Sunday, December 23, 2012

This is heavy, doc.

Marty McFly: Whoa. This is heavy.
Dr. Emmett Brown: There's that word again. "Heavy." Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth's gravitational pull?

Let me tell you, ladies. Most of us are headed towards a heavy future, and it has little to do with gravitational pull. I thought I would be in super svelte, low body fat shape after taking on a half Ironman this year. I was wrong.

I would like to preface this conversation about weight with the following disclaimer:

I am aware that:
A) I am not a plus-sized person and
B) I understand that muscle weighs more than fat.

(I'm sure someone will still point this out to me.)

So, before you think, "Oh Suzanne, Shut the f--- up, you are not fat!" Remember that I never said I was fat. I said I am getting heavier and am trying to figure out why. That is all.

A few years ago, before I hit the big 3-0 in years, my goal was to stay at 127. After the age of thirty, I also went over one-hundred and thirty pounds. The doctor weighed me a few months ago when I went in to check out my ganglion cyst and I was 134 pounds. I can live with that. Last week I went back for a routine checkup, and I was 138 pounds. Really? Maybe I had more water that day?

My days of being under 130 are probably over, but my body is also capable of doing more, so I should just come to terms with it. But what about the next decade? What is 40 going to look/feel like?

This is what I've figured out (so far): Weight gain happens despite a lot of things. My weight gain is despite my workout activities. I put on the typical 5 pounds around Christmas 2011 and it stayed on me through 2012. Everyone keeps telling me that muscle weighs more than fat, but it's still extra weight that I have to carry around when I'm training. Maybe it would be best to take off a couple of pounds?

The more I talk to other people in their 30's, the more I realize that changing up routines is the way to go.

If you take on an extreme diet or exercise regimen, your body will change pretty dramatically.  Let's say you train yourself to run a mile. Pretty soon you can run a mile every morning before work. Your body improves, and you feel good about yourself. You think to yourself,  "Oh if I continue to run a mile every day, I will stay like this."

False.

Your body will get used to running the mile, and pretty soon you will be able to run your mile but you will continue to start to put on weight again. At the rate I'm going, I will be a 200 pound 60 year old doing ultra marathons. Time to think about diets again, because it's food, not exercise that is causing the gains. My mom always told me that your appetite gets smaller as you get older. Still waiting for that one...

So this winter, while running 20 milers, I still indulge in everything winter has to offer. If only we could just hibernate for a month like other animals and wake up thin, well rested, and not broke. Maybe my doctor could give me a prescription or write me a note for that. Or maybe I'll just start some kind of diet after the holidays.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Trails to You

Nature. So much more challenging and fun than a treadmill.
Photos courtesy of Brazen Racing.

Running trails makes me feel like a medieval warrior, or some kind of wild gazelle. If I could learn how to carry a pack on my back, run in sandals, and chuck spears, I would join a tribe and just live in the wilderness. At least I would drive out to the wilderness and hang out on the weekends. If my tribe had a hot tub, that would be awesome.

Running trails is also terrifying. One slip on a wet branch, or over step around a tight single-track turn, and you are going down. There are all kinds of bruised and scraped up people at the end of a trail run. Badge of honor, people! I've fallen during at least half of the trail races I've done. Luckily, I've only bled once, and the rock pieces eventually grew out of my palms.

It can be difficult to keep motivated in the winter months. For the past couple of years, I've worked trail workouts into my winter schedule. Trails are a great break from the norm, they keep my aerobic/anaerobic fitness up (notice I didn't call it "cardio"), they force me to slow things down and think technically about running, and they are an awesome addition to an otherwise flat workout routine. I live in northern California, so I'm lucky to have an abundance of parks within 30 minutes of my front door. The worst element in my neck of the woods is a drizzly downpour, or having to run through puddles or around a downed tree trunk. After spending grueling hours on the gym treadmill, it is a joy to be outside because I occasionally like to do thing that scare the crap out of me - like running up (and down) hills -  in the middle of nowhere.

When planning a trail run, it is important to remember to do the following:

1.) Bring your own food supply and water. Nature does not come equipped with drinking fountains.

2.) Look at a map! Remember all of that high school geography? Finally, you can put those SAT skills to good use. If you still aren't good at reading an elevation map, guess what? There is an app for that! Mapmyrun, or Strava come to mind.

3.) Pay close attention to the type of terrain you will be running on. Trails are dirty and full of obstacles like fallen trees, puddles, branches, leaves, and other things to trip and fall over. The secret to don't fall is - slow down! It could be a dirt trail, or a rocky trail, or maybe even a paved fire road trail.

4.) Note tree cover. Are there trees, or is the trail exposed? Whether or not there is tree cover will greatly effect temperature.

5.) Look out for animals. Hopefully just deer and bugs, but don't let it surprise you. You are on their turf.

6.) Wearing a small backpack, camel back, or even a fanny pack is perfectly acceptable.

7.) Walk!  The first time I "ran" a trail race, I thought I was just getting out to run in nature, and didn't take into consideration running outside on a natural obstacle course. I had to walk/hike - a lot. I had always prided myself on never walking during a race, but during a trail race, especially as a novice, walking is totally normal. This shocks a lot of people. It shocked the hell out of me.

8.) Bring a friend. I am lucky to have my friend, Erika, who is a crazy trail runner girl. She is currently training for a trail 50k. Um, yeah. I told you she is nuts.

9.) Remember that exercise is about effort, not distance or reps. Think of taking on a steep incline as keeping up intensity in a workout. If you are a runner with a GPS who looks down and thinks, "OMG! I've only gone 0.5 miles?" you are missing the point. It helps me to think about workouts in increments of time and not miles.

10.) Read the book "Born to Run" - even if you don't like nature, or don't run. I read "Moneyball" and I think baseball is super boring. It's about life, challenging yourself, and people who are super insane.

I ran Brazen Racing's Summit Rock Half Marathon this weekend. My favorite part of the trail was a two mile stretch of short ups, and downs. It was fun to bound up the hill, then wheeeee back down, then bound up, then wheeee, bound, wheeee, bound, wheeee.




Friday, December 7, 2012

I run corrected

There are a lot of people out there who don't like to be corrected by others. Ok, who am I kidding - no one enjoys being corrected. But, being corrected shouldn't make anyone feel like it's a threat to their persona. I mean, once in awhile, we do things incorrectly. Or at least, someone else thinks we are doing things incorrectly and try to give us a new way of doing things.

I prefer to keep an open mind and do the following:

1.) Hear correction.
2.) Ponder correction.
3.) Check for a reliable source.
4.) Try it the new way, or say, "Great tip, thanks! (but no thanks)" and go about your day.

I guess I'm familiar enough with my body to know that I do things wrong all the time, and there is always room for improvement. I really appreciate corrections to my swimming form, and am very open to make changes since I'm really still learning. Suggestions to improve my cycling are also appreciated, but it also depends on the source. The criticisms I  appreciate are usually regarding form: feet flat on the pedals, head up, center of gravity, etc. The criticisms I don't appreciate usually have to do with gear; everyone has to flap their jaws about the best clothes, best bikes, best cycling apps, etc. It's really easy for someone to say, "Oh you need these new $100 shoes," or "Oh you need a new $2,600 bike." This is why people think cyclists are elitists btw. (Oh and the fact that cyclists often don't feel they need to follow the rules of the road.)

