Saturday, July 31, 2010

big, hilly day

Rode 63.3 miles today with Luke and Michael BBMGB. We started in Winters and rode a loop out Pleasants Valley out to Fairfield and up around Lake Berryessa. Conquered Cardiac Hill for the first time in 4 years...not as bad as I remembered. I have not been riding hills and this ride is constant rollers with a few big climbs. Felt pretty strong and I'm ready to ride some more.

Getting ready for Tahoe in September. Also have decided to do Wildflower Long Course (Half-Ironman) next May, so I need lots of hill training to conquer Nasty.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Early morning ride

Woke up super early this morning (5 am) to get a 30 mile ride in before 8 am with Luke. It was cool, crisp, and awesome. We saw lots of turkey moms with tons of tiny baby turkeys and some gaggles (is that the plural of gaggle?) of geese. It's pretty awesome to be done by 8 am. Going in to the lab after that, though, is not so fun.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ah, rest day. So nice. Too bad I'm stuck in the lab/dissertation writing all day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Workout #2

Woo hoo! I managed to sneak in a bike ride after work today. Unfortunately, it was super tires skidding and me almost crashing. Boo! Going to have to hope, hope, hope the IM isn't windy. As a result of the wind, I decided to cut my ride short. I was out near Dixon in the farm country and turned on a road that looked like it was heading back to Davis. So, I'm gripping the handlebars and doing my best to stay upright, knowing that I was heading home. Bet you know what happens next, right?

No, I didn't crash! But, the road I was following dead-ended into a farm. F! I could see a road parallel to the road I was on, just across the farm and assumed there must be a way to access it. Yes, I could have turned around and went back the way I came. Unfortunately (and sometimes fortunately), I'm very stubborn. Yeah, you knew that. So I find a dirt farm road and decide to follow that. Keep in mind I'm on my very expensive triathlon bike with race tires (no tread). I kept one foot out of the pedals and putted along very slowly. Yes! I see the road just ahead. I reach the road. Oh, f again! It's another farm road. Do I turn around? NO! I keep riding on tractor roads (all gravel or dirt) across this farm until I finally see a road with cars driving on it. After about 4 miles of farm roads, I reach asphalt. Yes!

After that, I just continued back to Davis, chuckling to myself about my off-road adventure on my super nice tri bike. Overall, I rode 15 miles.

Lessons learned:
1. My bike is really, really awesome and handles better than I thought. Yes, I trust my bike and my handling abilities more. That's good.

2. Stick to roads I know. Yeah, that's a good one.

3. Stop being so stubborn...not gonna happen.

4. Enjoy the ride. I did!

It's gonna be a crazy one

I swam 500 m this morning. It's definitely time for some coaching. My stroke is NOT good. Next week, I start swimming with a Masters' team and a coach. Swimming with a masters' team does not mean I'm a master swimmer, it just means I can have a coach for $40/month and will hopefully be challenged by all the other swimmers and improve greatly. Certainly a bit intimidated, though. I need to put my ego aside and do what will help me the most. I'm sort of imagining myself as a kindergarten level swimmer with lots of college swim team types. It would be super easy to focus on biking and running, both of which I know I can do decently and trudge along with the swimming...kinda like in college where you study the stuff you know and ignore the stuff you don't know and then are stupidly surprised when you still don't know material on the test. I did that it intermediate O chem and biochem. Not smart, especially when the test is an IRONMAN and you can DNF or drown! Yep, time to improve my swimming.

Recently, I've noticed that my appetite is BOOMING! I've always been a pretty good eater (read: like a linebacker), especially for a small girl who's 5'4" and 125 lbs. Never had a problem with gaining weight, quick metabolism. But now! Yikes! I'm hungry all the time and eat constantly. I brought two lunches to work today. The metabolism definitely loves all this exercise.

Speaking of exercise, Luke mentioned that he was going to ride today. I was so jealous/inspired that I brought my bike to work so I can ride after all this lab stuff is done.

Woo hoo!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Week 4 begins

Nice, easy 4 miler this morning with RuDog and Hanky Panky. Feeling much stronger.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stats for the week

I've started keeping track of my distances for each week and will post them here.

