Monday, February 28, 2011

Cold day and big ride

It was chilly yesterday! Clear, blue skies but cold. I started the day by attempting to swim in Lake Natoma with my friend who is training for the Alcatraz swim. The water was 46 degrees. I wore a wetsuit but it just wasn't enough. Treaded water and that was about it. Every time I put my face in, I immediately got a horrible brain freeze/ice cream headache. Going to get a neoprene cap and booties. Hopefully that will help. On the positive side, swimming in this hypothermia water will make CdA feels super nice. CdA is usually in the low 60s in June. Being that cold pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day.

After the "swim," I sat in the car with the heater on to dry off and warm up. I wore my DeSoto 400 mile shorts and a tri top under my wetsuit and planned on biking with them to try out the plan for CdA, which is to wear one outfit the entire day. The shorts and top dried quickly, so I was just a little damp when I set out on my bike ride. Ooooh weee! It was chilly out there!

The ride started out on the bike trail, which is kind of annoying with lots of curves and joggers who don't understand going against traffic, but then I wound up on a major road for a bit. This section of the ride from Folsom to Auburn sucks for a while. Lots of rednecks in lifted trucks with huge tires and no bike lane. Unpleasant. It calms down a bit after about 10 miles and I was able to enjoy looking at all of the huge horse estates. I was still unsure which route I wanted to take. Two options: ride the loop from Folsom to Auburn to Cool and back. Lots of climbing, really tough ride; or ride from Folsom to Auburn and back the way I came. Still a bit of climbing but more smelly cars. By the time I got to Auburn I had decided on the loop.

Auburn is touted for having the world's toughest HIM. And man, is it hilly! Right after getting into town, you have to descend a monster hill with lots of curves and no bike lane. Not fun. Lots of asshole drivers that get right on your ass and honk. Seriously? Hey, jackass, do that again and I'll pull you from your car and beat your ass! You think I can't catch you? Just watch! What? You're a huge man and I'm a small chick? Then it will be even more embarrassing for you when I kick your redneck ass! That exchange plays in my head on repeat.

After the monster descent down to the American River, you have to begin a monster climb. Over two miles, curvy. Ouch! My legs were shaking at the top. A couple of miles later, I saw 4 young deer jumping and running along the side of the road. So awesome! This part of the country is amazingly beautiful and this ride kicks ass. It goes around Folsom Lake and there are lots of gorgeous trees and animals. Too bad it's crazy hard! Okay, I guess I like that part too :)

The rest of the ride is hilly. Lots of up and downs. Just under 5000 feet of climbing in 66.57 miles. Unfortunately, it was sooo cold and windy. I felt pretty cranky by the end. Desperate to be done. I made lists of all the drivers I hated as I rode: anyone on a loud motorcycle, anyone who honks, any of the pervs who yell crap, anyone with a huge diesel truck pulling a trailer of horses, farm equipment or water sporting equipment (do they not realize that the trailer is wider than the truck? Couple of near side swipes. Scary) and, especially, the asshole who blew the air horn at me around mile 60.

By the time I finished, I was frozen. I had bugs, snot and dried tears on my face, claws for hands. In fact, I was so tired when I finished that I drove most of the way home before realizing that I still had my helmet on.

Trying to make today a rest day. We'll see.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

saturday update

Here's what I've been doing:

Wednesday: 1 hour ride on the drainer

Thursday: 45 min drainer ride, 3 mile fast run. Hanky started limping Wednesday night, so I had to run without them. It was so sad! Hanky cried when I left and I couldn't stop thinking about it while I was running, so I ran really fast (just over 7 min/mile).

Friday: 1 hour drainer ride. I tried to make Friday a rest day, so I skipped my swim, but couldn't resist exercising. I just don't feel "right" when I don't do anything active.

Today: swam one mile at the local pool. I joined this pool again (this is where I used to swim before I joined my current masters team. This is not the crappy shallow pool) today so I can swim here on mornings that I don't want to swim with my masters team. I skip the pull/kick and IM days because they wear me out so I can't put my best effort into running and biking and I just hate IM days. This pool is super nice. One potential awkward aspect of swimming in this pool is that I used to swim with this masters team and I don't really want to tell them that I switched teams :) Not sure they'd really care, but I prefer to avoid drama.

Also ran 6 miles with the pups. Hank stopped limping and seems to be fine. Today they pooped like it was an Olympic sport. 4 times for RuDizzle and 5 times for HankPizzle. I'm impressed.

Here are some things I need to focus on:
core work!
figure out what's happening with my skin. All this sweating is freaking my skin out!
nutrition: trying to decide what nutrition plan to follow for the IM. I know what to do for marathons and for long rides I normally just drink Gatorade and eat candy or other snacks. For something of this distance, though, I think I need to really dial into what gives me optimal energy without any issues. Looking into Infinit. It's a product that you can customize based on individual salt, caffeine, calorie, protein, etc. needs. It's a drink, which would make it easy to use. More on this later. I have to decide what to do.

