Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ready to race....

Yes and no....but it is always that way. Usually this time of year I am wishing I had done a sprint or club race to dust off the cobwebs, practice transitions, remember what it is like to do all 3 sports etc...but alas with a few days to race day does not seem likely.  The good news is I always seem to remember what to do and what not to do.  I have a really detailed, sort of ridiculously detailed, race check list and I have a ritual of printing it out and highlighting each item just to be sure I am not forgetting anything. 

Already bought the organic beef for Thursday- always have 48 hours before a race and salmon at least 2x in the week.  Fueling the body as best I can. That along with Airborne, Wellness Formula and Zinc!

See as the race gets closer, the brain does not work as effectively and such lists are critical.  And maybe because I am getting so darn old, my memory is slipping :) But getting old rocks in this sense....yeah baby I am lining up 7 minutes later then ever before in the W45-49 age group.  So many friends are racing W40-44 and I am very happy to watch them start without me.  For those you non-trigeeks, see aging up means a new age group and that means the competition is less, well sometimes, or it seems that way.  Looking up past races, I see that even the old chicks 45-49 were under 5 hours- so maybe this is all an illusion to me.  But I am believing it anyway and being happy about that!

Super psyched to be racing with 5 other Nytro Women!  So fun to see teammates out there- it makes the race more entertaining. And then there are so many of my friends- it will be like a huge group workout, except we will be staggered, competing against each other and most likely suffering a whole lot more than on any given workout- bottom line- racing!  But it's a lot more fun when you are looking for friends, waiving and encouraging each other on the course.

I love this race...it was my first 70.3, 4 years ago- hard to believe!  Time flies-  so at least my worries are not about not finishing, got that one figured out.  What are the worries....oh so many- pacing, nutrition, weather, cold, cold, cold... yes O'side can be cold and based on our recent weather it may be really cold.  Water 57 degrees and air not much warmer- but heck as with any race, we all have the same conditions to battle.  It will be what it will be.

  I know the course, so that takes a lot of anxiety away... water start and the wave start is a pain because within 500 meters I start swimming over people who are slower and then on the way back swimming over more people from 2 waves up. But I guess it could be worse..I could be swam over.  Sighting is tough due to the sun in your eyes on the way back (hopefully there will be sun) but soon enough you are following the shoreline, then the dock and finally seeing the crowd and running up the ramp. The swim is fast 26-27 minutes is nothing compared to an IM.

T1- is tough as hands and feet are frozen and they don't work well...always a decision to be made- arm warmers? vest? socks?  I bring them all and usually leave them in T1- but if its cold I am taking the extra seconds to be warm.  And then on the bike...roll around the marina, wicked steep hill up towards Pendleton and settle in.  The 1st half is relatively flat and time to get the HR down and stay aero. Around the 1/2 mark is the 1st of the 3 climbs and this is when the race gets fun- I am a climber and like the hills.  The 1st hill is no biggie and many are hammering up past me, I dial in my power and do my own climbing.  By the 3rd hill the people who hammered up the 1st few are a heck of alot slower and probably regretting the 500watt surge to get up the hill.  As KP says- you start the race with a box of matches and every time you surge you light a match- the question is when will you run out of matches and you don't want to go for a match on the run and find the box empty.  The last 10 miles is flat and can be fast, ie tail wind, or slow, ie head wind, on Vandergrift- I have had both. By this time I am ready to get off the bike.....

T2 and off on the run- I hear they have taken out the running in the sand portion- thank goodness!   2 laps and race is over....the run course is all concrete which is not good but is great for seeing your friends on the course and spectators.   The 1st lap is usually fine and then the 2nd lap is when the suffering settles in and the conversations begin-how much can I suffer and for how long?  Gotta love it!  Really I do -  yup we pay for this entrainment.

Great finish line...huge crowds and long and flat!  And its noontime- such a bonus vs near dark at an IM.  Then the fun begins, connecting with all my friends, celebrating, eating etc.... going to be a great day....

as long as I don't get what John has (has been sick for 4 days), my IT Bands release,  the rest of the fatigue settled in my legs go away....and the list goes on.  Usual race week doubts and fears! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lady Gaga.... and Riley

Well I pulled off a big surprise and it was sensational.....I was invited to the Lady Gaga concert in Las Vegas a few months back.  When offered I thought about and then asked if possible to bring a guest and if that guest could be my daughter.  The answer was yes and I decided to tuck the secret away for a while. 

