Friday, June 29, 2007

Obviously I bought the photo

But I totally couldn't wait to share it.

The middle picture - the kid in the center is mine.

He's seven.

I made him start his race with the 11 and 12 year olds because...well, that middle picture says it all, doesn't it?

He would be a danger to other seven year olds.

Oh, so cool! I met a guy whose sons race, and his youngest just outgrew his tiny, 43-cm road bike. A little red, white and blue Trek.

Obviously I bought it from him for Gabriel. Unfortunately, Gabriel's got to grow a few inches before he can fit on this bike.

I love my little racer!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm tired


Remember how I was just saying I want to race again, soon?

Yeah, whatever. I'm so tired.

The weird thing is, I'm getting up on time, working out as normal - yesterday I did the strenuous ride, today I ran for 80 minutes with Shona, who is faster than most of the other girls so we did a faster pace than usual - plus we did a three-mile long hill. Uphill, of course.

And I felt great in hot yoga today and burned a ton of calories (400 for the hour, just like running only hotter!).

But the minute I get home from work, I want to eat dinner then go to bed. It's 8:22 p.m. and completely light out - this time of year, it's light until 10 - and I'm dying for it to be 8:30 so I can put the kids to bed and go to bed myself.

I'm going to tell myself I'm saving up for a big weekend of dancing and riding.

But more likely, I need some recovery time from the HIM. I went back and read blog posts from before; the last time I felt like this was after the NY marathon. My body is recovered, my muscles feel good, but there's an overall tiredness inside me.

Good night!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

No Lake Stevens

Thanks for your advice on whether I should do the Lake Stevens 70.3. I decided not to for the following reasons:

1) $200 is a lot of money. I could definitely spend it on something else - like dying my hair auburn and pink. (July 7, and yes, there will be pictures.)
2) I'm on a post-race high. Every time I complete a race, I just want to race some more - but that doesn't mean it's good for me and my ultimate goal!
3) Mandatory bike racking on Saturday would mean three hours in the car Saturday, only to be repeated on Sunday.
4) The race start is 6:30 a.m. Too freaking early. I'd have to get a hotel up there like I did last year, and I don't want to do that. I only want to travel to somewhere cool, not somewhere an hour and 15 minutes away.
5) I really want to race the weekend of July 28 - I think that's perfect timing to test out anything different I might do on The Big Day.

So, I can't find a half-Ironman for July 28, but there is the mid-summer triathlon just outside Portland. Portland is a cool city, plus they have a sprint duathlon my husband can do, and a kids' tri for Gabriel. So I'm envisioning a long weekend of coffee shops, great bookstores, and a day full of races for the whole family. Nice, huh?

Today I biked to work and tried to drop my husband to prove how strong I am and he isn't. I failed, actually - apparently the 30 lbs he's lost has put his bike fitness up where mine is, possibly even greater. So then he came with me on the Cascade bike club's strenuous ride - 18-21 mph on the flats, but we only ride hills - and he held his own with the guys. As usual I was back-of-the-pack with this group, but they didn't have to wait for me so it was all good.

So actually, that's pretty cool - I'm glad he's becoming a stronger cyclist. I knew it would happen (though I am surprised at how fast it happened) and now it means I don't have to worry about him wanting to come on my training rides and holding me back. In fact, it might be me holding him back if not now, soon!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lake Stevens, take two?

As much as it's always a downer to come home after a short vacation - especially a good one - I'm feeling alright. I ran with the girls this morning - just six miles, but I felt normal - then went to work and had a regular day. My legs are still a little bit sore, but I'm already thinking about the next race.

In theory, it was to be the Desert Half in Osoyoos; that bike course goes on part of the Ironman Canada course, so I thought it would be a good race to do. But I don't feel like traveling in two weeks again, so now I'm thinking either no race or Lake Stevens, again.

See, I'm getting people congratulating me on taking 41 minutes off my half-Ironman time. And I agree, that sounds big - but given the easy easy bike course at Pac Crest this year, I know it's not really the same.

But if I went out and did sub-6 at Lake Stevens...well, that would be a whole different story, wouldn't it?

Really, the only thing holding me back is the $200 entry fee. That's a lot of cash for a race I don't really need.

But maybe I will do it anyway. I need to decide soon; there are only a few slots left, the web site says.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Pacific Crest Half-Ironman Race Report

I'm so excited about this that I can't wait to deliver the goods. Inevitably this will be an incredibly long race report, so I'll tell you the best part first: My finish time was 5:52:00.


The race began at 9 a.m., and I was in the first wave. I told my hubby and the kids that I wouldn't be at the finish line until 3 p.m., maybe 3:30, so don't bother to come earlier. I didn't want the kids waiting in the sun, bored, whining, etc.

Well, John and the kids went for ice cream some time before 3, then were on their way to the finish line when they heard my name called! I never would have known they weren't there all along, though - I was completely out of it by then, and they were right there when the volunteer was cutting off my chip strap.

So now that the exciting part is out of the way, here are the details in proper order.

First, this race was on my schedule for two primary reasons: The bike course goes 30 miles up the side of Mount Bachelor and typically it's really hot here in Sunriver, OR in June.

Well, due to road construction, the bike course was completely re-worked for this year only, and the weather was perfect - meaning, mid-60s at the high point and not in the least bit hot.

I wanted a hard climbing bike course and hot weather to help prepare me for Ironman Canada. Barring that, the weekend became a family getaway - Gabriel did the kids Splash, Pedal and Dash yesterday, coming in 174th out of 411 - and that includes kids from age 5 to 12, and he's 7! - John is doing an Olympic-distance duathlon tomorrow, and both Gabriel and Camille are going to do a half-mile run tomorrow.

