Saturday, May 30, 2009

OC Duathlon Race Report

Warning: My parents actually came to this race so there's lots of pics and even some video in this blog. All tech'd out!

So June gloom came a little early and in the form of what I consider rain (those who have "real" weather would probably disagree). Into Friday night that was the name of the game, so I couldn't wait to see what Saturday morning would be like for the OC Duathlon. I was ready to race in any conditions, but to my surprise Saturday morning was fairly dry and not even that cold.
Now this was cool: How often do I ever get to ride over to a race from my front door step? Hm, like never. The du was 3 miles from my house, so I took off at 5:45 for a nice little warm-up ride. Here's Sydney seeing me off... you can see it looks kinda damp/crappy out.
Got to the race earlier than most (as usual), racked up and hung out with some familiar faces. Here I am with Pete and Corrine, they both do ultra-marathons and are just really good, nice people. Glad to know them.
Another plus to having the race close to home: Before my parents I came I made a special request: Bring deodorant! I forgot to apply before I left, so thank God they grabbed some for me. Would hate to offend anyone.
Wasting time b4 the race, overlooking transition and trying to scope out Michellie Jones' rack spot. Her Felt puts mine to shame, ha ha.
And here we are right before the race start.
Now, I didn't taper at all this week and it's been another hard training week, so I didn't have big expectations for this race. Plus it was my first du ever, so who knew how it'd go. My goal was to do the 5k's in 23 minutes or less, which I know I did on the first one--wore my Garmin and avg'd about 7 minute miles. I didn't try to kill myself and go all out. Good advice I got: leave some gas in the tank for the 2nd 5k!
A video of me finishing the first 5k:
video
Going into T1 was crazy. Since it was a mass start, there was lots of traffic in transition heading into the bike, as you can see below. I politely told the dude in front of me to "pick it up!" He was moving like molasses.
Onto the bike. Within 2-3 miles (heading into the canyon/mountainy zone), it was WET! Super heavy drizzle/light rain. Before I knew it, I was covered in specks of muddiness as was my bike. Visibility was sketchy, but I was glad to have my Rudy's blocking raindrops from stabbing my eyeballs.
It was crazy to race on my regular weekly training route... I liked knowing what to expect at every moment. The guy who normally sells beef jerky on the roadside wasn't there. Too bad. And too bad we didn't do Modjeska Grade Road! ha. It was also crazy how alone I was for most of the bike. It was pretty spread out and not a lot of passing went on my "time zone." It was even crazier to see Luke Bell, Michellie and all the other pros/elites fly by! I wonder what they thought of the course.
Overall, I was happy with my bike. I wanted to average 20 mph, ended up averaging 19 mph. I attribute that -1mph to the conditions ha ha; although, I did get up to roughly 35 mph several times. Adrenaline rush on slippery roads!
Here's me about to dismount with some beautiful blue scenery in the background. (That's not a lot of Port-o-potties for a race, huh!?)
The second 5k was of course more difficult, but I just went through the motions knowing it'd be over soon. I looked at it as if it were a regular T-run after a Saturday ride--with a little more oomph. I was not a fan of the surprise hill at the very end of the run. That sucked.
Here's Michellie Jones crossing the finish at 1:40:47... first-place female (of course). She's so amazing, love her! Luke Bell won with a time of 1:30:47.
Then here's me... 16 minutes after MJ came in. Official finish time: 1:56:48... That put me at 1st place in my AG and 15th female overall. Not too shabby for racing on tired legs I guess.
I caught up with my dad and Syd in the "dog zone" post-race. Saddleback Church (where the finish/post-race events were) would not let doggies close to the action so they had to hang out in the distance. I'm sorry, but I find that to be lame.

Then time for awards. Now here's something that makes the statement "it's a small world" so true. The OC Tri Series race director, Bill Leach, was my mom's teacher at Corona Del Mar High School back in the '70s. He and a student fell in love back then and together they went to the Olympics for kayaking. Then, she, Julie Leach (Bill's wife, who my mom had many classes with growing up) went on to win the Ironman World Championships in 1982! Gnar. And today, they are clearly both active in the tri world.

Here's what Bill had to say about my mom and her dad (my grandpa) when I got my award...
video
Then I had to leave cause I was freakin freezing. When I got home I realized how DIRTY my bike got. This picture doesn't even do it justice, but I assure you I cleaned it right away. Well, that is, after I ate a nice big meal first.
After eating, cleaning and looking at Honu 70.3 updates, I took my mom out for a 30+ mile ride (for Mother's Day I promised I'd "kill her" on a grueling swim, bike and run). We've done the run, so today was the bike. But unfortunately my legs were toast. I was pissed about how crappy I felt, but I'm still glad I got in some solid riding after the race... My mom kicked ass, so I'll have to really push her limits on the bike another time.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bike, SURF, Run

This was probably the best "recovery" day ever. I was planning on taking it easy given my hard training week with a nice hard weekend--Sat: 80 miles biking/T-run, Sun: 14-mile run--but that didn't happen. I ended up getting in a different kind of triathlon today: biking, surfing and running!