A runner would just say, "Oh you run! How cool! Which races have you done?" I've heard less, "You should buy this, you should use this, you should, you should..." from runners. Runners are cool. As long as you have two feet and no injuries you can run. And if you can't run, you can walk. Runners will still like you. Correct me if I'm wrong here...

I'm ready to take triathlon to the next level, so I joined a local triathlon club. I want to be with people who push me, and teach me new things. But, it's also important to me to have organized swims and bike rides. The running I can do on my own - or so I thought.

At a club track workout this week, the coach corrected my running form! I was stunned. Now, I haven't had anyone look at my running technique probably since 1997. On the contrary, I've read a lot about running form and have made many corrections on my own. In fact, a few years ago I slowed my running down dramatically and tried to take on the Chi Running method which I feel has helped me to run more effortlessly. I thought I was a pretty damned good runner. So, I was shocked that the coach stopped me and gave me some pointers on my form: tilt forward from the ankles, land feet directly underneath you (not in front), and lead with your chest. I thought I knew these things! Worse is, I thought I was doing them!

It was taken for a loop (track pun intended), but I took it in the correction, tried to rationalize it (probably too much), got over the shock, and then tried to switch my form up the way the coach suggested. After a couple of laps, the coach commented that I was doing much better. It felt ok (honestly nothing felt good about doing 1,200 fast repeats that night).

I guess I really do need help with my running - and that's ok. The person who gave me the correction is a long time running coach. I'm lucky to have been corrected.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kitty Cats and Rainbows

A couple of reasons why running in the rain this weekend didn't suck:

Sneaky kitty! This kitty cat came out in the rain to snoop on the geese at the Campbell Community Center track. About 4 dozen geese made the football field their hang out during the rain storm. If a cat can find a reason to enjoy the rain, so can I!


The rain storms broke a few times this weekend to create lovely rainbows in San Jose.

Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm running in the rain....

...what a glorious feeling!

For those of you who don't know it yet - I'm training for the Arizona Rock & Roll Marathon on January 20th. Not the half marathon, yes my first full marathon. Why did I decide to train for a major event in the winter? Well, coming down off of my epic summer and going into fall, I guess I just needed a goal. Besides, I haven't lost any of my winter weight from last year and I'd kind of like to maintain. (Yeah, yeah, muscle weighs more than fat... blah blah blah. It's still more difficult to carry that around with you.) Another reason is that I really don't like the holidays. Thanksgiving is ok, but then I start to feel sad, tired, sick, fat, and broke. Since humans don't have the ability to properly hibernate, I will make the most of it and get my endorphins up as high as possible.

MUST STAY HAPPY!

A marathon is a big goal, but I'm trying to look at it as "just exercising" for, oh, you know, 4 hours or more. If I need to walk - no big deal. If I need to stop - no big deal. If I think most of the way through the race, "This ain't gonna happen," then I'll just follow the half marathon course and call it a day. I'm only up to 17 miles, so we'll see how the next 7 weeks goes. At this point Project Marathon is TBD.

Because it is winter, I am prepared to schulff off on some training days for holiday parties, and eat too much. All good things. On the other hand, I also have to be prepared to run on treadmills, in the dark, or in the rain which also leads to the potential for being bored, being cold and wet, and potentially falling on my ass. In preparation for Project Marathon I have done the following:

1.) Bought a headlamp.
2.) Bought some brightly colored clothing.
3.) Researched running groups that run at 5am. I haven't found one.
4.) Downloaded new music to my iPod in preparation for treadmill time.
5.) Tried to convince other friends to run a marathon with me. This did not work.

Last weekend, over Thanksgiving, my parents were visiting so I skipped a few training days when the weather was absolutely ideal to go running. The long run days I lost are now rescheduled for this weekend - the weekend of a torrential downpour in northern California. Just in time to do a 19 mile run. Eeee gawds!

So, trying to figure out how to keep 19 miles interesting in the rain. Should I just go out on the good ole Los Gatos Creek Trail like normal? Should I try a new location to make it doubly interesting? Should I break it up with a run to the gym, some treadmill time, and a run home? Should I hit a track?

Ultimately, I would love it if everyone would come out on my route and just run a piece or two with me. You know - Forrest Gump style. He starts out alone, and pretty soon there is a crowd of people that would start following him for awhile. Doesn't that sound like fun? In the process of his long run, he inspires the "smiley face" t-shirt design and creates the phrase, "Shit Happens." You know, because awesome things happen on long runs... in the rain.

Well, I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Being a Girl (Article 3): Not Clones

We are not clones. Seriously. (Thanks to CM, and her Photoshop expertise.)
I think people are generally clones. Women are terrible too. Sorry, I have to bust Pinterest again: but when something starts to have 10,000 repins, doesn't that bother anyone? Isn't that hairstyle becoming too popular. I live in the Silicon Valley, (wo)man! Aren't we supposed to be these great minds who think up new ideas? Or do we really just want to own the exact same pair of shoes or want to be quirky like Zooey Deschanel. I think Zooey's sister's character on Bones would have some kind of anthropological explanation of why we all want to be the same.

I despise women's magazines, Hollywood trends, chick lit, giggling, and I often refuse to participate in things I deem "too girly" like wearing all pink at a race, or driving a Cabriolet. But, resistance is futile. I still like brunch (the girliest meal of the day), getting my nails done, wearing dresses, and watching too much of the Housewives of Every Major City in the US. Except Miami. Those bitches are too crazy.

Just when you thought I might be a woman hater. I tell you that I most definitely am not. In fact, I organized the FIFTH ANNUAL Girls Hike and a Brunch over the weekend. This is not a brunch with a bunch of just any girls. This is an event with a group of my girls, who like to hike, and brunch, and meet new people too. Totally different.

A few years ago (like about 5), I was getting started with a career, paying my own way for the first time and realized that I had responsibilities. The same was true for many of my friends, and we just hadn't had a lot of time to catch up. I remember emailing my friend Kem, saying, "Gawd! I really need some girl time!" Anyway, she invited some of her friends, and I invited some of mine and now it's kind of a meeting of the minds of two good friends, and their friends, who are now all hiking and brunching friends.

I have an array of girlfriends, not all participate in the Hike and a Brunch, who are still my best friends. This Hike and a Brunch is not meant to exclude anyone, so please don't compare me to any of the Real Housewives episodes where so-and-so isn't invited to the launch party because of something she said on the reunion show. I'm not sure how it worked out this way, but there is always 3-5 of regulars, then everyone brings a new friend. Kind of like a meeting of the minds, or dare I say it - networking. There have been many friend stealers at these events. All of a sudden you notice two people who came to brunch are friending each other on Facebook, then they hang out. Then they are hanging out with each other and you are not invited. WTF! . . .

Ok, ok, I've hung out plenty with Kem's Maid of Honor on my own. (We missed you this time around, WC!)