So that left today's half-Iron for me. I didn't taper much, though I didn't work out last week like I planned due to other life stress. But I felt okay going into the weekend.

After I prepared all my bags, bottles, and bars Friday night I took a couple of Tylenol PMs and immediately felt drowsy and slept wonderfully for eight hours, despite going to bed at 9:30 when it was still light out.

I got up at 5:10 and decided not to shower. Usually before I race I like to shower, but honestly I wanted to stay in bed a few more minutes. In retrospect I'm glad I didn't shower, because I wouldn't have dried my hair and it would have FROZE. Seriously.

I ate a cherry Pop-Tart, a banana, and three ounces of turkey breast for breakfast. Plus coffee, of course, and I sipped on a bottle of water. Pop-Tarts are totally ridiculous, but when else do I get to eat stuff like that?

Danielle is here too - we're staying in this big gorgeous house with both of our families - so both of our husbands got up to drive us to T2 at 5:50 a.m.

T1 and T2 are in two different places, as the bike course is still point-to-point. We could have set up our T2 stations on Friday, but we didn't bother, and again, I was glad - it was so cold that there was frost on the ground, and I didn't think my running shoes needed to be outside overnight and get dewy. We quickly set up T2 as our toes went numb from the cold - it was maybe in the mid- to high 30s. That's what you get when there's no cloud cover, I guess.

We got on a bus and headed over to T1. Our bikes had been transported there the day before, so all we had to do was find them and set up the rest of our T1 stations. That took like 10 minutes, and then we had an hour and 45 minutes to freeze before the start of the race. I wore my socks with my flip-flops and was totally jealous of all the smart people with caps, gloves, and pants. I had on my tri suit, of course, with a pullover skirt and a light hoodie. Not quite warm. Danielle and I sat in the sun near the water, then walked to the Porta-Pottie, then back to the sun, then back to the Porta-Pottie, then...yeah, you get the idea.

Aside: I love the way my body responds to racing. I always have to use the Porta-Pottie like six or seven times pre-race - but the great thing is, everything in my tummy gets emptied out and I feel perfect once the race starts. Love it.

I ate a GU, got my wetsuit on, packed up all the rest of my gear in my trash bag so it could be transported back to Sunriver, and took turns with Danielle putting alleged waterproof sunscreen on each other's backs.

Then it was 9 a.m., and I was in the first wave, so I hugged Danielle and got in the water.

So, the swim. The water was pretty calm, but because I knew this was a competitive field and my wave start was 30-34 women and men, I knew to hang back. I did, but it didn't help too much - I had total panic in the beginning, so much so that I was sure the guys in the kayaks were pointing at me and planning to get me out of the water before I even hit the first sighting buoy. But eventually - before I got to the first turn - I found a rhythm and remembered how to swim. I was breathing only on one side, though, but it was okay because it was on the right, and the sun was to my left.

I believe I picked up speed at each turn - whereas I'd been one of the very last people in my wave early on, I did manage to pass a few people once I got into it. Mentally, I was preparing myself for a 50-minute swim. I figured that was the best I could do given my complete stops on the way to the first buoy. And when I started to see caps from the second wave - and later on, from the third - I was sure I was looking at my worst swim time ever.

I just counted my breaths and listened to my inhales and exhales, trying to maintain a long, even stroke and rhythm. I got off track a few times when I got splashed in the face or when someone touched my ankle, but I was able to get it back and actually felt pretty good for the middle part of my swim.

Towards the end, it was harder to sight - my goggles decided to both fog up and allow water inside, so I was worried I was going to lose my contact lenses and I was considering what I would do if they were gone - could I see well enough to ride and run?

But they were fine, and as always I was so relieved to get out of the water. I whipped off goggles, caps, and earplugs and ran to my transition station. Some people were walking - I didn't understand that. I knew I was going to take more time in T1 since I wasn't coming back there, so I needed to run.

Apparently my swim time was 40:2x, which is nutty given how much time I wasted in the beginning. I can only assume the swim was a little short. But I'll take it!

My wetsuit came off easily this time - yay for lubricating shoulders! I threw it and everything else into the garbage bag. Socks went on easily, as did shoes, but it was rough trying to pull my fingerless gloves on my wet hands. But I've never biked without gloves, and I didn't want to start today. I worried that the roads would be all chipseal and I wanted gloves to help cut the vibration. Eventually I got them on, though not velcro'ed shut, and I tossed my towel in the bag and tied it up.

I ran out of T1 with my bike and ran past the "Bikers Mount" sign because, well, everyone else was. When I got to the end of the marked chute, a woman said kindly, "You can get on your bike anytime now." I felt like an idiot, but I thanked her and took off.

Immediately I noticed that one of the straps on my shoes was undone. It bothered me, and continued to bother me throughout the ride, but since it didn't hurt and my shoe didn't feel loose, I figured I was just being anal and I needed to not waste time and energy trying to fix it. I did close my gloves, though.

My nutrition strategy for the bike was this: in my aero bottle, only clean water. On my down tube and in the two cages behind my seat, Gleukos (140 calories per bottle). My plan was to down a bottle of Gleukos plus a Clif Mojo Bar each hour for 320 calories an hour.

Well, that worked for the first hour, and I successfully dropped an empty bottle of Gleukos at the bottle exchange and got fresh water to add to my aero bottle. I added the water to my aero bottle, but then when I went to put the half-empty water bottle in the cage on my down tube, I dropped it!