The day started off with an easy bike down the street to the Laguna Hills Half Marathon where I checked out the racers (well, I actually was a little late to see most runners... I slept in, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast...what!?). I mainly went down to hang out with my good friends at their Juice Plus booth at the expo. What a fun group.

In the pic below, the woman on the left, Jacke, just got finished doing a 3-day 150-mile moutain bike ride/tour through Moab, Utah. She's gnarly on a mountain bike and leads a local group called the Trail Angels. I don't even think I could hang with her. In the middle is her daughter-in-law and one of my best best friends of many years, Marcai. As you can see Marcai is very pregnant, and I've come to the conclusion that her little boy (due in July) is going to be a triathlete. Since I'm not planning of having kids anytime soon, I can mess with my friends' kids. Ha ha.
After spending a couple hours with them, I took the long way home on my bike to get a little mileage in. Felt good to spin out the legs. When I got home, my dad had the van packed up and he, my mom and I jetted down to San Onofre to go surfing. I haven't surfed since last August-ish, so I was super excited to get out and see if I could still do it. I used to be quite the surfer chick back in the day. Thankfully, today was a PERFECT day to be at the beach! That's me getting ready with my trusty 9'0" Becker and stalling pulling up my wetsuit (putting on a surf wetsuit sucks compared tri suits).


Surfing was absolutely amazing. Call it luck, but I caught so many waves that I lost count! Maybe all my swimming is paying off in other ways because I was taking off on wave after wave like it was nothing. Such a blast! Even though my "style" was a little rusty, I couldn't have asked for a better first session back. I'm going again soon!! The best part - no sharks and no fear of sharks... despite knowing there are sightings at San-O 24/7, including last weekend when an 8-foot Great White breached by Dogpatch. Eeekk!

After the surf sess, the family fun continued. It's weird, I live at home but I rarely see my parents, especially my dad who works his butt off, so it was nice spending time with them rather than the typical "See you later!" as I run out the door. Anyways, we felt bad that Sydney missed out on the San-O action, so we took her on a run. The parents beach cruisered it and I ran with Syd. Once again, an unexpected workout, but totally mellow and enjoyable.



To top off an amazing day, for dinner we cooked up fresh Mahi-Mahi tacos, homemade guac and a bunch of other good stuff, inlcuding one of these:
Pretty good recovery day. No complaining here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beer Makes Me Faster

Well, that's probably not true, but I've drank more beers in the last six days than I have this whole year so far and I've seen an improvement in my swim, bike and run times during training the last several days. I even did the Encinitas Triathlon kind of worn down from major lack of sleep and the going out, and I did alright - podiumed in my AG (2nd). I guess in that case the adrenaline rush of racing allows you to push beyond fatigue - well at least for a short sprint race. And in the spirit of beer drinking, I won a Encinitas Sports Festival beer mug that says "I'm Really Fast." I suppose beer can work into the equation, as long as I don't get a beer belly. (Flashbacks of SDSU coming to mind!)

Each occasion during which I've drank lately has been well worth the indulgence because despite how focused I am on personal goals like improving in tri, being a good student, etc., it's all about balance and enjoying good times with good people. And that's exactly what I've done. Although I did put off studying for two major finals I had Tuesday and my scores might reflect that I chose a weekend in San Diego over hitting the books. But I had good grades going into finals so it's cool...

Letting loose a little also gives me something to laugh about while working out. Like today, during my 35-mile bike, I was laughing out loud while replaying last night over in my head: country-line dancing at OC Tavern in San Clemente immediately after our Anatomy and Physiology final. There's a lot wrong with this scenario. A) I don't like country music. B) I can't dance very well, let alone country-style. C) My friends had no idea what they were doing either. But I dressed the part - cowgirl boots (my sister's), jeans, a westerny shirt, and thankfully some of the good guy dancers took me out on the floor and had me doing the two-step and were twirling me around in every direction. I also learned a square-dance routine called "good times." Coming from a non-country girl, it was actually very fun, and I would totally do it again. Not to mention, it was quite a workout! I was sweating like crazy. I wonder if I can log that as training hours hahaha....

