Monday, February 28, 2011

A new kind of challenge

The last several days have been challenging for me in a new way. I've had to work my training around my life.

I know that may be an every day occurrence for most people.  But as I noted in  my previous post, I consider myself lucky for many reasons.  One of those is that I usually have the ability to work my life around my training.  After the last few days I have even greater respect for those that manage to train *and* have families/heavy job requirements/both/etc. 

There was nothing earth shattering that happened in the last few days to throw chaos into my orderly little universe.  It was more a bunch of things taking much longer than expected, with a pinch of extra obligations that came up last minute and were out of my control.  You know those compromises you have to make to continue along  your merry way in wedded bliss?  Yes, throw in some of those as well.

I have to say that it would have been all too easy to skimp on, or dare I say, even skip my last few workouts.  In fact I did miss a swim on Thursday, what with my lovely bike fit/shopping spree taking much longer than expected.  I don't feel great about that, but I'm not going to lash myself for it either.  It has and will happen.  But when Saturday rolled around, and all the commitments for the day were fulfilled, I found myself climbing onto my bike trainer at 7:15 pm for a 1:55 ride.  Followed by a 10 min run on the 'mill.  I would be lying if I said I didn't contemplate skipping that little 10 minute run.  I's only 10 minutes.  Probably not that important.  Oh?  Really?  'Cuz coach just throws stuff on there for no reason, right?!?  And so I did the 10 minutes on the 'mill.  Which made for a very late night. Which threw my sleep off.  Which felt *fabulous* when I had to get up at 6:00 to get to the gym to meet my trainer by 7:00. Which was rearranged from Saturday to meet said obligations. Etc....etc.....etc.

So, it was a whacked weekend full of squeezing in what I could when I could.  And while I'm proud of myself for hanging in there and getting it all done, there is *no* way this is sustainable.  Saturday's food intake was breakfast at 8:00, and dinner at 6:30.  With snacking on what I could scrounge up in between.  *Not* good.  (Note to self, restock purse with emergency food)  Time to get my time and life back into routine.  Nutritional routine.....and particularly sleep routine.  Luckily the chaos of this weekend did resolve some things with long term solutions, so those can be crossed off the to do list.  Whew.

Here's to a new week and a fresh start.

"What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind."

Friday, February 25, 2011

If it doesn't fit....

Yesterday I took a half a day off of work to head down to Santa Cruz.  Nope I wasn't heading to the beach.  But that's okay, because the weather wasn't conducive to beach going anyway.

I was heading down to Spokesman Bicycles.  While I love Curtis, my bike fitter/PT, he is a bike fitter and a bicycle coach and a physical therapist, but he doesn't actually sell bikes.  And while I love the guys at the Bicycle Garage, they are really more roadies and don't carry TT bikes. I needed a one stop shop, so to speak. Someone who carries TT bikes and is a great fitter.  So when Curtis told me that it would be worth the drive to head to Spokesman to see Wade, I made an appointment. 

Like Curtis, Wade is pretty easy going.  We had a quick, introductory chat and then my bike went up onto the trainer.  I won't go into the gory details, but he did some testing of flexibility in my knees, hips, legs in general, then had a look at my current fit on my Ruby.  I hadn't started complaining about it yet, but he noticed right away that I wasn't sitting in the right spot on my saddle.  Too much wear in the wrong places (damn you chubby thighs anyway), while the place I should be resting my weight (entirely on the sit bones) showed almost no wear.  After a bunch of try this adjustment, try that, we ended up with a different fit.  All of which was really just to give him an idea of what TT bike might work.  Wade had taken some 'before' video of me on the bike and some video 'after' the readjusted fit.  Then he did a comparative still shot, outlining my back/arms/head, which allowed me to really see the difference. 

