Sunday, July 27, 2008

One hot ride

If you follow the adventures of T then you'll know she had a professional bike fit last week. And if you're a regular follower of the adventures of T and Kris then you'll know that typically what one of us does, both of us do.

So, I visited with Curtis too and got some adjustments to Ruby. A smidge narrower bars, a longer stem, a higher seat that moved backwards and aero bars. Yep, I'm gettin' aero. Oh, and he also recommended I take the suitcase off the back of my bike. Okay, it's just a tail bag, but a seriously big tail bag. He saw it and asked me, "Do you race with that?" I sheepishly said yes. He informed me that I could probably gain 1/2 mile an hour up a hill if I ditched it. Also he said that in biking weight=$$ (because lighter things cost more) and I had the equivalent of somewhere around $1000 lugging that weight around. So no more racing with the tail bag!

He also assessed my mechanics and worked up a list of exercises and stretches for me. I have very tight hamstrings and some VERY tight spots through my back, but I'm mostly pretty flexible which is good.

See below for the almost finished product. She's beautious no? :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I forgot to give a shout out to my Aunt Pat.  

She finished her first sprint triathlon last Saturday and in what I hear were less than stellar conditions no less.  Actually I heard that, to quote Forrest Gump, there was "Little bitty stinging rain....and big 'ol fat rain.  Rain that flew in sideways.  And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath."  An Illinois summer storm *might* sour me on triathlon too.  I remember how thrilled (*not*) I was after running the Soak City half marathon in the pouring rain.

So I salute you!  Way to tough it out and do the damn thing!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Swimmin' with the fishes

Last Sunday T and I headed out to the Stevens Creek Reservoir for the Catfish Open Water Swim. You could choose either 1.2 miles or 2.4 miles. Or if you're *really* adventurous (aka "nuts"), you could do both distances. We opted for the shorter one. We figured this would be another good opportunity to get used to being kicked, pushed, slapped, and swum over in general whilst being in water with the clarity of mud. If you can ever get used to that.

We arrived plenty early and boarded our shuttle bus for the ride to the reservoir. Very entertaining. The driver threw that bus around like it was a compact car and stopped and yelled instructions to the completely bewildered and clueless teenage volunteers. Probably less than a 5 minute ride and we were there.

Now we had about 40 minutes to sit around, basically on the ground (ahhhh, so that's why so many people were carrying those collapsible chairs) in the overcast morning cool. Soon we decided to slide (or stuff, push, tug, repeat) into our wetsuits just for the added warmth. We couldn't hear a word the announcer was saying, so when it got close to our start time we headed down to the start to warm up a bit. And warm up we did. The water temp was warmer than the air and felt so good. We got the briefing about where to swim, which seemed to mostly consist of 'follow the massive group in front of you' for most of us. Eventually we were given the start countdown and most of the group took off. We waited a few seconds for it to thin out a bit and then started our swim.

At about 50 yards into the swim, I take a breath to the left and see a guy making a bee-line for the shoreline. Poor guy must've had a panic attack or something.

Basically I just kept swimming, swimming, sighting, swimming, swimming, sighting. I had open water around me for most of the time, with a little jockeying for position and swimming around slower folks. But mostly I just kept going and going. I did realize that just like running, it takes me a while to settle into my stroke and settle my breath to the point that I'm not gasping. Unfortunately in sprint distances I don't think I have enough time to settle in, which makes it seem like I'm panicky and running out of breath for the whole swim. I guess I need to work on that.

Eventually I spotted the last buoy and swam until I couldn't swim anymore, then stood up and trotted up to the timing mat. Official time was something like 43-1/2 minutes. Not great, but not horrible either.

We later found out that the first finisher for the 1.2 distance came in somewhere around 22 minutes. And the first finisher for the 2.4 came in around 44 minutes. Wow, they're swimming *twice* as fast as me. Of course they were both Olympic team swimmers doing some training, but still. I later found out that the female Olympic swimmer was a distance swimmer, which is new for the Olympics this year. She expected to swim the 6.2 mile Olympic event in about 2 hours. Gulp.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jungle Run Report stupid was that?  Or...way to execute a poor plan. NOT to run a HOT 1/2 marathon.

I headed out this morning knowing it would be warm in Los Gatos, but I was definitely not prepared for how warm it would end up being.  I also just realized that I don't think I've ever done a summer half marathon.  Okay, yes, I've done the SF 1/2 which is *in* the summer, but to paraphrase Mark Twain "the coldest winter is a summer in SF."

It was about 70 degrees at 7:00 when we finally got started.  I had set my Garmin for my 'best' case scenario, which didn't include any adjustments for the  heat.  Poor plan, step 1.

For those of you who've seen the "Degree Clinical Protection" commercials, yeah, they're aimed at me.  On a good day I sweat like a pig so today I was bathing in sweat.  Nice.  I took some Cytomax on the run, but no E-caps (electrolyte tablets).  Poor plan, step 2.

Being so toasty, I decided to take water at every water stop, but to keep running through them. I'm not *that* coordinated, so I didn't get much water down my throat with each little dixie cup I took. Poor plan, step 3.

So, you get the idea.  This was a plan hatched for a nice cool day, not the day I had today. The biggest mistake was not adjusting myself to the conditions at hand.  And boy did it bite me in the ass.

The starting gun went off just after 7:00 and there was the usual slow walk/jog until there was enough space to get going.  Right off the bat we headed up a small hill out of the parking lot. Not too bad though and before long the crush was nicely spread out.  The first few miles went by pretty quickly with a few inclines, but nothing too major.  Grabbed a little water at the first water stop and was so pleased with my run so far.  I had visions of, not sugar plums, but a fantastic run dancing in my head. 

