Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ocotlllo Wells... such a lovely place

Ocotillo Wells is 90 minutes from where I live....straight out I8 toward Arizona....and it is an exit with a gas station, the Lazy Lizard Saloon and a County Park.

 But it is the start of a awesome bike I have done in 29 degrees and 120 degrees.    I have done the official century 3 times and unofficially 3 times.  All good memories with good friends.

My first Stagecoach was with Coach KP and another of his athlete's.  It was freezing cold and it was hard it was also my first Century  and I was really scared and excited.  I wanted to hang on and survive.  I wanted to show up and not stress like everyone else ...but I did not sleep well, was really nervous but had a ton of fun and learned first hand how effective drafting can be.

I don't have a lot of memories about the 2nd one.  The 3rd time was unofficial and it was in September as a really stupid  really genius idea for a Kona prep training day.  Ride 100 miles in the heat and then run 3 miles.  John, Tati and I left the house at 4:30 and were on out bikes at 6am/  It was close to 80 at 6am.   We rode out and was hot, Africa hot and we kept riding, stopped at all stops for ice, water, coke, salt and it was okay until the turn around. Head wind, 110 degrees and were were dying.. We stopped and refiled all liquids, poured ice down our clothes and hammered home.  Around the air strip I stopped a bit and as I skidded to a stop on the gravel and ate it.... slam, wham... dented helmet, torn hands and huge hemotoma on my thigh.  We rode back and it was not fun- we were hot and delirious and stopped at border patrol for electrolytes and they called us f'in crazy.    We made it back...and rolled into the gas station parking lot.  I took a car shower- ie dumped a huge bottle of water all over me and changed into fresh clothes.   By the time I got into the store I was feeling fresh and there was Tati splayed out on the floor - refrigerator door open enjoying the cold air with 2 bags of chips open shoveling them into her mouth and chugging a coke.  I roll in with a big hemotoma and bloody leg.  The guy behind the counter was laughing.... "geez I ain't never seen anything like this"   Needless to say we bagged the run... and swore we would never do that again.

ah beauty in Ocotillo

One year for 70.3 Worlds in Vegas it suddenly seemed like a good idea.... John said NO, no, no..... But Beth was game and KP was game (or came along to make sure we did not die) On our bikes 6am and it was close to 90..... 1st stop mile 35 and KP was not well-  we bought ice, took salt and were ready to roll.  KP decided to turn back as he was not feeling great.  Beth and I rolled on to 50 and turned around, as we passed the RV store we decided not to stop big big mistake as we figured we would stop at the airport.  Ugh....the airport store is closed in August because it is to f'ing hot to land a plane.  We were nearly out of fluids, 115 degrees and not good.  We found a hose with tepid water and we knew we had to fill up.  It was tough.. We headed on and it was ugly.  To summarize.... I was sure I wanted to lay down and take a nap under the tree on the side of road turns out the tree was a dandelion.  It was scary.... I was pushing up my bike up the hill and not sure I would make it.  Beth was awesome and we plugged along, shivering and seeing things. The mirage we thought was a mirage was really KP in his truck ..... saved us with air conditioning and cold drinks!

2013 as we drove out to the start there was snow on the Cajon pass.  Temp at the start was 27 degrees with a high of 41.  Hardly recognized anyone as we were bundled head to toe.  Amy, KP, John and I "survived"  Lesson of the day.... check your electronic shifting battery power-  died at mile 80.

Later in 2013 we did a sort of Century and Liz and I rode from home to Ocotillo Wells to camp...wrong turn added 20 miles and made our 85 miles 115 with a head wind...but was good fun.

2014 was the best....60 degrees and sunny at the start and was soon in the 70's - yes Jan 18th my friends.  I did not have my buddies to ride with but it was great fun..... good music and I jumped on a few wheels and red lined for 20 + miles on the way out- gasp.... recovered a bit and the found another wheel for a bit.  Final 15 miles raced a roadie... good times.    My VI was HIGH, not an ideal Ironman ride but a lot of fun.  Power file was all over.... but a solid day of fun.

