Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Since Vineman, Life is Good

After I did Calif 70.3 I got this post-race low, you might call it the equivalent of a coke head coming down from a major high. Nice analogy, I know. Point is, I didn't get that with Vineman because life has been nonstop since I crossed the finish line, and I love it! As soon as I got home I dove straight into work, house-sitting and enjoying life in San Clemente. I swear, why did my parents choose to live in Lake Forest and not a beach town? Not cool. As soon as I'm done getting my master's and can support myself, a beach it is!

Pic I took from my first post-Vman run along the SC Beach Trail last week:

Another reason I didn't have post-race blues is that I had another race to look forward to right away--Pac Coast Sprint at Crystal Cove! (Although, come to think of it, I did the Newport Sprint just 2 weeks after IMCA, but whatever.)

In the case that disaster were to occur at Pac Coast I secretly was very happy to have an excuse that my body was still wrecked from Vineman. All I had to say was "half-ironman, 1 week ago. what." But, it's in my nature to push hard and give every race my all so I wasn't about to half-ass anything.

I was especially looking forward to the swim. The surf was huge leading up to Sunday, and I thought it'd be fun to get in a little pounding session. Being an on-again-off-again surfer for about 12-13 years, big waves weren't going to scare me away--I've been thrashed around in the surf more times than I care to admit! But, as it turned out, the lifeguards felt our lives were in too much danger with the pounding shore break and crazy rip currents churning up the sea (gasp!), so they axed the swim about 30 min before the race. Bummer dude. (Jealous of you Solana folks!)

So duathlon it was. This upset a lot of people, as this race was the Sprint National Championships and the sole qualifier for the Sprint Worlds in Australia this Sept. Personally, I didn't really care, I knew I didn't want to go to Australia, and this wasn't an A race.

The new race game plan was to sprint up to transition from where the swim would have started--that turned out to be .75 miles according to el Garmin-o, with on hell of an uphill from the sand to T1. See the elevation difference here (I'm standing in transition):

Being the smart racer I am, I decided to lounge around, chat and not move a muscle before my wave went off instead of warming up. So as soon as I started, I was in a major oxygen deficit and hurting. Practically wheezing. Up the hill of death we go...

I got up to T1 in about 4 min, and headed out on the bike, which is a two-loop, hilly 12-mile course and lots of fun. I later heard there was tons a drafting going on, but thankfully I didn't get caught up in any of that hoopla. I prefer to do my own work. Once again, smart me: I forgot water or any nutrition, and I was pretty parched, but thankfully it was only a sprint. Still, just a gulp of liquid was on my mind the whole time.

Off the bike in 36 min and onto the run. Both my transition times were sub-1 min, so I was happy about that.

On the run, I felt better than I thought I would, plus I was in close competition with a lot of girls in my AG, as well as the 25-29ers. So I decided to push it hard and attempt to make some passes that I missed on the bike. Plan worked, and I passed and handful of girls by the end. The run takes you from PCH down down down to the sand (during which you pass the Beachcomber Restaurant, with insanely good smells coming from there--torture). After about a mile or so of sand running, you hit this MAJOR hill that a lot of people walk up. It's maybe a quarter-mile, steep as hell (steeper than the first hill that led us into T1), and I was running at a snail's pace giving it my all.

My 5k run ended up being just over 21 minutes, and I finished 3rd in my AG with a time of 1:03:xx. To be honest, I was surprised with my result. I didn't think I'd do that well. I mean, it wasn't a great performance, but it could have been worse considering the 70.3 soreness that still lingered.

Chillin post-race with Brynn and Chris who also did Vineman last weekend!

And hanging with my spectacular race sherpa of the day, Mr Ian Mikelson himself, who also did Vineman last weekend but wasn't gnarly enough to race again seven days later. Clearly, he was still suffering. It's OK Ian, we understand ;)
And then we get to awards. Don't you love it when no other winners in your AG show up and you're in 3rd place. How embarrassing!