Bike:53 miles
Run: 5 miles
Swim: 1000 m

Low mileage, but it means I'm doing the right thing and taking it slowly, especially with the running. I have a long time to get where I need to be but I'm feeling confident. I also took two rest days this week because of the toe issue and cut back on the running.

Can't wait to look back at this in several months and see how far I've progressed. Soon that swim distance will be 1/4 of a single workout!

Great, great, great day

I'm having an excellent day. I started with a 53 mile bike ride from Davis out past the Monticello Dam (Lake Berryessa). This was the first hill climbing I've done in over 2 years. Literally. And the first I've ever done on my tri bike. It felt fantastic! Hard but doable. My road bike has a granny gear, making hill climbing much easier, so I was apprehensive about only having a big ring and a small ring but I did it. In fact, when we (I rode with my friend and fellow entomologist Michael BBMGB) got to the top of the hill, we decided to continue so we could ride more hills. Bring it on!

This was the best ride I've had in a long time. I felt strong. Michael even commented that he could tell that I've been training because I seemed faster and stronger. Awesome!

Now I'm going to relax for the rest of the day with a book and lots of tv. No dissertation writing for me today!

Next weekend, we're going to conquer the dam hill and Cardiac and some rollers. Afterward, we'll celebrate with pizza in Winters. Already excited.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2.5 mile run with the doggie boys today.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rested today. Toe getting better.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Swimming with a sore toe

Swam 500 m today. Felt pretty good, but was unable to push off or do any turns because of my toe. It's getting better and I'm looking forward to riding this weekend.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stupid hurt toe

Last night, I stubbed my toe on the coffee table and heard something crack. Don't think anything's broken, but it's swollen, hurts like hell and throbbed all night. Needless to say, I took today off. I'm going to take a few days off running and biking and focus on swimming for the next two days to see how it holds up. It's ridiculous that something as seemingly trivial as a toe can have such an effect on balance and activity.

Tomorrow, though, I'm back and will be in the pool!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Short run and the Grid

Ran a quick 2.5 miles with the Pig Ninjas this morning. Feeling better and stronger everyday. Probably start working on some speed soon.

Last week, I bought "the Grid," a new type of foam roller than can take more pressure and doesn't break down as easily as other foam rollers. It's also small, unlike most that resemble pool noodles. I've been trying to stretch with it every day for a few minutes. My main goal is to stretch out my IT bands and avoid injury. It seems to be working already. Today, I didn't feel any IT twinges...good news!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Week 3 begins

Swam 500 yards today. Definitely getting stronger. For the first time, I felt like I was taking long, efficient strokes. Almost ready for a coach.

Luke and I signed up yesterday for the 72 mile bike ride around Lake Tahoe in September. Can't wait! I did that ride several years ago and had a blast, although there is some major climbing and the descents can be rather scary. I was thinking about doing the Tahoe 3-day tri, but decided against it. The IronGirl Sprint is the weekend before and I'd like to focus on biking and swimming and not have to worry much about running for now.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18

Ran 4.15 miles today with the pig ninjas. Mile 3-4 was definitely the best. I guess I'm not a short-distance runner, since my legs don't warm up until 3 miles in.

I'm toying with the idea of riding my bike to work every day this week...16 miles each way. It would definitely be more fun than driving, less expensive, and it's super easy ride, mostly on a bike path.

Other fun news: Luke decided to do the full Tahoe ride with me in September. It's a gorgeous 72 mile ride all the way around Lake Tahoe. Insanely beautiful!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bike ride and peach cobbler

Just finished a 50 mile bike ride with Luke. We rode from our house in West Sac to Davis, where I did some work in the insectary, then we rode west toward Winters and then back home. It's crazy, crazy hot here...around 100. I rode my tri bike for the first time in years (literally). It was super fun, but strange to be in aero position again. Definitely going to be an adjustment to get used to shifting and holding that position. My shoulders are sore, but it was a great ride. The best I've been on in a long time. My new dual chamber aero bottle was awesome.