Fast forward a few months and the invite was still open and I decided to commit, book flights and make it official.  So then I sat on it and pondered how to let her know.  I waited and wanted to think about how to pull it off.  The only snag was when the dates came out for Riley's HS Lacrosse Tournament...wouldn't you know her all day tournament is the day after the concert! What??? I had booked flights and was planning a girls weekend.  Okay, regroup and rebook a 7am flight home Saturday AM! 

So as the date approached I let the secret out to family and a few friends..and of course had to tell her brother.  While he has no interest in Lady Gaga the bigger issue was his 14yo sister was going to a big time concert before he had the privilege.  He was eventually okay with it, but still rubbed a bit I am sure.

So here is how it went down....I sent a note to the office requesting she be released 15 minutes early from her last class on Friday afternoon.  Meanwhile I had packed a bag and did my best to pick an outfit most appropriate for an event like this. (and I will have you know I did just fine)  She texts me as she is leaving the class, worried that something is wrong.  She also texted JD to see if "mom was picking him up to?" 

She slides in the car, worried and perplexed.  I let her know I am kidnapping her to go to Lady Gaga in Vegas, tonight.  She is stunned, No, really?  Yes, really.  No really?  Yes, really...and off we go. She is shocked, elated and as excited as I had hoped.

Delayed flight but no worries..we bought snacks, Seventeen Magazine (something not usually my mojo) and we chilled.  Landed in Vegas by 7:00 and the hotel had sent a limo for us....she was dying. Gold stretch Limo.  Loved that she is texting her friends.".in the limo on the way to the hotel to see Lady Gaga"   Let me digress - I am not this indulgent nor would go to such excess for a 14yo but this is one of the perks/benefits of the industry I am in.  We were guests for much of this trip. 
In the limo heading to the MGM
We arrive, change in 10 minutes- miraculous time and meet your hostess for dinner. After a sensational dinner at Diego at the MGM Grand we were off to see the master..... First off the crowd, people watching was sensational.  So many were decked out in Lady Gaga wigs, dresses, boustier's and hot pants, boots, as many costumes as you can imagine- well except for the raw meat - no one dared to emulate that one.
Ready to see her!
She was to start at 9 and we arrived shortly before then and the auditorium was packed- 14,000 screaming fans- sold out crowd.  She started fashionably late and was everything we hoped for and more.   Outfits lived up to the hype, her music was sensational, staging outrageous, back up dancers ripped and talented and she is a master!  LG talks to the crowd, is incredibly passionate about homeless youth and especially youth who are kicked out of their homes because of the sexual preference.  Her message is strong- be who you are and be proud of it.  There is room in the world for all of us. 

As much as I loved LG watching Riley was every bit as fun- on her feet screaming and dancing the entire show.  As she replayed her videos she was laughing because most of what she heard was herself screaming at the top of her lungs.   She was one happy kid!  And I was glad to be there with her.

12:30 we fell into bed and were jolted awake at 5am.....3 lacrosse games!  Lots of caffeine worked for me and being 14 worked for Riley!  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Zen is fat!

Just kidding - this is not Zen (yet)
More on the dog.....I knew he was looking portly and my family disagreed.   Well the scale tells all and at 65lbs he is 4lbs overweight- some may say that is not much, but at 60lbs that is nearly 10% of his weight. John says he looks good, he is happy, let him be fat.  Odd for someone who is not tolerant of weight!  Anyway, I disagree - why have a fat dog! 
Zen in his current state - worn our from the vet

Why is he fat....as if you care. 
1- he refuses to run more than 12 minutes- well he used to run 45-60 minutes, so let's see his exercise has diminished by 30 + minutes a day
2- his cup of food AM and PM is the same size- same food less running
3- his afternoon walk used to be twice as long and he is happy to do the short loop and come home or roam around the park and come home
4- too many leftovers, snacks and treats

Not rocket science here.... I know why he is fat- and he is begs.  Fat, begging dogs are not cute. Sort of like some behaviours of little kids- very cute at 2 years old, not so cute at 7. 

