Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ramping Up

Although my Run/Bike workouts haven't been 100% I have been tearing it up at the gym.

Yep, I've been lifting - hard and heavy, and I'm feeling great!  Finally did a run last week and could feel the difference in the way I ran and how I felt after words.  I certainly have missed the RT! (Resistance Training).  I have a 'plan' for my Half Iron Distance race for this year, but, until I have registration confirmation in hand, I'm not going to post about it.  But, the training plan is in place, and hubby's going to train with me!  I'm soooo excited about this new year!

I haven't lost any weight the past few weeks, but I wan't really expecting too.  I enjoyed the holidays and to do that without gaining is a good thing.  Interestingly enough I'm kind of sick of 'crap' food and have already cleaned up my diet starting this week.  Who needs Jan 1st to start resolutions? :D

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Waited too long

I've had a lot of stuff going on and haven't had the money to sign up for Vineman. But, today, since my company gave us a little tiny Christmas Bonus (enough to cover the cost of Vineman) I decided to finally sign up. Only...

It's sold out!!!! They opened this thing Nov 1st and it's sold out!? please excuse my language but WTF!? Not only are they sold out, but there is a waiting list almost 600!!! athletes long!?

Needless to say, that put me in a tailspin this morning. Whatever was I going to do.

I had decided that I wanted my first 1/2 Iron distance race to be a 70.3 branded event. I figured for the first, I would go to the 'big ball'. So, I got online and checked the IM website. We're luck enough here in California to host two 70.3 events. Both are sold out... So I started looking at other states. The next closest event was in Washington - in August. Well, I have an aunt in Washington who would gladly give me a place to stay. And I could use a little vacation, been meaning to visit the family up there anyway... So I went to active.com to sign up...

Now, I don't know about you guys, but it's rare, and I do mean RARE that I see a review for a race on active.com. When I do it's usually some little blurb about 'race was fun' or something else useless. People don't usually take the time to come back to the registration site to rate the race. But this race in Washington, it had reviews. 45 of them!? Do you know what could drive 45 people to come back to the registration site to let people know how their race had gone? Deep and bitter dislike and frustration. After reading trough the first 10-12 I figured I was better off not doing this as my first 1/2 Iron distance race *sigh*

So, I'm back to square one. I really really really really want to do a 1/2 iron race next year. I want to do it in July/August and I don't want to have to spend a lot of money to travel. what to do? What to do!?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A whole lot of nuttin'

Oh my, where to start...

I did the skirt chaser 5K in San Francisco on Nov 15th, and basically have done NOTHING since.

I woke up that morning not feeling 100%.  I didn't think much of it.  I figured it was allergies or something.  I continued to feel 'off' up until the race, but ran anyway.  It was actually a lot of fun.  A good race, well run, with great support, great food etc.

But, as soon as the race was over I wanted to go home.  I was tired a chilled and just wasn't feeling right.

By the end of the night I was running a fever and KNEW I was in a bad way... it was over a week before I would leave the house again.  The flue hit and it hit HARD.

Since then it's been really hard to get off the couch again.  The temps here have been running in the low 40's and sometimes into the 20's.  Yeah, here in Central Valley California, go figure.  Still, it's less the weather and more motivation that's got me glued to the couch.  I justify it by saying "it's the off season" - but feel guilty about it all the same.

On the positive side I have done SOMETHING the past two weeks.  I've gone to the gym!  That's right, hubby and I have gotten up, drove to the gym and worked out; three times last week and three times this week.  going back and hitting the weights feels AWESOME even if the weights I'm lifting feel piddly.

As for diet -- well it hasn't been so hot.  I'm kind of in damage control mode right now.  Enjoy the holidays, but try not to gain 10lbs.  Of course damage control would be easier if I added a little cardio into my routine... :D

I'm signed up for a race this weekend - not sure if I'll go or not.  The entry was free and since I haven't trained in a month and it's a 12k...  Just not feeling it, but we'll see.

Hopefully, everyone else is having a good holiday/winter season.  I'm going to focus on getting back into the training 'groove' next week.  Breathing is pretty much back to normal - it's time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vineman 70.3

I'm going to do Vineman next year - I'm gunna I'm gunna! haven't bought my entry yet -- but it's on the list, in the budget.

I've set myself some big big goals to go with it - as in - I WILL be at my weight loss goal. And the incentive. I've I'm not at or below my goal - I'll bow out of the race.

As for training? well it's going ok. I'm still finding the heart rate training to be incredibly SLOW, but, it's not boring! :)

I'm going to try to post here more often. I get caught up in things and don't always get my thoughts put down. But I know how good it is for me to be able to refer back - so this journal is important.

upcoming races in my world?

Skirt Chaser 5K - doing this with hubby, should be really fun!

Double Lake Merced - a 9 mile run I'm doing with Hubby and my Step Son - this will be my new 'offical logest race'

Modest Turkey Trot - a 5K with hubby on thanksgiving day

are what's in store for this month.  A lot of easy fun runs - just as it should be in the winder months!

alright then - back to work! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Zone What?

When I set up my training this week I didn't plan very well.  I didn't take my schedule into account when planning and that messed me up.  So both Tuesday and Wednesday I was tied up after work until 10:00PM - my workouts didn't happen.

So tonight was my first opportunity to do heart rate training.  It was an interesting experience.  The workout tonight was my 'endurance run' and it called for a 5 minute warm-up and then 30 minutes in Zone 2.  

I learned a LOT

I learned I never run in zone 2.

I learned that running doesn't have to = suffering

I learned that I don't have to want to quit after the first mile

I learned that I'm a pretty tough task master and I'm actually really good at pushing myself

I learned that running can actually be fun :)

I learned that have been approaching every training session as a race - pushing it all out usually in zone 3-4 and that's probably why it's sometimes hard to get myself out the door.  

It was interesting, it was fun and I think I'm going to really really like my new training program.  

There's always been a part of me that wondered if I've been pushing myself hard enough.  There was always this voice in my head that said "You're being a wimp, stop complaining"  I can't tell you how good it felt to know that I haven't been a wimp all this time and I've actually been pushing myself to the actual edge of my endurance.  Now to see if stepping back a little will continue to allow me to improve.  I wonder if I'll see the same results tomorrow on the bike.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Off and running

Yesterday went pretty much as planned.  I was spot on with nutrition, even with having lunch at Panda Express.  I got out in the evening and did my TT testing.

The plan for the day was to figure out my lactate threshold heart rate using Joe Friel's plan (which you can see here:  Joe Friel’s Quick Guide to Training With Heart Rate, Power and Pace

I started with a 15 minute warm up with 30 second sprints mixed in.  By the time I was done with the warm-up I was at the park.  What's nice about your community is that all the parks have a dirt 'track' around them .75 miles long- pretty nice to run on.  I figured this was as good a place as any to do my time trial.  I started my watch and did the first 10 minutes, then hit the lap button and did 20 more.  It was tough.  There were several times when I thought "Why am I doing this again!?"  I used every trick in the book to get through it, focusing on form, running to the next 'land mark'  and in the end it worked.  I made it through and I believe I got so good data out of it.  (Unfortunately, I can't look at ALL the data because I broke my ANT+ stick for my Garmin and can't download my data to my computer right now)

I did get enough info to figure out my training zones though.

For the first 15 minutes (warm-up) I went 1.33 miles @ 11:18 pace with an average heart rate of 161.
The next 10 minutes I went .94 miles @10:56 pace with an average heart rate of 171.
And, the last 20 minutes I went 1.83 miles @ 10:58 pace with an average heart rate of 173.

That makes my 30 minute distance 2.77 miles
And, my LTHR is 173

Throwing that number into my calculator...

Zone 1 - 147 and under
Zone 2 - 148 - 154
Zone 3 - 155 - 163
Zone 4 - 164 - 171
Zone 5a - 172 - 176
Zone 5b - 177 - 183
Zone 5c - 184 and up

And now I've got even MORE data to play with while working out.  I'll be doing my bike TT today.  I wonder if it'll give me the same Heart Rate Zones

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Starting a new cycle

I'm starting a new training cycle and a new weight loss cycle.

For training, I'm testing out the 10 hours/week training plans (with some minor modifications) from over at Endurance Nation.  (The ebook is an excellent deal).

I'm starting the sprint program with the focus race being a Du I've got planned for Jan 2nd. (2 mile run/7 mile bike/2 mile run) I've got a 10 week plan in place.  The first five weeks I'm going to focus on:

Swim - Muscular Endurance (I'm pretty much planning on maintaining my swim fitness right now)
Bike - Muscular Endurance and Strength (Let's figure out how to fly up the hills)
Run - Muscular Endurance and Strength (Again, figuring out how to run the hills)

I'm also going to refocus on weight loss.  The past few months I've been in maintenance mode.  Since I don't have any 'big' 'important' races planned for the next 10 weeks, I've no excuse to 'carb up' :)  So it's back to a tight, clean eating plan.  I know one of the best things I can do for my race times is drop more weight.