I always love being done with a race, even if it's just a sprint. Work's over, time to relax. However, more working out was still on my horizon. Ian was going to hang around in the area for the afternoon and do his long run (well, I guess he's legit after all) and I had the genius idea to join him for a portion of it! Silly me! At least I was smart and chose to meet up for the last 30 min of his 1:40 run. We got back to Lake Forest and he set off in the heat of the day, and damn does LF get HOT. Even just the 30 min I ran with him left me drained.

Thankfully, that was all the working out on the agenda. Too hot! Next up was refueling. We kinda skipped a "real" lunch and headed straight to frozen yogurt instead. Self-serve, with lots of sampling, of course. I'm proud to report that I outdid Ian by getting not only a bigger-sized cup, but a lot more of the good stuff in it. I'm a sucker for frozen yogurt!

In other good news, I'm house-sitting yet again for a different coworker in Capistrano Beach for the next two weeks and the newspaper wants to keep me on board for longer (I'm turning what was supposed to be a two-week gig into a summer-long-if-not-longer gig), which is great because I love my coworkers, writing and, of course, making extra cash! Speaking of cash, I just spent a whole bunch on more races: Santa Barbara Long Course Aug. 22 and the 2010 Ironman 70.3 California.

And last but not least, Monday I felt like a proud parent: My sister, Karlee, was heading out for a bike ride to Irvine Lake and back (30 miles) and I decided to tag along and make it a recovery ride. It was only her second time ever riding that far, and she did great, even shaved off 10 minutes from her first attempt at that ride! She looked very comfortable in aero bars and is a strong rider, especially with climbing. I can't wait until she's ready to do a triathlon (but I promised not to pressure her to do one just yet).

That's it. Next priority for me is constructing a Clearwater training plan, while also preparing for the three races I have before that!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vineman 70.3 Race Report: Going to Clearwater!

Before I get into it, let me just say I'm savoring the 20-24 female age group. I know what's in store for me as of next season in 25-29 and beyond--believe me I'm terrified--so I'm enjoying the times spent on the podium now because either I improve by 1,000,000% come January, or I'm in store for a rude awakening.

But for now, I'll enjoy the present and fear the future later.

So Vineman 70.3. Here it goes...
Leading up to the race:
My mom and Iflew out of LAX Friday, and wouldn't you kn
ow--the freakin bathrooms at LAX broke. We had to use one of only TWO port-o-potties that were posted outside our terminal on the street of insane traffic. Really?

We got into town early, which was nice, but then r
ealized we were stranded at the hotel (which, by the way was a great hotel with the nicest staff ever--I recommend it Vineman-ers). My dad, who was traveling all week for business, wouldn't be coming into town with the rental car until past midnight, so my mom and I worked our magic. We managed to get a $70-something rental car for a mere $17! Thanks Hertz guy at the airport!

Once we had wheels, we hit up the local Trader Joe's and Starbucks, then headed to Johnson's Beach in Guerneville (swim start), but I forgot directions. I have no innate navigational skills whatsoever, nor does my mom, so it took us a while to get there. Unlike dudes, I don't mind stopping at the local liquor store and asking the way. We finally made it to the beach, where I ran into Beth and James. Saturday I got in my last bike/run after picking up my bike from Tribike Transport. Legs felt good. I felt good.

We headed back to the Race Expo at Windsor HS, which was good foreshadowing of how race day weather would be: stifling hot. The whole afternoon was a sweat-fest. But it was still fun mingling with familiar faces, spending too much money on Vineman gear, setting up T2, etc.

Saturday night dinner was random but pretty cool. We met up with a business friend of my dad's and her family. Turns out the husband was an elite triathlete and endurance racer back in the day. We ate a sushi place--I love sushi, but had never eaten it pre-race so at first I decided to limit my raw fish intake. My chicken terriyaki wasn't that great, though, so I ended up stuffing my face with all the rolls and raw stuff available. And of course, I ordered my favorite: seaweed salad, yum! I prayed the wasabi, gooey green seaweed, raw fish, etc. wouldn't come back to haunt me Sunday morning.

