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!
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.


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.


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.


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.



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)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jungle Run: Running Tips from a Non-Expert

Ah, a Sunday morning in Los Gatos! Women running in full makeup. THAT's Los Gatos style. You get em', girl!

I signed up for the Jungle Run on a whim because I needed one last long run to finish out my training. It was the right weekend, and the start line was only four miles from my house. (Which I drove. Sorry to disappoint.) Most of the route was on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, which I could have run on my own, but knew the race would push me a bit more. Plus it's always good to support local events. No expectations on this run, just training.

Well, I finished about 40 seconds off of my personal record, which is funny because I haven't really been *training* to do a half marathon. I actually thought I would be slower because I've been training slower and longer to get through Barb's Race. I was wrong. I guess if you want to run a better half marathon, you could train for an half Ironman. Easy, right? :/

If you are not already aware, the 40 seconds difference in time may have been a result of stopping to go to the port-o-potty at mile 5. It was also an opportune time to squish some electrolyte supplement down my gullet and take a sip of water at the aid station. Was that 40 seconds? Probably. Or maybe it made me faster? You know what they say about the horse that pees on the track right before the race. Ok, this was during the race, but whatever. Get up earlier in order to relieve yourself before the race instead of during the race. I'm not yet sure what to do about having to relieve yourself due to pre-race jitters. I only get this when I swim, unfortunately. Fortunately, you can pee in the water. (Everyone does it, don't judge.)

I've done enough half marathons to know how awesome I feel at mile 6, 7, 8, and 9 so I was pretty sure I was about to catch up to the people who I allowed to pass during this 40 seconds. Correct. I found all of them again, and even passed a few more. They were dying, and I was living the dream. Everyone passes me in the first three miles because I start slow and amp up later - right about the time 80% of racers slow down.

Most runners start way too fast and find themselves huffing and puffing too soon into the race. Pay attention to breath because it's connected to heart rate. Trail running has helped me understand this immensely!  If you are huffing and puffing out of control, you are probably going too fast. When running up a steep and complicated hill, I only step as fast as I can breath comfortably, and that could even mean a fast hike up a steep switchback. Hearing yourself breathe is also an excellent reason NOT to run with music. But, I understand the need for some Nicki Minaj for sure.

Trick yourself into believing anything that will get you through it.  Finally, the last three miles are always hard but I try to think of it as running a 5k. Obviously I've already run 10 miles, so my legs are not fresh, but I try to put myself into the mindset of a shorter, faster race as much as possible. Instead of thinking of it as 3 miles, I think, "In (insert time here) minutes, I will be done. I can hold out for just that long, right?" A former co-worker of mine gets up at 4 AM to go to the gym every morning in the dark, and I thought (still think) that she is crazy. She told me, "I just convince myself that it's still the nighttime."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 15, 14, 13: Rest, Swim, Run

Friday: Mandatory day off
Saturday: Slept in! Swam 1 hour 15 minutes in the afternoon.
Sunday: Jungle Run half marathon in Los Gatos

Will try to post more about the run later.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 16: Lonesome Road

Sometimes you have to sing songs to yourself when you are on a long bike ride alone. I rode 4 hours, and 57 miles last night. Now I can sleep in on Saturday. Life is good.

Walk down that lonesome road all by yourself
Ride down that lonesome road all by yourself

Don't turn your head back over your shoulder
Don't look quickly over your shoulder, or you might hit a rock and wipe out

And only stop to rest yourself when the silver moon
Only stop when you need water, electrolytes, or a power bar

Is shining high above the trees
Or when the sun goes down, because your bike lights suck

If I had stopped to listen once or twice
Don't wear headphones when riding, it's dangerous

If I had closed my mouth and opened my eyes
Wear glasses, and keep your mouth closed unless you want to eat a bug

If I had cooled my head and warmed my heart
Don't try and be Lance Armstrong, and wear layers because it might get cold

I'd not be on this road tonight
This road is a glorious sight

Carry on
For the love of God, stop being such a pansy and keep going!

Never mind feeling sorry for yourself
If you get tired and want to quit - just push a little further

It doesn't save you from your troubled mind
You'll soon finish and be very proud of accomplishment

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 17: The Vortex and the Cramp - Adventures of the Green Lagoon

Beware the green vortex, and leg cramps. Or just deal with it.
Yesterday was a swim adventure in the Foster City Lagoon. My lagoon friends and I just can't get enough of bright green bay water and duck poop. We just love that shit. Literally.