And so, in brief here's my goals:

Goal Date:  Jan 2nd
Race Goal:  New Year Du
Weight Goal:  -20lbs

Goals this week:

Fitness Tests this weekend

Sat - Run - 30 min TT for heart rate zones; Swim - 20min for distance
Sun - Bike - 30 min TT for Heart Rate zones

Mon - Rest
Tue - AM: Lower Body training/PM: 30 Min Fartlek Run
Wed - AM: 1000Y Swim/PM: 10/15 Miles - Intervals
Thu - AM: Upper Body training/PM: 30 Min Run
Fri - 15 Mile Hill Repeats Bike
Sat - 30-35 Min Hill Repeats Run
Sun -15/20 Mile Bike

Goal weight:  -3 lbs (don't get all spazzy on me.  I've been eating like crap and I'm sure the first week I'll drop a ton of water weight - I'm probably under selling myself with only a 3 lb goal).

And that's it!  I'm going to try to update my blog daily with all the boring stats to keep myself honest.  And... maybe I'll even have some interesting stories to tell along the way :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Central Valley Tri - International Distance

I'll try to put together a full race report later, but I had to post my results from the weekend!

The Backstory - in case anyone is new to my blog:

I did my first triathlon in March 2009 - yes, this year. It was the Olympic Distance Triathlon called Lavaman. My goal at the time was to finish, and I did, in just under 5 hours.

After nearly a year of training, I was hoping to improve at this, my second ever tri of this distance. I had been seeing steady improvement over the months and was feeling really good going into it - I set my goal for under 4 hours. Yes, a 1 hour improvement.

And I did that - and then some!! To my abslute amazement, I finished this tri in 3:16:46 almost 1 hour and 45 minutes difference!!

Oh - and because this was a rather small tri - I took first place in my age group!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Three Days...

Three days until I revisit the Olympic distance triathlon.  I'm not sure how I feel.  I'm excited.  I mean, I get to see how far I've come since March.  At the same time I'm worried.  Lavaman took me 5 hours and the thought of spending that much time moving my body while being at the brink of exhaustion... It makes me wonder why I always call these things 'fun'.

And yet, they always are fun, in their own special way :)

So, Saturday is my last Tri of the year, and it neatly bookends with my first Tri of the year -- both Olympic Distance.  I'm sure I'll have a lot to post/reflect on when I'm through.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Catching up!

Well, a lot has gone on the past few weeks.  I've been a bad blogger.  My inner perfectionist getting the best of me.  It's hard for me to type up something that I don't think is 'perfect' and 'interesting'.

You'll just have to deal with me being boring and imperfect - sorry! :)

As you know, on the 3rd I did 'Tri-Girl-Tri' which happens to be the same exact course as the "Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon".  The NVST was my first ever 'sprint' tri and I did it on May 3rd of this year.  My goal for Tri-Girl was to improve on my time of 2:21:17 and hopefully go under 2:00.  I did both.

Race day was lovely (if chilly) but much nicer then the pouring rain we battled in May.  It was a good sign.  The water was calm and warmer then the outside air.  It didn't take much for me to decide to not wear a wetsuit for this one.  

Other then not thinking straight and starting on the left side of the pack (when I pull to the right) the swim went really well.  I just focused on form, strong pulls, good rotation and staying long.  I came out of the water feeling GREAT.

Previous time:  21:29
New time:  19:14

of course my decision to completely give up on Modesty and just run in my tri suit really speeds up my transitions.  Plus, I wasn't dealing with the rain this time so it was not surprising that I beat my previous T1 time of 9:46 with a time of 4:12 (there's a REALLY long run from the water at this race - California, drought and all that).

Then it was off on the bike.  I had convinced myself that the hills in this race were all just part of my 'conditioning' and that I was just being a silly whiner last time.  As soon as I got out onto the race course I realized that no - they were REAL hills and it was going to take some power to get over them.  The good news is I wasn't passed on the uphill nearly as many time this time and almost every time I passed that person back again.  There were a few frustrating moments, most involving the same racer.  For some reason she felt she needed to ride on the left, usually right on the wheel of another rider - basically blocking.  Three times she blocked me on a downhill causing me to have to mash on my breaks and lose all my momentum for the next uphill.  We played cat an mouse most of the course.  On one down hill when I didn't mash the breaks and tried to go around her she drifted over and pushed me into the oncoming lane - gah!  Finally, near the end I said - screw it! I saw her coming up beside me near the top of the hill and I gritted my teeth and threw myself into the climb - cadence, gears, 'saving myself' none of that mattered I was NOT letting her pass me again - she didn't and I didn't see her the rest of the race!  Victory for me!  

One other thing - I learned NOT to set myself a pace goal on my watch before the race.  There is nothing more annoying then the whole ride having my watch BEEEEEEEEEP at me.  "Speed up!"  it told me on the uphill and "Slow Down!" it told me on the down hill.  I just couldn't make the damn thing happy.  

Still, I came off the bike happy

Previous time:  1:03:56
New time:  51:41

T2 had the same story as T1, I was BLAZING in comparison to last time.

Previous time:  5:41
New time:  2:06

And it was off to face my nemesis - the run

Here's where my previous knowledge of the course helped me out.  I remembered the course being 'uphill' on the way out and 'downhill' on the way back.  Running on bike tired legs is hard enough.  Bike tired legs on a stead uphill - bleh!  But I didn't let it get to me mentally.  I knew if I could just hang on that the 'back' would more then make up for the struggle out.  I just kept moving.  Again - it payed off. I knew I was doing well, I knew I was doing better then last time, I just had no idea how much better.  When I approached the finish line it wasn't much help.  I couldn't see the clock - so I just ran as fast as could and hoped for the best.

Previous time:  40:23
New time:  32:07

I finished in 1:49:22 - smashing my old time and my goal time!  yay!


(May I say this is one of my favorite running photos ever)

All around a GREAT Day - I finished 166th out of 351 overall and 42nd out of 77 in my age group.  A good day for me :D

but I wasn't done!!

You see, I decided to keep hubby company on the Bridge to Bridge run on Sunday, so, I got up bright and early the next day, suited up and headed into the city.  

Oddly enough, the City decided to put on a show for us.  The weather was amazing:  temperature perfect and almost no wind.    It was like I was in some other city!

@ 12k this run would be my longest ever - I was excited about it.  The biggest deal was to relax and have a good time.  And I did.  I was surprised at how good I felt, and I ran easy (I can't believe I'm saying this) for the first 4 miles or so.  After that I started to feel a little 'lead legs'  I tried one of the powerbar energy gels I had brought along and soon after was back in form.  The biggest thing I took from this race was that I could slow down and 'recover' without having to walk.  I also watched my heart rate (with my new heart rate monitor) and found I would 'push' myself at the low 160's and go for a while, but just under 160 - in the 158-9 range I felt excellent - like I could run forever.  It'll be interesting to see that number change as the year goes on.

Overall, I had a great time, enjoyed the heck out of the race and finished in 1:29:33 and new 12K PR (since the only other 12K I have ever done was Bay to Breakers and I WALKED that one).

I even passed someone on the finish! wow!

(And yes, the girls are madly out of control when I run - even double bra-ing it.)

And that brings us to this weekend :)

You see, for some reason I decided another double race weekend was in order.  'Cause I'm just a little kooky like that.  This weekend it was two short and very fun races that I just 'had' to do.

Saturday was 'Dog-run-Dog' in San Francisco.  80+  people an their dogs all got together in Golden Gate park to do a race.  Only problem was, the race officials had a little trouble with their permits and the course etc and ended up making major last minute changes.  In the end the '5K' was only 2.25 miles long.  But it was a wonderful 'trail' run and so much fun to run with all the other dogs and owners.  I would love to do it again, but it wasn't really worth the $50 entry fee :(

 This is for Bonus Living

Zeus and I finished in 25:31 and were 8th out of 18 'women 5k with dog'  - the winner - she finished in 19:09 with her Jack Russel Terrier. :)

Sunday was another race I just couldn't pass up.  I mean - it was in my 'backyard'.  Yes, the little community I live in was having a race, so I signed up hubby and I.  Then, his son came over for the weekend, so we signed him up, and amazingly enough my son paid us a 'laundry visit' from college so I signed him up too!  Four of us all doing the 5K together.

My son (who is 18) was a little nervous about this race.  It was going to be his first race ever and he kept saying 'but I'm out of shape, Mom'.  I told him not to worry about it.  He's a fit kid who's played a lot of sports and besides, it's a 'fun run'.  