Because triathlons have the rule about not littering, I stopped and went back for it, letting about a zillion people pass me. One guy said, "I don't think you have to pick that up," and I replied, "Oh, I think I do!" and did it anyway. I was not going to risk disqualification for littering. I'm not so special that I should get to deliberately dump garbage on the road!

So then, stupidly, I try to move the water bottle to the bottle holder behind my seat and move a bottle of Gleukos to the down tube, and because I've never practiced this before, it doesn't work and I drop the water bottle AGAIN.

This time when I stop to get it, I put the right bottle - the Gleukos one - on the downtube and the water bottle in the back.

The Clif Mojo Bars were open and cut in half in my Bento Box, and as much as I like them and they don't bother my tummy, I found it kind of hard to eat and breathe at the same time. I had to time my bites carefully.

My first hour, I averaged 17.6 miles per hour and got passed all the time. I only passed a couple of people. I consoled myself by checking out their bikes and aero wheels and helmets and saying they were much more hard-core than me. Plus, most of the people who passed me on the bike were men. I had a Crystal Method song in my head, though - the one with the lyric "Let me do my thing" and I just kept thinking about racing my race and not against anyone but me.

After my troubles with the water bottles, I knew I wasn't going to drink as many calories as I'd planned, but I continued to eat my Mojo bar halves, and once I had nearly finished the water in my aero bottle, I poured in the Gleukos. This was so I'd be drinking more calories, and if I really needed more water, I'd get it off the back of my bike. Somehow.

I soon realized my speed was picking up - I was on parts of the course advertised as "fast and flat" and they were. It was great - I was floating along at 22 mph and feeling fine.

I was watching mph and time on my bike computer, not distance. At two hours in, I checked distance. 36 miles gone? Therefore, an average of 18 mph? Hmm....quick math said I could have a sub-three hour bike split if I did 20 mph for the rest of the race. I knew that would be rough, but I was going along pretty maybe...

Well, I started pushing harder. I was a little anxious about what this would mean for my run, but I needed to know, and the road was great and even uphill I didn't slow past 15 mph - and downhill I could push 26-27. (It wasn't significantly up or down, of course.)

And the miles clicked away. I got a tummyache at some point and chose to ignore it. My neck and shoulders hurt, so I got in and out of the aero bars and squirmed around as much as I felt like it. I needed to pee, and I really did try to on the bike, but I couldn't do it so I told myself the faster I got to T2, the faster I would get to the Porta-Pottie.

When my bike computer said 2:48:00, I clicked over to miles. I was just over 52 in. I knew sub-three hours was not likely.

But then a couple of people passed me who shouldn't have, so I decided to pass them back and create such a large gap they couldn't close it. And I did. And then suddenly I'm riding in traffic, and I'm seeing landmarks that I knew were near T2, and I'm wondering where the next two miles were going to be because obviously we couldn't be at T2 yet - my bike computer only read 54 miles!

But I was. I jumped off the bike and ran all the way to the opposite end of the transition area where my stuff was. Again, people were walking. Why? I got my helmet off, visor on, bike shoes off, running shoes on, TransitionGirl skirt with race number on, and carried my fuel belt to the Porta-Pottie. There was a line, but I wasn't impatient - I knew it would take me forever to pee and I couldn't quite believe I'd gotten to T2 before 4 hours. Frankly, well before - it was like 3:45 or so.

While I was in the Porta-Pottie, I realized I hadn't removed my cycling gloves - so when I finished my business, I ran back to my spot, tossed them down, then ran out of T2. The timing mat was outside, so my nearly-four-minute transition time was not bad given that I really, really had to pee!

The beginning of my run was rough. My heart rate was high, it was sunny and slightly hilly - it isn't hilly really, but kind of bumpy up and down. And I didn't want to run up. :-)

I did the math, though, and realized that at 10-minute miles, I would come in at 5:50. 5:50!!! No way!!!

But how to run 10-minute miles? I felt like I was shuffling my feet. It was definitely a run, but barely.

At the first mile marker, I saw I was running at about 11 minutes per mile. I took a GU and some water, and kicked it up a little.

From then on, until mile 10, I was running nearly perfect 10-minute miles. I was comfortable - no pain, no tummyaches - I didn't really feel like running, but I was running my run-forever pace and I knew I could run. Whenever I got thirsty, there was a well-run water station available to me, and the run was on this paved trail winding throughout Sunriver. I got passed a few times - again, mostly by men - and I passed a few people. Some people were walking or taking walk breaks, but I knew I didn't need to and that if I let myself walk - even through an aid station - I might never start running again.

I had Jelly Belly Sport Beans at mile 5, and another GU just before mile 9. At mile 10, I noticed I was back down to 11 minute miles, so I tried to pick it up again to 10s and I think I did. I mean, I must have, because overall I ran 2:10 something, so I had to average 10s. But from mile 10 on it hurt, and I felt done with running, and I was getting cold. I'd been cool on the bike, then pretty warm for the first half of the run, but during the second half of the run the sun went behind some clouds and it just cooled down some.

Usually when I run, whatever distance it is, I want to be done a mile before I actually am done. It's some kind of anticipatory response to getting close. Well, today it started at mile 11 and oh my goodness, the mile between 12 and 13.1 was SO LONG.

