's race to start. And it started raining even harder. We spied some folks hiding out under an awning and asked if we could join them. Turns out they were heading out in the mess to run the 5k. So we had 3 chairs and a lot of standing room out of the rain. Well, mostly out of the rain. I was having flashbacks to Surf City, but by about 11:30 the rain tapered off and the skies started to clear. Now we just needed to get rid of the wind!

Around 11:45 Spencer went over to the Piglet Pen and lined up for her race. Holy Cow there were a lot of kids! There must've been 4-5 waves of 2-3 year olds before Spencer's race even started. Corralling that many kids was pretty funny to watch and there was one false start by the 4-5 year olds when the announcer yelled out "go" for the 2-3 yr old race. A bunch of 4-5 year olds took off running and the parents took off running after them to herd them back to the start line. It was pretty funny to watch. Soon enough the 4-5 year old race was on. Spencer went off in the 3rd wave and gave it her all! Way to go Spence! The other cute thing was all the kids had bib number '1'. The take away point..... Everyone is a winner. Riiiiiight. Oh, I mean RIGHT! Another funny thing...inside her goodie bag was a plastic pig snout, which we all got a kick out of her wearing. :-)

After Spencer's race we headed back to the hotel to grab some lunch. Then we had to find the expo to pick up our packets and get any freebies that were around. The expo wasn't too great, with not that many good giveaways. The race freebie tho was pretty cool. We didn't get tech tees (like the full marathon folks did), but everybody got a nice black duffel with the Flying Pig logo on it. Not bad. :-)

Saturday night we ate at an Italian place and tried to get to bed early since we were taking off for the start line at 5:45. It was about a 15 minute walk and the start was 6:30. The night sure went by quickly, but I'm not sure how much I slept. I'm pretty sure I was still on California time and trying to go to bed by 10:00 (7:00 Pacific) didn't work out too well. So all the runners met in the lobby and we were off to the start line by 6:00. Jeff, my brother Rob and I were planning to stick together while my cousin Jenni was planning a faster pace. But we all started off together in the 2:15-2:30 half pace group.

6:30 came and went with no start. Finally around 6:45 the 'gun' went off and we were on our way. Turns out that there was a 3 alarm fire along the marathon course and it had to be rerouted at the last minute......adding a 1/4 mile to the course. Ugh, I feel for those folks. The route was really crowded for most of the first 4-5 miles. It didn't *really* thin out until the split of the marathon and 1/2 courses somewhere between mile 8 and 9.

The first few miles were kept interesting by running across the bridge into Kentucky and then over another bridge back into Ohio. The barges were even blowing their horns to root us all on. Well, that's my reason why they were blowing their horns anyway. There were several bands along the route and we were wondering if they had gotten up early or just stayed up all night. After hearing some of the raspy voices, I'd have to vote for an all-nighter. Around mile 2 some guy yelled out "you're almost there!" Maybe he thought it was a 5k!

Rob, Jeff and I were pretty close together except when Jeff would hit the water stops. Rob and I were carrying water bottles so didn't need to stop as often. Soon enough we hit the first set of hills, which I didn't think were too bad. Maybe The Relay hills had prepared me more than I thought.

When I looked back to find Jeff, I couldn't see him. As we approached the relay turnoff I stopped and waited for him to make sure he was alright. Turns out his knees started killing him on the hills and he was struggling. I ran with him until he had to turn off for the hand off of the chip and then took off to catch up with my brother. Luckily he was wearing a bright yellow top and was easy to spot. We had one more hill and at the top there were folks handing out hard candy. I have to say it really hit the spot. Especially since I had forgotten my Luna moons and felt like I was about to start running on empty.

Somewhere between mile 8 and 9 we split off from the marathoners and the crowd thinned out a little bit more. This is also where we heard someone behind us say "If you're feeling tired, just quit." It was actually pretty funny and we got a kick out of it. I kept asking my brother how he was doing and hoping I wasn't pushing too hard. He kept saying he was alright, so we chugged on. Altho, I don't think he would have said anything if he *wasn't* alright. Wow, we really are alike in some ways.

