Sunday, June 28, 2009

SDIT Race Report

Ahh what a weekend. Can't believe all I've done in the last 48+ hours. Exhausted. The highlight, of course, was racing San Diego International Triathlon. All things considered, the race went very well and I'm stoked on the results.

I say "all things considered" because a couple minor things worked against me in this race. 1) I'm still battling a cold; 2) My transition area was in BFE. Normally I wouldn't even mention something like that, but it was so far in the boonies that it likely added on 2-3 minutes extra transition time that not everyone had to deal with. But that's racing, and those were the cards I was dealt. Rise to the challenge, right?

I had two goals for this race: 1) Feel pain, the good kind 2) Get a sub-2 hour finish. I achieved one goal: I made myself suffer. Didn't get the sub-2hrs, though; maybe it was the transitions because according to my watch I got the times I planned for myself on the 1k swim, 30k bike and 10k run. I finished in 2:02:39 (so close!) and got 2nd in my AG, literally 5 seconds behind 1st place in what was an INTENSE sprint to the finish line. Whitney Handy, who I know and like a lot and who's doing Vineman 70.3, was the rockstar who just edged me out. Good job girl!

So here's the story...

Got into town early to enjoy the weekend. Saturday morning I did a 35/20 bike/run in La Jolla as my pre-race warmup. During, something totally unexpected happened: my heart rate shot up into the high 170s, wtf?! I don't know if it's b/c I'm still sick or the couple glasses of wine I had the night before, but I didn't like that. At all. Hmmm.

Saturday night we ate at Bali Hai on Shelter Island (great view), and I ordered a Kona Special dish. Appropriate, right? I also wore my Newtons to dinner b/c my feet were killing me after tons of walking in sandals earlier at the race expo/bike drop off and I had no other comfy shoes. Yea, I looked dorky.
Dinner with friends went late, and I managed to sleep maybe 5 hours. Blah. We also set 3 alarms which all gloriously awoke us at 4:30 a.m. That was fun.

Race morning I ran into some very special people... the Golden boys. No, really. Brad Golden (my ex/now good friend), Brian Golden (dad) and Rory Golden (bro) order w/ my mom and me in this picture:
I had just finished picking Brad's brain of everything race-related merely hours before because the dude just qualified for Kona at IM Cour de'Lane. He gave some good tips, one of which helped me tons today, something I'll for sure do again at Vineman! The Golden boys were swim buddies at the race and it sounds like their help was very much appreciated. Good job guys!

7:15 and I was off! Great conditions all around. It took a while to get my groove, and when I did, I got kicked. Twice. Hard. In the ear area. I've never been kicked so hard where it leads to a ringing noise, pounding head and discombobulation. I sucked it up and continued on. Found a rhythm again and was feeling OK. I think I did alright for my weakest link, finishing in 16:xx I believe.
Look! There were still a decent amount of white caps (my wave) behind me, (I'm the crazy girl running out with her eyes closed):
Because of my ridiculous transition area placement, this time was ugly. My T skills were fine though!

I wanted to hammer on the bike because, well, it's my strength. My goal was to average 20mph or more, which I think I did. Finished in 53:xx for 30k according to the Cateye. Thankfully, I've ridden up to Cabrillo Monument several times and knew what to expect. Talk about a gorgeous view and even more gorgeous day! I ate a Hammer gel halfway thru even though I didn't feel I needed it and also drank a water bottle with Zym. Tummy hurt toward the end. Bummer. But not devastating.

My dad caught me biking in...

Ohh Dad. I appreciate and love so much and am so grateful to have him support us, and he really tries to get pics of us racing, but inevitably we end up with a lot of these (my favorite):

See T1.
This was my biggest personal test of the day. I could predict my swim/bike times fairly well, but my running is schizo this year. So the plan was to make it hurt... could I pull of a 40-minute 10k? Well it hurt, but I didn't get the 40 min. I know I could have dug deeper and pushed harder, but hindsight's 50-50. Right? I averaged ~7:30 min miles; don't know the official split yet. I remember seeing Beth so far ahead of me on Harbor Island and just wondering how she does it. I hope to be as good as her one day. (Not trying to be a kiss ass, really.)

