Friday, April 26, 2013

Silicon Valley Sprint Triathlon Recap

I need to hire a photographer. I tend to forget to take pictures, or often feel reluctant. My mom is an excellent self-taught photographer. Every where we went as kids, she was always there, camera in tow. When I was younger, I thought it was pretty annoying, but now I'm glad to have access to books and books of photos from my wonder years. Thanks, mom.

So, I had a photo finish at the Silicon Valley Sprint Triathlon last weekend. Well, perhaps the finish wasn't that exciting. But, I did get to stand on the podium for the first time - 2nd place in my age group. No, I'm not a big money winner, but being an age grouper is pretty cool. I'll take it. Also, free wine! Can't beat that.

The race started with a swim in Uvas Reservoir, which was quite nice actually. It was the first race where athletes had to swim to the start line, and I was very glad it wasn't my first race.
Swim course: .5 miles - 19 minutes, 44 second

My transition area was very close to the place where you take your bike out to the bike course,but I hopped on my bike too fast and was berated by a couple of race officials. I clipped out of my pedals, and walked my bike two feet before hopping on again. Ugh, I can't follow instructions when water logged.
Swim to bike transition: 2 minutes, 5 seconds

There is definitely something great about home "court" (road) advantage. The bike route up Uvas road and back to the reservoir was one I had done plenty of times on weekend rides, so I knew exactly what to expect. What I didn't expect were the number of cars that went through the course. It was pretty dangerous.
Bike course: 16 miles - 56 minutes, 39 seconds

Transition #2 was fine. I need to upgrade to those quick lace-up shoe ties. I do spend a lot more time tying my shoes, although you could consider it a quick hamstring stretch too...
Bike to run transition: 1 minute, 20 seconds

Someone in my age group, whom I had passed on the bike, caught up to me on the run. Dang she still had it and I didn't. My legs were cramping and as much as I told myself it is only 3 miles, it didn't help. I like the longer run courses because there is more time to make strategic decisions; you can slow when you need a few minutes, then speed up when the competition is in close range. I need 3 miles to warm up. (I know some non-runners are slapping their foreheads right now.) 3 miles is just as fast as you can go, with no room for changing pace. Not a bad time, just wished I could have kept up with the other person in my age group.
Run course: 3.2 miles - 24 minutes, 39 seconds

Total time: 1 hours, 44 minutes, 27 seconds.

Now I just wish I had a photo of my 30 seconds on the podium. My mom would be proud.

Fabulous Donations - 250 miles!

I received a donation for $250 to Barb's Race, which is super awesome. It took me almost a month to rack up 250 miles, but finished last weekend.

Mileage included: 7.81 miles swimming, 196.5 miles cycling, and 54.3 miles running. Total is 258.61 miles! I was on my bike a lot this month, and it definitely paid off.


1.) Improving my HITS Napa Valley Olympic triathlon time by over 25 minutes from last year, and finishing in under 3 hours. 2:57 is now my Olympic distance (1500 meter swim, 40k bike, 10k run) PERSONAL RECORD! Woot, whoooo!

2.) Standing on the podium after the Silicon Valley Sprint Triathlon - 2nd place in my age group!

3.) Going to a sassy wedding right after a triathlon. (There seems to be a theme here...)

4.) Riding 57 miles at Lake Berryessa, and supporting a friend who finished his first half Ironman distance event.

5.) Not freaking out (much) while swimming.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

HITS Napa Valley Recap

Last year I referred to this race as "tri-ing times" because I'd used it only as a measure to get the season started. This year I actually trained for it. This year I cycled and swam twice as much as last year. This year the weather was glorious. This year I was determined to have a slightly better time. It wasn't until hours after the race that I got a text message from a friend with all of  my times . . .

Lake Berryessa felt like a freakin' spa this year. 62 degrees instead of 54. I laughed at the people who said the water was "so cold." The swim worried me a little because I hadn't swum in open water but one time, but I had been working on some serious speed (for me) in the pool. It seemed like a pretty typical swim for me: I couldn't see the first buoy so I swam a little out of the way, I questioned my existence on earth, I swallowed too much water. . .