Zen's other issue has been resolved, the one I blogged about a while back and received much feedback and many requests to not blog about that again.  Funny that the grosses subject attract the most attention... In any case- the Vet helped him out.

She also noticed his gate was  bit off and did some prodding and range of motion tests and discovered he has some pretty serious hip pain and back arthritis.  Once again, less weight = less strain on his joints.   But he is again....yes indeed.  His paws are grey and his chin is quite grey.

We also think he maybe allergic to lavender...my new laundry soap which I love- all natural with lavender.  Seems it is a very common allergen for dogs.  He has hot spots all over, which he gets a few times a year, and we never know the cause- but are usually seasonal. 

So there you have it $127 and he is cleansed and loaded up on steroids and antibiotics. 

Taper time...really?

Oceanside 70.3 is officially less than 2 weeks away..that is within sight. 70.3 is a 1/2 Ironman for those wondering and is my first big race of 2011!   Sat, April 2nd!  Bright and early in the still very chilly ocean for a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride through Camp Pendleton and a 13.1 mile run along the boardwalk and through the neighborhoods of Oceanside.

This close in we have really passed the date to add fitness so the feeling is that the work is in the bank, so to speak.  Not likely to get fitter, faster, stronger before race day.  While that should be a good feeling- it is in fact a scary feeling. There is nothing I can do- well there is actually- I can over train and sabotage the race.  Yes it can be done- I've done it.  Racing really tired sometimes works but no so much for me.  So my training plan is a lot of frequency but not a lot of intensity, well actually not any that I can see, relax and rest up from the big training that I have done. This is a long taper for me- mandated recommended by KP after some big training I have done.  My body is fired up and ready to race tired and carrying a lot of fatigue....so the goal is to be fired up and ready to race come April 2nd.

The good news is I have time to get there....less activity is nerve racking and worrisome.  Will I gain 10 lbs in 10 days....not likely but feels like it when the volume is cut back. 

Extra work is a good idea...yeah work hard, earn some more money! I'll get right on that tomorrow :)  What less training means is making breakfast for my kids, more energy during the day, although I still like to be in bed by 9- sorry just do! Okay 8:30 really but that just seems so early.  But more sleep is a good idea to ensure good health for race day!

I did lay down a solid swim today!  9x500- with a quite a bit of intensity. Testing out swimming on my own- While swimming is my strength it is my least favorite training element.  I have logged thousands of hours in a pool and every additional can be painful.  Swim in the OW you say- well I am a total wimp with cold water and the water is cold right now!   So back to masters...I go because it gets me to swim and it motivation but as of late I find I am tired of driving there, paying for parking and then I get sooo frustrated when workouts include kicking- come on, my legs are generally shot and I want to rest my legs, and then the breastroke and backstroke are just not what we do.

I solidly believe that as triathletes we need to be swimming freestyle and a lot of it- if you log 12-15,000 yards free and want to swim more- then add some other strokes.  And I like to do 40-50% of my work out with paddles and buoy.  I realize masters is for swimmers and not triathletes so I don't fault the program- it is me with the issue.  And I can only modify the workout so much without really annoying others in my lane. So I am going to let my membership lapse, after all I can always go back.  My fear is that I will not get my arse to the pool and get the job done.  I know there are some other great programs more triathlete specific but again they involve more driving and well at $4+/gallon I am taking notice.  The other factor it that not having to get up and out the door early makes mornings less stressful with the family and I get the bonus of 10-15 minutes with my teenagers. 

So that was a lot of rambling on swimming...Oh one more piece- come race day, I love the swim!  So it's not all bad.  I am really hoping that at O'side this year, I also love the run :)    

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blogging break....

Blogging every day or every other day is easy. I get in a groove and think about what I want to write while I am running or swimming and then I go home and write away.  And then every once in a while I think, do I write too much, is it getting boring and I contemplate what I should write about. How do I make it more interesting but then I remember this is my blog- it's really for me.  People can read or not read - it's not like I get paid or critiqued - well maybe I do get critiqued and you just kindly keep the criticism to yourself. Although that is not entirely true...i get anonymous criticisms. Some give me pause and others I think gee, tell me your name. 