There were a few more boats out on the water than usual, so we made a diversion from our usual swim route to avoid a collision. It was a good day to practice sighting for sure. We typically swim between the Foster City Boulevard bridge, and the Shell Boulevard bridge. This time we went all the way under the Shell Avenue bridge into the Central Lake. It was a nice day out on the lagoon, and the new route kind of felt like a salty swim adventure.

Not a lot of people swim in the lagoon. Every time we go out we are like swim celebrities. Everyone thinks we are so awesome. Or ridiculous. During yesterday's swim session one guy in particular got friendly from his balcony: "Hey, you guys are swimming! That's really cool? Are you swimming a mile? Would you like some water? I just bet my friend $100 to swim across the lagoon naked." We might have swum naked across the lagoon for $100 too. Sheeeet, it's no big deal. We are famous. Or infamous. Whatever.

Two things happened in the lagoon yesterday that could have made me panic hysterically, but I was in a generally fabulous mindset yesterday so they only bothered me for a few minutes.

The Vortex
When swimming back from Central Lake, a swimmer might hit an area of the water where the current suddenly changes direction. With every breath, one will look over to the shore and notice they are not going anywhere. Yesterday there was a kid standing over on the shore and I just could not pass him - and he was not moving (he was staring at us, of course, because we are famous). Then I realized, oh no! I am not moving! I am stuck in The Vortex! Arrrrrhhhhh!!! I wonder if I stopped swimming all together if somehow my body wouldn't spin into a green, salty netherworld below.

The Cramp
Speaking of infamous events - yep, my first leg cramp. I have heard a lot about getting leg cramps during a swim but I'd never had one of my very own before. It was in my calf and it was pretty painful and debilitating. I had to stop, stretch it out in the water for a minute or so, then try to relax the rest of the swim so it wouldn't crunch up on me again. More potassium has been recommended;. I hope a banana a day will keep the cramps away. Or at bay. *LOL water reference*

The Cramp may have been a result of trying to get out of The Vortex. Eventually The Vortex will subside, and you will be allowed to pass. Same with The Cramp. Adventures of the Green Lagoon!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 18: Swim and Spin Circus

This post inspired my Halloween costume next year. Except I'm going to wear my bike shorts.
35 minute swim
Trying to avoid kids and sharing a lane with a woman wearing fins AND a snorkle.

20 minute treadmill
I think a couple of 60 year old dudes were checking me out . . . or wondering while I was so sweaty.

60 minute spin class
It was packed full like a three-ring circus. Keep reading.

The Ring Master
She was tan, blonde, in full make-up, pushing 45 but trying for 25. She sang all of the songs. She didn't break a sweat the entire time. I knew her riding form was terrible because there was a mirror behind her that showed her posterior to the rest of the class. People love her because she's cute and fun. She's also the Zumba instructor. I knew this class was headed towards spinning-zumbaville. *sigh*

The Strong Man
As soon as you walk into a group fitness class, and all of the men set up their equipment closest to the instructor you already know that she's a hottie. *Throws up in mouth a little.*

There are always clowns at the gym who don't really know what's going on. They may have been bonked on the head too many times and think that by being around sweaty people, they are effectively working out too. Or they don't understand/hear the instructions because their ears are filled with whipped cream. Or maybe they just like the entertainment of being in a group, and talk the entire time. Clowns are distracting, and sometimes funny. But, definitely distracting.

The Freak Show
A woman on the bike next to me had her bike saddle up way too high, and she couldn't reach the pedals. I would have corrected her, but she seemed to know people in the class (i.e. she's been there before). This woman would get one revolution out every 20 seconds or so, and almost fall off the side of the bike while doing so. I realized she might be a little nuts, or (best case scenario) one of her legs is shorter than the other. This class had some freakier moments that I had never witnessed in a spin class before. This included, yelling,  "Whoooo!" like a train whistle when the instructor asked the class to increase resistance. There was also some waving a towel in the air while out of the handlebars. I wanted to wave the white towel too, but I just cranked the resistance and kept on.

