Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 29: Sometimes you gotta run.

Katie is running from Tom, and I ran today too! Breaking up is hard to do; breaking a sweat is also pretty difficult. We shall all get through this.

Track workout
2.5 miles to Campbell track (warm up)
100 fast
100 slow
200 fast
100 slow
300 fast
100 slow
300 fast
100 slow
200 fast
100 slow
100 fast
2.5 miles back home (cool down)

= 9.25 miles

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 30: Healthcare

I got my dose of personal healthcare today. It was taxing, but totally worth it!

1 hour swim 
Menlo Park has a nice pool. Unfortunately it's so nice that it's crowded, so I had to circle swim with two other people. But, I probably got a mile in.

26 mile bike (hills!)
The Meetup group did Old La Honda tonight. Started in Portola Valley, a steep climb up Old La Honda Road (lovely), back down through Woodside to complete the loop.

Man, I'm so lucky to live in California and the good ole' US of A. It's beautiful. Sure Canada would be nice, but I'll stay here.

1 month. Holy moses.

It's the 28th of June. That means only one month until Barb's Race. Only a few more gut-busting workouts left until it's time to taper off before the big day.

For the next 30 days I'm going to post my daily workouts for your enjoyment. . .  or more to movtivate me because I'm getting workout-lagged, or whatever workout training term there might be for senioritis. So close to graduation, but I just want to sit on my ass and watch movies for a week. Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. Motivate. Motivate.

I'm working out tonight, so unfortunately you are going to have to wait until tomorrow.

Sorry for the false alarm. :)

Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends.

Friends are the best. Wine sometimes helps too. Probably not on a bike ride though . . . damn.
My first real bike ride was about three years ago. I went with a group from my gym spin class who said they were doing a casual ride, only to find out that the route was over 40 miles (my first real bike ride ever). I was completely unprepared: no proper shoes, no food, and no idea how fast 16 miles an hour is. Also a few years back, a friend encouraged me to run St. Joseph's Hill with him. "We'll run the flat part," he said. I could have killed him, and he was confused because I was such a good runner. Because of these friends, I'm a much better cyclist and the trails don't bother me anymore.

Nowadays, I make people suffer too. And they like it.

Hell hath frozen over - My boyfriend bought a road bike. I'm not sure what happened, but we were in the bike store buying a tire pump (for me), and suddenly he's riding around the parking lot on a blue and white Trek, buying shoes and pedals and even padded shorts. On his third day out, he rode up Shannon Road (not an easy hill). It's amazing what he remembers and what he is capable of when he hasn't ridden a bike in over a decade. Sure, it's more difficult than it used to be, but once you remember what that steep climb feels like, it doesn't really leave you.

It's kind of like riding a bike. . . Bu-dum *ching*

Two weekends ago, I got the opportunity to test out the Barb's course route with a group of regular 70.3 racers - some of whom are doing the Vineman 70.3 and some doing Barb's Race. (A pic of me in front of my favorite winery above.) I thought it would be fun to invite my regular tri buddies, L & M, to do the course up in Sonoma wine country with this knowledgable group. L & M obligied to get up at 4am and ride 60 miles. Did I mention it was 113 degrees that day? Yeah. I thought maybe L would try to eat my eyeballs out. She did not.

This past weekend, I asked my Foster City swim friends if they wanted to hit the green lagoon with me. It was cooler than normal, the wind created more of a current than usual, and the water had been freshly douced with algae tablets, which made the lagoon a bluish-green and taste absolutely fantastic. Ugh.

"Do you know how much we must like you because we are doing this with you?"

It was then I realized, "Man, people do like me!" I should go into sales because I clearly have the ability to make people want to suffer with me. Or maybe I should have gone into the military. Or maybe I'm a glutton for punishment too.

This weekend, a group of us are going to suffer at San Francisco's Aquatic Park together. It looks like the water is hovering around 57 degrees. Looking forward to eating algae! YAY!

So, thank you friends for the mutual suffering!  Here's to hills, heat, algae, and friendship!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thoughts during a long swim

Swimming distance in a pool is really dumb. I mean, half of the time you are just pushing off of a wall. As soon as the stroke starts to feel consistent - there it is again - that damned wall. Sometimes my stroke takes me too close to the wall and I've almost banged my nose into the side of the pool. I always manage to bang my finger on the turn around. I should really learn how to do flip turns, but then I'll spend the entire time flipping. They need to make a big chlorinated lake where people can go to do distance swims. No lane lines, no markings. Maybe those overhead flags would be nice.

What sucks about swimming is you never see anything, except the bottom of the pool. In the case of an open water swim, all you see is murky water and sometimes bubbles. Hopefully you don't see anything else, like a dead floating body. Ok, stop thinking about that please.