I have to say, setting the alarm clock for 6:30 on a race day, heaven!  Taking our time, getting ready, eating breakfast and then Walking -- WALKING to the race was so much fun!  We got our numbers, pinned each other up, and watched the little kids do a .25 and .5 run.  Then it was time for the 'big kids' to go.  They blew the horn and everyone got started.  I watched my son TAKE OFF, his step brother right behind him.  I stared out slow getting my legs under me and letting a crowd thin out a little.  The first mile was hard on me.  I have fall allergies and they have been causing my asthma to flair up.  It was annoying to be battling my breathing so early in the game.  I also had a bad stomach ache - I have a feeling it's because I took my allergy pill before the race - lesson learned.  I was also watching more and more people pass me.  But I knew I was running my pace.  at about 1.7 miles I saw the front runners on their way 'back' and to my surprise and pleasure I recognized the unmistakable form of my son, right along with them.  I whistled loudly even though I knew he wouldn't hear me and then turned back to my own run.  

Before I knew it, I was at mile two and was headed back toward the finish.  Now the run got easier because, even though it looks flat I knew from running this same path sometimes three times a week for the past year that it actually had a slight uphill on the out and downhill on the way back.  MANY of those people who had pushed passed me on the out, had used all their energy battling the wind and the incline and were fading.  I've never passed so many people on a run before.  I felt like I was getting faster with every step!  I finished feeling fantastic!

Our family results - out of 77 racers

Me: 32:54 (PR) 36th overall (3rd in my AG)
My hubby:  27:01 (PR) 19th overall (4th in his AG)
My Step-son: 26:44 18th overall (2rd in his AG)
My Son:  24:42 11th overall  (1st in his AG)

Yep - three medals for our family (and nice ones at that) and a promising first race for my son :)  He was already talking about what he would do differently 'next time'.  

and by the way this wasn't your 'normal' small town 'fun run' crowd.  I don't know what was going on but the winner's time 18:03 -fuh!  #2 19:58.  #3 and #4 were both under 21 minutes.  Is it just me, or is that just blazing fast!?  I'm happy to have held on!

And that's what I've been up to - how about you!? :) 

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tri Girl Tri

Well, my goal was 2:00 -- and my final time -- 1:49
I made my goal and then some!  And I wiped out my last time of 2:21 by 32 minutes!

I don't have official splits yet - but I know I improved every event including transitions.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Interval Interval

I just wasn't feeling it tonight. I started tired with a headache and really unmotivated. I had been excited to use my new heart rate monitor, but when I tried to set it up, it wouldn't work. I spent about 15 minutes trying to find a new battery to no avail. So, that was a bummer. I took the dog out with me, that usually cheers me up, but even that wasn't putting a bounce in my step. A minute or so into my first run interval the dog 'spooked' and ran smack into me. In case you didn't know - My dog almost weighs as much as me, so that wasn't a small 'tap'. I recovered from that only to a little down the road have the dog go round one side of a pole, while I went round the other. We nearly killed each other. Shortly after that, I fell out the bottom of my sports bra. Yeah - it was that kind of night. The biggest blah of the night though, was that I set my interval goal too high for too long and blew myself out too soon. So, during each of my run intervals I had the watch BEEPING at me to speed up. Yeah - that was fun. But, I got it done - some miles are in the bank . This is my last workout before my tri on Saturday and the Bridge to Bridge 12K on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Well, well, what do you know

Was working on cadence tonight so I put on Podrunner "On the Right Foot" a 171 BPM Mix. I figured I would struggle to keep up with the cadence - after all, I'm rather slow so it's likely that that my running form isn't 'ideal'. According to the 'experts' elite runners run at a stride rate of 180-190 steps per minute. So, one of things you can do to improve your running is to learn to run in the 180-190 steps per minute range. I figured I would start at 171 and work up to 180 :) The plan was to stay at 171 BPM for as long as I could as often as I could for the three miles that was on my schedule for the day. So, I fired up the ipod and headed out. The music came on, it started 'thumping' I started running and ooo hey... Turns out, 171 is just slightly slower then I was already running! Wow! I'm pretty happy with that... I easily kept the cadence going for the entire mile... AND I think I set a new PR for three miles tonight... pretty darn cool!

Reflecting and Looking Forward

So, I got a few photos from Saturday's tri - This was the first time I ever wore 'just' the tri suit for the whole race.  It wasn't easy for me (being a little body conscious) but wow did it make a difference on transitions - and ended up being really comfortable too.  Thank you Jaggad for having a sale and enabling me to get this QUALITY suit for only $30 - it ROCKS.  And - I don't hate the photos of me in it.  Yeah, I've got a ways to go to goal, but - I'm planning to do my next few tris in it :)

The day started early for me, but then it always does.  There aren't any races in my backyard - and this race started at 8:00 AM - ugh!  I've gotten good at getting ready to go and we were out the door, early for once.  The drive over was easy, but once he got into the park things got a little dicey.  There was NO signs on where to go to find the race!  luckily there weren't many choices and we found it without too much trouble, just a little stress.

The race started 'pretty much' on time.  Well, they got everyone into the water and started pre-race announcements at 8:00 :)  Once that was through, we all lined up and the race was started.

The start was a little strange.  A mass start of about 200 athletes and not all doing the same course.  The folks doing the 'super sprint' (like me) were doing an out and back to a small buoy.  The folks doing the sprint were swimming to the same buoy, only turning toward a second to do a 500 yard triangle.  I had positioned myself at the front of the pack for the start, and when the 'go' was signaled I was OFF.  As always there was a lot of thrashing, bumping in the like, but I managed to avoid most of it.  I know I knocked into a few people, but there's really no avoiding it.  I tried to forget about the other bodies around me and just swim as hard as I could, while keeping my form.  That worked.  My plan was to stick as close to the front runners as possible and that was what I did - without too much trouble.  When I came out of the water I believe I was forth or fifth place overall, and one woman had gotten out of the water before me.

CVT Swim

I sprinted into transition and tried my new routine.  Step on towel, and grab helmet; Squirt feet while putting on glasses; dry feet, put on socks and step into shoes; start 'training' on watch so it can find satellites while I roll toward the mount line. I did my normal clumsy bike mount (the next thing I want to work on) and had a heck of a time clipping in, but in the end I got it all together and got on my way.  I think I passed at least one person in transition.

Sadly, I haven't been showing my bike much love of late, but I figured that wouldn't matter on this short 5.5 mile ride.  It didn't 'much'.  What I did notice first thing was my seat felt too low.  It wasn't terrible so I ignored it, but in looking at race pictures, it's obvious that I need to adjust it before riding again.

CVT Bike

Although this was a short course it was challenging - One big 'hill' and lots and lots of rollers.  For someone like me who has to use a lot of gears on the hills, and who uses clip on areo bars - it meant not much time spend 'in the position'.

But still, I passed all but two men in front of me, and was only passed by two men.  That's a huge improvement for me.

What that meant was I came off the bike as the first woman.  I didn't know that though until after a quick transition (Helmet for Hat, Bike shoes for running shoes) and hitting the trail.


It was the photographer who screamed at me "Whoo Hoo! your the first Lady!"

Even though it was only a 1 mile run - it was grueling.  I had pushed hard on both the swim and bike and I felt it.  And now, I was in first!?  I knew the chances of losing my position were big on the run.  I'm slow.  But I knew I had to try to not let that happen.  And so I ran, and ran and ran.  I walked near the top of one hill, trying to catch my breath and get my heart rate to go down, but it wasn't helping much.  So, I ran some more. The turn around was a welcome site!  I grabbed two waters and drank them both on the run.  I was a little confused at one point where the trail split - Super sprint folks were supposed to go one way, and Sprint folks another, but it didn't really say which was which - what was worse is one of the people in front of me went one way and the other went the other!  I shouted back to the water stop volunteer and she got me going in the right direction.

After that it was just a matter of holding on for that last 1/2 mile.  I know 1/2 a mile doesn't sound like a long time, but when you're running in for your first win, and you KNOW there are many many people out there faster then you are -- we'll it's FOR-EV-ER.

I'm sure I was grinning from ear to ear when I crossed the finish line having not been passed (by any women). I had done it - first place! woo hoo!

So, what's next for me?

Well this weekend (as I've said) I'm doing Tri-Girl-Tri.  It's the same exact course as my first ever Sprint so I looked up my times for that race:

Swim: 21:29
T1: 9:46
Bike: 1:04
T2:  5:41
Run:  40:23

Total:  2:21:17

So the goals are:

Swim:  18 minutes  - I know I can do this because I did it at the Tri for Fun in July :)
T1: -- Well that should be easy to beat I'll try for 5 min
Bike:  55 minutes - This will be fast, even for me :)
T2: -- again I think I can do this in less then 3 min
Run: 38 minutes -- I've done a trail run in 37, but I didn't swim/bike first

So, my ultimate goal will be 1:59 less then 2:00 hours

But any time that's faster then last time will be good.