Now we're heading to the Marysville Peach Festival to refuel with peach cobbler and ice cream...lots of ice cream! One of the major perks of distance sports is the ability to eat lots and lots of delicious, high calorie food and know that you've earned it and won't grow belly rolls as a result.

Friday, July 16, 2010

swim, swim, swim

400 yards today.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rest Day and Foam Roller

After waking up sore this morning as a result of my massage yesterday (lots of knots in the shoulders), I decided to make today a rest day. After work, I went to Fleet Feet and bought a foam roller to stretch my IT bands. I looked at "the stick," but the foam roller was more highly recommended for IT bands. It hurts like hell but it's great.

It was strange to not exercise today. I'm looking forward to hitting the pool tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I decided to take it easy this morning, as I'm still adjusting to all of this exercise/waking up early in addition to my insane schedule. Took the pig ninjas on a quick 2-miler. No biggie. Beautiful morning. Ramses the CatFace left a mouse on the doorstep to greet us. I was impressed with his technique. Generally, cats leave greetings like this in just the head format or they eat the guts and leave the remnants. Ramses, smart and inventive boy that he is, managed to skin the body of the mouse, while leaving the entrails, head, legs, and tail perfectly in place. Impressive.

My IT bands (the rubberband-like cord that attaches your pelvis to your knee) have been a bit tight recently, so it might be time to buy "the stick," which is a foam stick that you use to stretch out IT bands and other tendons/ligaments. It hurts like hell but prevents injury. I injured my right IT band several years ago and it put me out of commission for months. Now, I try to start out slowly and increase my mileage gradually so I don't tweak them.

I'm heading to a tri shop in Sacramento tonight. Never been there and I hope it's good. I'm looking for new arm pads for my tri bike, an aero hydration system, and the stick. Keep your fingers crossed.

Also, I have a 90 minute massage tonight. Pretty much the greatest thing ever :)

Daily Double Part 2

After work last night, I met up with my friend Michael for a 20 mile bike ride. Super, super fun. It was hot and windy and, while that didn't bother me much during the ride, I definitely felt it afterward. Luckily, I was able to stop by In-N-Out for a milkshake to cool down. Fantastic reward! I could certainly get used to a morning workout and a ride after work.

I was so tired when I got home, though, that I climbed into bed around 8:30, fell asleep after reading around 9:30 and was still completely asleep when my alarm went off at 6:00 this morning. That never happens. I'm not a good sleeper in general, but lots of exercise seems to be helping.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Double Day Part 1

Today is my first double workout in a long time, meaning I have two workouts today. This morning I swam 400m again. It's definitely getting easier but I'm not very good at breathing on both sides. There was a super creepy dude at the pool today who looked like Michael Lohan and had a staring problem. I gave him my meanest faces, but I'm not sure how effective they are while wearing a swim cap and goggles.

I've found that since I've been sweating more (it's hot here!) and drinking lots of water, my electrolytes are slightly off. I've been craving salty food, which is really weird for me, as I always prefer sugar. Should probably make more of an effort to ingest potassium, too.

This afternoon: bike ride with my friend Michael, who just returned from an ant-collecting mission in Central America. My bike is in the car and I will be ready to go!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Run Day

Because I skipped my run on Saturday, I had to make it up today. This morning was cool and surprisingly crisp as I set out with the pig ninjas. We found a new 3 mile loop around the neighborhood. I usually do out and back runs, but this loop was much more fun. Running is starting to get easier and I can feel my stride coming back. The dogs love all this exercise. They jump around like crazies whenever I put my running shoes on.

I'm still having a hard time getting out of bed early but I just have to keep on it until it seems natural again. I'm going to bed early but I wake up at 4:00 am every morning and can't go back to sleep. And even though I'm awake, I can't get out of bed because I'm wishing for sleep.