Swim course: 1500 meters - 2013: 36 minutes, 45 seconds.  (4+ minutes better than last year!)

I didn't have to really decide what to wear on the bike because the outside air temperature was in the 60's. I just whipped off the wet suit, and changed into socks, shoes, gloves and a helmet. Last year I was in this transition for over 6 minutes, wondering, "What to wear?!" I can be such a girl.

Swim to Bike Transition: 2 minutes, 57 seconds.

I was prepared for the hills this year. I had climbed Metcalf, dangnabit, (!) and had worked up to 60 mile rides. I convinced myself that 25 miles was child's play. I noticed that there were more people than last year, which I attributed to the event being more popular. Really, I had just swum faster and was now in a group of faster people on the bike. This probably pushed my bike time too because I tried to catch each person in front of me as best I could. I "chicked some dudes" as someone explained to me recently. A new phrase to me. I guess this is a more exemplary term on the bike, since cycling tends to be more of a "dude" sport. There was a guy on a really expensive Cervelo tri bike that tried so hard to keep up with me -- yeah, I "chicked" him.

Bike course: 24.8 miles - 1 hour, 23 minutes, 52 seconds. 

I don't remember much about transition #2 except realizing that my feet were cold.

Bike to Run Transition: 1 minute, 48 seconds.

Wow there is really nothing like running after you get off of a bike. It doesn't feel that great. It was nice to be upright, but dang, my calves were killing me. It does get better after a few miles though. This run course is pretty hilly. There was a woman in front of me on the bike course that I was hoping to pass on the run, but she was very consistent. I kept her in view though. Just. Can't. Run. Any. Faster.

Run time: 6.2 miles - 52 minutes, 19 seconds. 

2012 total time: 3 hours, 22 minutes, 12 seconds.
2013 total time: 2 hours, 57 minutes, 44 seconds.
Or if you like the gobbly-gook version: 00:36:45.851 - 00:02:57.483 - 01:23:52.568 - 00:01:48.234 - 00:52:19.969 - 02:57:44.105 

So, holy guacamole my time was almost 25 minutes better than last year. It certainly did not feel that way, and I wasn't wearing a watch, so I had no idea of how much time had passed. It still felt like a hard 3 hours of work and lovely scenery. I noticed more people on the course, which I attributed only to the event's grown popularity - really, I was just further ahead.

I had a few takeaways from this event: #1 - If you swim faster, you don't have to work as hard to catch up. #2 - Don't be intimidated by people's expensive bike or gear. It don't mean a thing. #3 - I need to work on bike to run transitions. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Attention Nice People! (On Boston)

In an office conversation about the tragedy at the Boston Marathon this morning, someone told me I should, "Take it easy for awhile," when I mentioned that I was registered for the Chicago Marathon in October.


After the 1986 Challenge explosion, I seriously considered being an astronaut. (Yes, I was 7, but still.) I moved to California by myself in 1999 and I still don't know anyone who has been on Cops. I was also in Germany on 9/11 and traveled all over the place with my American passport when they were telling people here in the US not to leave home. Life is full of risk. Those were some of the most awesome times I've had in my life. (Besides becoming an astronaut, which never happened.)

Every morning I get of bed, brush my teeth (etc.), and drive to work. By 8:00 AM every day, I have literally put my life into the hands of thousands of people - the people who purify my water at the Santa Clara Water District, the people who make my toothpaste, and the other drivers on the road. . .

Although a bit lofty, the message about the nice people out numbering the bad people in Patton Oswald's blog yesterday really rang true for me. If you don't believe that people are inherently good, where does that put you? How do you live everyday thinking that someone is out to get you? People can't function that way - we have to watch out, make good choices, and trust a few people. Imagine if you stopped eating, or driving, or sending your children to school?

I think about this a lot when I ride my bike on busier streets. At any second, a normal driver could make a miscalculated turn or run a red light. Worse, a terrible person would just hit me with their car out of spite. I'm sure there are people who would watch me drown, but most people would at least call for help, maybe more.