I'm thankful to have a pool of amazing women around me: not just the hiking and brunching kind, but girls who run or tri with me, who share their family memories with me, and for whom I would bend over backwards. Women who have separate lives, separate interests, and come from different places, who have separate opinions, but are still accepting of one another. When people ask me if I moved to the Bay Area for the weather, I shoot down this notion immediately. I moved here to be around people who are different from me. I don't believe you truly know yourself or your own potential unless you surround yourself with situations and people who challenge you. I'm not sure if other women are as lucky as me to have that. I don't think I would enjoy as much hanging out with a group of women who are exactly like me. I find it silly even in political conversations to sit around and talk about how you are right all the time. What's the use in that?

In other words, I think my friends are not clones. Maybe everyone thinks that about their own group of girlfriends. . . but clearly, mine are the best. Seriously. Don't make me smack a bitch.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Being a Girl (Article 2): Why are boys so mean?

I begin with a couple of short stories:

***

When I began running regularly after college, I ran around the track at a local high school. One day I ran into a "running club" that would meet at the track once a week to do some speed work. I had never heard of such a thing as a "run club." Get this: you can join a group of strangers who also like to run? Wow. *mind blown* (This was in the young days of Google Groups, Yahoo Groups, and Meetup.com.)

One of the guys from the club sees me taking an easy lap, and joins me on the track to tell me all about their run club: which days/times they meet, which events members train for, fun activities they do on off-days, etc. It just so happened, that all of the members that day were men, so I asked, "Do you also have women in your club?"

"Yes, we have girls. The girls kind of form a group and do their own thing. They are a little slower than us."

It almost sounded like the girls just can't keep up with us manly-types. No offense dude, but not everyone from their club that day looked like a svelte athlete. We are not "girls." Secondly, why are the fem-bots doing their own thing? Perhaps the guys think the cowering females will get lost making loops around a 400 meter track so they need to herd together for comfort. And finally, are all of the vagina's really slower than the penises? I doubt it.

***

Much more recently, I went window shopping at a bike store, and what was the first bike the sales boy showed me? Well, it was pink. It may have been a nice model, but I was slightly offended that he would show me a pink bike before any of the other models. It's like going to the car dealership and they show you the vanity mirrors. I asked him, "So, what kind of model would you suggest if I'm on a budget, and I want to do hills and maybe a century?" Then he showed me an Italian-made small men's bike.

***

During Barb's Race this summer, I shared the course with some of the full Ironman competitors during the run portion. They were doing twice the distance, and had been up since 6am, but were still going strong on their marathon. These were not the pretty good guys, but the guys in the lead with a motorcycle leading them in to victory. Hotties! I remember giving some of them kudos on their way past me (because they all passed me), and none of them returned my enthusiasm. I was hurt and offended that they wouldn't recognize my athleticism as well. Doesn't everyone want to be cheered?

***

So, now I can hear my female friends all riles up and screaming, "Yeah, men are mean, and they don't take us seriously! We will revolt, and form our own clubs and have our own events, and we'll show them what we women are all about!!"

Here is my dilemma:

I don't presume that women and men are created as biological equals (yet *wink*). Currently, the fastest times in men sports greatly exceed the fastest times in women's sports. But, in an amateur setting, there are just as many slow dudes as there are fast chicks. Personally I feel that competing with men makes me a better athlete! I know I'm not going to place in the men's category, but man do I feel good when I finish with some 50-year-old bad ass dude who looks like he's been in the sport for at least 30 years.

Remember the pink bike? Well, I went to an all-women's triathlon the following week, and there were at least 10 of that exact bike on the course. Women will buy it if it's pink, so we feed into this separate but equal phenomenon that we also seem to complain about. I like pink just as much as the next gal, but I don't necessarily go around to sporting events yelling, "Look at me! I'm a girl!" I think (hope) people realize that I'm a woman. I don't get it. Does the pink make women feel good? Or do we think that a mob of pink is going to intimidate the men? By the way I'm wearing a pink shirt today.

Just like the men who can't stand being "beat by a girl" (whiners) women shouldn't be offended if they don't offer back a compliment or notice our pink tutu. Everyone has a different motivation for competing. And, now that I've done an event that takes over 6 hours, I might have limited my "You go girl!" and "Awesome job! s" to maintain a little more energy.

Perhaps we women are still making up for the past, when men dominated sports and determined, well, everything else too. In sports, Title XI afforded female college athletes to participate in sports that were previously deemed male only. Out of that, it is safe to say that this has changed the face of sports in American - look at the females who dominated the medal count in the Olympics this year!

I've been writing this over a few days, and had the opportunity to run some of my anxieties by a few friends. "I just don't really like being in large groups of women." This is a really hard thing to say in front of other women because I feel like it's the absolute wrong thing to say. I want to be clear I am not one of those people who like to hang with the guys or only has guy friends. I like groups of women - my group of women, like my friends and the women that I chose. It is fun to compete with a group of women once in awhile. Women definitely seem to have a better sense of camaraderie than men do in individual sports. But, I want to be an athlete, not a female athlete.

It is truly sad that in 2012 we have to have a War on Women and I will do everything in my voting rights to make sure women are taken care of. But, I still like men. They are not the enemy, and it doesn't make a difference to me whether they are at an event or not.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Being a Girl (Article 1): Women's Events

It has truly been an interesting year: Susan G. Komen decided not to renew funding to Planned Parenthood, then decided to give it back. Then, talks of universal health care brought many people's views of women's reproductive organs into the limelight, and caused general upheaval. Women's bodies are under attack! (And we don't earn as much as our male counterparts, which sucks.) On a positive note, the US women scored a big-time medal count in the summer Olympic Games, and golf finally decided to allow women access to the mighty green jacket.

I've been wanting to write something about being a woman for months, but something keeps holding me back. I literally have 4-5 different posts on my dashboard that I haven't finished or posted because I'm scared of being shunned by my own gender. So, I thought I would break it up into a few articles.

As you are probably also experiencing, there seems to be a rising number of invitations to "Women Only" events in my inbox:  make-up parties, kitchen product parties, jewelry parties, etc. Go ahead and tell me these parties are ok for men. Go ahead. Now think about who actually attends. . .  ok. Yes, they are for women. Women between the ages of 30-45 are the consumers of this country, and don't you forget it. We even tell men what to wear and decide which cars they drive. Anyway, I don't cook well so I'm generally worthless at buying kitchen gadgets. I've never understood the use for a cake plate since I will never bake a cake. That is what bakeries are for. As far as makeup is concerned, I've worn the same brand for a long time and tend to wear the same colors. Once a year I will venture out an try on a new color, use half of it, then throw it in my "pile of unknown beauty supplies" which I will rummage through for Halloween. Jewelry is pretty, but I've been wearing the same earrings for the past month. This year I've spent more money on my bike than on clothing.

Don't even get me started on women's magazines like Cosmo. The only time I read them is when I'm getting my nails or hair done. (See? I can be a girl!) Seriously, who cares about these clones in Hollywood? I've also had some very frank conversations with other women about the Real Housewives that make me cringe because we end up talking about them like they are our friends. That really freaks me out because I'm participating in this BS. Yikes!