Tomorrow is my first double workout: swimming in the morning and biking in the evening. Can't wait!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Toasty Bike Ride

I got a late start on my bike ride today. My intention was to ride my tri bike (a super awesome Cannondale Ironman) and spent some time changing tubes, lubing the chain, etc., just to realize that I couldn't find one of the pads for my aerobars. I called around Sac and couldn't find anyone who carried just the pads. So, I decided to ride my road bike (a Scott Speedster that I've been riding for the past 4 1/2 years). Unfortunately, the pipe valve was screwed up on one of the tubes, so I had to change that, too. By this point, I'd changed three tubes and was just ready to ride. Too bad for me, it's July in Sacramento, which means it's HOT!

It obviously wasn't going to be a long ride, so I focused on riding fast. I rode for 30 minutes at a 20 mph pace. 11 miles later I was done and not too tired. Any ride is better than no ride. And, man, it was so hot! I'm not much of a sweater, but I was sweating buckets.

My mission for this week: find aerobar pads and hydration system. I've been admiring a two-chamber aerobar bottle that allows you to drink while still in aero position. And, with the two-chamber bottle, I can have both water and sports drink.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rest Day

Woo hoo! A rest day. Normally, Saturdays will be a long run or long bike day and my rest day will be Monday. This week, though, the mileage is so low that a Monday long run is no problem. Going to spend the day at the pool with the girls. No dissertation writing for me today!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Afternoon swim delight

I missed my morning swim today. Usually the lap pool is open all day. Today, however, they closed lap swim early and then had a second session this afternoon. I'm a morning exerciser and if I miss a workout, it's nearly impossible for me to make myself work out later in the day.

After my afternoon meeting, I headed to the pool. The pool is much different in the afternoon than in the morning. There were tons and tons and tons of screaming kids everywhere. Screaming kids give me a visceral flee reaction. Yes, I know, this makes me a bad person, I should be more tolerant, etc. Can't help it. In spite of this huge booming voice in my head telling me to run in the opposite direction, I managed to to get in the pool. Shockingly, I had a lane to myself and had a nice, uneventful, very short 400 meter swim. I focused on less rest between laps and I definitely did better than I did last Wednesday.

My next swim goal is to breathe on both sides. I practiced a bit today, but it still feels strange.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Today I took the dogs on a short, 3 mile run. Not much to report. Still feeling out of shape but I know I won't for too much longer. We ran up on the levee road behind our house and halfway in, visited the water so the boys could swim. RuDog was tired today and spent the first mile with his head pressed against my left leg, making it rather difficult to run and then from mile 1.5 to mile 2.5, he ran right behind me so I was kicking him with each step. Guess he didn't mind because he didn't move. We were all hot when we got home and I drank ice water while they ate ice cubes.

My goal today was to start breaking in my new running shoes. They still have that super white, I'm not really a runner look to them. I made sure to run through lots of dirt so I'll stop looking like an aerobics instructor and start looking like a runner again.

The run was a nice break from dissertation writing. I'll take it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back in the pool

I finally made it back into the pool today after about a year's hiatus. Every time I swim, I remember how much I love it. It's relaxing, quiet, smooth...wonderful. I only swam 400 meters today, the distance of the swim in my sprint tri in September. After every length I had to rest for a moment, but I know swim fitness comes quickly if you work at it. My form started to suffer the last lap, so I thought it best to quit and not sacrifice form. My upper body felt much stronger than it usually does when I haven't been swimming. I attribute this to p90x. That workout is awesome and it works! Highly recommend.

My "coach," aka the author of the plan I'm following, makes it a point to state that swimming is a technique sport, much like golf. This always makes me feel better because I know that I have the endurance but my technique is lacking. The good thing about a technique sport is that you can improve rapidly with practice and drills. The drills will begin this fall. For now I'm just swimming, swimming, swimming. Might join a team later on so I can have some help with my stroke. One difference between swimming and swimming in a tri is that you try to use your legs much less when swimming in a tri. So, you do almost all the work with your arms to save your legs for later on.

This is definitely my worst sport of the three. IM CDA is a mass start, which means that all 2500+ athletes start at the exact same time. I've heard it described as a washing machine and you should expect to receive some kicks to the face and elbows to the ears. It's pretty much my worst nightmare. I literally stay awake at night thinking about it.

