Oh…you’re bleeding

August 17th, 2009

I’ve heard that comment twice in the past week. 

Friday I heard it from Wendy as I popped my head out of the pool. “What did you do to your face? It’s bleeding!”.  Yeah, well, I was swimming see, and working on my pull.  My head got in the way.  First I managed to clock myself in the nose, then three strokes later I scratched my chin.  I now have a scab on my chin because apparently pool water and pressure with a towel does not lead to a clotting.  20 minutes later I had a lovely black glob on my chin.

Today as I was finishing my weekly treatment as a human pin cushion, my little dr chick squealed and said “Oh, that’s great you’re bleeding”.  Now, I’m no specialist, but I’m thinking needles + poking into limbs = good chance of blood escaping.  Apparently though “your leg bled so quickly, so it’s letting the toxins out, and cleaning itself”.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that just the other day I nicked myself 5 times on both legs.  So either I am toxin free, or sharp objects that puncture skin cause me to bleed.

Congrats Linda and “It seemed like a good idea”

August 16th, 2009

First off – CONGRATULATIONS to Linda for a fantastic race today at Lake Stevens – 6:36 finish, with a 2:23 run at the end – WAY TO GO!!!

So after being drug from mile 11-12.9 by Wendy at the San Francisco 1/2 marathon in July, I had this great idea that A) I should register for a marathon (Las Vegas Marathon in December), and B) before my Disneyland 1/2 marathon over Labor Day I should run a couple runs longer than 13 miles.  The theory for (B) was that mentally if I could run 15 miles without dying until mile 13, then a 13 mile run would be super simple.  (A) I think was just a result of a little too much wine, a nearby credit card, and a screaming deal for airfare and hotel to Vegas (see what happens when I drink in my off weeks – no tolerance!).

So, the 14 mile run.  Fortunately I was able to coerce Wendy and Debi to accompany me.  I’m not entirely sure what the motivation was for either of them, although Wendy was on vacation all week so was a bit bored, and Debi figured she wouldn’t work out any other way.  Neither will probably be as accomodating next time (in fact they’ve already made plans for only a one hour run next weekend!). 

I did my research a couple days before and decided that the Davis Bike Loop would be nice.  It’s mostly on a bike path, goes through shade, there’s a few water faucets (not nearly enough toilets), and there are about 4 different locations where one could add on a couple extra miles.  Since the loop is only 12 miles (regardless of the Garmin and Nike Ipod that W & D were sporting), I decided to add 2 miles to the beginning as opposed to the end (also this way I would not pass the car at 12 miles and decide I’m done).  Small problem though is I got lost on the first 2 miles, not by much, but enough to have to pretend like I knew where I was going.  As the run actually continued on the bike loop though, we did see all sorts of good things, a house fire, 4 fire trucks, a dog in a pannier on a bike (who almost tipped the bike over in an attempt to greet D&W), and an adult napping class (might have been yoga, but really at the speed we were traveling I would have expected some movement, and those ladies were napping).

2 gels, 1 bag of powerbar gelblasts, and 1.5 liters of water put us at mile 11.  It was at this point Debi said, “you know what time it is?” to which I responded “time for our$%#*&^*$ movable aid station to be &%&%$^$# right here with my Dr. Pepper “.  Seems Debi actually meant that it was about time for Linda to be halfway done with her bike (sorry Linda, that would have been my second guess :-)  )!  Fortunately our movable aid station (i.e. Darren on a bike) showed up abou 1/2 mile later, with my dr. pepper, which made all the difference in the world.  Until mile 13.2 (or 13.8 by my traveling partners’ watches), when I decided I was tired…and done. I was also cursing my wine consumption when registering for the marathon..might need to rethink.  On the plus side, they proceeded to stop at mile 14 on their watches, and we all contemplated calling Darren to pick us up.  We instead decided to walk back.  Of course there were a few discussions about my Kirsten like ability to create longer routes than necessary (although I would like to point out the run was only 14.6 miles long – http://www.mapmyrun.com/view_route?r=555125048037433379 )  so I was only off by 1/2 mile.  There were also conversations discussing how to avoid my maniacal desire for another 14+ mile next weekend (i.e the prediscussed 1 hour run – I wish I was faster, I would have been able to coerce them for another long run next week.)  Fortunately, Debi and Wendy still spoke to me at the end :-) 

On the plus side, our movable aid station was at the car when we finally made it there.  Seems he was exceptionally pleased that we were running late because there was coed lawn volleyball right next to the parking lot.  And by coed it would appear that “there’s guys playing?”