And then. There was this guy who had walked a lot ahead of me. He would run for a little bit, and he was running faster than me, but then he'd walk, I'd catch up and pass him, and then he'd run and pass me again. Well, he was ahead of me at the mile 13 marker, and I decided I was crossing the finish line before him. I picked up speed at 13. Then when I could see the Red Bull arch, I picked it up again to a full-on sprint. I passed him just before the timing mat and flew on to the end of the chute. I went so fast I didn't look at the clock and I didn't look at the crowd - I was just going to beat that guy, really for no reason at all. I guess I just needed a rabbit.

I was dizzy and my hands were really tingly when I stopped to let the volunteer cut off my timing chip. John and the kids were just on the other side of the fence, and I think I gave John a kiss before walking into the athlete's area to get my finisher's medal and something to eat. I picked up some fruit and cookies and walked outside to John.

We sat down on a bench for a few minutes; my face hurt. It was like a headache, but it was in my temples and the sides of my face. I tried to eat and drink water, but nothing smelled or tasted good yet. I was talking, but not coherently. And I knew I wasn't coherent, but I couldn't shut up. I also couldn't get a deep breath. It was weird and yucky. But it passed quickly.

Camille was with John; she asked me, "Mommy, what's that white spot on your face?" I used the back of the medal to look at my reflection. I was covered in salt. It looked like I'd been crying salt; it was all around my eyes, in my eyelashes, and running down my face. It was actually quite funny.

So overall, it was a great race. I know the easy bike course contributed to my rockin' time; as a great coincidence, I believe I was 13th in my age group again! It's my number, I tell ya!

I definitely need to learn how to move water bottles from back to front and vice versa, and I should probably figure out how to pee on the bike.

But as I was finishing the race, I just kept thinking: I've got this. I've got to do an Ironman, because I've got this half thing down pretty well.

Post race injuries: None. Sore quads, sore left knee, and slight pain in my right ankle - actually, the top of my right foot. Some chafing under my arms and on my neckline from my tri suit. Some chafing where I should have used some chamois cream. :-) But otherwise, pretty darn good. Nothing a mojito won't cure!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Off to Pacific Crest!

This morning we're taking off on a six or seven hour drive to Sun River, Oregon for the Pacific Crest half-Ironman. Yay!

It's so funny: I'm excited about it, not nervous at all, and when I think about how I felt last year before my two halfs, all I can say is what a dramatic change.

I guess planning to do a full Ironman really puts these smaller races in perspective. :-)

I'm feeling good; it's been a weird week. Tuesday I was completely down in the dumps, moping around, refusing to exercise, practically falling asleep standing up. And yesterday I was the opposite: almost manic, walking around like I had to hold myself back from a run, and feeling incredibly strong and powerful on my strenuous Wednesday ride with the boys.

It sort of feels like I'm on drugs, without the drugs.

One day at a time, right? It will sure be nice to get away today. Not sure how bloggy I will be from Sun River, but if I have internet access and something to say, you'll hear from me!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Little sleep, lotta exercise

Despite not going to bed until 11, I dragged my behind out the door by 4:30 to be at the lake by 5. I was disappointed that the manager didn't show up at my Starbucks, though! They open at 4:30; I got there at 4:40 and it was dark and deserted. So no pre-swim coffee.

Danielle and I made ourselves swim a few laps around the buoys in the lake, then went to hot yoga. At noon I rode my bike, and this evening I went out for a short run (dead mp3 player battery = run as hard as I can for a short amount of time until I'm so bored I can't run anymore).

I've been tired all day, for obvious reasons after that big weekend. But the exercise energizes me.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How many hours of dancing equals how many minutes of running?

What a fun weekend. And I AM SO TIRED.

It started with Girls Night Out on Friday - Sarah, one of her friends and I got dolled up and hit a bar first to get ready - the bar had sugar-free Red Bull, so I was in heaven. Two vodka-Red Bulls later and a lot of gossip shared and I was primed to dance.

We went to the Last Supper Club in Pioneer Square to see Christopher Lawrence. Pretty much so did everyone else. The club was pretty packed, but the music was fabulous - exactly what I love - and I just danced and danced and only left the dance floor like once, to go the bathroom with the girls, of course. It was so nice to just let go and really hear the music and be fairly unaware of what my body was doing along with it.

Apparently my body was doing something that involved the use of knees, though, because I woke up with really sore knees - like, "I-just-ran-20-miles" sore. And my quads weren't super-happy, either. And...I'd gotten to bed at 3 a.m. and woke up at 5:30 so I could go ride a century. A very hilly century.

And of course, since I'd been out all night, I had to prove how Girls Night Out didn't affect my riding, so I had to ride well. And I think I did - we averaged 15.6 mph, including slow downs and stuff, so I'm pretty happy with that. I ate a lot of food throughout the day and drank a ton of water - I wasn't hung over, because I really didn't drink that much, but I think Red Bull dehydrates you just like alcohol does, so I find I really need to drink a lot more water if I have both of those things together.

In general, I noticed some sluggishness in my body on the steeper climbs; otherwise, I felt okay. I tend to be in front and set the pace on most of my rides. For the first 60 miles of this one, it was no exception - then I decided I deserved to get some drafting, so others took the lead. But I still prefer it in front.

So then, Saturday night was date night. John wanted to dance; he was jealous that I'd gone dancing with the girls the night before, and I couldn't let him down. So we started out with pretty much the same night as Girls Night Out: We went to the same bar for vodka-Red Bulls, then back to the Last Supper Club. The music there was good until about 11:30 p.m., but then it changed and wasn't our thing (we prefer progressive house/trance; they were playing Top 40 remix stuff, which I like but just can't get into dancing to in the same way). So we went next door to Trinity, knowing that on Saturday nights they have the right kind of music. And they did, and we danced until 1:30 a.m. and I was practically falling asleep standing up. Seriously.