Thanks for all the good memories....and I want to get back out there in May - before it is TOO hot for another killer Ironman training day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mid week riding.....

I am blessed, fortunate and spoiled
to sneak out to the Great Western Loop on a Tuesday!!  I know, I know....even if that means working until 8pm to make up for the fun,  GWL is my happy place,,,,even though I suffer (always) out there I LOVE it.  No stopping, lots of climbing and I have great memories....this last Tue there were just 2 of us and it was Santa Ana windy....headwind all the way out to Descanso and then yes sweet mary a tail wind most of the way back.  Skyline Trucktrail has whipping crosswinds- great practice for Havi like crosswinds.  I very rarely sit up on a descent but I was up right and on guard.  And it was fricking 80 degrees... crazy.  Really is it January? I actually used up 2 sunscreen bottles in the last week between masters and riding outside. Can you say Global Warming?  hello??  Polar what?

The other thing about GWL is you don't just ride with anyone out there....logistics are an issue and well it is my special place. So I am happy when I bring others to my playground and they suffer  and love it with me.   Thanks Les for the good company.   

With Starbucks being at the start and finish it works well.....I arrived early to do an east coast conference call pre- ride and within 10 minutes of finishing I had an iced latte and was working on an RFP.  Mobile offices are wonderful.... 

Tue AM (pre GWL) I coached an early AM run which included hill repeats.  Mako was in his glory...6am running, in the trails with lots of people,  He did pause at one point and watch them crest the hill and come back down- cocked his head "silly people going up and down the hills"  Okay...and he follows.  Not that I was doing repeats but I was able to do some running....John was there too - happy family running at sunrise!  

Going to start Tue AM runs as a ritual from Black Mountain Ranch.  Warm up on the dirt track and run hills.... see if it catches on.  If you are racing need to show up.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

On with 2014.....

I started my 2013 year in review blog...4 times and each time by the time August hit I was so depressed and was so tired of hearing myself complain that I finally deleted them all.  Who wants to read about pulled hamstrings, DNF, teenage crisis, torn meniscus, surgery, mom in hospital, mom out, mom in.....blah.....

See ya 2013....onto 2014! 

Regrettably mom kicked off 14 with another broken hip and another trip to the ER and now Skilled Nursing...but things are looking up. Teenage shenanigans made for a long and sleepless NY Eve but everyone was safe and we were all just  bit more tired...the long night + mom care called for a cancellation of my Epic NY Day ride of 103 miles and MT Laguna.  I did actually start the ride but instead home from El Cajon....Epic in a very different way.

Here we are Jan 12 and thinks are looking up.... in most ways.  Riding and swimming A LOT.  Running...not to much. The PRP did not give the the relief and pain free running I was so sure the Dr promised it hoped to.... I am doing some running, very little and in some pain.  I am doing a lot of ART,icing and lacrosse ball rolling - which seems to be the most beneficial.  So if you see me getting gas, rolling my foot. in line at the store, rolling my foot- any spare time I pull out the ball and roll the foot.  As for racing in 2014...who knows -  at this pace I cannot see Oceanside happening. After a disappointing 12 and 13 of racing I am not up for anther sub standard race due to injury - I would rather coach and cheer on my athletes.

Coaching is rocking right now....more 1:1 athletes than ever before + a group training for Oceanside, as well as Masters and 1:1 swim clients.  My Sundays are now a work day.... usually 2-3 lessons and then scheduling for the week- I will gladly give up my Sunday to coach if I can still sneak out to GWL on Tuesdays for some East County Fun,

Have been riding with some new friends this year, as well as old friends and this is what I love so much about this sport..... fun times on the bike- pain, suffering, bitching, solving world problems.... it's all good.  Driving to Encinitas at least 2x week for masters to thoroughly get my rear kicked.  Last Sunday 25 x 200- this simply cannot be done on my own.  So in any case....swimming is good! 