Needed…a creative outlet

August 11th, 2009

I had an acupuncturist appointment yesterday, not for any running or biking injuries, just an ongoing issue.  Let’s just say, yesterday’s impression made me wonder if I truly have a disposable income to pay for weekly appointments.

The first appointment 3 weeks ago made me laugh so was well worth the price.  He actually used the words “ancient chinese medicine” (with an accent) and giggled.  Second week, I had more needles inserted, and was given more “ancient chinese herbs”.  Third week…well…no ancient chinese medicine.  Instead I was told I needed a creative outlet and that would help my liver.  For the record not going in for my liver.  Also, while I am used to Lino the witch doctor telling me that my sore right toe is related to the fact that my left elbow has too many lymph nodes that are enflamed (and yes he is generally right), I do not actually buy into a creative outlet connection with my liver. But, I’m paying for this kooky advice, so I need a creative outlet.  I don’t think shopping, eating out, surfing the internet, planning vacations, planning running outfits, analyzing shoe fit, or planning a run count.  This could be quite the challenge.  Darren has informed me he would like to learn the paso doble, so apparently his liver will be in good condition.  I fully remember the last time we tried dancing classes. I think my liver is screwed.

Friday Sale on Amazon

May 22nd, 2009

Ok, so I have to admit, I have a bit of a problem, I love to shop on Amazon.  Love love love to shop on Amazon.  For example I have had three shipments from Amazon just this week.  Even better, I love a sale (my mom’s fault I’m sure, but on the plus side because I have always shopped the sale rack, I could calculate percentages and fractions by the time I was 8).  So when it’s Friday, I have a reminder on my work calendar, to check the Friday sale on Amazon (today’s deal, Friday sale, just in case you didn’t know there was a sale).

Now it’s not often that I pass a sale, but I have to say, this was an interesting item today:
http://www.amazon.com/MHP-Sandler-All-Wood-Coffin/product-reviews/B001CHN4TO/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending#R3FP22TCLPN2VE

Really, does someone really need to purchase a coffin online?  And if you do, isn’t that being a bit preemptive?  And, I certainly am not an expert on coffins, but wood glue and slats?  I’m just imagining the Ikea-like instructions with insert tab here, place glue here.  No allen wrench though, because if you read the description, no metal.  Not really sure why that’s a selling point though. Or that people who don’t use metal are actually surfing the internet, or better yet, checking a Friday sale. 🙂

Response from Wendy re: Darren’s writeup

May 7th, 2009

OK–two things, next year we’re holding you to the mountain bike and
Olympic race schedule and you’ll be having soup all weekend. Go ahead
make up your list of soups now. That’s right–just think this through,
soup for breakfast (If I’m feeling generous) soup for lunch then soup
again for dinner.  You’ll be so sick of soup!!!! Don’t even think of
asking for  lamb chop, tri tip steak or PANCAKES/FRENCH TOAST with
pure maple syrup.  You get soup!!! Cold condensed soup !!
If your lucky maybe a  Clif Bar for breakfast with your coffee  🙂

Wildflower weekend, guest writer Darren (aka Mr. I’m eating soup from now on)

May 7th, 2009

Do I title this “Sometimes you race the course and sometimes the
course races you” or perhaps “A weekend filled with as many ups and
downs as the course you’re about to race”?

For those of you who don’t know, Wildflower is known as “The Woodstock
of Triathlon” and is a big weekend filled with 8000+ participants and
probably as many spectators cramming into an otherwise remote lake for
a Half-Ironman and Mountain Bike race on Saturday and an Olympic
Distance on Sunday.  It’s famous for its random weather and
challenging hilly courses.  Most of us were doing the Olympic distance
which was going to be by far my longest race of this year since I’m
focusing on Sprint distances after a long year training for Ironman.

Wildflower this year was not an A race for me since Moraga was the
weekend before.  Worse perhaps, I had it on the calendar as a C race,
which really meant I wouldn’t put a lot of effort into training or
tapering specifically for it.  Mentally though, I barely even treated
it as a race… and that (in all my post-race analysis) may have been
my downfall.  Looking back on it though, while disappointed in my
overall performance I actually have come to accept that the final
outcome was well within acceptable margins.  How’s that for damning
with faint praise?