In any case...clearly I have been thinking and not blogging. And the longer that goes on the harder it gets to write because so much has happened.  So I just pick up and go, is what I am thinking.  I don't want to relive via writing the last 10 days nor does anyone want to read it.

FORE ...that is a golf term for my readers (whom I assume most are not golfers) well in any case golf is front and center around this house.  JD went through a major transformation in the fall- quitting soccer (which he has played since he was 5) and was playing at a high level- his team just moved up to Premier, and he quit lacrosse, after playing for 5 years and making Varsity last year.  Lots of reasons why and not for public reading....in any case he decided to pursue or pick up golf.

He has played off and on since he was little thanks to my Mom and Billy, who live on a course, play every day, love the country club and cannot understand why everyone else does not love and live for the game.  So he has exposure, experience but never played consistently.  Well back in November he decided to get his game on, so to speak, and see if he could make the golf team. There is no JV so it was Varsity or bust.  The kid was committed, played nearly every day, weekends, hung out with the 70+ crowd at the club taking lessons, accepting advice and working on his game.  After 9 days of tryouts he made it!  With a team of 8 there is not much room for new kids - the other 7 returned from last year.  So he is a golfer now.... the funny thing about golf if you have to iron your clothes, dress nicely and be on time are just a few of the positives.

Never did I think my 16yo would be asking for a ironing board in his room and spray starch!  Good on ya JD.  So off he goes each day playing at various Country Clubs around the county.  I am most impressed at his drive and personal commitment to this - it is all him.  And speaking of driving..thank goodness he does or he would not be playing.

Meanwhile Riley is loving JV Lacrosse.   2 games, 2 wins and 5 goals for her.  She leaves the house at 7:45 and is not home before 7 most nights- but is motivated and happy. She slams down dinner, shower and homework until 10 or so.  School is going well and she is in such a great space we are all loving it.

So that leaves a lot of time for me....kind of funny the after school connection is gone and often they are not home until after dinner and close to my bed time.  The nest is feeling empty at times.  I am adjusting my schedule to see them when I can, albeit it for 5 minutes in the AM- hey it is better than 0.  And I have 2 dinners since they both come home starving but a few hours apart- so at least I can chat with them for a bit.  

I started coaching for the Tri Club a the JCC- Mon or Wed swim workouts and I am loving it but think it may be too much too soon.  The kids schedules are fluid and I want to be at games or home when they are home (since that is so infrequent)  Twice now I have had to beg another coach to cover for me - definitely not cool, but I need to manage the family.  I think I am going to have to stop for now- in a few years I will be very free! But for now- I need to see my kids when I can.  I did commit to help with the Beginner Swim at the Cove a a few Friday's a month.  That I can do as Friday's there are no sports and the kids are usually busy.  I tried....

Training...yes I am training. Now that I am out of the camp hole I put myself in I am logging some good hours before it is taper time.  Oceanside 70.3 is (gulp) 2 weeks and 2 days away.  Where did all the time go?  The big week I hoped for this week was modified- had to listen to my old body begging for recovery time.  So we will roll out a good block and then it is what it is.  I am missing my riding buddies...between camp and recovery I have not been on the roads catching up, shooting the you know what and having fun.   Soon I hope....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cool pictures from Camp

Long pull set at UCSD...nice to have a photographer

Climbing up 78- sensational day

Back at the pool logging another 5000+ yard workout

Training Camps....when do they start and end

Having never really done a training camp I was not sure what to expect overall- other than many hours in the pool, on the bike and running. That expectation was clearly met and exceeded.  Going into the camp my coach had me back off a few days to ensure I was not tired.  But coming off a big week previously I cannot say I was fresh, but I was eager to train and feeling good.

Looking back I realize I did not fuel properly for the work done- eating a big breakfast is key to 5-6 hour training days.  Once the training begins it becomes very difficult to keep up with the calories.  With 60-90 minutes between sessions I was not able to eat much real food and thus was not able to stay properly fueled.  I started each day with 200k Oatmeal and a Venti Latte, next time I would look for 5-700k to get ahead of the day, much like when I am racing.   I would have filled my bottled with more liquid calories vs solid food.  I generally train with solids but as the day goes on nothing really tastes good or they all begin to taste the same, gooey, sweet, processed and I eat less.  On the 3rd day after the bike,run and swim I was so hungry and tired I just wanted to lay down-  I forced a good meal of carbs and protein at 4:00 and then managed a huge dinner at 6.  Waking up at 3am starving most nights was another indication I was not eating enough.