The highlight of the run was the last half mile. I recognized fellow 20-24 AGer Whitney up ahead, within catching distance, so she was my target. I got just behind her and made my move to pass on the final straightaway. She responded and started sprint battling with me. My body was hurting all over and I tried to find it to beat her, but she barely got me... and took 1st place in our AG by 5 seconds. Whew. Then I got to thinking after the race... If it hadn't been for my darn transition area I might have made a successful pass on the run earlier on to pull off 1st AG. The logic: I'm pretty positive Whitney was with the Breakaway Training crew in the VIP/Pro area... i.e. not dealing with the extra BFE transition mini-marathon runs. But no biggie. I'm super stoked for Whitney and her win! She nailed it. We were all hugs after the race and agreed that she's going to help me with swimming and I'll help her with running (although, she might want to go to Beth for that haha).

So overall, good day. I stuck to my game plan and executed. I even kept the snot rockets in control. Kinda.

I downed like 8 cups of water within 1 minute of finishing. It was hooottt out! And I was a little shakey after my sprint battle. Then I met up with the Golden boys again and did the usual post-race chatting while eating a million Clif Bar samples.

Also, had to wait for Mom to finish! And soon enough, there she was. This was her second race of the years, and it went excellent minus the run. She was with the top 50-54 females until the run, where she got dropped. She finished 2:17, and felt better than she did after Superseal. Improvment? I think so!

There we are all chatting in the mix of things. My shoulders got super sunburn today. Ooopps!

Mom and daughter before race. Looking pretty calm, maybe a tad preoccupied.
Post race. Looking releaved.

I have to say, Koz put on yet another great race, especially by getting through the award ceremony in a swift manner. Man, sometimes those can drag on forever! But I am questioning the logistics behind the transition area setup. Heard some other folks talking about it who were also PO'd, so I know I wasn't the only one who noticed. Hmmm.

Next up: Get back to 100% health and make it a quality 3 weeks until.... drumroll.... Vineman 70.3! Can't wait!

I have some other later-season news, but I'll share that, well, later!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Woah...That's a New Number!

I was reading a post on Mark's Daily Apple today on weight, and I found it ironic that in the last couple weeks my weight has been on my mind quite a bit, so much so that a scale has creeped into my routine--yuck!

It started when I went to the doctor for a routine visit and I was shocked when I stood on their scale--up nearly 10 lbs since the last time I weighed myself (ok, yea, I had just eaten and was fully clothed). Still, I was a little taken by the number because I NEVER weigh myself, so this was news to me. Last time I stepped on a scale was maybe back in January or February? I like to go by how I feel and how my clothes fit, rather than focusing on a number. So I retested my weight the next morning at home, before eating and in minimal clothing, and sure enough I've gained about 7-8 lbs. But I have an idea what the dealio is with this unfamiliar number.

1) I wanted to gain some weight. Going into IMCA I was a tad on the skinny side, very low body fat and just not enough substance (i.e. muscle) to power me through the race like I wanted to. So after April 4 I declared I wanted to make some changes and become more of a powerhouse...

2) Subsequently, I've increased my caloric intake a bit, particularly taking in more calories with and after workouts. I also will have maybe a couple extra eggs at breakfast, an extra serving at dinner and eat a lot even on days off. The thing is, I eat insanely healthfully, like borderline crazy, but I guess you can even have too much of the good stuff.

3) I don't deprive myself. I snack, and it's often at night. If I'm eating out with friends I don't overly analyze what I order--no one wants an anal eating companion. I have wine and/or beer every now and then. Etc, you get the idea. But maybe I've been indulging on all of the above a little too much.

4) This may be the most significant factor: I've been strength-training a lot more and have actually gained muscle mass! And obviously that means I've gained weight, and those are lbs I'm OK with. I'm honestly stronger than I've ever been right now and am stoked about it.

However, though I've gained the muscle I was hoping for, I've also gained some pudge as an unintended side effect. Hey, I don't have my body down to a science. You'd think burning anywhere from 700 to 3,000 calories in one workout nearly every day means you can eat whatever, but not necessarily, at least for the type of high-performance body (machine) I want to have. I got a little more love-handle going on right now than I'd prefer.