I should preface all this with the fact that when you have 6 girls
camping, and a spreadsheet with who will bring what food with them,
you can guarantee that each person will bring enough food for 8
people.  We had SOOO much food and that certainly didn’t help my
racing any but did contribute to one of the big “ups” of the weekend.
Packing and unpacking the car on the other hand…

We drove down Friday (about a four hour drive) to beautiful Lake San
Antonio.  Fortunately Debi, Cheryl, Kirsten and Linda had come down
the week beforehand to reserve us easily the most perfect spot in the
entire campground.  We had full hookups, shade, flat areas for the
tents and nowhere nearby for anyone to infringe on our territory.
Upon arrival I hurried down the huge steep hill to the festival area
to listen to Jim Vance (a pro-triathlete and coach I had met at dinner
in Arizona) talk about nutrition.  I talked with Jim for a bit after
his talk and he was extremely friendly and helpful.  The girls were
impressed he remembered me. :)  Unfortunately his star client, Parvati
from Survivor, wasn’t there as she “did stupid”… or as I like to
call it “pulled a Darren” and injured herself skiing the week before
her big race.

A late lunch (spinach dip and snacks) basically turned into an early
dinner (lamb chops and rice) as we all hung around outside under the
easy-up and RV awning as the very light rain came and went a couple of
times.  It was so lovely and peaceful out there and the company
absolutely could not have been better.  A huge highlight to the
weekend!

Saturday we woke up early in time to watch Kirsten and Nick race and I
really wanted to watch the nearly 100 pros coming in to do their
transitions (since that’s something I’ve been working on this year and
I really wanted to see Torbjorn Sindballe).  I studied the pros
relentlessly then headed up the hill to watch the bikers head out and
see Kirsten come around.  After that we did some serious shopping (I
got a $10 tri-suit and I think nearly everybody else did too… more
on that later) we headed back up the hill to watch Kirsten come in on
the bike right at the end of her 56 mile ride.  While waiting for her,
a huge wind storm came through and blew a bunch of tents over.
Fortunately our stuff remained in tact as we’d carefully staked it all
down expecting rain.  We got back in time to see her pass us then
killed some more time eating until she was expected on the run.  We
debated whether to bring her the 100 calorie can of coke that she had
requested from CIM back in December.  When she came around to us, she
started calling out for a gel.  We all looked at each other in sheer
terror… “Was I supposed to bring the gel?  Had she asked for gel?
Nobody mentioned a gel.  What flavor gel?  Caffeine gel?”  Somebody
finally called out that we had a coke and her eyes lit up.  Apparently
that was an even better remedy than the missing gel and I was suddenly
the hero.  She finished really strong with a much improved run despite
being sick the entire week leading up to the race.  Very impressive!

Saturday night was tri-tip and mashed potatoes and more fun times
around the camp.  There was a brief interruption for the annual naked
run down the hillside (spectating not participating) but there was way
too much sausage for our groups taste :)  We all tried on our new
outfits.  I had a minor wardrobe malfunction as apparently they missed
one of the seams over my big white ass and I disgusted the group with
my fashion show.  We took an early night and slept really well.

Sunday was our race.  Despite the best laid plans of pre-packing our
tri bags and pre-numbering everything, the day began with Wendy
noticing a big hole in her front tire.  It turns out if was an
existing injury that had been patched, but we elected to change the
tire anyway despite her insistence that it would probably be fine.
Riding on the way down to the transition area (down the steep Lynch
Hill) I got a flat of my own.  Fortunately it was the super-thick tube
I had put it for Seattle-to-Portland last year so I was able to ride
on it well enough and I was happy to change it out for a lightweight
racing tube.  Downs and ups and downs and ups.

My swim started fine.  I was in the second wave of 30-35 year old
males.  A super competitive age group.  This race was odd in that it
featured a beach start with a run into the water down a narrow boat
ramp.   I seeded myself inside about 3 rows back which seemed about
right.  I got off to a good start throwing my weight around and
finding a decent draft and staying in zone.  About 1/4 of the way out
we started catching the back of the previous wave (the green cappers).
 At the turnaround point I came up on a greenie and decided to go
around the outside of him right before the buoy.  I don’t know what he
was thinking but he suddenly lunged to beat me to the turnaround.  He
smacked me square on the back of my head.  More like a karate chop
knocking my swim cap off and skewing my goggles.  It hurt so bad I
reached  back to see if I was bleeding.  I grabbed a handful of algae
which I thought was blood and panicked.  I swam upright, realized it
wasn’t blood, got my cap back on and headed back again somewhat dizzy.
 I fell back into my rhythm and ended up collecting yellow and light
blue caps.  I made a point of kicking a bit before standing up and
felt decent.  I hurried up the long hill as best I could and started
transition.