So today has ben a quiet day; my legs are really sore obviously (and I made it a little worse by wearing heels last night; usually I like to dance in flats, but the outfit I had on last night required heels).

But it was actually worth it. Next weekend is Pacific Crest, and I do care about the race and I don't want to mess it up by drinking the night before or dancing...but I can't wait to go dancing again.

I'm short on running and swimming this week, but dancing all night has to equal some amount of running, right? Please?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Slacking on swimming

I woke up to rain this morning! It's not supposed to rain in the summer!

Oh wait, it's not summer in Seattle until July 5. I'm in jeans and a sweater today, too. It's NOT WARM.

Danielle and I decided it wasn't very safe to swim in rain. Isn't that ridiculous? We would never not bike or not run just because of rain - but in the WATER, where it's WET ALREADY, we don't want to swim.

Oh well! We went to hot yoga at 6:30, then I did a fun run with Kathy.

In other news, I finally went to that special dance class I alluded to a week ago...I'm going to write about it on my Disney blog first, and I plan to do that I'll update and probably add a little more detail here after I do that. Hee hee!

I will tease you with this, though: I learned how to stand up like a stripper. Probably not a really useful skill, I know, but we'll see.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A theory

So, I have this theory about triathletes. Tell me what you think.

We live these really disciplined lives (for the most part). We go to bed early and get the right amount of sleep. We regulate the number and type of calories we eat. We exercise frequently and for the "right" amount of time and intensity. And many of us do this while we have families, friends, and jobs, and since we're driven, Type-A personalities, we constantly strive to be great at all of it.

And then, something starts to explode out. I envision it like those Jiffy Pop things you put on the stovetop - one little kernel explodes, then another, and suddenly this perfect little flat cover becomes this amorphous burst of aluminum foil.

And once the foil blows open, everything else follows - training, eating, work, whatever - until there's no discipline left.

I'm not there. I'm trying to close the lid on it, in fact.

But sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just let it go, let everything fall apart, and see what happens.

This week, my training is on track, pretty much. I ran for an hour on Tuesday; yesterday I went to yoga and biked for an hour; today I ran for two hours at my run-forever pace. I'm feeling physically strong and good, and right now motivated for IMC (except not for swimming, I'm never motivated to swim. But I do it anyway...).

I just wonder what's going to happen tomorrow. And Saturday. And Sunday. And...

I know I need to just go one day at a time. But I'm an organizer, it's not my nature to just go with things and believe everything will work out. I'm not sure I can put the lid back on my desire to explode out of the disciplined life I make myself lead most of the time.

Then again, maybe I do just need to get some more sleep.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Swimmer's itch and choppy water

And an update in general.

I've been really busy, and frankly, fairly unhappy. I hesitate to say depressed, because I believe depression is an illness, and I'm just experiencing a funk. I'm still doing most of my training, but in everything, I'm just feeling a lot less motivated...and unfortunately, a lot less joy.

And I didn't want to write about it here, because I am unwilling to go into details, but anyway, that's why it's been harder to post and harder to train and just harder in general.

But here's a training update. Last week sucked. I only did like 70% of my training, and that was including two hours of "cross-training" (i.e. hot yoga). I'm working on doing better this week, and I think I started off well.

This morning I did an hour in the lake - 1.6 miles at a comfortable pace. And then at noon I rode 18 miles, also comfortable. I'm finding that right now, I don't have it in me to push very hard, so I'm just telling myself that for my Ironman, the most important thing is long, slow, distance training - not the intense stuff I'm skipping. And hopefully I'll perk up soon and start doing my intense stuff again, and happily.

So it was a windy day. The water was choppy for the entire hour, which was actually a good thing - I felt like I was getting splashed randomly, and I figure that's good practice. A gorgeous glassy lake won't really simulate mass swim start conditions.

But I'm also super-annoyed at the lake, because Jessi explained to me what swimmer's itch is, and I described these little bug bites I have on my wrists, hands, neck, and face...and sure enough, Danielle has them in the same places and Su has them as well, plus all over her arms since she wears a farmer john wetsuit. YUCK!!! And ITCHY!!!

However: it's not enough to put me back in the pool, even with the SwiMP3 player (for hopefully obvious reasons, I don't use it in open water). So I just have to make sure I shower right away (there are showers at the lake) then scrub really well when I get to my second shower at work.

So that's my life right now. Oh what fun.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I overslept!

I can't believe I did this, but I woke up at 7:30 a.m. this morning - you know, 30 minutes after I was to have completed a 90-minute run.

And the weird thing is, I went to bed at 9:30 p.m. So that's 10 hours of sleep!

I guess I was tired. I doubt I can make up the workout - especially since I already missed two bike workouts this week - so I'm trying not to stress about that and just tell myself I still have 11 weeks after this week to get ready. (But this is week 13...I'm not usually superstitious, and in fact last year 13 was a lucky number for me...but this hasn't been a good week by any stretch of the imagination.)

Well, tonight I have a special fitness class...I will be writing about it probably tomorrow, but I'll give you one hint: it involves a pole.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I hate swimming

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood since my poor swim at Issaquah, but I think I hate swimming. The last two days, I got in the lake and pretty much couldn't wait to get out.