Tough as Granite

Tough as Granite Trail Run

I've never been much of a hill runner.  I still struggle with hills - probably because I'm still 50 lbs from my 'ideal' weight.  But that didn't stop me from doiong a 'hilly' 5K in 37 min and taking #1 in my age group.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Who's rocking the short courses?!

I am!

Last weekend I did the Tough as Granite 5K trail run while my husband did the half marathon. Although I felt I had a good race (for me) I didn't really check on my time or anything because I was busy cheering my husband on during his long brutal race.  Two days later, when they posted results I found out I was #1 in the 40-49 Women age group!

This week, I did a super-sprint triathlon.  (200 yard open water swim, 5.5 mile bike, and a 1 mile run)  I blazed through the swim and came out of the water probably in fifth place(?), a quick transition thanks to my new tri suit from jaggad and I was blazing through the bike course.  Even with the gnarly hills I was able to maintain a 15 MPR pace on the bike and I hit the run feeling pretty good.  When I passed the first photographer I got the surprise of my life when she yelled "whoo hoo!  You go!  First Lady!"

Whaaaa!?  Me!?  Hearing that, and knowing what a poor runner I am really made me push - I left it all on the run course and I was flying high when I crossed the finish line having NO ONE pass me!  That's right!  My first podium for a tri and it was a #1!!

I'm starting to like these short courses!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time to 'Escape'

Things have gotten interesting around here -- and not really in a good way.

The two races I had based my training around were the upcoming Escape from the Rock (which is tomorrow) and the Anchorman Championships in October.

Recently, I started wondering why I hadn't heard anything about Anchorman.  I dug through e-mails and realized that I had never gotten a confirmation to the "I Accept" email I had sent in response to the invitation to the championships.  That concerned me, and with a little digging I found that that, alas!, I had sent my acceptance too late and I was NOT going to San Diego.  This took a little of the heart out of me.  Anchorman San Francisco had not been a good race for me and I was really looking forward to redeeming myself in San Diego, but it wasn't meant to be.

Then just a few short weeks ago another blow.  I had been psyching myself up over the past few months over Escape.  It was going to be my longest race since Lavaman, a test to how far I had come.  The bike was a short but grueling 13 miles, and with two runs (Swim-Run-Bike-Run) it was going to have a mileage of over 8 miles. Again I was to be disappointed.  Some kind of construction going on in the presidio has made them close the roads in the area to ALL traffic and the folks that run 'The Escape' had to pull the bike portion of the race.  Escape from the Rock Tri had been downgraded to a 'Splash-n-Dash'!  1.5 mile swim and 7 mile run with almost no hills!

These two disappointments seemed to do something funny to my head.  I found myself facing my workouts with less and less enthusiasm.  In fact, I missed quite a few.

Today, I've found the fire once again... Because... I signed up to do an Olymipic distance tri on October 17th.  This gives me a chance to build on and use the training I've been doing for 'Escape' AND replaces the race in San Diego!

That's right, I'm back in it :)

And tomorrow I'm going to do a really long 'Splash-n-Dash' :)  for the record -- the weather's CRAP :) should be interesting.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

5 more in the bank

Trotted out another 5 mile run tonight. I struggled just a little, more mental then anything. I kept making excuses not to finish. But, I ignored that little voice in my head and did the whole thing.

Thursday night is interval night and this is week 8 of my interval training... 14 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking - x 4. That plus the 5 minute warm up and my total workout of 1:05 - total miles 5.82!

My run intervals were: 10:52, 10:45, 11:01, and 10:55. Still holding out around the 11:00 min/mile pace and I'm pretty darn happy with that, although I'm looking forward to the mileage dropping after Escape from the Rock when I'm going to do a 5K training program and try to add a bit more speed. Less miles sounds good right now - we'll see if I think that in a month! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Oh my GOD!!

I've been training, and there are times when I feel like I'm beating against a brick wall. I've been so frustrated because, even after all these months, running is still hard. Like, struggling to just put one foot in front of the other hard. But then I realized that running wasn't getting easier, because I don't take it easy when I run. Every time I go out it's with the goal to go futher or faster or both.

Tonight was another 5 mile run. My mid week run bumped to 5 miles last week and I had shocked myself by running that distance. I had expected tonight to be another exercise in willpower as I warmed up... But something strange happened...

Maybe it was the fact that we had gotten up early and did a leg workout at the gym, or maybe it was because a friend had taken me out to lunch and I had a few mire calories then usual in my system. Or, maybe it was because I'm mid cycle, and it's rumoured that women are at thier athletic peak at this te of the month... Whatever it was, I want more of it!

I didn't start my run with any goal except to finish it, but I was happy to finish the first mile in just over 11 minutes. Still, an 11 minute mile for the first mile isn't unheard of for me. I checked my watch after the second mile and was happy to see I had actually dripped a second off my average pace! Hmm. Cool! At 2.5 miles - the 1/2 way point I was still hovering at just over an eleven minute per mile average pace and I was feeling good... that's when the idea hit me, 5 miles in under 11/mile... How cool would that be!?

And so I ran... And ran... At 3 miles I had dropped below 11 minutes. That was good because I was going to be turning into the wind again soon.

At 3.75 I hit the turn around a headed into the wind. I had brought my average pace down to 10:55 but knew I was going to have to fight to keep it up. But there was a fire I had never felt before... I had aleady ran through a side cramp, and even though the wind felt stonger then ever I knew I was going to go for it.

And so I ran.. Huffing and puffing along, feeling as though I was headed towared some personal finishline. 5 miles finally came... My watched beeped out that I was finished and I checked my time... 10:53 average pace! YES!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sharkfest Potos!

I've posted all my photos from the swim here:

Here's a few to get you started.





Monday, August 17, 2009

Swim across the SF Bay!? No Problem!

Well, I did it!  I swam the 1.5 miles across the bay from Alcatraz to San Francisco.  It was AMAZING!  EnviroSports puts on a great race!  I had so much fun in and out of the water.  Since this was 'test run' for me in prep for Escape from the Rock (also put on by EnviroSports) I took it easy, learned what I could from it and even took pictures while I was out there in the water.  I'll say it again - it was an absolute BLAST!

My time 1:02:30

Results swimming with a wetsuit:

F 40-44 - 28th out of 40
F Overall - 187th out of 251
Finish order - 531 st out of 655

I can honestly say that I'm not worried about the swim portion of Escape at ALL now - so I can focus on facing the bike and the run.  And that makes me really happy.

I can HIGHLY recommend the Sharkfest to anyone who's thinking of doing this incredible swim.  Just remember to sign up early, this year's swim has been full since JANUARY!  And I think the Alcatraz swim should be on everyones 'to-do' list :)

Whatever am I to do now!?  No races for a whole month! :) 

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tri For Fun

Finished in 1:57

300th out of 433

And 20th out of 35 in my age division!!

Almost middle of the pack

Friday, August 7, 2009

Interesting Things Going On

I have a race this weekend - another sprint. After setting a PB at my last sprint I almost don't want to do it. This is probably going to be the first time that I don't improve my times at a race. But, I may surprise myself :)

The biggest difference with this race is that the bike is long; 16 miles to be exact. But, I've really really been working on my running, and I'm going to do everything I can to run the entire last leg of the race. That's my #1 biggest goal for this one. Get over this wall I have. No WALKING! :)

Other then that - my goal is to finish in 1:45.

The focus right now though is for Escape. The practice run for the swim in in a week, and I feel ready for that - got my Swag in the mail the other day - I'm really excited!

I'm Swimming

I'm regularly swimming 1.2+ 2-3 times a week at the lake.  I swim with a bunch of REALLY fast people who push me every single swim.  It's funny how slow I feel at these swims, and yet when I get with a group at a tri or whatever I discover that I'm not that bad :)

After escape my focus will be on the Anchorman Championships in San Diego.  I want to hold my own on this one so I'm planning to stay with my 6AM lake swims, and start an 'advanced' 5K training program to try to bring my run speeds up.

Not that my run speeds aren't improving - I did a 4.5 mile run the other day without taking a walk break and finished in 53 minutes.  My Garmin is telling me I averaged a 11:45 pace!  under 12 min/mile for 4.5 miles!  I know that probably seems really really slow most of the athletes out there in blogger land, but on 11/19 of last year I did a 'fitness test' and ran 2 miles, my pace was 15:48.  That's 4 min/mile in 8 months - that's good right?

After Anchorman my focus race will be Lavaman - I plan to get back to Lavaman SOMEHOW  -- The goal is to be 110 lbs lighter in 2 hours faster - I've got 3 eight week cycles planned to train for that...