T1 felt pretty good.  I did feel a little dizzy.  I decided I would
slip on socks this race and that slowed me down a bit but not as bad
as the compression socks last time.  Heading out of transition I
glanced at the clock and figured I was about 2-3 minutes slow on the
swim.  Partially due to traffic and partially due to the beating I had
received.  I started my Garmin (which I had purposefully charged the
day before) and it immediately went flat.  Damnit.  As much as I rely
on my Garmin I’m always kind of happy when I don’t have it as it
forces me to just race.  Oh well.

The bike course immediately heads up Lynch hill.  7% grade for about
3/4 mile.  I got passed and passed and passed but refused to go out of
my prescribed heart rate zone.  At the top of the hill I caught up on
nutrition (1/2 Clif Bar and Gatorade).  At the first downhill my
gloves popped out of my bento box.  Damnit.  No turning around now.
The rest of the bike ride was uneventful.  Crawl up the hills (thank
god for bringing the road bike with the triple) and bomb down the
other side.  No idea how fast I was going but I spun out my big gear
and never braked.  I grabbed a fresh Gatorade at the first aid station
and a took a gel at the turnaround.  Finished my Clif bar on the way
back.  That felt like enough calories, but it already felt like I had
drank too much water due to the surprisingly heat, humidity, and
increasing lack of cloud cover.  I had decided not to bring the
Enduralytes (thanks to Joe Friel scaring me about how unnecessary they
are) but looking back on it I think I was probably a little
electrolyte deficient.  On the way back into the park I saw my gloves
and decided to stop and pick them up.  Scary!  At the end of the ride
I came what I thought was bombing down Lynch Hill but was informed by
the womens that I shouldn’t have been clinging to the brakes nearly
the entire time.  Checked the clock and was about where I was
expecting to be.  Cool!

T2 was awesome.  I popped out of my fancy new tri shoes in the
finishing chute and did my first in-race flying dismount.  I’m not
convinced running across even this long transition area barefoot is
that much faster, but hey that’s what the pros do.  I quickly got into
my run shoes and gear and headed out.

The run sucked.  It was getting hot and I knew hills awaited me.  I
managed to run out quite nicely (no idea of pace) until the first
uphill.  I just had nothing at all.  At the top, managed to run again.
 Fortunately there were several others that were cramping and walking
the uphills.  This continued to about mile 4 which is the longest
continuous uphill.  I couldn’t even get running for the camera (ok I
tried a little bit).  I wasn’t sure if it was that I had missed the
nutrition or the full sun or the tough bike or if I’d pushed too much
already or if it was my lack of training at this distance or if it was
just the hills.  Probably in all reality it was a little bit of
everything.

At the top of Lynch Hill (again) I picked up a guy I had been
running/walking back and forth with the entire run.  I grabbed him and
told him we’d run this far together I wasn’t going to let him stop
now.  We ran down the hill at a brisk pace.  It wasn’t as nearly as
painful on the knees as I was expecting.  At the bottom it was
announced 200meters to the finish line.  I turned to the guy and said
“you know I’m not gonna make this easy for you, right?”.  He replied
with “go do what you gotta do”.  I picked up the pace and thought I
left him behind.  Saw Cheryl and the entrance to the finish chute and
posed for a picture.  Thought I was finishing strong until the guy
tried to sneak by me on the right.  I laughed and yelled out “oh no
you don’t, buddy” and we both sprinted the last 10 feet or so
splitting around a much slower runner.  Our finishing pics have us
both laughing and I think it ended up in a dead heat.  Awesome!

I went back to transition to clean up and get changed and wait for the
girls to come in.  I missed everyone but Wendy (who looked super fresh
and strong) and Carrie (who unfortunately was not having a good day to
say the least).  I headed up and eventually found Cheryl, Kirsten,
Linda, Nick, and Jamie in the finish grandstands with bags of cheetos.
 Yum!  Wendy, Debi, and Sarah came in together and then decided to
hang out in the finish area for 13 hours instead of coming hanging out
with us.

After everyone finished we headed back up the hill anxiously awaiting
our Sunday night feast… Mexican food and margaritas.  Easily one of
the best meals ever!  We reviewed the results and generally just had a
great time hanging around camp.  It reassured every thought we’ve ever
had that the best part of triathlon is the people you do it with.
Monday morning we packed up and got on the road at a reasonable time
and had a nice peaceful drive home.

Once we got home I managed to drop my iPhone on the floor and cracked
the screen.  Downer.  Then yesterday I was informed I won the
Challenged Athletes Foundation raffle and got a $119 run jacket.
Upper!