(I really need one of those underwater music players. Maybe some Beyonce or Nicki Minaj it will get rid of the demons.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

42 miles of Tour de Cure

First things first: A big shout out to my Tour de Cure donors, without whom, I would not have been able to participate in the ride. Can I get a what what!!

Jade, whom I have not seen since my days of high school cheer leading (Please don't judge) - I remember Jade as our sassy jr. cheerleader. I'm pretty sure the pom-poms were bigger than she was. THANKS FOR ROOTING FOR ME, JADE!

Denise, who usually contributes to professional cyclists, made a donation to me! Even after I told her I was not a professional, she still did not ask for a refund. THANK YOU FOR TREATING ME LIKE A PRO, DENISE!

I'm on Viddy. Check out my short video clip from the Tour de Cure ride this past Sunday:

Lined up at the start line with the Mighty Broncos. Lots of corporate/club support for the event for the American Diabetes Association, and lots of really cool jerseys.

Looking tough.

After the race with Monica and Lindsey.

Monday, June 11, 2012


 A short post for a short triathlon this weekend - Mermaids Alameda Sprint Tri this Saturday.
400 m swim: 15:19, 12 mi bike: 39:40, 2.5 mi run: 19:15. With transitions: 1:18:43 total. Not bad. I'll take it.

Susan and Leslie (our alter egos) were sorry sports, so we didn't bring them. They stayed in bed.

Suzanne and Lindsey had an AWESOME tri. We both placed 10th in our age division.
Instead of getting a medal, the Mermaids get jewelry. I wore mine to work on Monday. Cute, huh?

My favorite tri ladies: Lindsey, Jonna, Betsy

Friday, June 8, 2012

Swimming with Susan

I earned my Splash and Dash shirt this year. Despite my alter ego, Susan. She can suck it!
I have an alter ego brewing lately, and I'm not sure how to handle her. Her name is "Susan." She is not the tongue-in-cheek jokester who searches for the perfect breakfast burrito, drinks wine, makes fun of people in running skirts, or has the no-big-deal attitude. "Susan" is all of the negative self-talk, the stomach aches, the muscle soreness, and the reason I just want to stay in bed.

I've been putting in about 3 hours of pool time per week over the past month or so. My training plans calls for one 75 minute pool swim per week, which is no problem. There is no way I'll be swimming for over an hour during a race - unless "Susan" has her way. Tonight I did Threshold Racing's Splash and Dash #1 in the Steven's Creek Reservoir: swim a mile, run 3 miles (no bike). This is the event that almost screwed me up mentally last year, and I often refer to it as "Dashin' but not a lot of splashin'." You can read the account here.

The gist of last year's race is this: Open water is scary. I freaked out. I didn't do the swim. I tried to vindicate myself by doing the run anyway.

I'm not typically a person who thinks, "Oh my God, I can't do this," but open water swimming brings this to the surface. Tonight I was ready to conquer Splash and Dash no matter what. Physically, I'm ready (albeit slow), but mentally it's still a different game. The crazy thing is - I've done these swims before. I did Napa tri in April, and the water temperature was 54 degrees, and I did fine. Tonight, I even convinced myself that I didn't need a wetsuit because the water was a balmy 74 degrees. Suzanne knew she could do it, but Susan had other plans. . .

I wasn't nervous until the start horn blew. Then came back that terrible feeling of fear, negative self talk, and wanting to quit. The first 15 minutes was miserable - I was definitely on the verge of a panic attack. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I must have looked out to the first buoy 100 times. The lifeguard on his surfboard looked at me like I shouldn't even be in the water. Everyone had passed me, and the men were easing past me on their second lap. So many negative thoughts - it was almost like the worst parts of my life flashing before my eyes: I thought I might have a heart attack, or just quit, or that people would be disappointed with me, and everyone is better than me, or why do I even try. These had to be supplemented with positive thoughts like: I'm not going to die, I've done this before, no one even cares if I come in last, who gives a shit if I'm slow, I only learned to swim last summer. . .  etc. etc.

Around the first corner I started to feel a little better, but Susan was still lurking there for the entire swim, and it didn't feel very good. Again I am reminded of how much work I have to do in the next couple of months. This is literally testing the waters of my abilities, and I just need to work though it.

Whereby Susan and Suzanne share their Splash and Dash experiences:

Susan: Omg, I'm going to die. Am I breathing even? Where am I going? There the buoy. . . it's so far out there still. I'm going to turn around now. No one will even remember me. That lifeguard is looking at me thinking, "Why did they even let her register for this race? I'm probably going to have to pull her from the water. Ugh." Is that the men lapping me already? I've only been in the water for 10 minutes! Ok well maybe I can just make it around the next corner and finish half of the race. I mean, I'm only doing this for training anyway. It's not a big deal. But then I'll be disqualified. My stomach hurts, I'm getting a headache. I shouldn't have eaten such a big lunch today. Could I DRINK anymore water? Yuck. The sun is in my eyes! UGH!

