Monday, July 22, 2013

Trans Tahoe Relay: Sass-tastic

Sass 2.0. Trans Tahoe Relay 2013 - Sassjana, Sassard, Sasstine, K-sass, Sassbrenner, Sassanne, and our Sasscot.
There are a few things in my life that I can't imagine doing, and I can't tell you what they are because, I haven't even imagined what they are yet. One of those things used to be, swimming across Lake Tahoe.

Who does that?

People who swim across Lake Tahoe are those people who grew up swimming, who join masters swim clubs, who grew up next to the ocean, and own boats, and probably like to camp and fish. That was not me. Swimming for me was survival only, even in triathlons. My goal was always to survive the swim, so I could enjoy the rest of the event.

My Trans Tahoe team, Sass 2.0, wracked our brains this weekend trying to remember how we decided to do the 11 mile swim in the first place, and none of us can quite remember how it started. It definitely started with Lis-sass and Lin-sass, and a conversation about extreme sporting events, including Barb's Race. How I got involved is event is even more of a mystery (at least to me). God knows how, with my experience, why anyone would want me to be part of a swim relay. I guess if you have people who believe in you, you just can't refuse. We had a team name - SassMouth, and then like a bunch of school girls, started to incorporate the word sass or sassy into everything we did (sasskipper, sasscot, happensass). We signed up for the Trans Tahoe Relay 2012 on the day registration opened.

What followed was 7 months of training, and worrying about cold ass water. I was training for Barb's Race too, so as long as I followed the 70.3 training plan, and swam in colder water a few times, I would be fine for a 30 minute leg of the TT Relay. Right?

I don't think I mentioned this in my recap last year, but in my first leg swim leg last year, I panicked. I panicked a lot. So much, that I looked up at our captain on the boat, and saw the concern in her face (maybe). This was not an event for me. I had only started to swim, and I was already doing a major swimming event. I had paid for a room, a boat, and for the entire weekend, and I wished that they had scooped me out of the water and back onto that boat that instant. They could do it without me - they were more worthy of the challenge.

Last year: SCARED. This was before the panic.
It was a horrible feeling.

Sure, I put  my head back under and ventured forward, looking up to make sure my friends were still there. I started to feel better, but it was the longest 30 minutes of my life. I tried to focus on my stroke, the beautiful blue water, the sky above, the lovely mountains on both sides. The last 2 minutes, I got a side stitch but gritted my teeth until I could tag my next teammate in the water. The second leg was a lot better - I decided there was no reason to cry about it, and I was up for the challenge, so I pushed ahead. "Now, I have the hang of this!" I thought.

This year's experience was completely different. Most of my fear was logistical - like driving the boat around a bunch of other boats and swimmers. The swim - I wished it could have lasted longer. One of the most amazing 30 + 15 + 10 minutes of my life. After all of the swimming I've been doing, swimming in Tahoe is now my favorite. There is no gross ocean (aka groscean), no walls to stop and turn around at, no algae or duck poop. Just blue water, as far as the eye can see. It's like swimming through a magical blue crystal that kind of smells like gas (from the boats), but it is magical.

Now that the team has no more residual swaying back and forth from our 6 hour adventure, we look ahead to next year. I wonder what kind of swimmer I will be then.

I can't imagine not being able to swim.

This year: PREPARED! It was a perfect 10 kind of a day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The 10 Commandments of Tapering

1.) Thou shalt have no other goals before me than thine own personal best performance.

2.) Thou shalt not falsify my efforts through self doubt or hold thyself in a negative image.

3.) Thou shalt accept one's shortcomings, but also embrace the times when you ROCKED!

4.) Remember to taper, and keep it holy. You need a little rest.

5.) Honor thy father and mother who giveth thee strength, encouragement, and good athletic genes.

6.) Thou shalt not kill. No killing allowed - even when cranky. Also, no killing yourself with over-training and mental beatings.

7.) Thou shalt not cheat on thy diet. It's not time to start eating massive burritos and drinking wine. Yet.