Times:
Swim – 26:06 (about 2 minutes slower than anticipated but still top
18% overall.  I need to find more open water swim competitions)
T1 – 3:20 (including the run up the hill, very good.  Twice as fast as
others in our group who will remain nameless)
Bike – 1:41:44 or 14.4mph.  From 18.something the previous weekend
goes to show you how tough it was.
T2 – 1:30 (awesomeness!)
Run – 1:09:25.  Really not too shabby considering it was hot, hilly,
and the longest I will run all year.

Overall 3:22:07.  1515th overall of about 2600.  202nd of about 280 in
age group.

Lessons learned:
o Transition practice is paying off and truly is free time
o Nutrition between sprint and a hot hilly Olympic is drastically different
o Walking up and down hills the day before a big race does not help
o Avoiding people on the swim is always a safe bet
o Choosing a race that suits your strengths is critical.  That being
said, St. George Ironman next year is entirely OUT!
o I’m coming back next year and doing the double (Mountain Bike race +
olympic… cuz the mountain bikers sucked!)

Wildflower weekend – Guest Writer Debi :-)

May 7th, 2009

On Friday, kirsten, Linda and I went down to take a practice swim and pick up packets.  As soon as we started walking it started sprinkling.  Of course it did.  It actually wasn’t too bad since we took my favorite thing at Wildflower: the shuttle down Lynch hill.  As we were getting ready to swim there was a group of pros in front of us talking about how the water wasn’t too cold but to watch out for floaters.  Linda and I exchanged very worried glances.  But then she said the floaters were big chunks of algae.  Whew.  We got in and it looked like a ocean documentary “at the bottom of the ocean” as there was a constant flow of tiny algae and the occasional chunk of big algae.
 
Darren, Sarah and Wendy arrived and according to Darren they packed enough food for 8 people.  Wendy did recover from her limited range of motion car ride pretty well by going down to the festival and buying jerseys and getting free samples with Sarah and Cheryl.
 
It drizzled most of the afternoon and evening but it was manageable for everyone unloading and making dinner.  Good thing Darren and Sarah brought the easy up so we could have dry snack time.  The carrot cake cookies, M&M’s, licorice and Brownie bites  certainly helped take the urgency out of making dinner.  Thanks Sarah and Wendy!
 
Saturday morning it was clear and no rain.  We got Kirsten down to transition and Linda had a couple of well timed “Quit your whining, it’s only a half ironman” to calm her down.  For those of you who don’t know, last year when we all did Barb’s race and were walking the bikes and gear to transition she blurted out “it’s no big deal, it’s just a half”.  About 50 women within earshot wanted to kill her.
 
We got to see the pro’s swim and go off on the bike. Darren got a front row view as they flew in and out. Kirsten had a good swim despite the hacking cough she’s had all week.  Her transition was long, as expected.
 
Cheryl had twisted her ankle when she fell in a sink hole in the road speaking to her art Patron, Cindy, on the way down so she was a tad slow moving.  After we safely got her off on the bike ride, we came up and did a quick run and ride to remind our muscles how to work.  Then we had the most awesome camping lunch ever prepared by Wendy.  The sandwich bar buffet she prepared was phenomenal.  I had to take a picture.  With our stomachs full (and the occasional comment “I hope Kirsten is enjoying her gu”) we walked just a couple of minutes and saw Kirsten go by as she was finishing her bike ride.  She looked good.  Just a minute or two slower than last year on the bike.
 
We were able to go back to the same spot to see her go by on the run.  While we were waiting there was a nice breeze.  Wendy said “wow this is a perfect day, we couldn’t ask for better weather”.  Literally 3 second later the breeze changed to a huge gust of wind (aka tornado) and the easy-ups down the path blew over into parked cars, small tents behind us blew over and the Tri San Diego people frantically clutched their easy up to keep from losing it.  Linda, Darren and Sarah ran back the camp site and got the 5th wheel awning down and recovered cheryl’s painting which had flown off the easel.  We were relatively unscathed.  5 minutes later there were still two plates and a garbage bag floating about 100 feet above us.
 
They made it back in time to see Kirsten go by.  Darren had been smart enough to bring a half can of coke and set it on the path for Kirsten.  As she flew by she yelled “got a gu”, we all looked panicked and shouted “no but we have a coke”.  According the Kirsten that made her next three miles awesome, so good thinking Darren.
 
Linda and I went down to the finish line and everyone else rested their legs for race day.  Kirsten crossed with a big smile on her face and was only two minutes slower than last year.  Her run was a lot faster than last year so that was great.
 