In bed by 9:30 pm, asleep by 11-ish. As you can see, I get kinda hyper when I'm super tired or have racing on the brain...

After a couple snooze hits on the alarm, we were up and at 'em at 4 a.m. Power-protein-oatmeal cooked, coffee brewed, car loaded and in Guerneville by 5 a.m. I am a
ll about being early to rule out any potential stressful situations. Even if I have to stand around for an extra hour. In this case, I just stared at the pros, who were racked right by me, and munched on a Clif bar.
The beach was surreal race morning. It was probably in the 60s out, so steam was coming off the 74- to 76-degree water. (Warmest race swim I've ever done.) I was taking in all the energy and beauty, while feeling the typical pre-race anxiety/anticipation/excitement/confidence/uncertainty.
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect performance-wise. I had calculated two finish times--my "slow" and "fast" time. There was a 30-min gap between them. Ha! My main goal was to beat my 5:40 at Oceanside. Good news: I beat Oceanside, and fell within the 30 minutes.

(~:35:30 min)
Once again, I didn't get in a true warm-up swim. So the first several minutes were spent trying breathe, rather than gasp for air, and find my pace. I was a little frantic.
Then, of all things, my goggles got kicked off. They were down around my neck! Not cool for an already slow swimmer. Got them on and was OK but still didn't find my rhythm until maybe a 1/4 into it. I tried to concentrate on having a powerful stroke but not waste energy, as I'm not the most efficient swimmer. At the turn around, it got really shallow. Like maybe a foot deep. I was scraping sand and rocks for quite a while--I need to work on my dolphin kick. I also went off course a couple times too because I didn't really study where the curves in the swim were. I probably swam at least 1.4 miles. What a rookie. Still, I went about 4 minutes faster than Oceanside.


The plan was to throw my wetsuit and goggles at mom & dad instead of stuffing it in the T-bag. Plan worked. My mom said she was amazed at how fast I got off the wetsuit. I think my transitions have the potential to be my strongest legs of the race! I think this one was about 2.5 minutes. (Our swim and T1 times are lumped together on the splits)

This was the highlight of the race, despite witnessing some spine-chilling chaos. Right away there are lots of rolling hills on some bumpy highway, which meant bottles were flying off bikes like no other, and I had to focus on dodging them. Then at mile 6, the accident happened.

Apparently, a tree fell down and took out like three guys, on of which suffered some pretty bad injuries. I got there soon after it happened (I was in a early wave) so I avoided having to stop for 10 min. like others did once firetrucks arrived. I still had to get off my bike and crawl under the tree, though, while looking at a guy all blood
y and hearing, "Don't worry, it's going to be ok, help is on the way." So scary!!!

After refocusing on the task at hand--biking--I noticed a girl on a decked
-out bike with a rad purple racesuit on, who looked around my age. I had to catch her. Once I finally did, ironically, I recognized her! Her name is Sara Davis and she lives in San Clemente. When I worked for the SC Times full time, we did an article on her because she was winning a lot of triathlons, and I remember being slightly envious/jealous. We ended up chatting a bit, and ended up staying in each other's view for the rest of the bike, maybe 45 miles. It's crazy how our riding ability was identical. Without hesitation, we decided that we are now new riding partners since we live so close in the OC! We've already been in touch since the race and I can't wait to ride with her.

I was pretty happy with my bike split. The course was absolutely gorgeous--and, yes, I take the time to notice the sights, that's one of my favorite parts of being a triathlete logging in miles. I'd say the bike course is easier than Oceanside's, but it's still challenging. I was anticipating a struggle at the infamous Chalk Hill at mile 45--turned out to be steep, but nothing too insane (Oceanside climbs are gnarlier).

