Friday, March 30, 2012

Finally a post about cycling

Truth be told. Cycling is my least favorite. This pic explains it all. Notice the look of death, the yellow jacket, the 10% grade sign in the back, and that I'm in the wrong gear. Yeah, that was a tough ride.

I think I'm pretty much over my fear of swimming; there is certainly more work to be done there. But, I'm not sure why getting out on the bike still feels like drudgery. The only thing I can figure is that cycling makes me feel out of control. It's no longer you against the elements of nature - it's you AND a bike, against the elements of nature. The bike, not to mention all of the gear (helmets, padded shorts, jackets, etc), can make or break a good ride.

The bike requires repairs: I have a starter Fuji that is pretty heavy, but was great to start training with. I acquired a real-deal Griffen racing bike from my boyfriend's co-worker. It has tri-bars and the whole kit n' caboodle, but it's probably 10 years old, and a little squeaky. I took it in to get fitted: aligning pedals, handle bars, saddle, etc for the most ergonomic ride. Now, after riding up Bonny Doon in the wrong gear, I know that my derailleur needs to be repaired. For those of you who don't know (because I didn't a week ago), the derailleur is the thingy that changes your chain between the big ring and the small ring. Time to take it back to the shop.

Cycling requires a lot of other stuff: I had to buy a bright yellow jacket to block the wind, and to be seen better by cars whipping by at 25-60 mph (scary). I now own a few pairs of padded running shorts/pants. I love my shoes that clip in, although I resisted for a long time. I also just bought a pair of gloves. Oh, I hate my helmet, but I'll deal with that later.

Cycling requires time: There is no "quick" bike ride really. Cycling requires at least 2 hours, if not an entire afternoon. I can whip out a run in 30 minutes a few times a week - no problem.

Cycling requires other people: I did a 21 mile ride on my own yesterday, out of desperation, but I really need to get out with other people who a) know good routes, b) know what they are doing, c) push me, and d) make the group more visible to traffic. Are you noticing that traffic is an issue? I'm glad that I found a great bike route near work that I feel pretty comfortable doing on my own! I also just joined a group for local rides on the Peninsula and South Bay.

All of these cycling requirements make me feel uneasy. There are still so many things to learn about riding a bike. Remember when you were a kid, no one ever talked about your "cadence" or "derailleurs" or shouted "Car back!" Cycling is some technical shit, and I still have a ways to go to be a more efficient rider. Oh, and how to change a tire.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Random Runner: David

I showed up to the Campbell Park in my new neon yellow jacket, so perhaps I was just a target. I was approached by random guy, David, and we had a 5-10 minute conversation (it seemed longer) about running. He looked like a runner - 5' 6'', thin, and wearing compression socks. He said that he was trying to get into ultra marathons. The conversation turned to ultras, marathons, half marathons, and triathlons - it was interesting enough, but I could tell he was reaching to keep the conversation going. He said it would be fun to go running sometime. I mentioned groups on that he could join, and told him that I was pretty irregular at the Campbell Park these days.

He didn't seem to care, and still wanted my phone number. This is when I realized it had gone too far. AND I gave him my number, because I am the biggest sucker on the planet. "Maybe he is really interested in running..." I thought. Plus, I don't want to see him at the park again after giving him a fake number.

Me = Sucker.

It's hard to tell if someone is interested in running, or just interested in a date. A similar situation occurred when I met someone from work who asked me out to lunch. I just thought it was a work lunch, not a date lunch. Silly Suzanne.

Plus, it's not often (ok, like never) that someone "flirts" with me when I'm head-to-toe in running gear with no makeup and a hat. Maybe I'm in denial that I'm charming before exercise. He probably just thought that I'm a serious runner, and wanted to pick my brain because I'm that awesome.

Yeah right.