The big news of the day was Volere brand had a sale of $10 on women’s tri suits.  Wendy and Sarah each bought one.  Since it was red, grey and white I made Linda try on one and she ended up buying one too,  Kirsten bought hers while we were racing yesterday.  Darren bought a blue one, however, there was a wardrobe malfunction noticed by Cheryl when he modeled it.  Little bit of white butt showing which would end up being a lot of white butt after a bike ride.

Saturday night after Kirsten’s race we all began preparing our tri-bags and water bottles and putting stickers on helmets and bikes.  Much electrical tape was used.  Darren decided to ride down and back up Lynch hill.  He is a masochist.  In fact, after seeing the mountain bike course people finish their race and mocking them for seeming so tired after such a short race ( 500 yd swim, 9 mile bike and 2 mile run)  he decided that next year he will do a double-the mountain bike and the olympic race back to back.  Wendy and I have vowed to hold him too it.  Cheryl made a delicious tri-tip (or so I am told) and we had mashed potatoes and yummy salad.  The Brownie bites were enjoyed by all.
 
Kirsten and Cheryl took their spectating duties very seriously and took orders for post race beverages and snacks to carry down with them to the finish line.  They also had to create a list of start times and projected finish times with 5 racers in different age groups. 
 
On race morning we all did pretty well with the jitters.  We told Darren to be happy that Wendy had brought so many croissants for his pre-race meal since I met a woman in line at the bathroom who had her whole bag of them stolen from her tent the night before.  I offered her his uneaten ones.   As we were about to leave and Wendy was putting air in her tires she realized she had a hole in her tire.  Luckily I had just bought a new spare one at REI and Darren did a quick change on it.  I decided to count that as my “save” for the day.  Then on the way down to transition, Darren popped his tube.  Of course he would be the first one to start the race, but he got it changed in time.
 
The wildflower transition is HUGE.  So big that Wendy got ashen the day before when she first saw it.  Spaces are assigned by numbers and wave starts.  Linda was just one row across from me and Jaime Baker another friend from Sacramento was just across from her.  We also saw Carrie and Rose from Sacramento before the race. they were down by Sarah and Wendy. 
 
The first wave went at 9 am, Darren started at 9:25 and we got to see him leave on his bike ride looking good.  Linda was the next start at 10:35 am, then Sarah in the pink cap at 10:40 and Wendy and I got to go in the over 45 group at 10:50.  By this time the sun was out and we were roasting in our wet suits.  Getting in the water was a relief.
 
Wendy and I did something we have never done.  We postioned ourselves about 4 rows back in the middle of the pack and we ran into the water when the gun went off and started swimming.  We normally hang at the back and walk in after most everyone has cleared out.  It was very exciting.  Not so exciting was the beating we took from all the swimmers around us.  It took at least a quarter mile before there was clear swimming and no danger from an adjacent swimmer.   I found a woman who was my pace and swam next to her so I wouldn’t go off course.  The algae wasn’t as bad as on Friday and except for a couple of warnings from the safety kayaks I didn’t go off course (or almost run into the dock at the finish like last year).
 
When I got out of the water, I looked for my cheap flip flops to run up the boat ramp (which is pretty steep).  Apparently someone else decided they needed them because they were gone.  Someone took Sarah’s sandals too.
 
I got out of transition ok (a little slower than last year) and started up Lynch hill on the bike.  This is when the reality of the cold I caught hit.  While I could breathe, I wasn’t really getting much oxygen.  My legs were killing me.  I realized this was going to be a very crappy bike ride.  At least 55 people passed me in that .75 mile hill.  I made it up and continued riding trying to make up time on the down hills.  At around mile 10 I pulled off the course and rested for 3 minutes, drank some water and ate a little.  Wendy came flying by looking great on the bike and checked on me.  I did see Linda going the other way passing someone at high speed.  I knew Darren was already on the run.  I felt better, got back on the bike and finished the ride.  I told myself instead of not finishing the race, I would just walk the run portion.
 
I had a really fast transition between the bike and run (the only place I was faster this year).  Fortunately there was some cloud cover so it wasn’t too hot.  My first mile and 1/2 were very slow, but I started to pick it up and actually passed some walkers.  At the  bottom of the big hill at mile 3 I saw Wendy and Sarah far ahead of me.  I was determined to catch them.  So I ran very slowly up the hill while they walked.  I was making up ground and eventually I was within shouting distance.  But I had lost my voice the day before so I kept asking the volunteers to yell their names.  After the 4th time, they turned around and were nice enough to let me catch up.  Turns out Wendy’s legs were cramping and Sarah’s stomach was cramping so that’s why they were walking.  I was so happy to see them I didn’t care about walking.  We power walked/jogged until we got to the top of Lynch hill and then we ran down it.  Wendy got a burst of speed and adrenaline and took off as soon as she saw the finishers shoot.  Sarah and I ran it in together and waved for the finisher’s camera. It was a great way to finish the race. 
 