Once that's past well, I'm going to step out and really push myself - I plan on doing Vineman 70.3 - that's right a 1/2 Iron Man.  With Lavaman in March and Vineman in July, I figure that'll give me plenty of time to add the new distance,.  In all honesty, I'm already doing the swim distance, and for Escape, I'm training as if the run is the 13 miles so I don't think it'll be that big of a leap... I'm excited about it.

Lastly, I wanted to share these...  My finish at the last tri:

Me, sprinting to the finish:

Tri for fun - Pleasanton

There's my finish time - by the look on my face, this is about when I could see it - remember the 'girls' started 20 minutes after the clock started :)

I like this shot

Tri for Fun - Pleasanton

I feel like I'm channeling Steve in a Speedo here and his One legged Pirate Pose. although he's much better at it then I am...

And this one:  Well this one is fun just because it freaked my husband out -- He saw it and said - what the hell is that!?

Tri for Fun - Pleasanton

"That"  being the muscles in my arms... rar!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Catfish Crawl - 1.2 mile swim

I finished my race. 1.2 miles - 46:23 - not bad

results? 44th overall and 7th in my age group!! (40-50 year old female - non-wetsuit)

knowing the calaber of the competition at this event, I'm thrilled with those results.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tri for Fun - Pleasanton - Race Report

I knew, coming into the tri for fun that it was going to be a good race.  My training has been right on of late with three open water swim a week I haven’t been in such good swim shape since I was in synchronized swimming in Jr High!  My bike rides have been intense, but I’m easily powering up hills that used to leave me stopped and gasping for breath.  And my running, well the time at the Skyland run showed that I’ve made huge improvement there too.  It felt like it was all coming together for this race.  You add on top of this that the bike is almost completely flat – and yes, I knew I was going to have a good race!  I set my goal high – under 2 hours.

(for reference – I finished the Napa Valley Sprint tri – this same distance – on May 3rd in 2:21, and the Mountain Bike Tri – a little shorter but on single track – on June 20th in 2:02)

I started prepping Friday night.  I had a good dinner w/the Orca swim team and Forward Motion Racing Club out at the lake.  We had good food and I enjoyed trading stories with others who would be racing the next day at the Tri for Fun and/or at Vineman 70.3 on Sunday.  It seemed to relax me even more. 

I got home at a reasonable time and it was a relaxed evening of hydration, fueling (with MRD) and packing my transition bag.  I even got to bed at a reasonable hour!

Of course, there was a reason for getting up at a reasonable hour.  Even though this race was practically in my own back yard my teammates had warned me that the place filled up quickly, so I was up at 4:30 and on the road by 5:00 (ish).  The drive over was pretty uneventful and we got in easily and got prime parking.  I was happy to see a few teammates already setting up in transition when I got there, and I dumped my gear off and headed over to pick up my ‘race packet’.

Because this was a Tri for  ‘Fun’ there wasn’t much to packet pickup.  Basically I just signed a waver and received my race number, no timing chips, it was very easy and very well organized.

Then it was back to transition to set up my stuff, gab with teammates, stretch a bit and basically wait for the sun to come up.  As it got closer to race time I headed over and got body markings, my race t-shirt, slapped on some sun screen and was ready to go.  Given the air and water temperature, there was no way I was wearing a wetsuit for this race… No Way!

As the 7:00 AM start time approached I headed down to the water and tried my ‘new’ warmup technique.  I swam sprints with short recoveries for about 10 minutes.  My goal was to get my heart rate UP and then recovered before the start.  It worked and by the time the race announcements were over I could feel the little ‘buzz’ that comes from a body ready to do some serious work. 

Of course, I’m a 40 year old women, so in this race of 6 waves I was in wave 5.  That meant I had to work a little to keep that buzz up, but adrenaline did a little of the work for me.  Before too long the first 4 waves were off and in the water, and I was standing waist deep waiting for the signal to go.  A quick countdown from the announcer and we got the go, and I DOVE in, literally.  Where a lot of people were wading into deeper water before starting I used a little of my prior pool racing experience and did a shallow water dive right into a hard fast stroke as soon as we got the go signal.  It served me well as I stayed right up with the front swimmers.  My warm-up had served me well too because I was able to maintain the pace I set throughout the entire swim – two BIG bonuses.  The only thing I would have changed on the swim.  I set myself on the far right of the group.  I pull right a little when I swim.  The first buoy was at an angle to the left of the swim start.  So, when I finally sighted, about half way to the first buoy, I was abreast of the front swimmers, but I was also far to the right of them, and I lost a little time having to cut across to the left.  Still it was obvious I was in the front of the pack and I didn’t let the miss calculation get to me, I just kept on swimming.  Once around the first buoy I started passing people.  I could tell that things were going well, it just was hard to tell HOW well – it always is when swimming.  I made it around the second buoy and headed to shore.  The area here seemed to have a lot more swimmers in it – probably as people had slowed down – tired.   Plus it was a little narrow, up against the edge of the lake.  There were two ladies swimming side by side in front of me and both were doing the breast stroke – the ‘frog kick’ of the breast stroke takes a lot more room then the crawl and I was kind of stuck.  If then had been doing the crawl I probably would have swum between them, but I had no desire to be kicked in the head if should misjudge the space.  So, I slowed a little and tried to pass on the right.  Just as I did, the girl on the right started drifting to the right… dang!  BUT, when she did she opened the space between the a little and with a little juke move (who knew you could do that in the water!?) I squeezed between them and started pouring on the last burst of speed to the swim finish – whew!

I don’t have any ‘official time’ for my swim, I knew I had done ok when I glanced at the people who were getting out of the water around me and most were under 40  - the wave that had started before me.  

The run to transition was really short and it was a straight shot to my bike.  It didn’t take me long to switch over to bike gear – no wetsuit to strip – and head out.  I was now on the part of the course where I planned to see the biggest improvement the bike.  I climbed up the hill out of the park and hit the roads.  It didn’t take long for my new found bike speed to show itself.  I was passing people almost faster than I could shout out “On your LEFT”.  And it was EASY.  One after another I set my sites on girls with 20 or 30 something written on their calves, chased them down, and passed them.  I was almost giddy with joy!  Yes, I got passed a few times.  But the 4 people who passed me in the 11 mile ride were nothing compared to the 30 or so that I left behind.

The turn around of the short out and back portion of the race, was there before I knew it and I took the corner easy and headed out again. 

I would like to say “SORRY!!!” to the few people I passed during that short time when we were riding on the wrong side of the road, to whom I called out “On you LEFT” and then I passed you on the right.  Passing people is new to me, and I got a little confused.  Thank you to the one girl who pointed out my error.  Seriously, I felt like a complete dork, but I was glad I didn’t do the same thing to too many other people.

About mile 8 or so I saw what would be the one and only hill other than the one at the start.  It was steep, but short and I hit it, focused and got up and over it without dropping my cadence – a huge victory for me.  I did get a little grumpy when the little girl who I had passed at the bottom, passed me at the top, looked over at me and said “That was easy!”  I’ve come a long way, but not THAT far!  I got my revenge though when I passed her on the downhill like a large lightning bolt :)

The end of the bike ride came so much faster than I expected and before I knew it I was swooping down the hill into the park, unclipping, and dismounting back at transition.   Again, I knew I had a good time, I just didn’t know how good, and the hardest part was yet to come, the run.

I came back to my transition spot to find – someone had taken my spot!  My stuff was still there, but someone else’s bike was parked over the top of it.  I grumbled a bit, but one of my teammates who had already finished (thanks for being there CHRIS!!) calmed me down, pointed to an empty spot further down the rack and got my head back into the game.  I did a quick change and headed out onto the run course.  This was it – this was where I would make or break my race I was sure of it.  My legs were feeling the bike as I trotted to the start of the run course – could I do this?  I just kept repeating to myself – 2 hours!  2 hours!

The run started off frustrating.  I was tired, my legs were rubbery and the first thing off the bat was a gnarly hill.   Yes, the bike had been flat, but the run was anything but!  But I gave myself permission to walk the up hill and just kept swinging my arms to keep my momentum going.  It took me about a mile to settle into a comfortable pace and by then at least 15 people had passed me.  But I didn’t let it bother me.  I knew I lost time on the run – I just had to focus on running my race, my pace… 2 hours… would I make it?