On the other hand, the thing that saved me from boredom today was swimming faster than usual and fighting through the panic that arises when I can't breathe as easily. So maybe my dislike of swimming will translate into faster swimming because I'm motivated to both swim hard enough to not be able to think anymore (just like I couldn't think on my bike or run at Issaquah, due to my hard pushing) and get it done sooner.


It turned into a pretty bad day. While Danielle was riding down my office's street to meet me for the Wednesday strenuous bike ride, a car turned left in front of her into a driveway, forcing her to slam on her brakes. She apparently flipped over her handlebars, landing on her right side. Her leg and hip are really sore; she also hit her head and completely broke her helmet.

So obviously I didn't ride - I took her back to my office, helped her clean up, and drove her home.

Ugh. Makes me hate cars. I can't believe the guy didn't look - and didn't stop once she was on the ground.

And even more than that, it's a busy road with lots of traffic - and not a single car stopped to see if she was okay. (Once I was there and she was limping down the road, using my bike for support while I carried her broken one, a woman in Lexus SUV did stop and offer to carry our bikes in the back of her car and bring us wherever we needed to go; however, we were just about there, so it wasn't necessary.)

So send Danielle your happy and quick recovery thoughts - she could definitely use them right now.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I want a sub 1:20...

in a sprint-distance triathlon.

I know it's within my reach. And I really want to push hard enough to do it.

My goal last year at Danskin was 1:24; stretch goal of under 1:20. I did it in 1:21. I also did Lake Sammamish and this past Saturday's Issaquah sprint in 1:21 and seconds.

So it's time. Cutting off a minute and a half is completely doable. There are so many things I could do to make it happen:

- Swim a tiny bit faster
- Transition better
- Run a tiny bit faster

I don't think I can bike much faster right now; however, a flatter course could give me a minute or so back.

But I'm feeling somewhat unhappy about my excellent race results, and I know it's because sub-1:20 is right there. I just have to take it.

I know this isn't the right year to work on speed. But at the same time, I'm going to see if I can put in one more sprint to my schedule (possibly post-Ironman; I'll have to see what races are out there).

Sub-1:20. I can do that.

In other semi-related-to-Saturday's-race news, my calves and quads are really sore. I skipped working out today except for hot yoga, and I'll pick up tomorrow hopefully normal.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Issaquah Triathlon 2007 Race Report

This race sort of crept up on me - suddenly it was a week away and I couldn't remember the last time I did a brick or when I last practiced getting my wetsuit off quickly. But that wasn't enough stimulus to really think about it and prepare for it - I was busy and occupied with other things, so the only thing I did to specifically get ready for this race was put on extra BodyGlide before I put on my wetsuit on Friday morning so I could make sure I remembered how to get it off fast.

I tried to go to bed early - I was sitting in my bed by 9:30 Friday night - but I didn't sleep well. I didn't think I cared much about this race, but apparently my body reacted to the idea that I'd be racing the next day like it always does. Lesson learned: if I have eight hours to sleep, take that Tylenol PM no matter what I feel about the race.

I got up at 5; Issaquah is only about 10 minutes from my house, which is awesome. I wish all races were this close to home. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Usually I prepare better than this and really think about what I'm going to eat, buying something in advance like a bagel and a banana or whatever, but this time, I just had that laissez-faire attitude. "I'll eat whatever I have around," I thought, and it was actually fine.

Starbucks doesn't open until 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, so I drove to Issaquah first. I got my Americano (with whole milk and two packets of Splenda) and headed over to the race site. Since it was like 5:45 and the race was to begin at 7, I got a sweet parking space right up front by the transition area.

It was a gorgeous morning - warm and sunny. I was actually comfortable walking around in my tri suit and a pullover skirt, no sweatshirt or long sleeves! Like everything else with this race, I'd given my clothing very little thought - in fact, I realized that morning I'd never tried wearing my tri shorts with my new bike (and saddle). I had a moment of anxiety about that, but then figured, what happens, happens. I can tolerate a sore bottom for 15 miles, right?

So once I got set up, I had to make a decision. Do I start with the "elite" women?

Now, all my regular readers know I'm by no means elite. I'm, depending on the race, a mid-packer. Sometimes up front in less-competitive races, sometimes way in the back. But in this race, the "elite" wave was self-selected, and the criteria was if you believed you'd complete the race in less than 1:28 (for women; men needed to finish in under 1:17).

Well, I did this course twice last year. The first time, I did 1:31 with a horrible swim and run, plus a dropped and run-over water bottle on the bike course that caused me to pull over and check my tires. The second time, I did 1:21:07.

So...I was fairly certain I fit the criteria. But I was struggling with the label: "elite." I'm not elite. I'm regular. I'm kind of fast sometimes within the regular people.

There were two other reasons I wanted to start with the elite wave, too: My son was racing later in the day, so the sooner I finished, the sooner I could help him set up and get him ready. And more selfishly, I knew I'd have a much better bike leg if there weren't slower cyclists ahead of me on the course. (Danielle argues it's a safety thing; someone going my speed SHOULDN'T be sharing the bike lane alongside a busy street with someone on a cruiser or mountain bike just out to have a fun time - but really, my motivation was to have fast cyclists around me to pick off one at a time, rabbits to chase down and help keep me pushing.)

I finally decided to just do it. After all, with a wetsuit and goggles on in the middle of a pack of women, who would know I was there? Who would question whether I ought to be?

The gun went off at 7:03 a.m. for the elite women. I immediately hung back because I know my swim is so weak.

For some reason, my first few strokes felt fine; I even got hit in the head by the girl next to me and I was okay. But is common for me, panic set in. I couldn't put my face in the water.