Linda and Darren had already finished.  Darren’s time was good but he had a pretty traumatic day.  He got beaned really bad in the swim and has a lump on his head and he lost his gloves a mile into the bike ride.  Not to mention the flat tire to start the race.  He did have a little fun playing cat and mouse with another runner and really appreciated the girls in bikini’s at the 5 mile aid station.  Linda felt the effects of being sick for two weeks and her new bike gearing was not great on the up hills but she flew by people on the downs.  Her run was faster than last year by a few minutes.  I think the fact she didn’t have a coughing fit on Lynch hill was a victory for her.
 
Sarah, Wendy and I went to the finishers rest area and they had run out of the red finisher’s towels that they give you wet to cool down.  We were pissed.  Wendy somehow got someone to give her three white ones from last year.  The beverages carried by Kirsten and Cheryl were distributed and still cold.  We ate the yummy cheetos and managed to get ourselves all back up the hill for our lovely enchilada, rice and beans post race meal.

The best part of racing - finishing with your friends!

The best part of racing - finishing with your friends!

That was the best race ever!

April 26th, 2009

I have to confess, I am not a good wife.  :-) 

Over a year ago Darren told me all about the Moraga Tri and how this was going to be his A race during YOS.  Wanting to be supportive of him having something to work at after IMAZ, I agreed and said, “sounds great”.  So for the past 12 weeks he has followed this very disciplined plan so that he can place at Moraga Tri.  I, on the other hand, have perfected the haphazard plan which involves minimal swimming, running a couple times a week, and only hilly bike rides ~once per week.  I actually had no intention of racing the Moraga tri, that is until last week, when on a whim I asked Darren if he would mind me impinging on his A race.  As a good husband he told me, “of course you can race, I’d love you too”.  Much nicer than I would have been.  I figured I could collect a t-shirt for the quilt I ultimately want for my YOS, and practice my transitions for Wildflower.  And I was told that the bike was flat, and I quote “like a pancake” <— that is a KEY point…

The morning started at 4:20AM which is an unpleasant time to wake up.  After a quick hair decision – one ponytail or two – prying my tri suit on, and eating my prerace breakfast of a pretzel, we headed to Moraga.  Of course Darren needed his prerace breakfast of Starbuck’s…just as a note, SBs does not open weekends until 6 – useful to know.  While waiting for SBs to open, I asked Darren to take me on a quick drive of the bike course.  I would like to point out that at this point I mentioned that the road looked like a hill, and I was told I was imagining things.  He took me to the end of the road and used the comment “I’m told this is a good bike route, but I’m pretty sure the course doesn’t go this far”. <—-FYI, it extended about 3 miles past that point…uphill…

Back to SBs, wait for 10 minutes for the doors to open,  pick up Darren’s much needed coffee and croissant and off to the race.  At the race we discover that while the race FAQs claimed there would be numbered transition areas, that really was not the case.  No worries, there was a huge wall with steps and I set up with tons of space with no one near me, right next to the run exit. 

So a couple notes about this tri – it is truly a bring what you own kind of race – meaning cruisers, hybrids, mountain bikes, old school steel bikes, OH and 2 Cervelo P2Cs.  Yeah, we were overbiked for the race, which I found hysterically funny.  Fortunately, we were not as bad as racer #10 who was riding his P3 with zipps, who had his trainer set next to his truck and was doing warm ups prior to the race (also hysterically funny).  Judging by his parking spot and transition spot he must have been there at about 5AM.