Three years ago, I finished a Half-Ironman that had a large wave start in the Russian River. There were only a couple hundred people starting in each wave and that was overwhelming to me. All I remember was people swimming into me, on top of me and under me. Seriously, I had a real-life panic attack and, as you all know, pretty much nothing fazes me. Except open water mass start swims and snakes. Both scary. But, to get over this fear of open-water swims and to prepare myself as much as possible for the washing machine IM CDA start, I'm going to practice, practice, practice. In the pool, in open water, anywhere. Everywhere. Nothing is going to help with the snake fear, so I'm just going to continue to scream every time I see one...even if it's dead, especially if it's fat or has an open mouth.

Swim terminology:
length: one length of the pool
lap: down and back (2 lengths)
freestyle: aka crawl, what most triathletes do during the swim portion.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

WTF is an Ironman?

I get this question a lot. An Ironman is a triathlon consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2 mile run. Yes, one right after the other. In one day. Yes, over 140 self-powered miles. Yes, it's insane. And glorious.

A triathlon simply refers to a swim, followed by a bike ride, followed by a run. It can be short (Sprint), medium (Olympic) or long (Iron).

People ask me if I'm doing the "real" Ironman in Kona. That is the World Championship Ironman. No, I'm not doing that one. You have to qualify. It's kinda like asking someone who is running a 5K if they're going to the Olympics. No, but it doesn't make it any less real. It's the same distance, the same struggle, and the same pride. I would like to do the Kona IM someday, but I'm not ready to commit to that level of training right now. So, yes, I'm doing the "REAL" Ironman. In Coeur d'Alene.

The IM I'm competing in is the Coeur d'Alene IM. It's part of the M-dot series of races. These are very well-organized and are considered to be qualifiers for the World Championship IM in Kona. So, if you win your age group in CDA, you qualify for Kona. The pro triathletes compete in the M-dot races. There are other Iron-distance tris, but they tend to be smaller and less organized.

Baby run

My goal this week is to ease into training regularly again. This morning I ran 2 miles (yes, a total baby run) with the Pig Ninjas, Rudy and Hank. It was a gorgeous morning and I loved the run, but came to the conclusion that I'm miserably out of shape. It's okay, I know I'll gain fitness quickly. For some reason, I have a much harder time with short runs than long runs. The first 3-4 miles of each run are difficult but after that I feel fantastic. Endorphins maybe? Warm muscles?

My mileage for the next several weeks is going to be very low, with the goal of easing into training with no injuries. I have a tendency to jump into high mileage and insanity. Running a full marathon with essentially no training? Done it. More than once. A half-Ironman after 4 months of PT and only 3 workouts? Did that, too. Never again. I really want to be well-trained for this race so I can power through and feel strong and not just struggle through. An IM is enough of a struggle without adding poor training to the mix.

Tomorrow is my first day back in the pool in about a year. Yikes!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Registered for Ironman CDA 2011

I've had the registration date on my calendar for weeks...June 28, 2010 at noon. I was on the registration page at 11:45, waiting for it to open. Right at noon registration opened and I did it. I'm registered for the Ironman! Immediately after, I felt very, very nervous. But I guess that's to be expected. That night after work, I finished reading my training book. Decided to go with Be Iron Fit by Don Fink. His plans look doable. I've decided to train with the 30 week competitive program, which maxes out at 20 hours of training per week and averages around 12 hours per week. Although the IM-specific training starts in November, I'm going to start getting my butt back in gear tomorrow.

June was a bad fitness month for me, with commencement and my trip to Spokane. I don't think I worked out more than a few times. Not good. Time to get going again. To inspire myself (scare me into swimming), I signed up for the IronGirl all-women tri in Lake Tahoe in September. It's super short, but I need some sort of motivation and as much open-water swim time as I can get. And, I know it will be fun...all women races always are.

I'm also toying with the three-day Tahoe tri, also in September. I did the 72 mile bike around the lake and the marathon a few years ago. It was an amazingly gorgeous course. I'd like to do the 1/2 or 1 mile swim, the 72 mile bike and the half-marathon this year. My dissertation is also due in September, so we'll see.