I continued to do freestyle with my head out, turning side to side, but every time I went to put my face back in the water, my breathing rhythm was off. I sucked in water instead of exhaling. I took a couple of lengths of sidestroke, rounded the first buoy, and saw that I had a lot of open water. Most of the women in my wave were way ahead and the subsequent wave hadn't yet started. I took a deep breath, put my face in the water, and got back on track.

The course formed a rectangle from the beach, and you swim counter-clockwise. The parts to the first buoy and from the last one to shore are very short; most of the quarter-mile distance is parallel to the beach. For that entire length, I swam fast and comfortably - I even caught up to the slower women in my wave and passed a few of them. I had good rhythm. But I think I was slightly off course - I do think I swam further than I needed to. They didn't have any buoys in between the two short sides of the rectangle, so sighting was hard - especially since women who self-selected into the elite wave still wore the caps from their age group wave, so I was having trouble telling the red buoy apart from the red caps some women had ahead of me.

When I rounded the last buoy, I lost my rhythm again. I didn't panic, but I did slow down - and I got passed a couple of times getting out of the water.

Finally, I was out. I saw 10 something on my watch and was really, really disappointed. It didn't seem like 10 minutes; it felt much faster, and I had really wanted to do the swim in eight.

I ran to T1, goggles, swim caps, and ear plugs in hand. I managed to unzip my wetsuit, but for some reason I had trouble pulling it off my left shoulder! That's never happened before; usually I have it down to my waist by the time I get to T1. I was almost panicked about this, but I got to my spot, dropped all my stuff, and focused on getting the wetsuit off. Once it was off one shoulder, the rest slid off just as it's supposed to.

The rest of T1 was uneventful: socks and shoes on (because I'd never tried those shoes without socks), helmet on, sunglasses on, and go. I ran out, jumped on the bike, and had no trouble clipping in even with the new pedals and cleats.

The new course this year had one, well-marked no passing zone; I was able to pass a couple of people before that, then a couple more after. I know the bike route well, as it's part of one of the ways I like to commute to work, so I just started pushing hard. My "nutrition" strategy for this leg was just plain water, no calories, and I started drinking almost immediately. My goal was to finish my entire aero bottle by the time I returned to the transition area.

I kept passing this one guy on flats or downhill sections, then he would pass me again uphill, then I'd fly by him again. Finally, after the halfway point, I dropped him for good. Oh, and I had absolutely no trouble with the tri shorts and hard saddle - maybe it was just my focus on going fast, or maybe that tri suit really is the best thing in the world to race in.

Somewhere close to the turnaround another triathlete I knew saw me. She was already on her way back. I caught up miles later and passed her, saying hello, and from that point on (just a couple of miles maybe from the transition area) my goal was to keep her behind me (and another woman, too, who had passed me but I passed her back, saying with a laugh, "Are you going to let me get away with passing you back?" I wanted the competitive push).

I just kept thinking, "If you get to the no-passing zone, you've got this. Get there get there get there." And I did - I had no idea how far behind she was, but I believed her a better runner, so I figured I'd better be as strong as possible on the bike then have a fast T2 to be able to keep ahead.

Well, my T2 was okay - bike on the rack, helmet off, race number on, change of shoes, visor on, then I grabbed a little seven-ounce bottle of water with a GU taped to it. I forgot where the run out was; as I was looking around I remembered and started moving.

Uh-oh! My race belt fell off! I looked down and saw the belt had separated from its clasp. I tried to tie it around me while I was still holding my little water bottle, and that slowed me down. As I exited T2, so did that other triathlete. She saw me, said something I don't remember, and TOOK OFF. I watched her go - and I believed I couldn't catch her, especially since I was all involved with keeping my number on my belt and around me.

I remembered I had a pocket in my tri suit; I stashed my water bottle and GU there, then tied my belt back around my waist. Once that was settled, I got the bottle back out, opened the GU, and tried to eat it - but I think I got at least half of it on my face and hands. I licked the back of my hand to try to get some benefit, then shoved the sticky, half-full packet back into my back pocket. One sip of water, then the bottle went back there, too.

I really hate this run course. It's sort of trail, but not good dirt trail like I've been running lately; it's grass and uneven footing and because so much of it is grass, you can't really see what's under there to know where to step. It just sucks. Sometimes there's packed down dirt in the middle, sometimes not. When there was, I stuck to it. When there wasn't, I just dealt.

My heart rate, by the way, was between 170 and 176 for pretty much the entire race; the only time I saw it lower was on the biggest downhill area on the bike course, and even then it only dropped to 164. So I was definitely at a sprint-race effort the entire time, and I'm happy about that.

My legs felt sluggish, but not too bad. Mostly I was annoyed because my feet had fallen asleep on the bike and didn't wake up until I was about a mile from the finish line. I could run, but there was a weird sensation.

A few people passed me early on, and then something weird happened: I actually passed a few people! Running! That felt pretty good. I could see that other athlete every once in a while; the course isn't straight, so I could only see her when I had enough visibility ahead of me. She looked to be increasing the distance between us slightly, but not by a lot - it seemed to me she put on a burst of speed early on while I was slower, fussing with my belt, but then was maintaining a fairly similar pace to me. But I was running my own race: I didn't want to chase her down very much. Now that I think about it, I think that's a problem in how I race. I wanted to stay ahead of her on the bike, but I didn't really care as much on the run. Jessi wrote about that same thing recently and I totally get it - even though I didn't remember it at the time.