The Bearded Lady
She was there too. She worked harder than the instructor, so I was happy to have her as my workout muse for an hour. Thank you, bearded lady.
I miss the absolutely excellent spin classes at my former gym. All of the instructors are real cyclists who take the time to teach you how to ride, how to climb, and how to push your limits. Almost all participants in the class (believe me every class has their circus characters) worked really hard and kept with the program. Super motivating. Instructor Mark would sweat through his shirt and hat about 15 minutes through the workout. Dave would often teach the class like it was a leg of the Tour de France. Sue would start class by asking, "Is this a recovery day for anyone? I rode 95 miles yesterday," like that's no big deal.

I think there is a problem with society that tells us that exercise should be fun all the time. No it shouldn't. It should often be exhilarating and keep you interested, but that's not necessarily "fun." Whatever happened to "gratification," or "hard work," "tenacity," "fulfillment?" It's only 30 minutes or an hour of your day - shouldn't you shoot for something more rewarding, and have fun later?

Day 19: Run it out

Monday served as a make up session: Easy take-your-time 10 mile run on the good ole' Los Gatos Creek Trail.

I'm so used to the LGCT now that I know exactly where all of the water stops are. So, there is no need to carry water on my back like a camel, on my hips like a belly dancer, or in my hand like Edward 40 Hands. (Please tell me you've seen that episode of How I Met Your Mother.)

Remember my last post when I said that I needed to get a grip. This is NOT what I was talking about. But, it's damned funny.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Days 22, 21, 20: Rollercoaster

Friday was a mandatory day-off.

Saturday I just couldn't drag myself out and on to a bike.

Sunday I got up and drove to San Francisco to meet my sassy friends for a swim, but felt anything but sassy. I was supposed to swim for an hour, then run for two hours. I probably swam for 30 minutes, felt sad and sick, cried, and went home. I'm not sure if it was the lack of activity, or perhaps overactivity. I had an overwhelming feeling that life is crap and unfair and everything is wrong with the world.

Time to get a grip.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 23: Life Flashes Before Eyes

Quote of the evening:
"Half way through the swim I always think, 'Why am I doing this again? Oh yeah, because it's fun."
-- Lindsey CK

Yep, Splash and Dash Evening Series #2 - my arch rival, nemesis. Susan stayed home, and this one actually felt pretty good although I still had the sensation of my life passing before my eyes. My time was also slower than the last one. So, I have a hypothesis: sheer and utter panic may take a few minutes off of my times.

I'd rather not panic and be just slow though. Too much energy is used in a panic situation.

Day 24: Learning to Climb

Great ride on the morning of the 4th. Thanks to MK for suggesting King's Mountain. We did about 50 miles, and got in some really good climbing. Check it out! The Strava elevation graph is impressive.

My first bike was red and white with an awesome banana seat -  a hand-me-down from my older sister. When I was ten or twelve years old, I wanted a real, more grown up bike, so my parents bought me a rockin' pink ten-speed. We lived in Illinois and I could ride that thing around town for hours. One big difference to my rides these days - no hills. I remember wondering what the gears were for since I never really changed them.

True story, when I was a kid I thought mountains went straight up and straight back down - or how they look in a child's drawing. When I read about people who live in the mountains, I thought their house just sat on the side of the mountain on an angle. Always sounded pretty dangerous to me. "How do they play? Do they just roll down the hill? How do they get home for dinner?"

Bill and his family live in the mountains.
Likewise, when I heard that people drive or bike up mountains, I thought it looked a lot like this:
Is this en route in the Tour de France?

Let's just say that my first trip to Colorado as a teenager was an eye-opening experience. When riding up an elevation on my bike now I think, "Man, I'm glad it's not what I thought when I was a kid."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 25: Non-Negotiables

How I long for open lanes.
I used to write about finding my perfect man. Now I write about finding one man in particular - his name is Gym. I spend a lot of time with him. My boyfriend is not jealous, in fact, he encourages me to spend time with Gym because he knows how happy Gym-time makes me.

As many of you know, I recently started attending a new fitness club. With a new job up the Peninsula, the location of my beloved Club One Fitness became rather inconvenient and I felt I really needed to make a change. Like many woman do, I made a list of requirements/non-negotiables:

Not really a "gym" but a "fitness center with a gym"
Proximity to home or work
Pool (!!)
Newer equipment
Cool members
Nice showers,
Towel service
Good spinning and yoga classes
Not super busy

The options near Sand Hill Road are a bit too, um, she-she as they are high priced country club facilities with people in white tennis attire and valet parking. It's not that I wouldn't wish to be a member at this gym, but it wouldn't go for me. Sure they might let me try it out, but I'm just not long-term membership material. I looked in Palo Alto, but the options are at least 30 minutes away in the wrong direction so I feel it would turn into a long-distance relationship and it would just be too hard. Then there are discount gyms that give you only the bare necessities, and don't really fit my list of requirements.