The run was a funny little clover leaf thing that I really liked.  You got to see a lot of people as you were running and it made the whole thing seem really friendly and fun.  It was also good for someone like me who tends to get stuck running alone a lot.  Not on this race there was always someone coming and/or going and not just people who were leaving me behind :)

I hit the water station at the center of the leaf at the end of the first mile and finally started to feel as if I had my legs under me.  It was cool to see so many of my Forward Motion teammates there handing out water and that helped to boost my confidence just a little.  Still there were a lot of hills left to go.  About mid way through the second mile I was feeling it.  It was hot, I was tired,  I was worried I had spent too much on the bike and mentally I was starting to crumble just a little.  I dropped to a walk even though I wasn’t going uphill, that’s when I heard a voice behind me.  “Don’t give up!   Keep going, just take small steps, they conserve energy.  Small steps, keep going”

I have no idea who my angel was, but THANK YOU!  Your tiny little bit of encouragement got me going again.  Got me thinking positive when I wasn’t doing so hot on my own…  I did start moving again.  I focused on finding a ‘happy pace’ and maintaining it… and I continued to maintain it, even up some hills!  I hit the end of mile two feeling pretty good and started on the last ‘loop’ of the clover.  I still had no idea if I was meeting my time goals but I knew I would finish with a smile on face, and knowing I had given it my all. 

I hit the top of one hill to cheering from one volunteer.  “You’re doing great, almost there – go there”

There, was down a hill and off the ‘ridge’ we had been running on.  I pounded down the hill expecting to have to climb up again only to find another volunteer at the bottom pointing me across the grass.  “Head across the grass to the finish”  she told me… I literally WAS almost done!

I started to pick up the pace my heart pounding with excitement.  I was almost done – the finish like was up there, I could hear the music and cheering.  I jogged a bit faster, and then faster, would I make it!?  I knew that the big clock over the finish line had started with the first wave, and that I had started 20 minutes behind the first wave – so to be under 2 hours I needed to see less then 2:20 on the clock.  I saw the finish and spotted the clock… I squinted trying to read the numbers… it says… something 40 something... darn it!  I kept running, pushing myself to the finish, that’s when I realized – the first number was a 1!!!  I was not only under two hours I was WAY under two hours!!  I sprinted to then end and passed across the finish line at 1:50 which made my official time 1:30!!

I swear I was on cloud 9 the entire rest of the day!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shrinking out of my Tri-Suit

It's been a while since I shared...

104 days

Monday, July 13, 2009

Skyland Mountain Run

This was going to be my 2nd ever 10K and once again I was doing it with my husband and my step-son.  One big difference was going to be that this time, my husband had been training and he wasn't going to hang back and 'walk' with me.

The drive down to Los Gatos was nice.  It was already shaping up to be a BEAUTIFUL day.  Although this was touted as a 'fun run' ran by a local church, from the moment we arrived on site it was apparent it was very well organized.  There were folks visable immediately; directing traffic and making sure people parked correctly.  There was other person at the entrance to the 'staging area' directing people to exactly which table they needed to be at to pick up our numbers and shirts.  The bathrooms were well marked, and there was water set out for people to use before the race.  

We lounged around, warmed up and stretched as we waited for the race to start.  Near 8:30 (race start time) they called everyone to the starting line.  And I mean everyone -- all the races were starting at the same time the 10K, the 5K and the 5K walk.  Somehow everyone managed to arrange themselves appropriately as they gave a brief explanation of the course and then... we were off!

One thing I can say about this course - it is BEAUTIFUL!  Nice enough that I didn't even notice (much) the rolling hills, and boy were there hills!

I started out middle of the pack.  I knew I didn't want to have to weave my way through the walkers, and I also knew I didn't want to be in the way of all the speed demons that were crowding toward the front.  

When the gun went off, I started at a nice comfortable pace.  I had set my watch to 'ding' after a mile, then count down a 1 minute rest interval, and then ding so I could run another mile.  I was really surprised to find that in that first mile I passed a LOT of people.  I was managing the slight incline ok, and didn't feel like I was going to die!  I could actually FEEL all the work that I've been doing to improve my fitness - and the 40 lbs I've dropped.  I finished the first mile in less then 11 minutes!  (don't have my exact times because somehow my watch lost my run during the download process - AGAIN!! *sob*)

Of course, when I started walking, a few of the people I passed, passed me - but I was really happy to know that I could maintain a reasonable 'middle of the pack' pace now!

The rest of the run went pretty much the same.  I would run for a mile, sometimes pass someone, and then walk for a minute and get passed myself.  I didn't mind, it was great to just feel like I had the 'gas' to get through the long run!   At 1.5 miles the people who were doing the 5K turned around and those of us who were doing the 10K kept going. I had to walk sometimes during my 'run' interval because the hills were too much, but I ran for as long as I could each time and started back up as soon as I could.  

My biggest goal for this race was to beat the time of my last 10K - the Old Mill Run that I did on April 18th -where I finished in 1:39. The way I set my watch I couldn't really see what my overall time was, but I as I finished each mile it was apparent to me that I was doing better then I had in April.  Still, as I got closer to the finish line I started pushing it a little.  By the time I got to the final stretch I was pretty much sprinting. It was pretty cool to hear so many people cheering and shouting "Great finish!"  and I certainly crossed the line with a smile on my face.

Even better was stopping my watch and finding out that my total time was 1:14!  I shaved 25 minutes off my 10K time in three months!  I need to schedule another 10K in three more months and see how much better I can get! :)

Oh, and the after party for this event - GREAT!  A fantastic pancake breakfast with eggs and sausage, a raffle, a band and really nice friendly people!  I would certainly do this one again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I didn't give up

Went for a run last night. 

It was a frustrating evening. I ended up working late, then Hubby and I mis-calculated where we should leave the 2nd car and ended up driving WAY out of our way. Finally hit the lake at 8:00! Plus, we were both hobbling around after our first leg workout on Monday. There were about 10 times last night where I expected one of both of us to say 'let's just forget this!" But we didn't. We got out there, ran the trail and did what we could. I only got 3 miles in, but I still felt good about it.

The trail itself was awesome.  The lake was so quite and peaceful, for a while I actually got into a groove and was able to enjoy my environment instead of focusing on putting one foot in front of the other and not passing out.  It gave me hope - I might become a runner one day after all!  If running is EVER as easy as swimming... I don't know what I'll do :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

AM Swims - ROCK

All is good right now. I went for a 45 minute bike ride last night. Then got up at met a group of folks at the lake at 6:15AM to do a 1.2 mile swim.

Otherwise, I'm recovering from yesterday's leg workout. My hamstrings (back of the thighs) are really really really sore. Ladies, you want to tighten up your rear view - stiff legged dead lifts are the BOMB... just expect a little pain for a few days after.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Weekend Recap

Thursday I started the day with a open water swim that seemed to just make everything right with the world. Then Friday I enjoyed the day with my wonderful husband and rested and relaxed a little.

Saturday we got up early and headed over to watch the local 5K/10K races. It was awesome. Fast people, slow people, entire families all racing together. So much fun!

If you read my blog, you know we got home from that in the mood to run! I changed, leashed up the dog and took off only to find out it was WAY TOO hot to be out. Still it felt good to get out there and stretch my legs a bit.

Saturday night we went up to the wine country and watched the fireworks. It's always nice to get up north, even if it does make us want to move back. But, the next move we make will be closer to work - there's just no question that this 2 hour commute (each way)is slowly killing us.

Sunday I got up early and met some of my ORCA team mates for a swim. We did a mile in the lake at 8:30 in the morning. It was a fantastic way to start the day. A dry off and a change and two of us headed out for a short/easy bike ride. We took a route that I had biked before (40 lbs ago) and I was thrilled to make it to the top of hills without stopping that I had stopped on before. Even with the few hills we made it 15 miles in an hour. A BIG improvement!! The best thing was I still had energy to burn! I had visions of finishing the run that I hadn't been able to finish before, but later decided that it was better to let myself rest a bit.

Finally get my act together and wrote out a resistance training plan. So, this morning we got up at 4:00 AM. That's right 4:00AM. So we could go to the gym before work.

It was 5:00AM by the time we hit the gym (which is normal) and we did a 'moderate' workout. Still, it felt GREAT to be pushing iron. We did a Body for Life style workout that seemed to be perfect for our current goals:<

Squats: 90 lbs x 12, 105 x 10, 115 x 8, 135 x 6, 115 x 12
Leg Extensions: 55 x 12
Stiff Legged Dead Lifts: 85 lbs x 12, 95 x 10, 105 x 8, 115 x 6, 105 x 12
Lying Leg Curls: 40 x 12
Standing Calves: 60 x 12, 70 x 10, 80 x 8, 90 x 6, 80 x 12
Seated Calves: 90 x 12
Cable Crunches: 70 x 12, 80 x 10, 90 x 8, 100 x 6, 90 x 12
Leg lifts: 12

Oh - and because I didn't mention it earlier...