All in all, I averaged over 20 mph, went 12+ minutes faster than O-side, did all my nutrition correctly (Bottles of Hammer Perpetuem Vanilla-Orange, Water, Hammer Apple Cinnamon Gels and Vanilla Gu w/ caffeine), felt a little queezy at times, but generally I was strong.

It was so incredibly refreshing to get off the bike, but almost scary because I was weary if I would have it in me to bust out a quality half-marathon. Got on my shoes, grabbed my visor, Garmin and extra gels and was off.

(an embarrassing 1:53:xx)
At this point, my plan was to stick with Sara (even though she is 25-29 and wasn't a direct threat); since she had a soccer background, I figured she was a good runner.
But she got ahead of me pretty much right away, and instead of sticking with her I decided to stay at my pace and not go out too hard. Soon into the run, I could feel an Oceanside repeat coming on. Where were my running legs dammit?! Add to that some nasty rolling hills and temperatures reaching into the 100s, and my run was not pretty. It was awful to say the least. A lot of rolling hills happen right off the bat, which sucked. But I kept on trucking and tried to focus on everything except the pain in my legs. Even my downhill running pace wasn't going well.

Meanwhile, I noticed Crowie heading back t
o the finish pretty far behind the lead guys, which was very odd! Then I saw Pip Taylor (1st) and the lead women fly by--they looked amazing. Then there's me: I was arguing with myself out loud to push on and not walk quite a few times. I wanted to stop. No joke. My saving grace was aid stations. Something to look forward to and an excuse to slow down a bit. I made a point to grab two waters from every aid station, one to drink one to pour on me. Also, the whole run I always had an open Hammer Gel or Gu w/ caffeine in my hand--I went through about three total. I did, however, forget to take my salt tabs. Thankfully, I never had any GI issues, which was one perk!

The turnaround at La Crema Winery was like a party--it should be, we were halfway out of the hellish heat! While going around the winery's lakes, I passed Whitn
ey Handy. After the race, Whitney I were talking and said she saw me approaching her and was cursing out loud. Once I passed her, I'm not gonna lie--I kind of ran in fear that she'd soon pass me again. We talked about it and agree: we motivate each other. She's a damn amazing athlete. And when she dials in her run--watch out ladies! Here were are chatting after the race...
The last six miles of the run were a blur. Reality was staring back at me on my Garmin, where I saw an average pace of well over 8-min miles. My dreams of getting a 1:40 were laughable at that point! I've worked a lot on my run since Oceanside, but it's clear that I really have to get my act together. Still, it wasn't all bad news.


I crossed the finish line at 5:20. That's 20 minutes faster than my first half-Ironman, and I shaved time off all three--swim, bike, run. Plus, I didn't feel utterly dead when I crossed the finish line. Just half-dead. Ok, so I was delirious and hurting, but not as wrecked as O-side left me. Look at that face! Ridiculous hahaha Turns out Sara had finished just two minutes before me. So we sat there and hurt together for a while. Seriously, what are the odds that out of 2,000 racers I'd see her out on the course. Talk about meant to be! That guy on the left is hurting worse than we are it looks like... Here's me thinking "Get me out of this sun and ino some shade with a big ol' plate of food!!"
But before loading up on post-race food, I checked the computer to see my results: 3rd place in 20-24 age group! Another podium! Yaaayyyy! I missed 2nd place by a minute, missed first by like 40 minutes.

After eating some excellent post-race food and making a new cute friend, I had to get out of the heat and shower up. My cute friend and me....
And my other, more handsome, friend...
It was right back to Windsor at 4 p.m. for awards. There I saw the typical podium peeps: Ian, who got 1st in 25-29 males, 2nd amateur overall, and Charisa, also 2nd amateur overall for the women. She's unbelievable--I want some of whatever she's got!