Oh, that's another thing that lets me know I did this race at my max sprint effort: pre-race, I had walked around with my Zune, getting prepped with some music so I'd have it in my head during the race. When it actually came time to race, there was no room for any thought other than counting my breaths. Seriously. I was pushing.

I definitely sped up toward the finish line, but it wasn't a full-on sprint. Again, I don't know why. It should have been; on nearly all my runs with the girls, we finish in a sprint. But I was just running and looking around at the spectators.

I knew I left T2 at 58 minutes into my race; I was incredibly anxious about not coming in under 1:28 and therefore not belonging in that "elite" wave I started in. The run was three miles long (not a 5K), so I thought, well, that's really close. I'll likely run 10-minute miles and therefore be at 1:28 exactly...with no room for error.

When I crossed the finish line, I looked down. My watch read 1:22 something. Huh? How did that happen? Was that a 24-minute three mile run? Over grass and bumpy ground, with a shaky slow start? Eight-minute miles after a quarter-mile swim and a 15-mile bike?

Yeah, it was - actual time was 23:xx, so even slightly faster than eight minute miles (by seconds, but whatever). So there's some running improvement for me...assuming the course was accurately measured, of course.

That other athlete came over to congratulate me and tell me that knowing I was behind her kept her pushing hard. I'm glad for that - we all need something to show us how good we can be, and I know I used her the same way on the bike. Who knows, maybe next time it will be the other way around.

But even if it's not, I'm proud of my bike and run. Not so much for the swim (although the winner of my age group exited the swim just after me, though she ran faster to T1 and therefore has two seconds on me for actual swim time). It was a good race and it reminded me of how much fun triathlon is - and how much camraderie there is even among those who compete with each other.

The only thing that put a damper on my good race was seeing how competitive the age group is. Last year, the course was slightly longer; if you look at last year's winning time for a woman and this year's, this year's was three minutes faster. So even adjusting for that, last year I would have placed much higher in my age group with a similar result - this year, 11th, I think? That's crazy! 30-34 year old women rock! And I know I shouldn't feel bad about where I placed, given that I did do well on the bike and run...but I wanted to be higher up. Oh well, gives me something to strive for.

And I guess too that in that race on the same course last year where I took second place in my age group with a 1:21:07, I didn't feel that great about getting an award anyway - I mean, I liked it, but I did feel like the race wasn't really competitive and therefore didn't count as much. I guess I really want to win when I think the competition is there - but for that, I'm going to need a lot more training - and less of this long, slow, distance stuff I've been doing.

So that's a goal for a future year: get really fast in sprints. I think I've already got a fairly good start on that!

This is like the longest race report I'll save writing about Gabriel's race for another day. Or maybe my other blog, on! :-)


Update on final times:
At the moment, all the swim times are messed up on the web site; they include from the elite men's start, so you have to subtract the number of minutes from your start time to get your actual times. But since I started just three minutes after the men, it's easy for me. So here they are:

Swim: 10:57.3 <-- abysmal.
T1: 01:39.9 <-- could have been faster, but not too horrible
Bike: 44:53:2 <-- That's a 20 mph average on a slightly rolly course with two little climbs. I'm happy.
T2: 01:07.2 <-- Okay.
Run: 23:20.8 <-- Good. But could I push harder next time?

Total: 1:21:58.5. Nothing to be ashamed about!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Issaquah triathlon race results

1:21:59, I think.

Something like a close-to-eleven minute swim (OMG I am so slow!!! - yes, I panicked, as I do every time I race in Lake Sammamish), a solid bike at under 45 minutes for 15 miles, and a solid run at under 24 minutes for 3 miles.

I need a shower, so I'll do a full race report later.

What sucks is I think I'm 11th in my age group! What a competitive group I'm in!

I really want to break 1:20 for a sprint some day.

More later...I'm tired. I put in a hard effort today; other than the swim, I'm not sure there's much I could have done differently today. But I'll think about it some more before I write it all up.

Friday, June 01, 2007


I've discovered the key to weight loss!

Shall I share it?

Okay, I will.


My husband has lost 25 pounds in a little over a month by not eating. I want to tell him that's not the way, he should be making good food choices and eating the right number of calories and blah blah blah, but instead, all I can say is, "Wow, you look like the guy I married!"

So now, on my rest week, I'm eating a lot less than usual. Like, yesterday it was a struggle to get 800 calories (despite burning 800 in exercise).

And this morning the scale read 137.6. Seven and a half pounds from my goal weight.

Unfortunately, I'll have to eat more next week when I'm back on a full training schedule. And tomorrow I'm allegedly racing, so maybe I ought to eat more today.

But I'm not feelin' it. This is actually what I would wish for, should a genie in a bottle show up and grant me some wishes: that food become purely a source of energy, not pleasure. That I eat only to live, not to enjoy.

This morning I feel that way. I ate a 110-calorie Pria bar before swimming for an hour, and I've had two cups of coffee with about an ounce of milk each, but other than that, nothing but water. I don't even feel hungry, actually.

And usually, a low weight like 137.6 (well, low for me, usually hovering around 140) would trigger bad eating - especially on a Friday, when I feel less disciplined and more ready for the lesser structure of the weekend. But not today.

Yesterday I ran for an hour and did hot yoga; today I swam for an hour in open-water (yay earplugs, they enable me to bilaterally breathe in open water, except when there are big waves from the boats) and I plan to go to yoga again.

I haven't given my race tomorrow any thought at all - I probably should. But it's just a tune-up; whatever happens, happens.