The Double Dipsea was SO HARD! I was determined to finish it though... until, while coming down a particularly knarly hill I stepped on a rock and fell HARD. I thought I was ok until the path started going uphill again. My knee had swollen up -- I had to stop at the turn around :( only a single dipsea for me

Oh well, next year!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

When not to excercise

We're Ready to Run!

it seemed like such a nice day out that Zues and I decided to go for a run. I needed to get in a 4 mile one in on the weekend and since I have a swim and bike planned tomorrow, I figured I better get'er done today.

we got geared up and headed out.

from the start I knew this wasn't going to be easy. It was HOT and it was hard to breath. The dog and I were both panting after the 5 minute warmup.

but, I kept going. I got the first running mile in and I was less the 12 minutes into my run! That was exciting! But, I was struggling. I tried slowing down. It almost seemed to make it worse. The dog was struggling too. I slowed to a walk, trying to recover. But couldn't seem to do it. Finally Zeus stopped in a patch of shade and wouldn't move.

I decided to listen to the smarter of us and head for home.

3 miles complete. It'll have to do. Proof that I shouldn't have been out... I got on the scale before getting into my post run shower. a two pound drop! Oops!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Still Improving

got my second run in for the week. I don't know what was going on, since I ran two days in a row, and I never do that, but it had to be one of my best runs on the road ever. I really felt GREAT. Guess the weight loss is finally catching up with me?

It was an interval run and I managed to keep my first 4 minute interval at 6MPR (10min/mile) and didn't drop below 11:30min/mile for any interval after that. In total I did 4:05 miles in 51:41. Considering the first time I ever did this route (in Feb) it took me 1 hour and 8 minutes, I really proud of that.

in case your curious, the interval program I'm doing is called "Freeway to 10K" and it's supposed to get you from a 5K to a 10K in 10 weeks. You play it on your ipod and you can get it at:  www.podrunner.com

This week looked like:

42 minutes @ 137 BPM to 153 BPM

BPM Chart
5 min. warmup @ 137-142BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
90 sec. @ 142 BPM
3 min. cooldown @ 142-137BPM

I hope to get one more swim done before the end of the week - maybe an early Sunday swim. I also want to do two bikes and one more run. So, an early morning Bike tomorrow - and probably a BRICK Bike/Run on Saturday is probably in the works :)

I hope everyone has a GREAT 4th!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Yesterday ended well. Hubby was tired and didn't want to go run around the lake, so we went home instead. I was ok with that because he does the driving - so I try to be considerate of how he's feeling.

So, we drove home, I changed, grabbed the dog, and headed out for my run.

Now, many of you might not know that my next big Triathlon (I'm doing some 'baby' ones before then) is in 12 weeks and it's going to be a tough one. 1.5 mile swim from Alcatraz to SF. a 2.5 mile run after that (it's called a warm up run - huh?) a 9 mile bike, and then another 7.5 mile run. That's a total of 10 miles running. I struggled with deciding what kind of running plan I would do to try to get myself to this kind of mileage, and finally I figured out a 'hybrid' of my own.

I started with the Novice 1/2 marathon plan from Hal Higdon. I had used his plans before and I liked them. I also figured training for the longer distance of 13 miles couldn't hurt me do better on race day. But - I really like my "10K" running program from podrunner intervals the tempo tends to push me, and I like the interval format for getting faster and going longer. So I decided to blend that in as part of my program. Thursday night's runs would be the interval program from Podrunner and the other two runs would be as written by Mr Higdon.

That made last night my 'interval' day. So I plugged in my head phones and off I went :)

It was so much fun! :) I really like interval training because I feel like I can really push myself during the shorter run segments and know I'll have time to recover. So, last night's workout looked like this:

BPM Chart
5 min. warmup @ 137-142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
2 min. walk @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
2 min. walk @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
2 min. walk @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
2 min. walk @ 142 BPM
4 min. @ 153 BPM
2 min. walk @ 142 BPM
3 min. cooldown @ 142-137 BPM

After my cool down, since I wasn't home yet, I went ahead and let the workout repeat and walked for 2 and then ran until I got home.

The exciting part is that I DID push myself on every run segment and kept below a 12 min/mile pace on each one! I have a feeling with the short run on Monday - the interval run on Thursday and a weekend long run... my fitness levels are going to go through some interesting changes over the next 12 weeks!

So, tonight the plan is to try out my new Friday Night routine. I'm going to change at work, BART to the car - where I've left my bike, and then ride my bike to Shadow Cliffs and swim with my tri team. Hubby will pick me up after he gets off work! Should be FUN!

Next week I'm adding weight lifting back in... look out world - cause believe it or not, weight lifting is my first love :P

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Night DSE Running

Hubby and I are going to go run with the 'group' tonight around Lace Merced. 4.5 miles - I hope it's easier then Tuesday night's run was. When I told hubby that I was looking forward to running with the club tonight he responded that he was looking forward to the cookies they provide after the run! lol - hey whatever motivates you right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My 3 mile run last night was hard. I don't know if it was the low calorie day I had on Monday, the lack of sleep over the weekend, the heat or all of it, but I struggled. But, I did it - got it done, logged in the books and I'm sure my body benefited from it. My training partner (the dog) thought it was tough too :) He actually let me squirt him with the hose when we got home when normally he runs as soon as he hears the water turn on!

Exercise planned for the week:

Did a 30 minute bike ride - kept it between 11-16 MPR. Nice and easy recovery from Saturday. Tonight I'll go for a run - 3 miles minimum as I start a 1/2 marathon program this week in prep for my 'Big' triathlon in September. Wednesday is a longer bike ride (1 hour). Thursday 3 Mile run. Friday a bike and a long open water swim, and then Saturday Hubby and I are doing a 14 mile run/walk called the Double DipSea. (it's more a 'hike' then anything).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Again with the Progress!

You guys - I'm in tears right now...

This might not be something that everyone can relate to, but I hope you will join me in celebrating anyway :)

They finally posted the results from my tri on Saturday. Up 'til now, all I had was my finish time - nothing else.

Well, now I know more and it's... well, for me it's a NSV that still has me stunned.

First of all:

My finish time (as you know) was 2:02:33 - that was fast enough for me to place 139th out of 177 people. That is my BEST finish time to date and in and of itself was very heartening.

Of the women who competed I finished 33rd out of 57 - again a really pleasing number.

of women my age (40-44) I finished 10 out of 14 -- again, for me that's good and those numbers along were enough to make me do a happy dance, but -- there was more.

If you read my report you know that I felt like I struggled on the swim. The results paint a slightly different picture. My time for the 500 yard swim - 11:54. That was fast enough to finish 81st out of the 177 competitors. I was in the top 1/2!! and better yet, only 16, YES 16! women finished in front of me! Oh My God!! I was in 17th place out of 57 (women) when I was done with the swim!

The bike and run numbers weren't nearly as dramatic. On the bike I was 134th out of 177, and on the run I was 146th. Just the fact that I finished the run faster then about 30 people is still, a really, really big deal. I'm making progress!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Silicone Valley Mountain Bike Tri - Race Report - 06/20/09