(You should really read that last link, it's wonderful!)

The thing is - I tend to trust people. I tend to believe that people are inherently good and mean no harm. With some extra precautions on my part, I will make eye contact with that driver before I go across an intersection. I will stop at the stop sign. I keep in mind that it might be equally as terrifying to cause the accident as much as it would be to be the victim.

True, the attack in Boston on Monday is scary and sad. But, isn't fear and avoidance the worst thing to do right now? I can't stop living my life because a very small number of people are psychotic murderous assholes. Still there are those who remain locked in their houses, who believe that everything is a conspiracy and that people are out to get them. Maybe my own ignorance is my own bliss, but I refuse to sit at home with a gun in my lap waiting for possible perpetrators.

If I feel my life is in that much danger, I will make other adjustments so I don't have to live tied up in fear. I am aware that some people don't have this choice and may be stuck in their dangerous neighborhoods or countries. But, most of us here in the USA do have a choice.

Nice people can not be in fear of living with a few psychos. It is true that tragedy strikes too often, and also to the wrong people - the nice people. The mean people of the world want you to shut down. Don't honor them. Honor life and mobility. Nice people of the world, I implore you! Take risks, see the world, ride a bike, run a marathon. . . show the bad people that you are above them and that you are not afraid.

I might say a little prayer and look over my shoulder, and I may run the entire race without an iPod blasting in my ears, but I will run the shit out of the Chicago Marathon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Know Thyself

The Napa HITS triathlon is this weekend. I feel different than I did about this race last year, but I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

In a lot of ways, I'm much more prepared this year. I've logged 810 training miles since January 1st, including 586 on the bike alone. Last year I logged 420. After more miles of swim drills, and running track workout, you would think the swim and run portions would be a bit easier this year too. Also, last year it hailed and rained the day before the triathlon. This year, it is supposed to be a high of 75 degrees.

All of this should make a big difference, but I still struggle with Susan (my alter ego) who tells me I didn't get into the open water enough this year, or I didn't do enough bike to run drills. She has been pretty nasty this week. I'm also not feeling 100% in my legs after the marathon this year. Yeah, the one back in January.

Perhaps my greatest thoroughfare this year is Knowing Thyself. I've done this triathlon thing - a few times - and I have a pretty good idea of how I will react. In fact, I've been on this course now and know what to expect. I/Susan will freak out in the first 5 minutes in the water and feel unworthy of the task ahead of me. I will work harder on the hills because, compared to 56 miles, 25 should feel like cake (right?). I will get some leg cramps in the first couple miles of the run, but then relax and enjoy, especially on the last downhill.

Last year, Napa HITS was the warm up to the rest of the season. This year, I should be able to nail this thing. Maybe I'm putting too much pressure on myself and I need to care less. That tends to be when I'm at my best - comfortable. In order to do that, I need to shut Susan down. She is a mean and spiteful biatch.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

More Fabulous Donations - Bill and Debbie

Another donation for $100, and another 100 miles.

Tuesday, March 12 - Ran 7.75 miles including "The Dish" at Stanford. Good hill workout!

Thursday, March 14 - Short gym brick with 18.5 miles on the spin bike, and a 1 mile run.

Saturday, March 16 - 42 miles of cycling around South County, including one steep climb up Metcalf road.

Sunday, March 17 - Swam 1 mile at Cowells Beach in Santa Cruz. First open water swim of the season. It wasn't that cold - a mere 54 degrees. 

Tuesday, March 20 - 5.75 mile run / track workout. 400's can be fun.

Wednesday, March 21 - Swam 1 mile at podium swim workout.

Thursday, March 22 - Rode home to Saratoga for approximately 15.5 miles

Saturday, March 24 - Swam 1 mile at the gym pool, then ran 7 miles of hills at Quicksilver park. 

= 100.5 Miles TOTAL

Climbing up Metcalf. Yikes, but also beautiful. Can anyone say, "Poppies!"

At Quicksilver toward the top of a run with Erika. Mount Umunhum is really tiny in the background.