I knew there was another water stop coming up around 5-6 miles and figured I should shoot a Gu at that stop (since I was only carrying Cytomax and didn't want to mix that with the Gu).  About a 1/4 mile from where I thought the water stop was going to be I gulped the Gu down.  A little too quickly.  I was hoping to finish it right as I hit the water stop, but it was a little further away than I thought.  So the Gu sat in my stomach like a lump until I could get to the water stop to dilute it with a drink.  Or part of a drink anyway.

Six miles, seven miles, eight miles, all good.  I'm feeling pretty good although it seems to be heating up.  I start to wonder why this run is called the Jungle Run and figure they must have meant "Asphalt Jungle" as there is practically no shade but plenty of sun and heat.

Nine miles comes along with a small uphill and it hit me like a slap in the face.  Hm, that's weird, I should be able to handle that no problem.  As nine turned to nine and a 1/4 I felt like I was running through molasses.  It only got worse.  Belatedly I tried to force the Cytomax down, but it was way too  late.  I was already getting nauseous if I tried to push the pace at all.  And by at all, I mean anything over 10:30.  The last 3.5 miles were me trying not to hurl, walking, jogging a little, my calves cramping up to the point where I could barely walk, getting a hamstring cramp, side cramps, and begging my body to just keep moving.  Finally the mile 12 sign appears and I still can't make myself move.  I think once I got it through my thick head that I wasn't going to have a good day, I basically let my body give up.  Or my body had given up already and my head couldn't convince it otherwise.  

The worst part about the whole sad experience is that my next race ( a tri ) is in a nice toasty environment.  And for the first time I'm thinking I may not make it.  Sigh.  

They say it's just mind over matter, right?  Well right now the score is mind 0, matter 1.  

At least I still have my sense of humor

Today was the Jungle Run 1/2 marathon.  My alternate post titles were....

Hey, who put that wall there
Best 9.5 mile run EVER, followed by worst 3.5 mile 'run' EVER
Today was not my day....tomorrow's not looking good either

Yeah, that's how it went.  I'll post a full race report later.  Finish time was somewhere around 2:23, and since I was on pace (just under 10 min/miles) for the first 9.5 miles that kinda tells you how the last few went.

Stay tuned for the exciting details......

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Definitely the other

I knew I hadn't discovered the secret to faster swimming.

I hit Quarry lake this evening and the water sure felt good with the 90 degree heat. Of course I was still wearing a wetsuit. Hey, I'm a super wimp, what can I say. But I wasn't the only one out there.

I had a crummy swim tho. Just couldn't find a rhythm and I felt very sluggish. I finally gave up after about 1100 yards (guesstimate based on info about the swim course length obtained from the Parks and Rec guy).

So, it's back to square one, I guess. The water was super clear tho and I could see all the way to the bottom. And guess what...there *are* fish in there....and they didn't attack me. Also, no swimmer's itch. Guess I'm immune so far, thank goodness. :-)

Remember fun?

With all the training that's been going on this summer, I haven't really done activities "just for the fun of it." And I haven't been taking Bam running with me for a couple of reasons: 1) she had some limping issues and I've been afraid to get her back out there and 2) the times/distances have just been too long for her.

With my half marathon coming up this week, I've been sort-of tapering. (And sort of trying to squeeze everything in that I can early in the week so I can take a day or two off prior to the run on Sunday.) So in the spirit of a sort-of taper and to get Bam back out there for a test jog, I got up before the heat hit this morning and took her out to the mostly shady Garin trail. We cut a few corners and our pace wasn't exactly blistering, but I didn't want to push her too much on our first run together in a while. We were just jogging along and it was still fairly cool and she was so smiley and hey, look at that, we're actually having FUN! Now we just keep our fingers crossed that no limping occurs!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

One or the other

Well, I'm either getting faster in my swimming, or I'm miscounting and losing track of my laps. I'd put my money on the second one, but anythings possible I guess. I did a 3000 yard swim this morning, including some drills and speed work, and even with the rest intervals it took me just over an hour. Not too shabby.

Occasionally I can really feel that I'm gliding through the water, but it's a fleeting thing. I know my breathing needs more work. I still usually have both eyes out of the water. And I can't focus on all of the elements at once for very long. If I work on breathing then my body turn slacks off, or if I work on turning my body then my recovery gets screwy, or if I focus on a relaxed recovery then my kick goes away. Yes, I sometimes just drag myself through the water with my pull. Hey, it works in a wetsuit. :-) Anywhoo, I'm continuing to work on putting it all together and I'm enjoying it more and more.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

One tough cookie....with some ham on the side

This picture speaks for itself. Okay, I'll say it. I am *tough*. :-)

Mermaid Sprint Tri Swim 2008

Here's the side of ham.

Mermaid Sprint Tri Bike 2008 (notice the bare foot as I perform the 'shoe trick')

Mermaid Sprint Tri Finish 2008 (yeah, that's clock time, not chip time, thank you. :-)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What was I thinking

I finally signed up for that 1/2 marathon I had been contemplating. I now realize it's only a week away. I'm not ready. I haven't been running enough. What was I *even* thinking?!?!? Oi. Well, I'm just going to have to do what I can do. No use stressing about it now. I'm sure I'll do enough of that next weekend.

On a happy note, the winds have shifted and we don't have the smoke layer to deal with. We can finally breathe again. Nice.

And I'm settling into my new work environment finally. My boss is gone, we're in a smaller office space, and there has been a little 'dust settling' so things are getting back into a rhythm. I'm sure things will be quite busy in the next few months. And of course, they've put incentives in place to get people to hang in there. So hang in there for a while I will.

In the meantime, let's cheer for a short work week. :-) Happy 4th. Hope everyone gets a chance to kick back and relax. Cheers.