Holidays were fun filled with family, riding bikes, drinking eggnog, experimenting with healthy Christmas Cookies....good times in 70 degree weather.

So for now....keep riding and swimming!  Coaching and working a lot at my real job- enjoying what I can do and demoing Mountain Bikes.... I wanted to do some road racing by my loving and dedicated husband frankly said he would have a hard time supporting that the inherent risk of crashing.  While he tolerates ALOT I felt it far to hear is concern...he suggest mountain bikes. Ok cool..... now the daunting yet fun task of what bike - hard tail or full suspension, how big, how heavy.... Bike shop guys says do you think you will race?  Um yes..will not be doing this for my health only.  So..... any thoughts on what kind of bike is Xterra is in my future as well as maybe Leadville? 

So....there you have it - onward to 2014!

As for Plantar is a MFer!  I have tried night splint, ART, Ultrasound, PRP, taping, Hoka's, OTC Orthotics and now custom on order orthotics is getting better- slooooowly.... but really! 

Highs of 2013....Crossfit too bad it is also a low but we are not going there, being Vegan for a month, going Paleo for a month, discovering juicing, spending New Years Eve in Cambodia with my family, a husband who sticks with me through the highs and lows,  fun summer week Tahoe, Costa Rica with my hubby,  great bonding with my daughter,  seeing my son mature- still struggling but he is launched, watching my athletes race and achieve goals, meeting new friends, buying 8 acres for our next home, earning my Newton Run Coaching Certification, winning my AG at Vineman, coaching masters at Frogs, racing and traveling with friends,  GWL (always a high), Nytro and Betty Designs for sponsorship ....many more I am sure

Lows of 2013...never mind 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Masters Swimming

It has often been said that the best way for triathletes to improve their swimming is to join a Masters swimming team, I regularly get resistance from my athletes, particularly those for whom swimming is a weakness, to try Masters swimming.

Masters swimming is basically swim team for adults. You have a coach who gives you a workout and stroke instruction and you have people to swim with who can help keep you motivated. Admittedly, not all Masters Programs are created equally. There are good ones and not so good ones, but if you have access to a good Master’s program and you are not taking advantage of it, you are really missing out on an excellent opportunity to improve your performance. Swimming is much more technical than cycling and running. Technique makes a big difference in both speed and required effort. In other words, better technique means you go faster with less effort.

While the swim portion of a triathlon is short compared to the amount of swimming and running, is importance should not be discounted. Every second counts and at some point improvements in running and cycling become extremely difficult. Mentally, there is also a difference between “surviving” and “racing.” If the swim is something you just get through you are surviving; not racing. Swimming is also low impact and puts nowhere near the kind of stresses on your body that running does.

I encourage all triathletes, especially if you are racing 70.3 or longer, to try a masters programs for a minimum of 3 months.  I guarantee you with a minimum of 3 swims per week you will see rapid gain.  Add a few 1:1 lessons to ensure your technique is ok and stick with it.  

1-      Money….how much do you spend on biking and running?  How much do you spend on race fees?  Most masters programs are $45-60 a month.   If money is tight where can you cut- skip a few lunches out or scale back your entertainment.
2-      Time- most masters programs offer early AM (5:30 and 6:30) am workouts and pm workouts- before or after work. Many offer lunch (if you have that flexibility) Most programs allow 1 week or a few free workouts to give it a try.  Some offer reasonable drop in fees-   But be sure to commit.
3-      I am not a good swimmer….EVERY program has beginner lanes.  Introduce yourself to the coach, explain you are new to Masters and any good coach will be helpful.  Ask questions, when you see the workout on the board and it looks foreign- ask a lane mate or the coach to interpret “masters speak” 

Any more….send them to me and we can talk.   Questions…..  Information on 1:1 lessons, please email me as well. 

Happy Swimming in 2014!