After the disaster that was Achorman, I needed a good race to get my confidence back.  The Silicone Valley Mountain Bike Tri was a bit of an unknown.  Given that I’ve never actually ROAD true ‘mountain bike’ style, it could go really, really badly.  But, since it seemed to be a more ‘everymans’ race then Achorman – it could be ok.
The night before the race was the usual for me.  Carefully laying everything out.  Going through each part of the race in my mind and making sure I had everything I needed.  I also spend some time making food for myself to take along in order to make sure I didn’t have any excuses to eat ‘crap’.  By the time I was done, it was 12:00AM!  Ack!
Packet pickup was slated for 6:30AM and I knew I wanted to be there about that time.  Since I live over an hour from San Jose where the race was held, that meant leaving at 5:30 and getting up at 5:00.. ugh!
Luckily I had no trouble falling asleep and no trouble getting up in the morning.  In no time we were all in the car and on our way.
We arrived just after 6:30 and my hubby dropped me off in front of the park.  I was quickly unloaded and rolling my bike to transition while he went off to find a parking spot.  I walked through the racks and finally found a spot I liked.  On the end so I didn’t have to fight people on either side of me.  I hooked my bike on the rack to save my spot, dropped my bag off and went to find the packet pickup table.
I was really surprised at the line at packet pickup.  There was probably already 20 or more people in line, at it wasn’t moving quickly.  Because this was a USAT sanctioned race, everyone needed to either have a day, or a year membership, so almost every person was going up to the table, then having to fill out paperwork, pay, then wait for them to find chip, packet, t-shirt, swim cap… it was taking,  FOR EV-ER!  Finally, they opened another line and while the process was still slow, they were at least getting twice the number of people through.  Since I already had my Yearly USTA membership, I just flashed my card, got my stuff and was out of there (although I had to correct the guy when he tried to hand me a ‘mens wave’ swim cap.  I mean seriously, I’m not the prettiest girl around, but there are two undeniable marks that I am a chick... they sit on my chest J
Anyway, once that was cleared up, I headed back to transition and started setting up my stuff.  They seemed to have plenty of room for the number of athletes which was really nice, and my ‘end position’ on the rack let me hang my swim jacket up as an extra marker to guide me to my spot later.  I was feeling really good about the day so far.  I checked my watch and I still had plenty of time… unlike last time at anchorman – whew!  But, I wanted to be able to warm-up and test he water on the swim so I went ahead and climbed into my wetsuit, always a workout in and of itself.
Once the wetsuit was on, I headed down to the water.  The beach was nice and clean.  The water was… lake water not very clear at all, but clearer then the bar, not too cold either.  I was feeling good.  I swam around a bit to accustom myself to the temperature and then got out to await my wave start.
The starts were nicely spaced and seemed to be a good number of people.  The ‘men 30+’ might have been a little large, but overall everything seemed to be going smoothly.  As usual, my wave was last and I got into the water and headed out to the starting line.  I had decided that this time I wasn’t going to hang back.  I’m a strong swimmer and it’s time to stop putting myself behind from the start.  I floated up to the front of the pack, and took a spot on the edge with a clear shot to the first buoy .   The countdown started and whoosh we were off.  And MAN was I off.  I set myself a pace like I had never set before and was happy to feel that I was holding my own fitness wise, and looked to only have only one person in front of me speed wise.  That lasted until the first buoy .  It seemed to take forever to get around the stupid thing, and people were catching up and passing me while I floundered!  I finally got around it and soon was headed toward the second marker.  Still I couldn’t seem to get a rhythm going.  It felt like I was swimming in slow motion. I had no idea where I was in the pack anymore, but it felt like last!  About half way through the straightaway I felt the muscle in both my gluts cramp.  I couldn’t believe it – this was not how I wanted to start this tri!  I relaxed and slowed down a little, grinding my teeth as more people passed me.  Slowing down seemed to ease the cramping so I put my head down and started swimming for real again.  It seemed to take forever to reach the second buoy , and I was so glad to finally reach it.  I had a line on the buoy  and was swimming toward it when suddenly I was on the wrong side of it!  I still don’t really know what happened.  I don’t know if a gust of wind took it, or someone kicked it, or what but I had to quickly reverse in the water in order to go around the correct side.  But, as I tried to swim around it, it just kept moving – at one point it actually went over the top of me!  I was so frustrated!  I finally got it straightened out and got around the stupid thing and headed to shore.  When I turned to shore I could actually see how many people were in front of me and I started to get discouraged.  The swim is supposed to be my strong suite, and yet here I was limping in at the back of the pack (or so it seemed).  I swam a bit to shore and that’s when it hit me.  My form… it sucked!  For some reason I had started focusing so hard on going fast, that I had let all I had learned about body rotation go out the window!  I quickly shifted into correct form and everything seemed to ‘click’.  I was breathing easier, passing people, and my stroke count was down.  I could visibly see the shore coming closer when I sighted.  I was kicking myself for screwing up something so simple, but at the same time, I was glad to have found the problem and had learned a valuable lesson.
Once out of the water it was a short run to transition.  I stripped the top half of my wetsuit off and jogged in, easily finding my bike.  I grabbed my swim towel and draped it over my head while I finished stripping my wetsuit.  Then I rinsed my feet, stood on my second towel, before packing my swim towel around my lower body to absorb some of the moisture while I put on bike shirt, helmet and sunglasses.  Then it was quick jump into bike shorts, socks, and shoes and I had my bike out and I was OFF! 
I felt good on the bike.  My husband and I had walked part of the bike course and I felt good about it.  I had talked to one of the other athletes while waiting for the swim start and she had said there weren’t many hills.  Just a short one about half way through and then it was all down hill from there.  Whew!  So I felt great, felt confident and best of all felt strong!  My bike seemed to be just EATING through the miles and a quick check of my GPS showed that to be true.  I had only been on the course for 12 minutes and I had already gone more then 2 miles!  This was going to be an epic bike day for me, I just knew it!  And the best part of all?  No one was passing in me!  Finally, I could see the hill in front of me.  It didn’t look bad, not bad at all!  And I faced it with confidence.  It didn’t even have to downshift all the way to get up it.  “Now it should be downhill” I thought to myself.  Only, hmm there was another hill.  To my surprise I caught up with a girl and passed her!?  And she said something to me about being “half way”  I checked my GPS.  “Not Quite… we’re just past 3 miles”
I kept rolling and soon found myself catching up to other people!  OMG I was actually catching people on the bike!  I put my head down and pushed and found I was closing the gap without wasting myself.  Then there was a turn and then I saw something that made my stomach drop.  It was a hill.  Not just a hill but a HILL.  It was steep, steeper then anything I’ve climbed before and it long… some claimed it was over a mile, I was too busy trying to survive it to clock it. 
I quickly downshifted and put my heart into making it to the top of the hill.  There were four people almost to the top of the hill that were pushing their bikes and two people who were right in front of me who, like me were down shifting and pedaling furiously.  The first one gave up about half way and started pushing.  The next made it just a little past her before she started pushing too.  I made it just past both of them before I couldn’t do it anymore and I stepped off my bike too.  We all put our heads down and gutted our way up that hill on foot.  It was brutal.  Even on foot I was barely managing a 23 min/mile pace!
But the end did come and the reward – an amazingly steep downhill!  I hopped on with a feeling of joy and hit the decline with all I had… only, crud, there’s a 90 degree turn at the bottom.. BRAKES!!!  I made the turn without a problem but was bummed that I didn’t get to use all of the hill the way I would have liked.  There was another wonderful quick decline with another 90 degree turn at the bottom and then the entire race changed!! 
Up till now the race had been on wide fire roads and even surface streets.  I had laughed a little at the “Mountain Bike” name of the tri up ‘til now.  But then, we were over a curb, back into the park and on a trail.  A REAL trail.  “this is interesting” I thought, before pelting through the brush and down the trail.  The trail widened a bit, went down a hill and, whoa!  There was water!  I slowed down and tried to see where the trail turned, but it didn’t.  There it was, on the other side of the rather wide, deep creek!  Did I mention I’ve never really road on trails before, much less crossed water on my bike!  I shrugged mentally and went for it.  I figured if I crashed, hey it was water, no biggie.  I did ok, actually.  But the water was deep enough to get my feet wet as I tried to pedal through.  And unfortunately I bogged trying to get back up out of the water and ended up having to put my food down, soaking both shoes and socks!
The rest of the race was just a blur of, ‘Oh Crap’ and ‘Weeeee!’ moments.  Every time I turned a corner there was something else I had never done before.  Ride my bike through river rock – done it now.  Down a hill with a ninety degree turn, that if you miss dumps you in the creek – done it now.  Over roots – done it.  Duck under trees while pedaling for your life – done it.  And through it all – I stayed ahead of the few people I knew were behind me!  I have to say, it was the most fun I had ever had on a bike, and while I won’t trade in my road bike, I can certainly say that there will be some single track in my future!
Once out of the trails and back on fire roads, I knew I had this bike ride beat.  I just tucked into my handlebars and road it the rest of the way into transition.
The transition to run was made very easy by wearing the same shoes for bike and run.  For modesty sake I stripped off my bike shorts and threw off a running skirt, but other then that, all I needed was to grab my Garmin and I was off.  Only... uh, where’s the run? I wandered around a little bit losing time before someone showed me where the run out from transition was and I was on my way.
I had no deletions about the run.  I knew I was tired and that most people would be outpacing me, but I was determined to hold noting back.  I settled into a pretty comfortable run/walk pattern that served me for the remained of the race.  The run was actually really nice.  With an out and back run you get to see people as they are finishing and most are friendly.  Smiling, nodding, cheering you on.  I just focused on keeping my feet moving and trying to relax to the finish.  I did occupy myself a little bit with noticing that the race seemed to be miss marked, and that the mile 1 marker was actually at 1.25 according to my Garmin, and every other mile marker was off a similar degree.  What really surprised me though was when I actually caught up to (and passed) an man and his son!  I had seen them during the ‘out’ portion of my run.  So I knew they had been quite a ways in front of me.  But here I was, passing them!  It was a GREAT feeling.  They eventually passed me again, as we came into the finish, but the fact that I had made up that much ground was enough to satisfy me.
I literally charged into the finish and was rewarded by loud cheers from everyone as I headed into the chute.  It felt fantastic to hear people yelling “Way to finish strong!”  and “Go Go Go!”  And better yet to finish and know that I had given EVERYTHING out on the racecourse. 
I needed a day like that…
And best of all was finding out I finished in 2:02:35!!!  (My last sprint finish was 2:21:17) Not a number I ever expected to see.  My training (and weight loss) is paying off!