As for me.... getting 3rd in my AG earned me a spot to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Fla. this November! I can't even describe how stoked I was/am!!! It was like Christmas came early. Thank God m
y mom remembered her check book cause I didn't remember anything on the trip--no debit card, no check book, only $20 cash and a credit card. The crowd laughed a bit when I ran up the bleachers to borrow money from my mom. Me and Ian sharing race stories... he had some good ones, check out his blog.
With the awards and good news, it was time to celebrate. I was not about to poop out and go to bed. So my parents and I headed back to Guerneville yet again to join Ian, his parents and the whole crew for dinner at their house. What a fun group of people! I swear, having good triathlete friends to share your experiences with really makes the sport that much better. Not to mention, they had some killer Mexican food. I of course had some wine, but between the race, drinks and just all the energy expended that day, I was fading quickly. Guess my plan to celebrate late into the night wasn't going to happen. I felt the eyelids getting heavy at like, ohhh, 8 p.m. Not quite a rockstar just yet.

After the race, it was so nice to have that extra million pounds of pressure disappear. Being done with a big race is the best feeling, and now having another 70.3 to train for is the best outcome I could have asked for.

We woke up at 4 a.m. again on Monday to catch a flight back home. My dumbass wasn't thinking straight and tried to smuggle my winning bottle of wine and CO2 cartridges on the plane. That created a bit of havoc. Airline people must think we triathletes are just insane with all the crap we lug around--I also had my seatpost, saddle and Carbon Wing in my carry-on bag, which put quite a puzzled look on the security guard's face.
And as soon as I got home, I repacked and headed down to San Clemente within an hour to get back to work and house sit. As demanding as work is right now, I'm on such a high that it's impossible to be in a bad mood. Thankful a big workload will make for forced time off from working out. But guess what? I'm racing again this weekend in Newport Beach--the Pacific Coast Sprint Triathlon.

Hopefully this blister (which continued to grow 3x the size after this pic) will be all cleared up by then.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Journalism San Clemente Style

Well I'm back at it: 10+ hr work days, no sleep, lots of caffeine, extreme multitasking, etc. Yup, I'm working at a newspaper. Temporarily at least. I started this blog after I resigned from my newspaper job, so I've never really talked about how absolutely crazy and hectic it is to work at a place where deadlines rule your life. It doesn't matter if you have a Tuesday night workout planned, if you have work to do before Wednesday deadline, then suck it up. (You can probably see why I decided to change careers...)

But it wasn't all bad. I loved my coworkers, the stories I wrote and where the job was located--we put out three small, local weeklies for the cities of San Clemente (SC Times), Dana Point (DP Times) and San Juan Capistrano (The Capistrano Dispatch). My favorite part about journalism is that there's always something new going on. New stories, fresh topics, etc. I learned about everything from running an organic farm to synchronized swimming to city politics to dory-boat racing, meeting some fabulous people along the way.

Here's a pic of the paper featuring one of my cover stories that was on a dude who swam the Catalina Channel. Amazing stuff.
And, just for fun, for those unfamiliar with dory boat racing, here's a glimpse at the guys in action. Usually there's around 10 or so of these boats in a race, and it gets intense! In fact, this weekend, they'll be at it in the annual Ocean Festival.
Anyways, I still do freelance for Picket Fence Media and am in close contact with the staff. Recently, my former boss, Norb Garrett, asked me to come in and be the Editor while he went out of town (I was honored!), as well as house-sit for him--sweet! Not an easy job at all (the editor gig, house-sitting is more than pleasurable), but I was up for the challenge. So, since last week I've been back in the mix down in San Clemente. I haven't even had time to think about Vineman until today. And literally hours after the race, it will be straight back into work mode. But it's worth it...