This guy was clearly just a picker-upper, and I was too nice to tell him to shove off. I realized as we ran off, that he was with a friend who was just standing by over in the parking lot. He probably had a bet going with his friend. Also, biggest tip-off EVER: if he was there to run, he would have been RUNNING! Is this the type of person who dresses up to go to the park and get phone numbers from random women? Ugh, now I feel disgusting. Hindsight is 20/20.

Anyway, David text messaged, "This is David. Looking forward to running sometime."

On Friday night. At 10pm.

No person interested in running will text after 10pm. Just sayin'. Now I feel like I got booty called. So, I texted back, "My husband and I are in Arizona watching baseball this weekend!"

Do you think he'll call/text me again? Doubtful. God, I hope not.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This weekend was the DC Rock & Roll Half Marathon. It was my first time in our nation's capital, and I had an awesome time. My race time wasn't bad either. 1:50:54. Important to note that my friend, Josh, also ran this race AND it was his birthday weekend. This is his first half, and what a perfect weekend to celebrate for his 2nd 29th Birthday! While he has been training on the right coast, I've been maintaining on the left coast. I thought I might have a weather advantage, but Josh kept me up to date on his training achievements with texts or emails like, "Just ran a 5k in 21 minutes," or "Just ran 10 miles in 1 hr 30 min!"

It is then that I realized. Josh was going to kick my butt.

Race day was on St. Patrick's Day! At the Expo, I spotted a green "Run Lucky" technical-t and a cute hat with a shamrock on it. I thought it might cause some chafing, but I was willing to take a risk in the name of fashion. (They warn you never to wear new clothes on race day, and I usually adhere to this rule. Just Google "marathon bloody nipples" and you'll see some disturbing chafing pics.) Unfortunately, because I refuse to carry my camera or phone, I don't have any pictures of how cute I looked. So, I refer you to the online link to my race information and photos here. I would like one of these pictures, but I don't want to pay $70 for it. If anyone is so inclined to buy it for me, I'll take the digital downloads - thanks! My birthday is in August. *wink*

Someone recently asked me, "What do you think about when you run?" During this race, I thought about what I was going to post. So, I decided to break down my thought process into miles:

Mile 1: Damn there are a lot of people here. I can't believe there are 30 corrals. Good thing Josh moved up to my corral, or he would have started 30 minutes behind. Damn there are a lot of people here.

Mile 2: OMG! We are running right into the Capitol building how cool. I should relish in this moment - running down East Capitol with my friend Josh. Now when is Josh going to ditch me.

Mile 3: I knew he was going to ditch me. Are we only at mile 3? Geez that's only 1/4 of the race. Just relax. You can do this. Oh, is that the Washington Monument? Pretty!

Mile 4: I started out pretty slow, per usual. Is it time to speed up yet? Speeding up feels nice.

Mile 5: I'd like to speed up some more, but I'll wait until mile 6 or 7.

Mile 6: Oh, there is that hill everyone was talking about. It's not San Francisco grade, but yeah, I can feel that. Wow! Now I can see there are about 3,000 people in front of me.

Mile 7: Half way there! Let's look at some motivational spectator signs:
You Run Better Than Metro
Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body
Tara, Will You Marry Me?
Chuck Norris Never Ran a Marathon
6 More Miles to Beer
There is Beer at the Finish Line!

Mile 8: Yeah, I feel AWESOME! I'm getting a little emotional. This is my life, and it is grand! I'm running, I'm in DC, I'm so rad right now!

Mile 9: Hey, there's Josh! I'm going to catch him.

Mile 10: Hey Josh! We only have a 5k left! We are almost there!

Mile 11: I can't believe Josh took off like that! Zoom! Ugh, this is the longest mile ever.

Mile 12: Well, there goes my PR time. I wonder if I can still make it in under 1:50?

Mile 13: I'll be over 1:50, but that's ok.

Mile 13.1: I don't need a metal, I need a bagel?! Where are the bagels?! I need freakin' water and a bagel!