Tomorrow I'm doing an open water swim (OWS) in Lake Natoma with my friend Melody, who recently got really into OWS. The water is currently 45 degrees F. That is horrendous. I hope I don't die. Following the swim, I'm going to ride for at least 3 hours...50 miles or so. I bought a cornmeal pizza and a pint of peanut brittle Ben and Jerry's ice cream for refueling. Yummy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hey, STFU A-hole...and some positive news

Here's what's been going on:

Sunday: 6 mile run with the boys. Really awesome trail by a creek.

Monday: 34 mile ride. I was going to ride 65-70, but the weather was not holding out for me. Rain and black skies. Since I decided to decrease the mileage, I thought I should challenge myself. There's a hill that I've never been able to climb. It's all mental. I've climbed much meaner hills, but I haven't tried this one in a couple of years. Backstory: I once fell about ten times in a row because I didn't have the momentum while climbing this steep hill. No exaggeration. Anyway, made it to the top! Woo hoo! Yippee! That hill is now my B#$%^.

Here's the weird part: on the way back down, this older guy (60s, I would guess) rode up to me and asked if I would "like some tips to ride more safely and have more fun?" Not interested! Guess he didn't care, because he rode next to me and gave me all of his suggestions. Beginner stuff. Then he told me that people overfill their tires and that "with my weight" I should fill them to a certain level. When he said "with your weight," he was implying that I am a fatty. That pissed me off! Since when did 125, 126, 127 pounds become porky? Anyway, I tried to drop him, but the dude was fast! Then he told me I should stop riding a tri bike and get a road bike. I told him I already have one and then he asked me if I would race for his team. Hell no! I told him I ride a tri bike because I'm tri training and I have ZERO interest in racing for his team! first he lectures me like a newb, then wants me to race. Stupid. So, that's the reason for the title, STFU A-hole, because that's what I was thinking over and over again, but managed not to say. Nice will power! Also managed not to kick him in the face or put something in his spokes, though I did entertain both notions :)

This morning I did my first swim since my lesson and...
IT HELPED! I cut 10s/100 yards off my time and was able to swim at my new pace consistently. I focused on good form, high elbows, wide tracks. Definitely feel like my muscles were being used differently. So exciting! I think more speed gains are on the way as this new form becomes normal and I don't have to think about it too much. Kicked ass in my lane today. Fastest swimmer by far. So what if it's the slowest lane?!

Oh, noticed that I'm starting to get noticeable lats when I flex. Yes, that's badass. They're kinda ropey and small, but I'm okay with that.

Recently, I've been worrying that I'm not ready for the Ironman. Then, I regain my wits and realize that I'm not supposed to be ready yet! I'll be ready by June 26 and right now I'm working towards being ready.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Swim lesson

This morning I had my first private swim lesson. It was really, really awesome. There were long mirrors over the bottom of my lane in the pool so I could watch myself swim. Here are some big things I will be working on:

wide tracks: make sure my arms make "wide tracks," not narrow ones or weird, curvy ones. I think I was making weird curvy ones.

reaching with each stroke: I try to do this already, but today I felt like my stroke and hips were aligned just right.

engaged core: this I have not done in the past. Coach told me to make my core stiff like a soldier so I could get more power out of my body rotation. This seemed to make a huge difference. Note: MUST work on core strength. No more excuses!!!

High elbows: I've always heard about this but didn't actually understand what it meant. Now I do and it's fantastic. I could literally feel my arms pulling water out of the way. This will make a huge difference in my swimming! And, there may actually be a bit of glide in my stroke now.

We worked on some drills and my flip-turns, too. Stroke count is a big deal with swimmers. It's just how many strokes you take per length. You count on both sides, so every time an arm enters the water. I went from 28 at the beginning of the lesson to 21 at the end! Huge, huge improvement. 28 kinda, okay, really sucks. I am a little short person, though, so 21 is pretty damn good! Coach had the best female swimmer show us her stroke and she does 15 or so in a length. She was amazing! Michael Phelps probably has 3 strokes per length. J/K...but just a little.

The conclusion: Coach said I'm actually pretty decent and he thinks I can become a very good swimmer...and he wasn't just being nice ;-) I think he's right and I look forward to practicing what I've learned and improving. I feel very positive about all of this.

Also going to start open water swimming (OWS) every week or two so I can get used to it and, hopefully, not panic like normal. I'm going to make this happen. This has been a really great week for my training. It doesn't feel overwhelming and I'm being incredibly consistent, which is key. Starting to feel a bit fatigued, like I need a nap every day (I wish!) in addition to a full night's sleep. Probably just my body adjusting. I'm also obsessed with eating and plan activities around when and what to eat. I have eating on my calendar. I've been reduced to my most primitive self :)

Goals for next week (other than training and getting serious science nerd work done):
core work!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

EEEW rain and the stupid pool

Before I started swimming with my current team, my local pool closed for the winter, so I joined a local gym because they had an indoor pool. Turns out that pool really, really sucks. It's shallow, filled with large, elderly aquajoggers and smells weird. I can rarely swim for very long because it does bad things to my mental fortitude. Today I managed about 1000 yards, showered and then promptly cancelled my membership. Felt good. Another pro to not having this gym access is that I can no longer skip my masters practice with the excuse that I'll just hit the other pool later.