I am a girl, so I'm supposed to like girl things. Right? Sometimes I even push myself to try and be more girly: hence the Pinterest challenge, the "Run like a Girl" t-shirt, or hosting a brunch for my girlfriends once a year (Brunch = the girliest meal of the day). But, I always feel like I should be doing more: supporting women's causes, doing cheers, joining women's organizations. . . but I just don't want to. I like a day out with a group of my (awesome) girlfriends, but don't necessarily want to be a part of a big organized group of women. Does that make me a bad person?

So, now I fear being shunned by my own gender.

Another reason I've been feeling mighty un-girly lately is women's athletic events in particular. This year has been a real eye-opener to how many events are women specific.  Now that I've participated in a few female-only events, I kind of prefer the co-ed stuff. I mean, I don't participate any differently in an all-women's event than I do in a mixed event: I train the same, I have a good time, I perform the same, etc. Sure, I still check times based on gender and age, but I don't have a great affinity for doing women-only events. I especially am not big on wearing pink, boas, tutus, or anything that screams "I'm a GIRL!" at an event.

My mother has a very strong aversion to working out with big sweaty men at the gym, and she was a member of Curves for years, before she realized that doing the same circuit routine wasn't doing much of anything anymore. Now she works out mostly with my dad. My mother also grew up in the 60's when men and women's sports were completely separate, and actually you could say women's sports were pretty much non-existent. My youth was in the 90's when public school gym class was co-ed, and you just kind of get used to the boys winning every game of dodge ball. My strategy for dodge ball was - just don't get hit in the face.

I often feel like an odd girl. I'm not sure if it's because I am different, or I just want to be different. It seems that those who fight conformity are just pigeon-holing themselves into another category of "conforming to non-conformity." So I tend to go back and forth between "Girl POWER!!" and "What the hell is a Blowout Bar?"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

They tried to make me go to rehab . . .

. . . .and I said, "No, no, no!"

Then I ran the San Jose Rock and Roll half marathon.

I definitely pushed the race a bit more than I should have. This course is my personal record (2010), back when I was training for half marathons specifically. I wasn't completely sure how this year would go, but I had a couple of theories, 1) I could push with all of my might and be close to my PR beause this year has been epic. So why not one more?, or 2) I would not be anywhere near my PR because I haven't trained specifically for running this year, and let's face it, I'm tiiiirrred.

And it was #2. I pushed probably harder than I should have in this state, and ended up with some sore feet and hamstrings. Oh well. If you are epic all the time, what else do you have to work on, right? Right?

So, on Sunday, October 7th, after running 13.1 miles, I decided to check myself into rehab. I took an entire week off - no running, no gym, no bike, no swim - nada. I was kind of confused about what to do with my time. It was like being locked in a padded cell (my bed), all drugged up (ibuprophen), and being forced to watch TV (baseball, football, Presidential debates). It was pure hell.

I kid. I actually did go out and socialized a bit, and even did some day-drinking at the local Oktoberfest celebration. I didn't even run the Oktoberfest 5K! (Although, I was tempted.) Yeah, I had a bunch of beers that day. Woo hoo! I was asleep on the couch by 6:30. Don't judge me.

On Sunday, October 14th, after a week of coming home early, watching baseball, football and Presidential debates on TV, I went out for a run on the good ole' Los Gatos Creek Trail. 5 miles later, I was still too far from home and decided to walk the last 2 miles. Probably a good idea.

The rest of the week I kept it as easy as possible:

- I did a bunch of stretching at the gym.

- I walked a mile around a track. Walking. I know. Crazy.

- I discovered a ganglion cyst on my ankle/foot. It doesn't hurt, and although it's an odd injury, my doctor insists it's better than a sprained ankle. But, doesn't ganglion cyst sound super disgusting? "What are you dressing up as for Halloween this year." "Oh, I'm going to be a ganglion cyst!"

- I joined a Triathlon Club and swam with them for the first time. They seem like good people. It was nice to get back in the pool, and swimming is nicer on your body than running, although jumping into a lane with a bunch of triathletes after not swimming for an entire month definitely got my blood pressure up.

- I bought new running shoes. Note: they are exactly the same running shoes, just a new pair.

- I test-drove/rode a really nice bike that is too expensive for me right now. Time to save my ducats in order to buy a bike that will be worth more than my car. It's got to be worth more than the pathetic trade-in value on my car for sure.

This week has been a bit more of a pick up. I have an Excel spreadsheet of workouts leading up to a marathon on January 20th in Arizona; I'm still not sure if I want to go through with training for an entire marathon (I've never done one), or continue to rehab until I'm unconscious from cheese and wine after the holidays. This happens every year. Maybe this year will be different . . .  or not.

My rehab has been confusing, and a bit of a letdown. I spoke with a coach last night who said this is normal for people who have put themselves through strenuous activity for the past, er, 9 months. On one side, I still want the drugs (endorphins) but on the other hand, the drugs aren't working very effectively right now. I've considered an herbal cleanse. I've considered taking winter courses. I've considered taking on a side project. But all I really want to do is find that endorphin high again.

Maybe I'll start knitting. No, no endorphin high from knitting.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Girl needs a makeover

The "Bowllet" makes me sad.
I worked a lot on myself internally this summer, but it seems I've let the outside go a bit. Time for some maintenance.

My buffness makes me feel like a million bucks, but I hate my clothes and don't want to spend a million bucks buying new clothes that I don't like. During one lunch this week, I went to Nordstrom to try on come colored jeans; it ended up being a completely fruitless activity. The associate who helped me was probably my build, but about 5 feet tall, and she looked super cute with her jeggings. She also had a nice pair of boots and a layered ensemble on the top, thus covering most of the jeans. I became overwhelmed thinking all of the clothes I would need to accessorize a pair of jeggings then decided it wasn't worth the money. Note to self: you don't look that great in skinny jeans or jeggings anyway, and that is ok. Maybe when I take my winter clothes out of storage, I will be reminded of all of the cute sweaters and pants I have from last year. Doubt it.

When I say, "tan" I mean only the parts of me that were sticking out of a one-piece swim suit. Actually, multiple swim suits and jog tops which has created a series of interesting tan lines, especially on my posterior. As long as I am doing triathlons, you will also never see me wearing strapless. Oh and those cute summer freckles that started on my nose started forming on my cheeks and forehead a few years ago? These are not freckles - they are melasma. Those of you who are mothers may be noticed this phenomenon, aka the "pregnancy mask". I have not been pregnant, but it's the same thing. I thought I could prevent it with SPF 50, and it does no good. Until Retin-A becomes legal in the US or I have enough money for monthly chemical peels, I'm stuck with a spotty face. That might be worthless as well. As the woman at the fancy makeup counter says, "It's not the sun, or what is going on outside, it's what's going on inside." Yay for hormones. Ugh.

My hair has been growing out since May, and it's getting nowhere. My hairstyle is between a bowl cut and a mullet. I call it "The Bowllet." That might be funny, but it's not cute. Not at all. I'm giving it until Halloween, and if it doesn't look good I'm going pixie again.