Suzanne: This is totally normal. You are just freaking out a little bit, but this will pass in a few minutes. Are you breathing? Yes. Are you pulling with your arms? Yes. Are you kicking. Yes? Well the lifeguard is over there so at least I'm going the right way. Doesn't the water feel nice over your skin? I am now one with nature, just pulling and breathing - it should be very relaxing. If that person is in your way, just get out of the way, or think about the stroke and I'll speed up a bit. Pull. Pull. Kick. Kick. Breath as much as possible without sucking down water. That is probably why your stomach hurts. This is nothing you haven't done before - an hour of exercise is no big deal, and there is a run afterwards! No one will pass you on the run, and besides, this is only training.

It's interesting how Susan is all in 1st person, and Suzanne is not. That's the negative self-talk. Susan is just such a dominant force. She almost brought me down for sure. But, I (Suzanne) did finish my first Splash and Dash last night. It wasn't my best showing, but it takes a bad day to have a really really good day sometime very soon.

Look who's the Mermaids Triathlon tomorrow! (NOT Susan.) Susan can leave her ass at home.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

6.6.12 National Running Day

Q: Guess what I'm doing for National Running Day?
A: I'm taking the night off!

Definitely need to conserve my energy for this weekend:
Thursday - Splash N' Dash @ Steven's Creek Reservoir (1500 meter swim, 5k run)
Saturday - Mermaids Sprint Triathlon @ Alameda, CA (.25 mile, 14 mile bike, 2.5 mile run)
Sunday - Tour de Cure Bike Ride @ Palo Alto (75k)

Another fun update: I ordered a new iPhone 4S because I really need to upgrade from the iPhone 3. My intention is to download Viddy, a video app like Instagram (except it's video), and take some footage of fun stuff. Funny I almost said "run stuff" - see where my brain is?

More soon.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Going the distance . . . going for speed

You can't have your Cake and eat it too.

Some days I feel like my running has become so secondary that it's screeching to a halt - literally. I'm so slow these days. I knew that I wouldn't be running a half marathon pace for Barb's race, but now I actually feel like it will take me too much time to get to the finish line.

The Biggest Loser is a terrible representation of how you should lose weight, but I just can't help but watch their tearful transformations and all of the randomly placed plugs for Quaker oatmeal. Every week the contestants go head-to-head in some kind of physical challenge; the winner gets money, or a prize, or sometimes a one-pound advantage during the weekly weigh-in. There have been multiple challenges where the contestants had to carry weights from one side of a field to another, and dump the weights in a bin. The first contestant to transfer all of the weights into the bin was the winner. Some of the contestants took more weight and less trips, and some took less weight and more trips. Both good strategies depending on your ability to lift more, or ability to move more. (I don't remember who won, but it's not important.)

My goal for Barb's race has been "just to finish" but that is a bunch of BS. The way I see it - the longer it takes me, the longer I'll be trudging through the race route, wishing I was finished. I'd like to get 'er done as quickly as possible, not because I think I'm going to win, but because I'd rather be finished in closer to 6 hours than closer to 7 hours. Can you blame me? I recently had an email conversation with another Barb's participant who wants to finish in under 9 hours!

9 freakin' hours. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

I really look up to those people who are happy to "just finish" but I don't know if I can do it. I supposed it depends on your experience, and what you find to be enjoyable. I enjoy picking up the pace a bit, and getting to my bagel and bananas sooner.

Another analogy - We all know that driving slower uses less fuel, but if the tank is running low, don't we want to get to the gas station as quickly as possible? So much could happen while your car is inching towards the nearest fill up. I say, just get there as fast as you can, and maybe the momentum will allow the car to idle the last two blocks to the station.

Conundrum of the century: Unfortunately the more I go for the distance, the less speed I seem to have. On Friday I did a pretty steep trail run; on Saturday I did a 90 minute bike ride, followed by a 30 minute run; on Sunday it was a 50 minute swim followed by a 60 minute run. By Sunday I was pretty tired, but felt like I was pacing along during the run, which I did on my typical Los Gatos Creek Trail course. When I looked back at my Garmin for pace per mile, I was 2 minutes slower than my regular running pace. Yikes. The thought of a slower than molasses half marathon really freaks me out. The more time I'm running, the more time I have to run out of juice.

I already know my swim will be super slow, and I don't even know how to speed it up. (This is a post for another time. Comparing my swim speed to that commercials with the guys swimming through caramel. Great. Now I'm hungry. Sheesh.)

Plus the bike is LONG, so I have to keep jamming up those hills without killing myself for later. Maintain, maintain, maintain. There will be some map study of the bike route, and a trip up to Guernville soon. Hills near mile 45 should be a pleasure. I'm hoping the next 10 miles are downhill, but prob not.
For the next 7-odd weeks, I need to learn how to put all of these events together so I can finish all of them, and not at a snails pace.