I'm not sccrrrrrd though. It's time to get serious. I've had to lose weight before... Yup, I've been through chubby stages and I put on that freshman 15 back in the day (Ohhh SDSU), but I know how to get it off. It's not rocket science--calories in vs. calories out.

But now that I'm a focused athlete, it is a little different. I don't want to lose any of my precious muscle, nor do I want to workout in a deprived state and have a sub-par performance, so I'll just have to be creative and smart. And, in reality, I don't even need to lose much weight, maybe 3-5 lbs? I just see it as a new challenge.



In other news, I new addition to the family arrived today. My fixed-gear bike! After a lot of Internet research and bike-shop hopping, I found a sweet deal on a fixie at Republic Bike. They're based in Florida, and have great deals on new, custom-made bikes where you pick the colors. Still, I was a little skeptical. But then I noticed Charisa has a new fixie that looked similar to the ones at Republic, so I asked her... sure enough hers was from Republic, and she had great things to say about it, so that confirmed this wasn't some gimic. So I picked my colors and placed an order. (I warned Charisa that I might end up with the same color frame... the wasabi is just so cool!) I didn't expect the bike to arrive so fast, but today, I got to build this:

Can't wait to take him out for a real ride. Wonder if I can make it up a legit hill? Well, I'm going to have to learn... This baby is going to get a lot action, taking me around CSU Fullerton, down to SPI and many other places. Now I just need a sturdy lock.

Annnnd lastly, I'm getting ready to leave for my favorite place: San Diaaggooo. San Diego International Triathlon is Sunday, and thankfully I'm pretty much fully recovered from what turned out to be a nasty nasty cold. I'm still blowing my nose like a crazy woman (riders near me on Sunday, beware of flying snot and don't take it personally if I accidentally shower you). But I feel lightyears better than I did last weekend, so we'll see how things go! I'm really excited. I'll be looking for familiar faces out there... and trying not to snot or sneeze on you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Spoke Too Soon

Yesterday I made a point to say how well my training is going. It truly is, but now I have a cold! Hopefully it's a freak thing I picked somewhere (door knob, dirty ocean water), but I think my body is telling me a little more recovery is needed. I can't even recall the last time I was sick. I felt it lingering within me yesterday and tried to deny it. But after waking up through the night to blow my nose because I couldn't breathe, having zero desire to jump in the pool at 6 a.m. this morning and hearing my new manly voice from a sore throat leaves no question. So I guess I'll just pump in every healthy thing I can get in body, rest and chill. The guys at work told me to stay away, they don't want to be around a sickie. So I'll make use of my time with some NSCA studying.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back on the Trails

I hate finishing a workout covered with muck after road biking--car exhaust, street grit, nasty pollution. However, I love finishing a workout covered in dirt from nature--fresh mud, creek water, mountain dust, that sort of thing. Unfortunately, the latter doesn't happen that often for me. But it did today!

These socks perfectly express my feelings :)

My friend Stuart and I went mountain biking at Whiting Ranch, a trail that I'm very familiar with from countless trail runs and mountain biking waaay back in the day... but it's been a long time since I rode it. Like years long. I borrowed my mom's mtn bike because I think my old outdated Diamondback has seen it's day and would be a hazard to ride. Here's a peek at our sported-out garage. We somehow have equipment for just about every sport/outdoor activity imaginable fit in there--thank my dad for MacGyvering that one.Anyways, speaking of hazards, I'm also known to be a charge-hard kind of girl, and, thus, a hazard to myself (why I don't dirt bike anymore), but that wasn't the game plan for today. I sucked up my pride and told Stuart that I'd be "taking it easy" because I REFUSE to get injured so close to Vineman. He's a great all-around athlete and a lifeguard (he kills it swimming, so jealous!), but he doesn't do much mountain biking either, so all was good. Just a fun ride.
As soon as we hit the trail my heart starting racing--a combo of nerves and adrenaline. Like my recent rejuvinated love for surfing, I immediately felt that old love for mountain biking building within me. I had a grin from ear to ear and wanted to go all out but held back through some of the initial technical single-track stuff. And as much as it hurt to do so, I even got off my bike and walked through some super-deep technical sandy parts saying, "It's not worth it!"