Running is similar to writing: running also has an exposition (race t-shirt), rising action (race start), climax (mile 7-8), falling action (mile 11), resolvent (race time), and a theme (give me food).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Running for the Seals (aka Running for the Hills)

Some runner peeps at the start line of Run for the Seals. Those HS girls in orange, blue and pink totally freaked out on the last hill and got beat by a 30-something (me). :)

This is the second year that I've participated in the Marine Mammal Center's Run for the Seals, a 4-mile run in Sausalito. The RFTS is a fundrasier for the Center, and for the second year in a row, the Flipper Flappers were the top fundraising team! YAY Flipper Flappers! We raised over $9,400 toward the Center's $60,000 goal, which they exceeded. Good times.

Community races are so fun because they are intimate, and not super competitive. No one asks you what your time is really, and no one really cares. They are not sanctioned by United States Track and Field, so no one is qualifying for the Olympics, especially since 4 miles is not a standard race distance. I think that this is a fun race to try and go all out, because 4 miles isn't going to hurt anyone, and there are lots of HILLS, glorious hills. They are rather slow, painful, and downright sneaky on this Ft. Cronkite course.

This race has my favorite hill. It's slow rising for about a half mile, then goes around a corner. . . right to the finish line. Last year I almost wanted to walk, but made myself keep going around that corner. I was so glad I didn't start walking because as soon as I looked up and around the corner - I saw the blue banners at the finish line. Sneaky, sneaky. . .

This year, I was passed by 3 high school cross country girls at mile 3. The first girl to pass me asked, "Do you know if there are any more hills?"

To which I responded, "Yes, there is a hill at the last quarter mile that will trick you! Don't let it! Keep going! The finish line is right there."

"Well, at least it's not as hard as cross country."

I have never run cross country in California, so I had no point of reference. But, I wondered nonetheless if she would still fall for the tricky hill.

I was almost immediately passed by two more high school girls who were speeding up for their last mile. As soon as we hit that hill I started to trudge forward with all of my might, and all three girls slowed down (two started walking) just as we went around the corner. I shouted, "Ladies! The finish line is right there!"

That's when I overtook the high school girls. They were stronger and faster than me, but they did not heed the advice of a 30-something runner. Experience wins! I should be a Cross Country coach.

I digress. The race is really fun, and there is a lot of good community - costumes, dogs, kids, and my favorite former KFOG radio host, Peter Finch. Below are some pictures of other Flipper Flappers! The first is Robyn with her pup, Wrigley, going up that final hill. The second are my friends C&C with their human pup, Hunter.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dear Friends,

*By the time you read this note, I'll be gone.* Does anyone remember the 80's sitcom, Dear John? No not the one based on the Nicholas Sparks book with the hot guy. The one with this guy . . .

This is where I apologize to all of my friends in advance for my absence in the coming months.

Dear Friends,

You have always been like family to me, and I appreciate your encouragement and support. In order to fulfill my goals for this year, I will no longer have a lot of time to spend time with the people I love, and doing things that I love to do like: drinking wine, going out to eat (especially brunch), hiking, going on day or weekend trips, attending BBQs. . . For the next 5 months, I will have a training schedule, and less time to partake in these fabulous activities. It would be very difficult to eat a 1,300 calorie breakfast, bike for two hours, then run. Yes, sometimes swimming, biking and running will take up the majority of my day.

If I could stop working, and just work out all day while you all are working, I would. Unfortunately, I need my job to pay for bike repairs, running shoes, transportation and lodging; all of these are kind of expensive. Unfortunately this hobby does not pay. Many of you have children, and I totally understand that little ones live on a different schedule than we adult-types. That being said, this tri/swim/half Ironman season may be referred to as "my baby."

Many of you have already complained that I am over-planned, or over-scheduled. It's about to get worse. I am planning out a daily workout schedule now that I will begin to follow rigorously in April. *I will have to take a short hiadus in May when I travel to Costa Rica - good thing there are places to run, pools and oceans to swim in.