Poor planning on day 4 was my mistake and I did the an OW swim and 14 mile run on a few gels. Thankfully there was a mobile bike repair guy was set up on Torrey Pines who was offering bananas and water so I was saved on my run.  Post run and post camp I started eating and don't think I stopped until Wednesday night.  

The other unexpected component is the delayed fatigue.  Monday I felt tired and spent in a good way.  Tuesday I went for a great run was so so pleased to have absorbed the work and was ready to start building.  Wednesday all bets were off....tired and sluggish, still starving and my swim was slow.  When I tried to pick up the pace it was not there so I paid attention and backed off and made it a nice hour recover swim.  On the bike, the fatigue was apparent in my legs and I assumed after 20 min or so it was ease off.  Not happening...low HR, tired legs and climbing out of the neighborhood felt like I was climbing GWL.

At this point the little voice in my head is saying something is not right here...I am looking ahead at my schedule which includes 4 hour ride, bike intervals, 1/2 Marathon race on Sunday and I realized I had to reach out to my coach. I knew once I raised my hand that something was "off" my training would back off. Here is the conflicting part...I know, listening to my body, this is what needs to happen, but mentally I don't want it to happen. I want to be able to be building up, racing on Sunday and rolling into O'side.  Here is when having a coach is critical, for me.  I would be tempted to roll along  with training as planned and potentially sabotage all the hard work I did at camp and possibly enter my race fatigued. 

So...my weekend of long riding and racing is now a total recovery weekend.  Am I happy about that - NO, is it the right thing to do, Yes (I think) So I am posting this and saying it!

And once again...what has been most neglected- my run!  The idea was solid camp would lift bike and swim fitness- accomplished!  Then I would back it up this weekend with a 1/2 marathon. But not happening...I did run alot in camp but nothing of real quality- hard to get good quality runs after hammering rides and long swims (well at least for me) Hey, here is an idea- don't hammer the ride?  One of these times I will get it right.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Training Camp..... Ugh! I mean Yeah!!

Big training.....Big weekend....Big fun....Not Big people but Fun People.....

PacWest, out of San Francisco, put on it's 1st Annual San Diego Training Camp! Perfect prep for O'side 70.3. 

The camp was based at the La Jolla Shores Hotel- beautiful spot in La Jolla and a nice place to be based for 4 days of pain  awesome training.

So camp began Thur AM with a 1 hour run- steady pace.  1 hour break and then we had s short break and then we headed to UCSD for a 5000k+ workout.  Ugh.... short break and on the bikes for a solid 3 hour ride- goal was zone 2, ease into it but there was a lot of pent up energy and it was an off and on hammer fest...thank goodness the ride was up the coast so there were stop lights to quell the craziness.  There were 22 peeps in PacWest cycling kits and me the lone Nytro girl. Sort of like Where's Waldo in the pack.

I  finished, changed in the parking lot and jumped in the car, fought rush our traffic and made it home just in time for a school meeting, with a quick stop for a Venti Latte with an extra shot.  Tumbled into bed and up at 5:30 for day 2.

Rolled from La Jolla Shores for a 4+hour ride- ride should not have been too crazy but maps were not handed out and the leaders, fast dudes, did not know the route so it was up to me. Nothing like pushing 300+ watts, 170bpmHR to catch up to call out the next turn....It took all I had to keep the ride on track. I loved it  Lunch and back to UCSD for another 90 min, 5000+ yard workout.  Swim done, shoes on and an hour run...the awesome part of the run was it finished running down La Jolla Shores Drive to the hotel.  1 hour and then dinner. 