It's super rainy here, so I rode the drainer. Hank was intrigued and kept trying to sit on my lap.
I could totally make him a triathlete. He loves to run and swim and now we know that he likes to ride, too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The best sign I've ever seen

At the Mardi Gras half, a young girl, around 9 years old, was holding a sign that said:


Best. Sign. Ever.

We laughed for several miles and I still find myself laughing when I think of it, usually at inappropriate times.

Crazy bike ride

Big time HTFU (harden the F up) 29 mile bike ride for me today. We have rainy, crappy weather here in Sac but the sun came out today, so I jumped on my bike and headed out on the bike trail. Windy but super nice. Turned around and the sky turned an ominous black...bad news. We're supposed to have thunder storms later today. Started hauling, which was about 12 mph with the wind blowing me around, and about 5 minutes from home it starts raining like it's a monsoon. After a couple of minutes I think F! That rain f-ing hurts and realize that it's hail! Ouch! Keep riding and it's so windy that I can't take my hands off the handlebars so snot is shooting out of my nose into the wind. Gross but I think it's funny. Rode by a school and I think the kids were scared by my facial expression + snot. Made it home. Feels great. My bike is covered in worms, which my dogs are trying to eat off my bike.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mardi Gras Half-Marathon

Here's a little race report for the Mardi Gras Half-Marathon that I ran with my bestie from high school on February 13, 2011. It's photo-heavy.

Background: Every year, my best friend from high school, Rachel, and I run a race together. Something fun. We always wear tutus and some sort of obnoxious headgear. This time, we went for tutus and Mardi Gras masks on our visors. We always take pictures with the bands on the course, too.

Here we are at the Expo:

Pre-race: It was f-ing freezing! We walked from our hotel to the start and stopped for some hot beignets and cold OJ on the way. Delicious! Arrived at the start and tried not to shiver.

At the start in our amazing outfits:

Race: It took a few miles to warm up and relax. We had a great race. Averaged 9:15 min/miles, which is good for us. Stopped to take a picture with every band along the course, so that increased our finish time to 2:10. I'm totally okay with that!

We always, always do devil horns for our first pose:

We are really, really buff. As Rach said, our big muscles scared away the band:

When two crazy girls see a band made up of elderly musicians, they assume the appropriate pose is Rock On!

This pose is a new entry into our repertoire. Walk like an Egyptian. Instant classic. It will be used again:

We refer to this as the Cali pose because we're both baffled that everyone in California poses like this for pictures. Peace sign? Gangster sign? We don't know. We're from the Pacific Northwest, but we go for it anyway. Bonus points if the pose is used in front of a d-baggy band.

Yes, it looks like we're sniffing our armpits. We're not...we're channeling Chuck Norris and Tony Horton and kissing our huge biceps.

Air guitar. Always a classic. Legs were a bit stiff from the cold.

Yippee! We're done! Good job, us!

Oooh...Bad Blogger!

So, once again, I've been remiss with my blogging...but it's not because I've been slacking with my training! I've had some pretty good training weeks recently and I feel confident moving forward. This is the start of my second build week, so the mileage is increasing and I'm incorporating short bursts of speed into my training.

Ran a half-marathon on Sunday in New Orleans, but that deserves its own post. I'll post as soon as I steal the pics from Rachel.

Here's what's on tap for this week:

yesterday: managed a 1 hour drainer ride. Sore, tired legs. Flew in from NOLA yesterday morning.
today: swim. I was supposed to go at 5:45 am, but I couldn't find my keys so I messed around for a while, found them, then went straight to the lab so I could get some work done before my make-up swim. Run with the pig ninjas. 45 min.
Wednesday: Swim 1 hr. Bike 1 hr. The weather here is super crappy, so that will probably be a drainer ride. Ab Ripper X. Gotta work on that core! It's looking a bit fluffy, even though my body fat is pretty low. Must build core muscles.
Thursday: Swim. Brick: 45 min bike + 15 min run.
Friday: Swim. Run 1 hr. Ab Ripper X.
Saturday: Private swim lesson. Very exciting. Kinda scary. Hopefully helpful. Bike 2:30, followed immediately by 15 min run. May switch this to Sunday, depending on weather.
Sunday: Bike 30 min. Run 1:30.

It's going to be a great week!

And, for your viewing pleasure, a pic of the pig ninjas using the drinking fountain. They're very smart. And cute.

Just one more...RuDizzle fueling. Such a healthy boy!