Since being back, two things have particularly left an impression on me:

No. 1:

Last night, as tired as I was after already working nonstop all day, I attended a BBQ put on by a group of friends & teachers from San Clemente High School who will soon be participating in the Relay for Life, a 24-hour walk/run event that raises money for cancer. The group formed in honor of one of their fellow teachers, Jeff Spear, who passed away from non-smoking lung cancer last October. Oddly enough, I remember writing a story on Spear when he was initially diagnosed last year. It was sad to learn of his passing, but an honor spending time with these people last night, you could just feel the love (as lame as that may sound).

I almost started crying when talking to Spear's wife, Ruthie, who was the most optimistic, positive person. She's left with three small children and the memory of a husband and dad, but has the best attitude imaginable. She's trying to make the best of things, and is doing a damn good job and has a smile on her face. She just got back from taking the kids to Yosemite, cause "that was the next trip Dad wanted to do."

I learned that the team is also racing for other loved ones who had cancer--some survived, some didn't. For some team members, it was the impact that Jeff Spear had on their lives that led them onto the team, like the mother of Taylor Martin. Taylor is suffering from a rare disease and had Spear as a teacher. Taylor's mom told me of the bond that Spear and Taylor formed. Talk about getting teary-eyed!

As I left the BBQ last night, I realized how easy I have it. Seeing the hardships that others have endured makes you appreciate your health and that of your loved ones. I may get frustrated with things in my life, but I have no reason to complain.

I'll be writing the cover story on Team InSPEARation for next week's issue. It will be a scramble to get it done with Vineman 70.3 taking priority as of now, but I'm honored to do it.

No. 2:

This isn't such a grab-the-kleenex topic. I went swimming at my old stomping grounds (Ole Hanson Beach Club) during my lunch break Monday and it turned out to be reunion time/social hour. I ran into a good friend, Ernie Polte, who's 82. (Picture by me!)I wrote a story on Ernie when he was 80 simply because this guy's life is gnarly. He has been swimming every single day of his life for as long as he can remember. Literally hasn't missed a day. He's been in countless swimming races--long-distance ocean races, swim meets, you name it--and he says he's podiumed in all of them. Broke records back in the day and all. He was also a successful swim/water polo coach forever, and he inspired me to start the 6 a.m. swim class I've been in for the last year because the guy who coaches it, Byron Reidenbaugh, was one of his students. Ernie is simply amazing and I was so glad to reconnect with him--and see that he's still in the pool! He gave me the best compliment, telling me that my swimming has improved by leaps and bounds since the last time he saw me. I was looking back on the story that I wrote on Ernie and noticed a major mistake (in my eyes at least). I said he did the Escape from Alcatraz, but it should have been Alcatraz Invitational Swim. Unacceptable!!!

Anyways, this is the Ole Hanson pool (from san-clemente.org):

It's beautful and very popluar at noon.... probably why I ran into so many people I know, even coach Byron! He tried to get me to swim in the fastest lane, no thanks! With all the time spent talking with friends, lap count suffered a tad. But whatever, I'm tapering.

Ole Hanson's is overlooking the beach, so after the swim, I threw on my Newton's and went for a 30-min run on the SC Beach Trail. It was absolutely gorgeous out and literally made me want to move to San Clemente right then and there. Just something about that place.

Here's a glimpse of the beach trail by T Street from a photo I borrowed:

As for now, it's time to switch into race mode. I need to stop procrastinating and finish packing, ugh! But... I'm thankful that I'll have a couple new memories to think about and inspire me as I take on the Vineman course Sunday!

And if anyone is ever in San Clemente, be sure to pick up the SC Times.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wow, That's an Unexpected Surprise! ...and a Shark Attack Too!!??

So Vineman. This Sunday. I'm ready. Let's get 'er done. It's on.

That's all I need to say about that.

In other news, I got a completely unexpected, random and extremely thoughtful gift in the mail today from Koz Enterprises, the group that puts on the San Diego Triathlon Series and other races. It has to do with the San Diego International Tri.

Check it out:

First of all, thank you Natallie and Koz. That was above and beyond nice.