 Newton Running sponsored out dinner and it was a lot of eating before everyone settled in for some social time. We were all so thrilled to see food not in a package or food that was no sugary sweet. Keith Simmons, owner of Xterra Westsuits and now President of Newton joined us as well. Fun to hear more about Newton. I love the shoes...but have to say I am finishing a week running in my  Zoot Ultra Tempo and I love, love them!  They are light and super comfortable.  I have to lube my foot with Aquaphor as I ease into the no socks, but I have put 50+ miles on them in 10 days and they feel good. I am excited to finally be sock free come race day.  Once we filled up with food, had a beer and some good conversation we were headed to bed and fast.  8:30 I think and I was horizontal and happy. I checked into the hotel for Friday and Saturday, as the training got longer I needed a room for downtime and less driving.

Up and rolling at 7 for 90 mile ride- this time everyone had maps and a preride talk!  We rode through RB and up 78 to Ramona and everyone loved the ride.  Close to 70 degrees and sensational day. The descent down Highland Valley was fun for all and we slogged it back to LJ. Around 75 our small group was bonking hard...so we detoured to Chevron and powered through a big bottle of Coke- Ironman style. We took turns pulling home and we made it!  

30 min run off the bike, 30 min swim and and hour to chill out and eat!  Then it was off to dinner at KI's in Encinitas. Thank you Blue Bikes and Speedfil for the grilled mahi mahi and chicken tacos. So funny we all drag into Ki's and everyone lights up because the food is ready. Piles upon piles and we are happy once again!  Good fun, fast bikes and cook insight into the newest Speedfil product coming out in June.

In bed by 8:30- Yes!   Bummer was I was up at 12, 2 and 4 for a long time...sort of that post race feeling- dead tired, lots of adrenaline surging through your body, too much caffeine. All I wanted was to sleep.... Sunday was a late day- we had to be suited up by 8. First time in my new Zoot Prophet Wet Suit - it was comfy!  I would have been happy to suit up and then take it off, but we had a 2 mile OW swim planned.  All I can say is the Ocean is still wicked cold!  Swimming to the Cove was ok but about 1/2 way back feet went numb and I was shivering.  The good news is I love the wetsuit- 1st time wearing it and no hickies on my neck, ez to get off.  In fact I had a wicked fast transition and was into the hot tub. 

Coach had to drag us out for the final fun- 14 mile run up La Jolla Shores and down Torrey and then back. Thank goodness for some great conversation, good company and the random aid station by a bike mechanic- on the verge of bonking but saved by a banana! 

All said and done....22 hours in 4 days and I was baked. Ice bath, hot shower and headed home...stopped at Peet's for large Mocha and then to Whole Foods.  I sampled all that there was and ended up with Kale Salad, BrusselZoot Compression Tights, pink Crocs, hoodie and a beanie I was ready to drive home and return to my family! 

We celebrated Mom's 77th birthday with grilled lamb, thanks to JD, and a delicious lemon and whipped cream cake thanks to Riley!   Curried yams and Parmesan roasted brussel sprouts thanks to me.   A team effort, nice family night and I was in bed by 9- score!!!
Woke up today missing my PacWest buddies..but secretly happy to not be swimming, biking or running. Today was all about eating...seriously I need to stop :) 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Call the fashion police

I am tired of cold feet after my ride, walking the dog, sitting at my desk......we are suffering with 40 degree weather here in San Diego (get out the violin) and my feet have been cold since Christmas.  Maybe because I really don't own socks, maybe.  In any case after riding when my feet are numb, despite socks and toe warmers I want warm shoes!  So after much searching I found the solution... the first 10 shoes I found that looked really warm and were slip ons were for kids aged 3-5.  Hmmmm maybe this is not an adult fashion.

But thanks the the www I was able to find grown up mammoth crocs.  These were on clearance if you can believe it.  My color choices were black (scary looking) or these delightful pink and brown crocs.   My outfit of late has been compression tights and my crocs.

As I breezed out the door to run a few errands, JD says "are you really going shopping like that?"  I reviewed my outfit and well 1- my legs were killing me from all the running and 2- my feet were so warm  so yes was the answer.  I put on a mid thigh purple gortex jacket to make the outfit.   I was warm and comfy.  I must admit that I do see people glance at the shoes and then do a double take- as if, are those for real.  See they are ginormous- to have the fuzzy lining they had to make the uber wide.  Crocs are not exactly known for the slimming foot look anyway.

So one more addition to my tri-geek wardrobe.