I had it narrowed down to two great options that met my list of requirements: one was larger and had more amenities but was $178 a month plus a $1,500 initiation fee. The other was a bit smaller and more of a community center than a fitness center for $97 month-to-month. I joined my gym because the location was so great - 3 miles from home. Also, they have the same equipment as Club One and it was ranked one of the best Fitness Clubs by the Metro.

I went for the $97 option, because that was expensive enough.

Sad news. I got into a fight with Gym. When I had to start sharing a swimming lane with 3 other people - I snatched up my towel and walked the hell out. I just had to get through a 75-minute swim workout and it wasn't going to happen by dog paddling in a circle, while being whipped in the face with a pool noodle by the kids playing in the family area.

I'm not even sure if my pool knows how angry I was - even if I made phone calls in the lobby to two other pools to see if they had lanes available. I was hoping someone would overhear my conversation, "Oh great! It's not busy. That's fantastic because I really need to swim today. See you in 30 minutes."

Yeah, I'm passive aggressive.

I drove 15 miles to Santa Clara University's pool: it had 5 open lanes (ok, they are on summer vacation right now, but still), is the perfect 75 degrees, and I don't feel like I'm swimming through toys or pee.

Now that I'm doing triathlons, having a pool is a MAJOR requirement of a fitness center. Instead, I feel like I'm always running around town trying to find an open lane somewhere. When I joined my gym I thought it wouldn't get too busy, but unfortunately it's just too small for all of the activity they want to have there. First, this center is very family friendly, and I realize kids need a  place to go too, but they really need a separate space for their toys and puke. Yes, a kid puked in the pool about a month ago and we were forced to vacate. Second, they do a lot of social events like Family Pool Day and Jazz by the Pool. To me, the pool is a piece of workout equipment, not a place for a party. You wouldn't set up a martini lounge by the treadmills, would you? (Don't answer that.)

Finally, I guess I have outgrown the Community Centers and YMCAs of the universe and I really need a place to work out and not a place to socialize. But, do I want to put in the money? Like dating, something needs to go on my list of requirements in order to find the kind of place that I really want/need to fit my lifestyle.

So, what now? Do we break up? Do I adjust my life to fit his? Or do I just walk away?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 26: Goin' by the Wayside

My bike route yesterday took me by the Wayside... in a good way.

I'm lucky to live and work in an area where there are a lot of good cycling routes. Street signs totally crack me up; like half-way up the Old La Honda Road incline, there is a side street called Upenuf Avenue. Obviously people have a sense of humor. Also a note that any road name containing the words "Mount," "Monte," or "Mtn." probably have some kind of climbing involved. It's good to know your Latin-based languages here. Or just good common sense. They didn't name it "Skyline" for nothin'.

Day 26: I made up for my relaxed Sunday with a 30 mile bike ride and a 2 mile run. Lots of headwind on the ride heading out to Canada Road.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 28, 27: Swimming with Sass & Taking a Break

Monica flying after swimming. Superwoman!
Team SassMouth at Aquatic Park. Swimming in the shadow of Ghiradelli Square and Alcatraz. Pretty rad (and chilly) way to spend the morning.

Day 28
1+ mile bay swim
Trans Tahoe team Sassmouth met at Aquatic Park on Saturday for a swim on a beautiful day and a trial in 62 degree water. I swam about a mile in the good ole' wetsuit, then went out for a spell without. I should have sucked it up and swam the whole thing without a wetsuit like two of my teammates, but we still have next week for another chilly trial. We all missed our 6th teammate! Hopefully we'll all be there next week for a picture in full sassy red swimsuits - TEAM PHOTO TIME.

Day 27
Impromptu break
I'm tired and need a day off. There needs to be a calorie count for the following:
Getting out of bed at 10am
Walking into a restaurant for brunch
Watching some golf, Tour de France, and Euro Cup
Grocery shopping and walking that extra 100 feet to return the cart to the proper location
4 loads of laundry
Calling parents while cleaning the kitchen floor
90 minutes of restorative yoga
Making dinner

Bike and run tomorrow. Get it.