Friday, March 28, 2014

Why I won't wear a tutu.

Frills are great for bridal fashion shows when you are 5. Not so great for racing.
SELF Magazine definitely picked on the wrong person for their article, and should not have picked on someone who was making tutus to raise money for cancer charities. That's not cool. But, I agree - the tutu thing is kind of old. That was too kind - The tutu thing is VERY old.

Sorry all you princesses out there. Here are the Top 10 Reasons I won't wear a tutu. (Yes, there are more reasons.)

#1. I don't want to chaff.
#2. It's, um, like so 3 years ago. Um kaaay?
#3. I am not crafty enough to make a tutu. Fabric stores give me the heebie jeebies.
#4. Tuts are for ballerinas. Use the proper equipment for the proper sport. Wouldn't you be like "WTF!" if you saw a ballerina dancing in running shoes?
#5.  They are not wind resistant.
#6. It would take too much time in a transition, and I'm certainly not wearing one while swimming.
#7. Tutus take up too much space in the corral area. We are already wedged in there! Not to mention, it makes me have to run further to get around you.
#8. I believe we need less tutus and more Hawaiian grandmothers at events. Those tutus are really cool.
#9. When I'm racing, I don't want people to see me as a girl. I want them to see me as a female athlete.
#10. I don't need to feel pretty when I run. I want to feel powerful and strong. I'd be better off wearing body armor, but on second thought.. ouch (see #1)

Go ahead and hate. I deserve it. But remember, I'm not hating on cancer survivors, just tutus.  I also raised money for Vineman Cancer Charities last year.

We all have our own way. :)

Suddenly Susan

I said I would cover disappointments in my blog too. So here goes.

Susan is my alter ego, and unlike the Oatmeal's  Blerch, she is not 'the wall' but a bunch of pain and self-loathing. I've had The Blerch. The Blerch tells you when you are tired. It tells you that you don't have any energy left, and should eat snacks! That's probably because you are actually low on blood sugar and you need a cookie. The Blerch is that feeling your body gets when it's heavy, and you feel like you can't move another step. Susan, on the other hand, causes me physical and mental pain. She tells me I'm a piece of crap, and questions why I try at all. Instead of suggesting a cookie, she makes you feel bad for all of the cookies you ate, and calls you an unworthy pig.

According the his creator, the Blerch is a "wretched, lazy beast." (He's kind of cute.)
Susan looks more like this. She is a spiteful B, actively trying to kill me.

By the way, I don't even really eat a lot of snacks. F-it. Maybe I'll start.

I came into triathlon as a runner. Although I found a love for biking, and a non-hate of swimming, the run is still my 'A' part of the race, and where I feel the most comfortable. If I don't feel good on the run, I'm inclined not to do triathlon at all.

I decided to do Wildflower Long Course this year to show the course who's boss! Wildflower 2013 was not my best event. Susan swam with me in some choppy waters, and with the combination of a rented wet suit that was too tight, I hated myself for the entire race. But, at least I still had my legs on the run. This year I wanted to come back, stronger than ever, and conquer that course. This winter I've been able to climb the tallest mountain (ok, not really, but I got up Old La Honda and was pretty stoked), and swam the deepest swimming pool. . .

Swimming: I finally got some stroke coaching through Total Immersion, which is helping me swim more effortlessly. Thanks to Coach Mandy, and Coach Stuart! I've been swimming more slowly in order to get the technique, but feel confident that it will help me be faster and prevent injury in the long haul.

Biking: This winter's pedaling issue has been resolved with some more stretching and rolling. Although it made me back off of my first century bike ride, I had a great metric century ride in Solvang. The day after, I was able to hit the countryside for a decent 10 mile run. The weekend was a good test of my fitness - not quite where I was six weeks before Barb's race last summer, but very good considering the winter and an injury.