I had pretty, manicured nails a year ago, and that lasted about 6 months. I can justify not getting bi-weekly mani/pedis, but I can't justify the biting. I'm going to try chewing gum in the car, which is where I usually have a hard time. I need something to do while I'm in stop and go traffic for 45 minutes. My recent commute bumper sticker game is not helping either. Having to apply pressure to the breaks behind a large SUV with a  Romney sticker makes me nervous.

On top of it all, I'm tired physically. I ran 8 miles super slow and in the Native-American-post-summer-temperature-increase on Tuesday, and reconsidered my running career. I'm sure it was just a bad day, but I haven't run since. The San Jose Rock and Roll half marathon is this weekend, which will be a fun time. But, shit. I'm worn out. Last night, I went home, listened to music, and painted. (I know you are now imagining me with a beret over my Bowllet.) I've resolved to take a week off of running specifically and do some other things - maybe get back in the pool, and take some yoga and do some light TRXing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

So now what?

The air is cooler, the mornings and afternoons are darker, and it's slowly turning into fall around here. Yes, I often complain that fall starts way too late in California. This weekend it was 81 and sunny, still a little hot for the perfect running temperature imho. A perfect fall run would be more like 65 and sunny, with some crunchy leaves beneath my feet. But, yeah, why am I complaining about great weather? 

Running is pretty much all I've been up to lately in preparation for the San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon. I've taken a couple of spin classes but haven't been on a real bike or in the pool for over two weeks. So, what else have I been up to?

1) Spending less money. There are no more expensive events, hotel rooms, or new gear I will be needing for a few months. Running races are cheaper, and a pair of shoes will put me out $100. Yahooooo!

2) Crosstraining. One thing I learned about endurance sports - they don't make you skinny. Yep, I'm the same weight I was at Christmas last year, but I can do squats and lunges like a motha'. Unfortunately all of that muscle is still covered by a layer of chub. This chub can only be eliminated by, you guessed it, weights. Seems counterintutive but it's true.

3) Eating salads and Kashi Crunch cereal. I need to eat less, but I'm still hungry all. the. time. This means, trying to order salads (dressing on the side) for lunch. Concurrently, I'm trying a 2-week Kashi-for-breakfast diet to see if it makes a difference. On day three I had a breakfast burrito. Bad monkey!

4) Socializing unrelated to training. A trip to the Chabot Space Center, a lecture by Amy Tan, a Giants game, drinks, dinners . . .Yes, it seems I still have a life. Thank you, friends for understanding. I hope I didn't miss too many birthday parties while I was away.

5) Stereotyping people who put political stickers on their cars. A new and amusing hobby unrelated to training, but pretty fun. I commute 30 minutes each way, and I have to entertain myself somehow. Like seriously, have you ever seen a Prius with a Romney/Ryan bumpersticker? Doubt it.

6) Digging out fall clothing. My midwestern upbringing tells me, even though I've lived in California for more than 12 years, that flip flops are unacceptable in the "colder" months. I feel the same about running tanks and short shorts. It's time to break out the pants and layers.

7) Making lists of events I should do next. I'm already thinking about 2013. There may be a marathon in my future.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hanging up my wetsuit. . .

After The Triathlon at Pacific Grove on Saturday, I had to transition once more from triathlon gear into formal attire for a wedding the same afternoon. Pretty sure my transition time was about 30 minutes. Not bad. . .

Anyway, during the reception the groom professed his sincerest love for the bride, and the bride wrote some promises to her new husband including, "I promise not to stand in front of the TV during college football." It's just not a good idea to get in the way of your partner's athletic pursuits - whether your partner a sport participant or fervent fan. In the spirit of love and the end of triathlon season, I would like to make some promises to my love. These will probably only last a few months, but I would like my loved-one to know that I appreciate him putting up with my training, and the gear that has taken up our condo for the past few months. Love you, baby!

I promise to remove my stinky neoprene wetsuit from the shower for the next few months.
I promise to do less laundry for the next few months, and save some water.

I promise to remove my sport bottles from the kitchen drying rack and put them away.


I promise to return the bike rack I borrowed from a friend so we can have guests sleep in our guest bedroom again.

I promise to keep nutritional supplements in cabinets instead of on the countertops.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sub-3:00, you know, like 2:50-something. . .

This weekend was The Triathlon At Pacific Grove, and my last triathlon for the year. The 2011 triathlon was my first triathlon, so this is the first time I've done a tri twice. I had to go back and do it one more time just to prove to myself that I'm better than I was last year.
 
Last year, I finished the Olympic distance in just under 3:06. After the race, I looked through the online results to compare my swim, bike run, to other women my age and discovered that my swim time was at least 5-6 minutes slower than other women who bike and run at about my same pace. I decided that swimming was going to be my biggest challenge for 2012. I remember telling a friend, "If I really work on my swimming, maybe I could be under 3 hours next year, just by improving my swim!" (Clearly I was hopped up on endorphins. She probably thought I was nuts.)
 
Triathlon at Pacific Grove time 2012: 2:58:5. That's right. Just under 3 hours, you know, like 2:50-something. . . . Notice, this time is not according to the Paul Ryan Time Calculator. This time is the real deal according to official results!  
 
After spending the last 12 months agonizing over swimming: after jumping in the pool in a 40 degree drizzle last winter, the 75-minute swim workouts for Barb's race, 3 Splash and Dash events (nemesis), 1 Dip and Dash, and oh did I mention the freakin' Trans Tahoe Relay . . .I only managed to take 2 tiny minutes off of my swim? Really?
 
The most noticeable difference was in my transition from swim to bike (- ~2 minutes), and my run time (- ~3 minutes). So, after complaining about spending too much time in the pool and the bike, and not running as much as I would have liked; turns out I learned how to strip off a wetsuit, and my running improved.
 
Who da thunk it?
 
That run really sucked, by the way. I've never had leg cramps like that before in my life. I knew they would subside eventually but damn - I need to eat more bananas before my next race. I could see the race clock on each loop. After loop 1 of 3, I knew I was behind, loop 2 I picked it up (and the pain started to go away), loop 3 of 3 was do or die time.
 
Looking ahead to 2013, I am really scared. There is no way I could have a more epic year than the past 12 months. Seriously? It would be unfair if it got any better. It's not just the tiny time improvements at Pacific Grove that have me feeling so epic either. This year my life has improved pretty much overall - from meeting life-long friends, to visiting new places with old friends, to taking on a new job, and finding a new gym. Geez.
 
Now what do I do?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The ocean is gross . . .The seal-quel

Last March, I ran for the seals. Last Sunday, I literally swam with seals, rather, they swam with me. My friend AC and I went down to Pacific Grove to take the triathlon course for a test drive. On the swim course, there were seals hanging out everywhere - probably 30 or more chillin' out by the rocks, enjoying the day. Apparently seals are quite curious; every once in awhile we saw a gray head with HUGE black eyes staring over top of the water as us. Seals don't come too close, and they swim faster than me. But, every time I crawled over some kelp I wondered if there would be a seal hiding under there. And it kind of freaked me out. Also, remember the ocean is their toilet.