Please do not be too sad; I will miss you too. On a positive note: I will have plenty to talk about, and will have so many happy endorphins that I should be really fun to hang out with when you do see me.

Do not be angry with me for being noncommittal, or maybe even a flake. I will want to hang out and go on a hike on a Sunday, but it's possible that I'll need to go on a 60 mile bike ride instead. It is possible I will want to fit in something else, and it just won't happen.

Please do not say, "Hey, do you want to do the (fill in event name here). Seriously, I can't do any more events until after July 28th. If I take on anymore, I will over-train, or I might even fracture or break something. I can not risk hurting myself. (P.S. Noelle, I'm in for the Warrior Dash in October.)

This is my goal, and I promise to embrace your similar healthy passions. I will understand if you can't make it to dinner with less than a 2-week notice, or if you are too tired to get together for some fro yo.

It's only 5 months. Then I will go back to being "normal" again - promise. That being said, if anyone is planning to get married or have a super special not-to-be-missed life event in the next few months, could you let me know? I want to make sure I'm there, even if it means swimming at 6am.

I love you all, and miss you already.

Your friend,


Monday, March 5, 2012

Finding my inner girly-girl

I would like to be more crafty, but it cuts into my running time.

My post about Pinterest was not so popular with my DIY-er girlfriends. I apologize. I did make some pretty neat paintings, but when it came to collecting toilet paper rolls and plastic spoons, well. . . I'm lagging. I even borrowed a glue gun! But, I just can't force myself to go out and purchase the seemingly 50-million more spoons I will need to complete the lamp project.

Can we just mark the Pinterest Challenge as a fail, and move on?

I was hoping that my loathing post about Pinterest would come off as a bit of self-loathing with a humorous twist, and it clearly did not come off as intended. This non-domestic diva is willing to admit that the post came off a little uninformed. So, I'm just going to have to find another way to harness my inner girl-Chi. (Or whatever.)

A couple of friends from my triathlon cohort started talking about Barb's Race a few months ago. Barb's Race is an all-women's half Ironman event that takes place on the same weekend as the Vineman Ironman. Vineman is one of the more popular Ironman events, at least here in northern California. Barb is a real-life person, and long time supporter and volunteer for the Vineman events. When she was diagnosed with cancer, it affected a lot of people who loved Barb and her support of the event and the athletes year after year, so they named a race after her. You can read the story here.

I wasn't sure about such a long race. I've only done one Olympic Triathlon (Barb's is more than twice as long), and I wanted to get a couple more Olympic or Sprint distance tris under my belt before I participated in something a bit more extreme. Also, I wasn't sure about an all-women's race. Why not include the men-folk? They are people too! :) Let's face it - men get overly competitive sometimes, and this race is no circumstance to really compete - it's an accomplishment just to finish.

If anything, my girlfriends have been the most supportive of me over the past few years. And it seems like women athletes are very supportive of other women athletes.

Then some really strange things started happening all at once. First, it occurred to me that the friends who were talking about the race were both recently married an may be interested in starting families soon; this may be the only year that we are all available to do the race together. Secondly, someone very close to me had a cancerous tumor removed from her thyroid. Then, a former neighbor of mine was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma.

Why have I been so lucky? All of this really helped me to take a step back and be grateful for the people and experiences that I've had the opportunity to come in contact with. And let's face it, most of these grand people are my diva girlfriends. Although we are our own independent people, and don't always see eye to eye, my girlfriends are those who have put up with my BS the longest, and they don't complain too much when I can't go to brunch because I'm going on a bike ride. In fact, many of my girlfriends are also some of my most favorite exercise buddies (when we aren't too over-committed).

It's always a possibility that injury, or just life will get in the way of a goal, but it's still a worthwhile goal to set. I've paid my $160+ and put together a loose training plan. My short term goal is just to get back into a schedule again. March has been good so far! I'm Running for the Seals on Saturday, then going to DC for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon.

More updates to come!