Running: A PR at the Kaiser Half Marathon was a surprise start to the season, and I've challenged myself to up the ante at shorter races. I'm finally in the sub-8:00 mode of my running career, where 7:59 feels amazing compared to 8:15, and I'd like to keep it that way. This year was looking pretty stellar.

But, during the March Triathlon Series last Sunday, my run suffered. Then instead of getting tough, Susan decided to run - rather walk - with me. I've never had to walk before. The swim was cold, and my feet were pretty frozen after the bike leg. When I put on my running shoes, it felt like running on peg legs but my endurance felt great, and the pace was good out of the shoot. One mile later, the feeling came back in my toes, as well as a sharp pain in my shins = worst shin splints ever. Yowza! Then my calves started to cramp. For the first time, I hated running. Really hated it.

Now I need to take a step back and think about what to do next. I'm not feeling great about running right now, and I refuse to run that hilly-ass Wildflower course with Susan. She is a B, and needs to be off-loaded. So how do I get rid of her?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hellyer 10K: Why the hell not?

If you have never done a race put on by Brazen Racing, you are truly missing out. I typically do a few of their trail races in the winter, but skipped out this year so I could put some extra miles on the bike.  Brazen has some fabulous trail runs that are well thought out, challenging, and well organized. Plus, I can't get enough of trail runner fashion. A beanie with tiny shorts, tiny tank and arm warmers? Sign me up!

 If you are a runner who needs some extra hills while training for a road race, or if you just want to do something new, check out the elevation profiles for some of these races. Some of the Brazen courses are really challenging. I've done the Summit Rock 10k and Half Marathon, and it is 2,500 feet of climbing - just enough for this speed junkie. Lake Chabot is also a rad course for a New Year's Eve run, and if you aren't tired yet, you can do the New Year's Day run, which is the same course in the opposite direction.

On the flip, some of Brazen's courses are no more challenging than a road race, but they are out in nature, so you get a wonderful scenery change. If you are tired of running through San Jose (we locals have now done it a million times), you can run through Quarry Lakes, or Sanborn Park, or Hellyer Park.

For those of you who won't run without the guarantee of a t-shirt or medal, their schwag is pretty nice too. The t-shirts usually have a simple design with a cute but determined woodland creature on the front, and they fit nicely. For the Hellyer run, it's a white rabbit. For the Coyote Creek run, it's a Coyote. Badger Cove has a badger, and you get the point. For additional medals, they do quite a few multi-race challenges throughout the year,  like the New Year's Eve/New Year's Day combo. Or you can sign up to be a legendary 'streaker' by doing all of their events (or volunteering) in a year. Brazen does an excellent job of awarding those who come out and support them. It's a great little community.

Brazen has really good post-race food: hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and forget bagels... they have pretzels, candy and apple pie! What, what? For those who don't feel their race deserves dessert, they also have bananas, oranges, and those bagels too.

A couple of friends were doing the Hellyer 10k and half marathon, so I registered late. Why not? It's been a long time since I've raced a 10k, so I figured this would be a good measure of my 10k fitness. My goal this year is to improve my short course / Olympic distance overall, so speed is important. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling the 7:35 pace on this rainy morning, so I decided about 2 miles in to back off, listen to my body and try to run as comfortably as possible. This is a flatter course, so there were no huge obstacles besides the rain and the mini-reservoir we had to run through at miles 2.5 and 5. Yep, we were drenched. But, we were all drenched together.

My insane marathon-training friends got up earlier, and ran 5 miles before the half marathon race. My friends are absolute beasts! I should probably take a queue for my next marathon, and do something similar so those dreaded 18-20 mile runs don't seem so terrible.

Anyhoo, I did fine. My pace was around 7:52, I was the 10th woman overall, and the 2nd in my age group. It's fun to do a local race and get an age group title. It feels pretty awesome after coming in 8,487th place at the Chicago marathon.

This weekend, I'm doing another local race - Go Green half marathon. I've promised myself not to race this one, but just enjoy it.