I'm going to start referring to the ocean as the "groscean."

Seriously though. Through this whole training process I've had some major inquiry into, "Why the hell are you doing this?" both personally and from others. I've decided that doing things that completely freak me out is good for my soul. That's why I keep doing that terrible Splash and Dash event. I'm not sure why, but I really don't like that swim in Steven's Creek Reservoir at all. The reason I hate the Splash and Dash is not based at all in logic: I know I can swim, the water is fine, the other competitors are nice/supportive. It's completely unfounded why I don't enjoy that event, but I made myself do it again this year - THREE TIMES!

There are things I don't want to do, but I'm finding that I'm not really scared to try new things much anymore. Once you've taken off your swimsuit to find duck poo inside of it, your sense of "ewww gross" changes pretty dramatically. In the same way, once you've experienced the difficulty of trying something new and realized it's not going to kill you, it doesn't seem so difficult anymore.

I heard a pretty good quote lately:

"It's not getting any easier, you are just getting stronger." I like that.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The ocean is gross . . . but awesome.


Hates California - it's cold and it's damp. That's why the lady is a tramp.

This is my friend, Erika. She likes the theatre but never comes late. She also convinced me to do the Dip & Dash last weekend.

I grew up in the Midwest. The middle states. The fly-over states. Or as people in California like to call it (mistakenly), "back East." A college friend who had never been very far outside of the Bay Area went to Indiana once, and when he returned he said, "I just felt so landlocked!" Really? There is plenty of water in the Midwest and we even have beaches! If anyone has seen the Michigan/Indiana side of Lake Michigan, it's quite lovely. We also have rivers, lakes, streams . . . you get the point. We just don't have an ocean.

Ahh, the ocean. As a kid I had only a movie/TV/books understanding of that big body of water that covers 3/4 of the Earth's surface. An ocean, paired with a beach where you can frolic in the waves and the sunshine, and see cute sea creatures. . . must be awesome. My CA friends will be astounded to know that I saw the ocean for the first time when I was 18 on a road trip to Seattle. Now that I've had some serious swimming encounters, it occurs to me that the ocean is actually pretty disgusting. It's cold, it tastes salty and awful, it's full of huge, slimy plants that you get tangled up in, and the animals smell like they just ate a bunch of stinky, raw fish (because that's actually what they eat - stinky raw fish - oh yeah not to mention that the ocean is their toilet).

My friend, Erika, invited me to do a Dip and Dash in Santa Cruz this past weekend. I was a little reluctant to do another event so soon after Barb's race, but I'm still training for the Triathlon at Pacific Grove, so I went with it. Even before my alarm clock went off I was dreaming about calling Erika, faking some kind of lame sickness, or just flaking out. When the alarm finally did go off, I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed the neoprene suit and was out the door.

"Don't be such a freakin' baby." I thought.

While we set up in the transition area in Santa Cruz I kept thinking, "Ugh, I'm so over this. I don't want to get in the cold water. The ocean is gross." We had some fun with all of the 15 or so competitors for the Dip and Dash while we got all lubed up and put our wetsuits on. I realized that this was going to be a much more technically difficult swim than the Russian River, and started to get nervous. Then we headed down to the beach to test the waters (literally). . .

I had a great swim. I was relaxed, all of the buoys were on my best sighting side, the water was a warm(ish) 59 degrees. It was probably my best swim ever. I'm reminded of how far I've come from my first triathlon last year. I finished Pacific Grove in 3:06 and thought it might be possible to be under three hours by working on swimming alone this year. This swim convinced me that the goal is possible.

Comparisons:
9/7/2011   Pac Grove tri swim = 1500 meters = 41 min, 32 sec
8/12/2012  Dip & Dash swim = 1500 meters = 33 min, 35 sec
= 8 minute difference

The main difference between Santa Cruz and Pacific Grove is the kelp (yuck). So as long as I can crawl really fast through the slimy stuff, I'm looking forward to another swim in the awesome ocean.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Race Photos

Man, race photos are generally terrible, but also hysterical. Enjoy!
I've decided no one looks good after an open water swim. No one. Goggle imprints on the face, the swim cap. . .
Somehow I gained a double chin while I was swimming!

Trying to pose: Yes, I was trying to do the "Call Me Maybe" look. Instead of looking cute, I look kind of angry. "Excuse me, Round Table, but I ordered a large pepperoni and you only gave me a medium. Fix the order, now!"


Deceptive picture: It looks like I'm beating all of these girls. Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. . .

Bad hair picture. That woman and I played cat and mouse on the bike course and the run course. Until run course mile 10 when she took me for good. Yeah, she's 51 years old. Bad. Ass.

The droopy body part: That droopy part over my otherwise perfectly good knee.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I've been thinking about Bruce Jenner

I've been thinking a lot about Bruce Jenner - once the World's Greatest Athlete and now the Kardashian's dad. First of all, I love track and field. I remember Flo Jo and her bright colored nails zipping down the track, and I remember Carl Lewis jumping the distance of a large school bus. There is just something about those short events that really excite me. They are so short that you absolutely have to be perfect because there is no time for mistakes. Bruce Jenner didn't win one of these events, he won TEN, making him an Olympic gold medalist in the Decathlon in 1976. He was a major bad ass.

Now Bruce Jenner is known to a large audience as the dad in Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Most people who watch that show don't know anything about the Montreal Olympics, or that his face was on a Wheaties box. He recently featured in a short video called, The Bruce Jenner that was and I've also heard him interviewed on the radio about his life. Is he an athlete that became an well-known personality (positive)? Or is he a sell-out former athlete who can't do anything besides reality TV (negative)? Or did Bruce simply play the cards that were dealt him?

I watch the Olympics and somehow feel that it could have been me. Given another time, another place, and knowing what I had, maybe I could have been a fierce competitor - you know, like 15 years ago. Maybe I shouldn't have turned down that super small track scholarship at that super small liberal arts college in the middle of nowhere. Maybe I should have begged my parents for a coach instead of a voice teacher.

But then I think about people like Bruce Jenner and Michael Phelps who may have already been the best they can be. Bruce puts it this way:

"How many athletes walk away from their sport, absolutely, totally satisfied because you climbed every mountain you can climb. There is nothing left in that sport besides, (to) do it again."
What do you do after you are already the World's Greatest Athlete? It seems to me that you are kind of finished. I see that a lot with Michael Phelps this year. He already was the world's greatest swimmer. He did that in Bejing 4 years ago, so what motivates him to want to do it again? That may have been his top, and that's quite ok. Now Michael has to play the cards that are dealt him. Maybe he'll go into acting and we'll see him and his ten children on reality TV. (Or a commentator or coach would be a nice idea. Yeah, I like that one better.)
In a way, we who are just getting started are some of the greatest athletes. Sure, we'll never win a competition or get a gold metal, but the will and ability to fight ourselves to constantly improve is exciting. I realize now that I don't have to be the best swimmer today because it gives me something to work on. I don't need to necessarily win races in my 30's because if I keep myself alive and healthy I'll be much more competitive when I'm 40 and 50. The people who continue to do it are the people who inspire me, much more than the best athletes in the world. Hell, those professional athletes are better looking than the rest of us, but that 80-year-old running the marathon looks pretty awesome too.
We are also way too hard on Bruce Jenner. He was once an awesome athlete, but he hit the top, and went into show business. He is unapologetic, and I don't think we can fault him for that. He played the cards he was dealt. The only thing I fault him for is not passing down his bad ass abilities to his children. God knows they could use some more exercise.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How would you like me to wrap this?