8.) Thou shalt not steal, unless it is stealing a few more hours of sleep.

9.) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy equipment. Do not blame bike or shoes for shortcomings.

10.) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors awesome time. Do YOUR best, not someone elses'.

Weekend Update: screaming quads before the taper

I'm much more calm about Barb's Race this year, so I don't have a lot to write because I'm feeling like an "old hat" at this 70.3 thing. (Ok, that's a stretch.) There just isn't as much internal training drama going on - I have much more confidence and excitement going into this year's race. At this time last year, I was so over it and was picturing myself slogging over the finish line.

This year, I need to focus on not over-training, and allowing myself some easier workout days.

AKA: The Taper.

Monday night was yoga. Oooouuummmmm.

Saturday morning, I put in 60 miles of cycling with a bunch of elevation and in good company; Old La Honda and Kings Mountain in one day. Oh how far I've come since the days of hating other cyclists for climbing past me while having a full-blown conversation! Now I can converse a little while my quads are burning! It's as easy as walking and chewing gum.

Yeah, it's harder than that actually. Do people really have a problem with that?

On Sunday, I ran the Jungle Run half marathon. I almost set a personal record on the Jungle Run course last year, except that I stopped to pee. This year, did not see a PR in my future, and decided I would run as comfortably as possible, and stay in front of the 1:50 pacer, who talked the entire time...

"There is a curve to the right up ahead. . .  You know this one time (insert personal story here). . .  blah blah blah."

Dude, you are a pacer, not a tour guide. Shut it.

I knew my legs would be a little shot from the ride, but my goal this season has been to run against all odds to mentally prepare for the worst on race day. My quads screamed at me during miles 5, 6 and 7 during the half this weekend. Those are usually my favorite miles of the race. But, I have to mentally prepare, because, on the race day, I'll have other types of fatigue to deal with.

Going to a happy place. Positive reflection. Oooouuummmmm.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My bike is haunted

My bike is haunted.

She had a flat within the first 5 minutes of my first ride. Of course I didn't have the proper equipment to change the tire because I hadn't even put a saddle bag on yet.

The breaks made a horrible, dull, squeaky sound. Kind of like an eerie haunting noice... boooowaaaahaaahaaa.

Her seat hurt my butt and other lady areas. It was only after 20 miles that I noticed. There was a very uncomfortable 30+ miles that followed.

She decides to skip the chain when I start pedaling from a complete stop. I try to shift down before I stop, but sometimes, when least expected, the chain jams and I have to pedal backwards to get the chain to engage properly.

After observing these problems, I took her in a few times for adjustments and a tune up. I made sure she was stocked with the proper equipment: saddle bag with plenty of tire repair, water bottles, a place to put food and my phone. Oh, and I replaced the seat the day after that horrible butt catastrophe.

But, on Saturday I dropped my chain. WTF!

I have some theories to why this is happening:

1.) The bike is just new and needs continuous adjustment before it settles. (Kind of like an old house settles, but this is a new house, and, oh never mind...)

2.) New bike's sister - the Griffen - is jealous. They share a room together, and at night, the Griffen pokes little holes in her tires or threatens her by saying, "You'd better not ride as well as me, or I'm going to bend your derailler, biatch!" So, it is actually my other bike that is haunted. Not the new bike.

3.) It's me. I'm having some troubles with the new bike and I just need to figure out what is causing them, then change me, not the bike. Generally she is very nice.

Knowing the situation, and having some idea of adjustments that could be made, I took my bike to a recommended bike fitter yesterday. I talked to the fitter for over an hour, and we tried a bunch of different positions. My bike seems to fit better now, at least while sitting on the trainer inside the store. The fitter agreed that I look more comfortable riding. Hopefully these adjustments will make the difference. Anyway, I will take her out for a ride tomorrow, then ride the Barb's Race course on Saturday. If I still feel like she is haunting me, I may decide to use her evil sister. Or maybe hire an exorcist.