Whiting isn't anything too gnarly at all (in fact, when we were done I was like, "OK, either let's do that again or I need a real workout). But, there is one infamous hill, Mustard Hill, that's a decent climb. When I was younger, I was rarely able to make it up the whole hill without stopping or walking. But today, no problem. Right up. My level of fitness is definitely in a whole other realm. After Mustard, I took us up another climb, Dreaded Hill, which wasn't long enough! I wanted more suffering! For a guy who doesn't ride bikes often, Stuart rocked. But I still beat him, just barely :) We chilled out at the top a bit and took in the view. My next adventure on the list--riding up that big mountain right behind me, Saddleback.
After the little break, it was all downhill from there. I guess my concept of speed is jacked up from all my time spent on the Felt TT bike because according to Stuart I was "flying down." It didn't feel that fast to me... I maybe maxed out in the 20-something mph range. But I felt confident and in control, so what the heck! It was a blast. Especially the curvy downhill single-track stuff (is that proper mountain bike jargon?!). After our ride we chowed down some killer sandwiches at a local deli, Bagels and Brew. I swear, mainstream sandwich shops just don't compare to the little hole-in-the-wall mom and pop places in my opinion. A swim followed later on. I'm working on not crossing over at my midline so much, thanks to some great advice from Mike at SPI. Hopefully this will start shaving off time; I've already noticed slightly faster 100s when I do it "the right way."

On the Training/Racing Front...

Nothing too exciting to report, except that I've been taking things up a notch and am hanging in there, especially that I'm able to recover quickly from intense workouts. I attribute good nutrition and early bedtimes to that. Check out this study on the importance of sleep. It's amazing how many workouts I fit in the last few weeks without crashing and burning, sometimes three a day now that I'm doing Crossfit. And, I of course take a recovery day when needed, as painful as that is. (But lately off days have included surfing or some sort of activity.)

I did an 80-mile bike and 35 minute t-run last Saturday and was curious to see how I'd perform after an already hefty training week with no rest. I faded at about mile 60, but got a second wind and did pretty well overall, I think there was like 8,000+ feet of climbing according to my Garmin. Ouch! Surprisingly, the t-run wasn't so bad. Sunday's run, though, was another story. (Crappy.)

I think I'm most stoked on my new love: Crossfit. I'm doing about two a week now and am hooked. It's so intense you want to puke, but in about 10 minutes it's over. And it's incredible the amount of work that is done in that time. It's not your typical strength-training routine, Crossfit does laps around a regular weight-lifting session! I'll leave it at that.

So next week I'll taper a bit for the SD International Triathlon on June 28, then a couple more intense weeks and then time for Vineman tapering. Feels like just yesterday I was getting ready for IMCA.

Time flies when you're having fun!!!

And oh yea, I'm now in the market for a new mountain bike. I'll have one by the end of '09 for sure :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My "Twin" Is Coming

I don't think I've ever really mentioned her (shame on me) but I have an 19-year-old sister, Karlee, who I absolutely adore. I probably haven't spoken about her much because she's busy up at Cal Poly SLO. But she's about to finish her freshman year and is coming home this week for the summer. Can't wait to have her back.

Here's us on my b-day last year (I still had my long hair)! We look a lot alike. Sometimes it's freaky--I'll look at a picture and be like "hi me."
Karlee is a riot. She is the funniest, most outgoing person I know and she radiates energy wherever she is. She's the type of girl who is friends with everyone and has no enemies. Not to mention, she's a stellar athlete. To this day, she smokes me in the pool--so jealous! She was a killer volleyball player all through high school and almost played in college but decided to take time off from organized sports and "have fun." And, oh is she having fun. Her life at SLO reminds me of how I was when I was unleashed into SDSU. We know how to have a good time :)
Speaking of good times, Karlee and I really bonded in Mexico last summer, where she could legally drink. By bond, I mean we partied like rockstars todos los noches. (Glad we didn't give my poor parents heart attacks.) That trip was right before I started getting serious about triathlon, kind of like my last hurrah! Ha ha. Here's my mom, me and Kar:
Karlee loves surfing, so I know we'll do a ton of that this summer. But my real goal while she's home is to get her on a training plan and encourage her to do a triathlon by the end of the year, hopefully! So far she's down for me to be her coach, but she hasn't agreed to entering a triathlon yet. It's going to be tough work on my part to convince her how amazing racing is! But like I said, she's very athletic, so I know she can pull it off.... if she can balance workouts with her busy party life... uh geez.