Here's my number. So call me maybe?
What can I say about Barb's Race this weekend? I could do something heartfelt and gushy. I could tell you chronologically what happened (snooze). Or try to come up with a witty comparison to something else: current events, politics, fashion - like I claim to be an expert at any of those. Maybe report on some fun people-watching? Or a list of Do's and Don'ts?

Here are the highlights, packaged in bite-sized pieces:

The Swim Course
Quote of the event: "The Russian River swim course is between 3 and 7 feet deep. So if you get into trouble during the swim, just stand up!" People really did stand up and walk some of the swim course. I kept my head down and kept swimming. I'm not even sure if walking would have helped my time at all. I struggled a bit with my stroke in the 3-foot deep water, especially with so many people around me, but I also thought it was good training for the Pacific Grove crawl through ocean kelp in September.

The Russian River at Johnson's Beach. After Lake Tahoe the water seemed like a spa retreat.
The Bike Course
The bike course is lovely. It goes by all of my favorite Russian River Valley wineries like Rochioli. Yum. I really turned up the heat on the bike course. My intention was to save a lot for the run, but I felt strong that I kept pushing myself in the lowest gear possible to get the most speed. By the last 15 miles, I'd kind of found a cohort of other women with whom I played cat and mouse, and we all started the run within minutes of each other. It made for some friendly competition, and some nice banter during the ride. I finished the bike course in about 20 minutes less than I thought I would.

The Run Course
The course was once out and back (about 8 miles) then out about half way and back (5 miles) to complete the run. The second time out I just had nothing left in me except the will to finish. I thought I was probably running 20 minute miles. Talk about my worst half marathon ever! Remember back in January when I tried to run a half marathon in over 2 hours, got bored, and ended up running it in 1:58? Yeah, well this event time was 2 hours and 13 minutes of just not being able to move any faster. When I saw my time, I was actually amazed at 2:13. I thought it was going to be more like 2:45. It was the longest 2+ hours of my life.

Motivational Tactics
First, it helps to have awesome friends who send you lots of encouraging text messages before, during, and after the race. (Love my friends - thank you guys!) Second, it's important to remember that you are really only competing with yourself. To a certain point (like during my run) you just can't do anymore. You can either deal with it and finish, or you can get a cramp and cry on the side of the road. Finally, remember if you do push yourself a bit you get to share the course with some eye candy. The Ironman competitors were on the run course at the same time, so I got to see probably the first ten finishers. All hotties. Just sayin'.
Wine and chocolates from my Sass-mates! Delivered to my room. Thanks, ladies!
Fashion
Function over fashion always. In my first transition I realized that I was carrying all of my food on myself or on my bike. I had gel packets in a belt, Clif Bars in my back pockets, and the only water I planned to drink was already on the bike. I think this might have saved me some time because I didn't stop at any of the aid stations, or maybe it weighed me down. There were a few younger girls who did the entire event in starts-and-stripes bikinis. I know Olympic triathletes wear basically swim gear too, but these were not Olympic athletes. More power to you 21-year-old girls! (Maybe I'm just jealous.) In conclusion to my fashion observations, I saw a lot of those crazy-looking aerodynamic helmets that make people look like Rocket Man. I'm sorry, but if you are going to wear one of those, it should be the last straw to cut time. i.e. my amateur self should not be passing you on the bike.

Getting my gear ready.
Nutrition on the Course
Force feeding yourself really sucks, but it has to be done. I brought three Clif Bars and could only finish one. I also had 3 gel packs. I really tried to eat something every hour, but I've never been so NOT hungry in my life. Can't. Eat. Another. Bite. I used to really like Cliff Bars. Ugh.

Irate Locals
The guy who barrelled up Chalk Hill Road in a partial semi-truck as we were making our final climb - thanks for being a jackass. Some people in that area just don't like a bunch of yuppies doing triathlons. Most drivers were pretty cool though.

Snot rockets!
There were a lot of snot rockets on the course, and by the females! I'm still wiping my nose on my gloves. Need to work on this for next time. :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 1: The River

I was determined to swim the entire course. I knew there was a river house with a large green-painted embankment that served as the turn-around point. It was only out (to the wall) and back. 1.2 miles. There were a few other swimmers back on the course.

I was still nervous.

A Barb's Race alumna told me recently that parts of the swim are very shallow and you can stand up in the water. As I made my way out to to the first bridge (nice and easy), I realized what she meant. I'm glad I practiced really stroking down the center line of my body because otherwise my arms would have hit the rock on the bottom of the river. During the race orientation, "If you are having trouble during the swim - STAND UP!" Yep, the swim was only 3-7 feet deep.

So I took my time and stopped a few times, looked around, and made some focal points on the course. When I reached the green wall I thought, "That's it?" For some reason I was expecting something much worse - longer, or more current, or just panic. Nothing.

I swam back with a bit of current pushing me towards the beach. I did it. It was pretty easy.

Sigh of relief.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 2: Closer to God

God, I love running. Thank you for giving me legs.

Sincerely,
Suzanne

P.S. I just ran about 6 miles and I feel heavenly.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 3: I'm over it

I just rode my bike around the block. Three times. Wow, what an accomplishment. ;)

Day 4: Final Pool Day

I heard some awful news yesterday - one of the participants of the Vineman 70.3, who was an experienced triathlete, died after being pulled from the Russian River swim. This is upsetting because she is an athlete, like me, prepared to compete, like me, and unfortunately something happened in the water. It probably wasn't the event itself. A few years ago during the San Jose Rock and Roll half marathon two runners died near the finish line. All of my non-runner friends were convinced that running is a killer sport, but I truly believe that it was not the running that caused it, it just happened during a race.

As my friend Christine reminded me last night, "They could have died doing nothing. They just happened to die during a triathlon." That is a comforting thought to an extent. Like, I'm not going to stop flying on airplanes or driving because it is dangerous. I'm not going to stop pushing my limits because it's the safe thing to do. That would be a boring life.

Unfortunately she is not the only victim of the Russian River this summer. The other deaths in the RR this summer were all non-swimmers. This is when I really start to mind-f#$k myself into thinking that I'm not a real swimmer either.

There are all kinds of articles out there about the dangers of open water swimming, and swim and triathlon organizations have even considered making all participants take a swim test, or have an open water certification, before they are able to compete in events. I've talked to a lot of people, even very experienced swimmers, who have had panic attacks in the water.

So, I had to swim last night to prove to myself that I am, in fact, a swimmer. I'm not the greatest swimmer, or the fastest swimmer, but even when I had terrible form and felt off in the water for a few minutes - I was still moving on top of the water. Even if I have to wade, or kick on my back for awhile. I'm still swimming.