So back to the race.  The race was supposed to start at 7, it didn’t.  It was also supposed to be 70 degrees.  It was about 50.  After some announcements from the mayor of Moraga (yes the mayor), and a soulful rendition of the national anthem (that included a stop in the middle and the words “oh, uh hang on”), the race began.  Darren of course being significantly faster was #35, and I was #175.  It was a pool swim (8 x 50m laps) in a pool with racers going every 10 seconds.  Darren had a 6:30ish swim so I was able to cheer for him throughout his swim and still had time to sit in the heated bathrooms and warm up while waiting for him swim.  Eventually my time came, and I undressed and handed all of my clothes to Darren’s dad (who thought that was great fun), and got into the water.  Now, Darren will say the water was waaaayyyy too hot.  I will say it was perfect ~85degrees.  It was sooooo nice, a beautiful temperature, and an improvement over standing on the deck.  After a 9:50ish swim, I was out of the water and headed out on the pancake flat bike ride.  It  was at that point I apparently screwed up my Garmin, so I have no idea how long my bike was on the pancake ride.  I do know however the pancake was apparently quite lumpy.  After the past few bike rides with Wendy and Debi though, I don’t think I’d call any of the ride a hill.  Darren disagrees with that assessment.  Perhaps he should ride with Wendy  and Debi.  I made a point of thanking all of the volunteers (escapees from the nearest wrinkle ranch from the looks of things). 

Back into transition, I finally figured out my watch and started the run.  I managed to run the first 1/4 mile, and then did two inhaler puffs, and kept going.  Volunteers for the run were from the local high school and were very encouraging.  They also all had flags and were trying to make their flags make snapping sounds anytime a runner was near them.  There were two BIG hills on the run, but not particularly steep, just long (1 mile-ish). Fortunately for every uphill there was an equivalent downhill.  The final 1/4 mile was around the high school track.  Coming into the track I saw Darren and his parents way before they saw me.  As I passed Darren he was surprised to see me and told me “oh you’re under time” to which I asked “well what time is it” and was told “oh I don’t know”.  Helpful.  Raced around the track and came in at 2:14 on the clock.  Since I started at about 29 minutes, it looks as though I was at about 1:43-1:45, but we’re still waiting on the results.  Darren finished in 1:23ish(42nd finisher).

More importantly, the first words out of my mouth were “wow that was fun”, much to Darren’s surpise.  He kept looking at me trying to figure out who had climbed into my trisuit :-) 

Next up, Wildflower!

Sigh…yes it has been a while

April 17th, 2009

So I suppose I could say that I’ve been so busy training that I haven’t been posting. Or that I have been dealing with cold #2 for the past few weeks (yes, Mom, I’m finally on prednisone), which is closer to the truth.  But the real reason, well other than trying to steal the laptop from Darren, um, well, I’ve been lazy.

So what’s been going on?  I’ve decided to pass on Lake Stevens. I’m having a hard enough time trying to fit three sports in the week, and really, I’ve just decided I don’t really like swimming. Rather than fight it, I’m just going to improve my running and biking.  So I signed up for another 1/2, the San Franciso marathon. Two things, in July, it’s guaranteed to be cooler there than Sacramento, AND it’s a beautiful run course.  Wendy agreed today to run as well, so I know I now have my motivator to run with me 🙂

I’ve also attempted to increase my hill biking (in between coughing up lungs) in anticipation of Wildflower in exactly 15 days.  The hills are not the problem.  In fact I’m kind of wishing the swim had some hills.  I suppose the next two weeks will be solid swim workouts – ugh – I really dislike swimming (yes Hallmark husband, it’s all attitude, I know).

What else – other than said cold, and 45 days of happy pills, everything is looking pretty rosy.  Tyson has become a home decorator involving moving rugs room to room.  Darren caught 6 slugs – he ate 3, we donated 3 to Wendy.  I ate sushi (not abalone inspired).

4 days and counting…

March 3rd, 2009
  1. Bags are packed (well almost)  – check
  2.  grocery delivery has been scheduled – check
  3. iPhone has a new playlist – check
  4. Cold has just about ended.  Yes that’s right, a lovely cold from someone at work who will remain nameless has set in the Madams household, which I suppose is better than the flu that has set in the Keyser household. 
  5. Out of office message created – check (and it doesn’t say “screw you and your concern, I’m on PTO, find someone who cares”- it is however late Tuesday, and I still have  another day of work, so that message is likely).
  6. Annoying white dog has arrived, and dog sitter arranged – check (and yes she will be perfect for the dogs)
  7. Pretrial run with selected race outfit – yeah not so much. I can finally breathe without horking up a lung, that took 3 days.
  8. bills are paid – check
  9. Prozac for Darren is packed – check (he has been searching Disneyworld forums for a full day, let’s just say he is not a happy camper about going to the merriest place on earth)
  10. Garmin is charged – check

Looks like I’m good to go.  Can’t guarantee what the race reports will be like, as we just found out last night that he cannot be at the starting line.  He can however ride the monorail to see me at the turn around point.  I’m hoping he’ll be there.  He’s wondering how much Disney will charge for that.

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement and especially a big thanks to Wendy for running all of those long runs with me.  Couldn’t have done it without you!