After mile 10 or so, the route is pretty much all downhill or at least flat. Folks along the road kept telling us "It really *is* all downhill from here." And unlike when bicyclists tell me that, it was pretty much true. We hit mile 12 and I looked down at my Garmin. Dang! I told my brother "If we do a 9 minute mile we can beat my PR." He told me to take off if I needed to, but I reminded him (and myself too) that this race wasn't about PRing for me. Lucky dog, he'd have a PR no matter what. :-)

About a 1/2 mile from the finish we saw Jeff walking back to the finish line! What the heck! There were supposed to be buses back to the finish for relay folks. Turns out he couldn't find a bus and thought he could easily walk back. Yeah, well, he didn't count on his bad knees getting a lot more painful. He looked miserable. Thankfully there was a well stocked first aid tent at the end of the race and he was able to get his knees wrapped with ice.

Rob and I made it to the finish in 2:17:40. Pretty dang good for his first 1/2 marathon. Sadly, we were so much ahead of schedule (2:30 projected) that we didn't get video of the finish. Ah well, there's always 'next' time. ;-)

I have to say that the pace felt pretty comfortable for me. So now I'm wondering if I've really improved that much since Surf City, when a 2:17 felt like death, or if it was just the nature of that particular course, with the last 3 or so miles being downhill. I'm considering doing another 1/2 marathon this summer, just to test it out. I need something to replace Nike anyway since I didn't get the lucky draw in the lottery. I think part of the easy feeling was that I was finally having fun again. :-) A big thanks to my bro for that. Even if he didn't fall down or wear a pig costume, I had a blast running with him.

2:23:10 clock time
2:17:40 chip time

When we got close to the finish line my brother says "Let's go!" and takes off for the finish line like a bat out of hell. What the heck!!?!? Turns out he didn't want this guy in the red shirt beating him. Ah, like brother, like sister. ;-)

Quote of the Day

Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind...the race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.

Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
Baz Lurhman

I'm working on accepting that the race should only be with myself. :-)

Where's the race report?!?!

I's coming. There's just so much to write about!

The short story is that the travel was a bit exhausting, the race was SUPER fun, my brother did AWESOME in his first 1/2 marathon, and Jeff finished his leg of the relay marathon in pain, but he FINISHED! SCHWEET!

In fact, I had so much fun running with my bro that I was *thinking* that I might do a full with him next year if he does one. Please, someone slap me now.....hard.

Anyway, I got home on Monday evening and took Tuesday as a 'recovery' day. I did NOTHING and feel just that much more behind in training. On Wednesday we were back with our trainer for some upper body/ab work, and we threw in a 2300 yd swim just for kicks. Kicks...get it...hahahaha. Okay, okay, so I'm a little tired. :-)

Today we were up before dawn cracked and squeezed in a 15-1/2 mile ride in a little over an hour.

Now I'm exhausted. Ha, who am I kidding, I'm always exhausted. Oh, also I gained 4 pounds over the weekend. I'm hoping it's just from the run, the travel, and being dehydrated. But I haven't jumped back on the scale. I'm too scared those pounds are here to stay.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Will Pigs Fly?

We'll see.

I'm on my way to my brother's casa where I'll crash for the night and then we'll load up and head out for Cincinnati. It's probably about a 6 hour drive, and I could have flown directly to Cincinnati, but this way I get to spend a little extra time with the family.

Saturday we'll do the expo, get our packets and such and cheer our lungs out for Spencer's Flying Piglet run. I think her age group does something like a 50 or 75 yard run. Everyone gets a medal and a goodie bag. Kinda' like the big kids race. We do our run on Sunday, starting at 6:30 am. Yes, that *is* 3:30 for you and me. It should be um, interesting, anyway. Jeff's doing the first leg of the relay so it will be the three run-kateers for the first 6.5-ish miles. Then Rob and I will trek on and he'll finish his first 1/2! Schweet. As he says "At least it's a guaranteed PR." :-)