The red line is my before and shows me higher on the bike, my back with more of an arch.  The orange line shows the new fit with a nice flat back and not quite so "squished".  I had been feeling like my hips were kind of squished closed when I was in my aero position, but didn't really think too much about it.  Once we changed the fit though, and my hips were allowed to open up, I really noticed the difference. I also noticed that my weight was more balanced, with a more natural shoulder rather than having my shoulders hunched working to support my weight.  The next step was to put a TT bike up on the trainer, get the measurements set to match Ruby, and see how it felt.  Then a quick ride outside (carefully, as it had started raining) and some more adjustments and a lecture. Okay, not really a lecture so to speak.  But he did say that I still seem to sit high on the bike, especially for a TT bike, and that while I am pretty flexible, I have lots of room to improve that flexibility.  By stretching.  And yoga.  Like I haven't heard *that* before.  Hmm...maybe it's time to start paying attention.  Anyway, I can get a good, comfortable, aero fit on a TT bike and still have lots of room to move things around as I get stronger and more flexible.  Awesome.

(Not so) short story....*well* worth the trip.  All in all Wade spent 2-1/2 hours working with me and my bike.  Oh and the bonus....since I bought a bike, no charge for the fit.  Oh, I didn't mention that I bought a bike?!?! 

Yep, I bought one.  Nope, I'm not telling just yet.  They're working on it over the next week, putting bar tape on, a 3rd brake lever, fitting my race wheels properly, cutting my seat post and cables to fit, installing the pedals, etc, etc.  Hopefully it will be ready next weekend.  And then we shall have the grand unveiling. 

I'm stupid excited.  Like a little kid at Christmas excited.  Like wake up early and can't go back to sleep for thinking about the fun stuff ahead excited.  And yes, I realize I am seriously fortunate: 1) to have the money to indulge myself in my little hobby; 2) to have a husband who is of a similar philosopy; and 3) to be able to physically (still working on my mental game) participate in my chosen activities.

Happy, happy, happy Friday!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Race season approacheth

Hard to believe....but there it is in black and first race of the season is now on my training schedule.  Three weeks from Sunday, a duathlon, the sprint version. And from there it's one race per month, except for July.  And that's only because one of the race companies had the audacity to change a race from July to May and mess up my schedule in the process. Really, they should have checked with me first.  I don't know what they were thinking.

Am I ready?  Yes, I think I am.  I did have a short pity party back in December when I did my bike test and had lost some bike fitness.  (We'll just skip right over the bike "test" last week, shall we? Been there, done that, hashed it out.)  But as coach reminded me, I had just come off a break, *and* had trained for a half marathon prior to that.  So, I shouldn't have expected to not lose any of my mad bike speed.  *cough, cough*  So if I look at things as objectively as I can, I am actually in a better place on the bike than where I started last year.  And my run is *quite* a bit better than where I started last year.  So, I'm expecting good things.

Of course there was the flutter of little wings in my stomach when I looked at my schedule and saw the race on there already.  Partly because I haven't ever done a duathlon.  And partly because it's a sprint....ow...ow...ow!  Once again it is time to test myself past self.

But there are still a few weeks of work between now and then.  Plenty of time to build up some bike fitness, pep up my legs a bit, get my head in a good place. Ready?!?

Bring it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Head games

Today I had a bike test.  I failed it miserably.  I own that.  And you know what?  It wasn't even my body that failed me.  I didn't get that far.  My head got in my way before I even finished the test.  Probably before I even started.

I mentioned that I like to read a lot of blogs.  Seems I'm not the only one thinking about the mental aspect of the game.  And while it makes me feel good that I'm not alone in this, I'm the only one that can 'fix' it.  I know that I need to work on my mental game, it's just a matter of getting in there and doing it.  Some days it's not as hard as others.  Today it was very hard.

So now what?  Now I own it.  I look it in the face.  And I put it behind me.  No sense in dwelling on it.  Learn the lesson and move on to what's next.  It didn't kill me, so I can either let it crush my confidence or take it in and let it make me stronger.  I choose stronger.

And to be perfectly honest, after about a half an hour...okay, maybe an hour....of wallowing in my failure, I thought about my friend who is going through chemo for his Lymphoma.  Seriously.  How much would he give to be back on his bike, even having a crappy day on it, rather than where he is?  And so, I got over taking myself quite so seriously.  Yes, I care about the test and doing well and pushing myself.  But is my failure the end of the world?  Not even close.