Plus, most of the Russian River is only four to eight feet deep. I will be swimming in a puddle most of the time.

Parents, please teach your kids how to swim, or at least how to be comfortable in the water. Throw them into a pool and make them swim across. Take them out on boats, teach them to water ski, let them get knocked down by a few waves. Seriously. This is my biggest problem as a 32 year old? That just isn't right.

I'm going to wear a wetsuit on race day. Need that extra assurance.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 9, 8, 7, 6, 5: The Taper Continues

Thursday: Day off and travel time. I also needed some time to take my bike in for it's final overhaul before next weekend. It needed a couple of derailleur cables too. I wish my car was as inexpensive to fix as my bike.

Friday: Getting settled in to our rental house in Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe with Team SassMouth. I went for a run down North Lake Boulevard from Kings Beach to Carnelian Bay and back. It was 8 miles. When the rest of my Trans Tahoe teammates showed up, we did a practice swim at Kings Beach, so I got some stroke time in as well.

Saturday: Trans Tahoe Relay. I swam the 30 minute leg, the 15 minute leg, and two 10 minute legs. The most difficult was the first because I had the typical (Susan) panic attack, followed by a pretty good swim, then a side cramp during the last 5 minutes. The second leg was awesome, third was pretty good, and last was awesome despite some wake action caused by speed boats zipping past. I didn't want to know about dangerous boats going by, so I just kept my head down and sighted the boat on my right side. I knew my team wouldn't let me get run over.

Sunday: Day off and travel home day.

Monday: Mandatory day off.

This is the part of training called tapering. Last week I did a little less than usual, and this week I'm only doing three easy workouts before race day next Saturday. For the last week my head has been messing with me, "Am I doing enough? Did I do enough? I feel the need to run a whole bunch right now, but I'm not supposed to, right?" Suddenly there is this dread that I didn't train enough, or I started to taper too early. But, it's too late - Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda. I'm done training.

Wow.

My head is totally in the clouds. This weekend is all I can think about and I can't focus on much else. I'm looking forward to getting to the race site (especially the swim site) on Friday and trying it out.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Happenstance (aka Happen-sass)

Team SassMouth, pre-race. We were the only team with matching t-shirts and headbands that said, "Kiss My Sass!"
Had we finished the relay sooner, we would not have had this photo opp. Taken from our Sasskipper from the boat.
There once were six girls in Santa Clara, California with a dream: to be Sassy. It took training, a boat, and some sparkles. In their real lives they were educators, students, organizers, world travelers, grant writers and even certified composting experts (!!). In their other real lives they were swimmers, cyclists, runners, sailors, yogis, coaches . . . They represented six little girls growing up in the Midwest, Buffalo, southern California, and Hawaii who would eventually find each other on a boat in Lake Tahoe doing a swim relay together.

Six different women, six different lives, six different swim-styles. How did we all end up in this same place together to share this same experience?

First, I met Lin-sass, who was my main motivation to do triathlon. She is extremely organized and can make you a chart of all of your split times.

Then, I met Lis-sass who inspired me to swim. I'll never forget seeing her face the first time I completed 1,200 yards without stopping. Lis-sass also has an arts background! How's that for happen-sass??

I met Sass-ica during my first ocean swim at Pacific Grove. She consistently has no fear which amazes me.

I met K-sass on Facebook (of all places!). She sassed me, and I sassed back, and I knew I  liked her before I even met her in person.

Finally, I met Sass-stine who is continuously pushing her limits; this weekend she's swimming from Alcatraz!

It was one of those weekends that will always bind us; a weekend that no one else can understand unless they were there. . . there in that cold water, smeared in SPF, sporting a cap, goggles and a red suit. We cheered one another during our six-hour journey across 11 miles from Nevada to California. Happy to be sassy. It was just happen-sass.

K-sass (left), Sass-ica (right), Me (back)



This is when our boat found Lis-sass. She had to swim out to find us from the shore as the first swimmer.

Me, not sure if I want to get in.
I got in.
Hand off to Sass-stine!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 12, 11, 10: I Digress

Sorry for my abrupt post that had nothing to do with The Fabulous Campaign. How dare I deviate from the point and talk about zombies? My apologies. *wink*

This will be short.

Monday: Swam for an hour at SCU, because it's the best swim in town. (No small children! YAY!) Then I met Team SassMouth for sushi and to talk about our trip to Tahoe this weekend.

Tuesday: Rode easy for about 20 miles: home to Los Gatos to Saratoga and back. Then I met my friend Eddie and ran 7.5 miles. Eddie just completed the Seattle Rock & Roll Marathon a few weeks ago. He also has an appreciation for race medals. I offered him mine, but he declined and said he would earn his own. Fair enough.

Wednesday: Spin class. Like the real spin class with all of my favorite people! Kim Cakes gave me a guest pass since she is still a member at Club One. I sweat a lot and did not have to endure the circus. It was awesome.

More later -- LIVE FROM TAHOE! It's TRANS TAHOE RELAY TIME!



Running from Zombies!

Romney and Obama are zombies.

Sources tell us that current President Barack Obama (D) and Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, are not opponents, but are actually zombies in a conspiracy to take over the United States as members of the living dead.

The recent attacks from the Obama campaign regarding Romney’s refusal to share his income tax returns are an attempt to confuse voters into thinking that Romney is untrustworthy. Obama’s team knows that Romney has not shown proof of his taxes because he has not paid taxes ever – because he is dead. On the other side, Romney’s public attacks on Affordable Health Care Act are also falsified. The Romney campaign is well aware that the United States will not need the Obamacare because all American citizens will be dead. Sources claim that Obama’s birth certificate was falsified, as were all of the stories of his life. His actual birth date was August 28th, 1852.

Zombie.



Zombie.

According to study, 90% of gamers would support an Ozomney ticket. Gamer John ‘Jugular’ Johnson of Chicago, Illinois says, “I feel that the United States needs a change of leadership. The Republicans and Democrats have messed this country up, man. The experience the living dead have on issues of the economy and foreign relations would be invaluable. Dude, I heard that Romney is over 100 years old. He has a ton of experience.” Sally ‘the Murderous Bride’ Smith from Salt Lake City, Utah states, “Obama’s community organization experience could really bind the living dead of this country together. They deserve a vote too.”
One characteristic of zombies is that they all like to eat faces and brains. Obama was recently observed and photographed eating a hot dog, while Romney was eating a hamburger. Both hot dogs and hamburgers are made of bi-products from faces and brains of animals, which leads sources to believe that either would have no problem eating the face or brain of other animals, including humans. Their targets would be those humans who believe everything they read from unreliable sources, jump to stupid conclusions, or believe Photoshop photos from the Facebook.

Joey Chestnut, the world's hot dog eating champion, ate 68 hot dogs during a July 4th contest. Can you believe they would let this zombie do such a think on American Independence Day? It's so un-American!


The Ozomney Apocalypse is near.


Sources: Ad Hominem, Appeal to Fear, Appeal to Belief, Biased Sample and Two Wrongs Make a Right. (Philosophy 101, Fallacies)