On an unrelated topic, I have to mention what Michellie Jones said in her blog about the recent OC Duathlon. It made me smile.

"...This would have to be one of the hardest 40km's I have ridden or maybe it was the 5km run before hand. The first 6 miles were uphill not a lot of fun after running hard. At least that meant on this out and back course you could fly back home to the transition..." ~MJ

Props to my regular training route... Even my idol sees it as challenging :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Making Time for the Beach

New priorities! Not only is surfing making a huge comeback in my life--I went twice this week--but I also did a little soft-sand beach running Tuesday morning, and oh man... that's good stuff. I also did my first-ever Crossfit workout, and for those of you who know about Crossfit...daaaang, it is legit.

As for surfing, I really forgot how much I enjoy it! I think for a while, back in the day, I was so concerned about being good that I lost the ability to just paddle out to have fun. Then other things started becoming more important, namely triathlon, so surfing sessions became few and far between.

But now I see surfing in a whole new light. With triathlon as my main focus and discipline, surfing can be a relaxing, enjoyable way to be active outside of swimming-biking-running with none of the added pressure of thresholds, intervals, pace work, beating myself up. Don't get me wrong--I love doing all that with tri, but it's nice to have another sport that's just for fun. No big deal if I suck or kick ass.

On that note, Friday the waves fairly bigger than they've my past two sessions, and it definitely was more challenging. The first wave I caught was my best of the day; things kind of went downhill from there. But thankfully I had a friend out with me so it was fun and I wasn't scared or anything like that... just held onto my board and got pounded on a bit. Good times.

This was my view when I opened the back doors of the Prazak Surfmobile. Ahhh, heavenly. (A little windy out today, but still surfable):

Being at the beach and in the ocean is therapeutic after a gnarly workout week, and spending time in this environment just seems necessary:
All I needed was a Corona with a lime. Too bad there's no drinking allowed at San-O anymore.I have to do a little work with my surf equipment, though. I've had the same Becker longboard since high school (why change something if you love it?), and at this point I think it's had the same wax on for about three years now. Poor neglected board. So this weekend, I'm making it a priority to re-wax my board. All that sandy grit is tearing into my skin.
I was thankful that it turned out to be so beautiful at the beach today because the Friday forcast called for more thunderstroms (WTF?!) and conditions were like this in the morning when I headed to the gym for a swim/run session:
Part 2 of my new beach obsession is running in the sand, SOFT sand that is. After doing an early-morning workout at Sport Performance Institute with the Tribuys team on Tuesday morning, I headed down to Calafia in San Clemente to meet a friend for a soft-sand barefoot run. Very peaceful so early in the morning, before the crowds start shuffling in:
We ran for about 40 minutes, down to around Lowers and back, which was 4 miles. Sounds ridiculously slow, but I was working hard! Not 100% hard, but I don't think I could have pulled off even 8-minute miles. Running it the soft stuff is a killer workout, so I've decided to make it a semi-regular part of my routine. Talk about getting powerhouse legs.
Even though it was still overcast and chilly after our run, we were so heated up that we jumped in the ocean to swim and cool off. I was straight up in my workout clothes (sports bra, strecthy capris--kind like a bathing suit, right? haha); my friend had his boardshorts on so no big deal for him. It was awesome though--kind of like an ice bath right after a hard session, felt great... until I got cold ha ha.
After Tuesday morning double-workout craziness and a 33-mile bike Wednesday morning, I was invited to try out Crossfit that afternoon at SPI. All I have to say is wow. Add it to the list, too, because the power and strength benefits from that will be amazing, and I have proof in seeing some of the other guys. I'm hooked!
Needless to say, by Thursday I was mush. But smiling. And back it all by Friday.
Final thought: I will always live close to the beach. After all, that's how I chose which college to go to!