Two things come to mind:

1) After the race was over and after I blogged about my feelings regarding the transitions, I dropped the subject and moved on. I don't dwell. In the grand scheme, it really wasn't that big of a deal to me... after all, who am I? Just an age-grouper. It's not like anything was riding on the race. I was happy with my performance and happy for Whitney's win. She's a rad chick--if she were some b%$&#, I may have thought differently, ha ha j/k. But honestly, I didn't lose any sleep over the race outcome.

2) Whatever reason Koz felt inclined to send me this letter and medal is beyond me. Maybe someone else spoke up about the transition issue? I have no idea. The extent of my blabing is in my blog. But whatever the reason, I think this gesture shows that Koz is doing a great job and has the triathletes' best interest at heart. They just want to see honest, fair racing. And in a world that's corrupted with performance-enhancing drugs and/or any form of cheating, I appreciate and respect the principles of Koz.

I'm grateful such caring people are behind the races we all enjoy so much.

Just thought I'd share.


Du Da du da du da dudadudaduda (Jaws music)

~~~/\~~~ (a shark fin)

Ummm, yea... there was a shark attack at San Onofre (where I surf weekly+) on Saturday, July 11. No bites, but there was physical contact between a standup paddleboarder and a white shark, which appraently deems it an official "attack." AHHH. The best part: I was out surfing/swimming in the very spot where this happened merely hours later!! Holy crap! Check out the story here.

There have been quite a few shark sightings in SoCal lately. Super scary. But honestly, it's not going to stop me from getting in the water. When David Martin was killed at Solona Beach I was upset and distraught for a long time. But I came to terms with the whole shark thing, realizing that I love being in the ocean and I'm not going to stop doing what I love. If I get attacked, and that's my fate... well at least I'll go out being famous in some whaky way!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4 for the 4th and a PO'd Achilles

My last weekend of big training has come to an abrupt stop. Starting Thursday, I noticed a nagging pain in my left Achilles going up into my calf muscle. Something I've never felt before. It didn't really start hurting noticeably until after my 10k run Thurs, so I iced, massaged, etc. I had run every day since the Saturday before SDIT (of varying intensities and lengths), so clearly I would do no running, just swimming, on Friday to save myself for the weekend.

The the 4th of July plan was to spend four hours biking and running (couldn't--actually, didn't want to--do the celebratory 4,000 swim, 4hr bike, 40 min run like some people were planning!).

I planned a ride with lots of climbing and got 'er done... no Achilles pain at all. So 62 miles later (legs hating me, hot as hell), I set out on my T-run and pretty soon in--ouch! Achilles was pissed! Since I was already out and away from home, I ran until I nearly reached the four-hour mark, then walked/jog to cool down a bit. Iced after and no pain for the rest of the day.

The 4th was great... my friend invited me to join him at a BBQ in Huntington Beach at an apt right by the beach. In true American fashion, I enjoyed a couple beers and hot dogs with all the fixings! Our group was super mellow (thankfully!) compared to some of the mayhem going on. I swear, after the sun went down it was like controlled rioting on the streets of HB. Fun to observe, no desire to participate. It amazes me how many people had fireworks, not just little sparklers and screamers but real burst-in-the-sky fireworks, and they were shooting them off all night from their homes. Call me a goody-goody, but I could never do that--I'd be so scared to get in trouble!

I stayed up way past my bedtime but had a blast. When we finally left, Stuart and I forgot where we parked in the HB mess, but it was actually really fun because I had my new Republic bike to cruise around on... love that thing! I need to name it...hmmmm.

Anyways, I went to attempt a long run this morning, and literally 0.3 miles in it was clear that was not gonna happen. Achilles still pissed. So, rest it is! Thankfully I have a massage/ART appointment scheduled, and taper is beginning so I'm not too worried about taking time off from running. It's all about being well for Vineman.

So, instead of hittin the road today, I'm going to hit the surf in a bit. Shaka!