Another blogger posted a link to this article.  Quite interesting.  Perhaps I need to study with the monks.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Today Bam and I went for a hike at Garin park.  But this time I was smart enough to wear shorts.  I know, I know....the weather we've been having is outrageous.  But rain and cooler temps are coming back and sticking around all next week.  So we had to get out and enjoy it while we could.

 Boo.T.Full. No?
 A lone tree in full blossom
 Hello allergies..err...lovely blossoms.
 Happy, happy girl.
 Any fish in here?  Tadpoles?  Salamanders?
 Bark softly.....
and shred a biiig stick.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Keeping Up

I surf a lot. The internet, that is.  I like to read.  Not just books, although I like those too. I like to read people's race reports, their training stories, stories of weight loss.  Articles about training, nutrition, whatever.  But lately...well, maybe not just lately....but lately more than usual, I have been comparing.  I think about keeping up with Jane, and Sue, and Mary (names have been changed to protect the innocent).  If Jane is doing intervals at XXX, shouldn't *I* be able to do those intervals?!?  If Sue is putting out XXX watts, shouldn't *I* be able to hit those numbers?!?  If Mary is training XXX hours/week at this point in the season, shouldn't *I* be doing that?!?!  I find myself thinking that what I'm doing isn't good enough.  Isn't fast enough.  Isn't enough period.

Now some of this makes perfect sense when I think about it.  I wasn't an athletic kid, so I don't have years of muscle memory to work from.  Actually, until a handful of years ago, I wasn't even an athletic adult. Which is my long way of saying, I'm slow.  So, yes, it takes me longer to do most of the activities I participate in than it takes most people.  And I'm not as strong as a lot of the youngsters out there.  Oh, yeah, did I also mention that I'm not getting any younger? And I'm not exactly built like an athlete. I am not lean, and my center of gravity...well...let's just say that it is rather low.  I'd have no problem hiking a toddler onto my hip.  If I had a toddler that is.  But I digress.

I'm not making excuses.  Really.  I know that if I do the work, put in the time, PRs will come.  I mean just look at last year.  I did the work Coach put out there for me, consistently, and it paid off with PRs at every distance I raced.   Sometimes I just want the work to magically transform me into an athlete.  I want the magic workout that will have me super speedy, super strong, super flexible, super thin.  All while being superly *not* injured, of course.  (Yes, I know superly is not a word.  I made it up. Sue me.)

Sometimes I just wonder....will I ever be satisfied?  I know I should be looking at all that I've accomplished, and being proud of that.  And I do.  Some days, I just want....more.  Or less. Depending on where I'm looking.

I guess, in a round about way, this post is all about me working on my mental game.  Not letting what other people are doing stress me.  I can only control myself.  Appreciating myself as I am, flaws and all.  Taking more of the positive and leaving the negative by the side of the road.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Friday Fun

I have had a post swirling around my head for a while, but it doesn't seem to want to write itself just yet.  So, we'll go with some Friday Fun instead.

Bike Porn!!!  These are the ones I'm currently looking at.  Colors will vary due to model year I end up looking at.  Cost will certainly end up being a factor, as I haven't won the lottery just yet.  (Note to self, buy lottery ticket.)  And I'd *like* to be able to get it from my local bike shop.  Hey, can't beat free tune ups for life!  Then I'll just have to get with my fitter and get my rocket, errrrr, bike matched to my body.

Specialized Transition

  Kestrel Talon

Kuota KFactor

Blue Triad

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


I just received a harsh reminder to cherish each and every day.  Be thankful for what you have and the people in your life.  Make the most out of the time you're given.

A friend of mine is in the hospital with a tumor on his lung. My concern is, if possible, increased because I know how long we've been talking about him having trouble breathing during workouts. With no real explanation for why it was occurring.

I am....shocked.....saddened.....and can only wonder why.  If prayer is your thing, please think of adding him to your prayers.  If positive energy is your thing, please send some his way.  Any kind of good, healing energy can not hurt, right?