Anyways, back to the Enicintas Triathlon. It was a super fun race in a place that feels like home away from home. One day. I did some counting, and this was my 9th triathlon ever and I think my 15th race ever since I started this multisport lifestyle in 2007.

ENCINITAS Race Report:

Woke up at a hotel in Oceanside at 4 a.m. (stayed with my best friend from college who was there for work). On the road by about 4:45, transition set up by 5:30, an hour + to kill. Sweet. All the while, it was drizzling hard. This was my first "wet" race.

SWIM
I did a pre-race swim and made a mental note to watch out for all the ditches in the sand - no more sprained ankles please. I was the 3rd wave (I love being spoiled by going off early and getting to avoid course traffic!), and as soon as I got going my swim plan was blown. Instead of getting a set on the way in, where I would have attempted to body surf, we got a set on the way out just like I didn't want; I dove under about 3-4 waves and lost time doing so. Kind of lost my breath too. Bummer. But finally found a rhythm and was talking sh*t to the sharks in my head (there was a sighting at Moonlight Beach a couple weeks ago). That was fun and pumped me up. Got out at 13 minutes, hit the mat at 14 min, and ran up that damn, long, steep ramp to transition.

BIKE
I was doing windshield-wipers on my Rudys with my fingers a lot. But even though the ground was slick, I didn't hold back. I'm getting more confident every day on my bike and I hit some pretty high speeds (for me) going down PCH. Right now, cycling is my strength so I hammered hard. Since it was a sprint, I wanted it to hurt. I did notice my Cateye said the course was over 13 miles (not the planned 12.4), and I averaged just about 21 mph. Usually, during the bike I'm focused on passing girls who beat me in the swim, but not in this race. I was pretty much on my own the whole time, so I didn't really know where I stood. I figured whoever was ahead of me smoked me on the swim and I had no chance.

RUN
Once again, the goal was to hurt and not hold back. I exited transition just behind this 14-year-old girl and tried to stay on her feet, but she was too fast - and probably 80 lbs. Ha. So I just pictured myself doing a track workout and set my pace by the way a feel during that. It worked alright, and I ran just over a 7 min.-pace for the 5k. I'm satisfied. I also was wearing sunglasses and a hat, which I realized were totally unnecessary given the cloudy, damp conditions. Guess I don't have to do the same thing in every race.

DONE
I crossed the finish line at 1:17 for the 820-yd swim, 12.4 (13+)-mile bike and 5k - 2nd age group! The girl who beat me did it in 1:10. Wow! I really wanted to meet her, but she didn't stick around for awards. No bueno, I should have grabbed her beer mug. After everything wrapped up, I jumped on the Felt and rode south to climb Torrey Pines then into La Jolla then turned around. Good ol' Torrey - a must! Right? Then showered up and hit the bar for beer, grub and Lakers. Good times. I slept very well that night.

CHEERS!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lots Going On

This has been the busiest week I've had in a while, but it's been one of the best weeks! I thrive off having tons to do, even if I occasionally bitch and moan about it - but that really only happens if/when sleep starts to suffer. This week was also my third hard week of training, and unfortunately my volume suffered a tad because I had to devote lots of attention to two major exams, a project, finals prep (such a nerd!) and work stuff, I also did some fun stuff like get an hours-long bike fitting and hear pro triathlete Chris Legh speak at Tribuys. Those last two were clearly not "mandatory," but they might as well be in my book! So next week is a recovery week, which works out well because I decided last minute to sign up for the Encinitas Sprint Triathlon May 17. I'm addicted to racing. Thankfully I have good friends in SD who let me crash with them.

My Sunday morning ride was probably the highlight of the week. Got on the road early after having my power oatmeal, and was extra excited to test out my new bike fit on a long ride. I love getting started before the masses are out. Something surreal about being in Santiago Canyon all alone, especially at the top of Modjeska Grade Road....which you can see below. Even though it was kinda cold out, I was sweating like crazy of course!

By the way, see that jersey? That's my France jersey that serves as motivation to do Ironman France. I really want to do it in 2010, but I don't want to do it alone and don't have anyone crazy enough to do it with me yet.

This next picture isn't from this morning, but while riding I made a mental note to mention it. The property below is on Modjeska Grade Road, and the original house burned down in the 2007 fires. Those fires were awful for everyone who suffered, but I was extra upset to see the canyon, which I consider my backyard, go up in flames. Anyways, after this home burned down, it remained a vacant lot for a long time. A U.S. Flag and a sole chair were the only things there. It was heart-breaking to ride by it all the time. A while later construction began, but it's been slow to progress. Finally, things are looking promising for the owner of this property, as the house is really coming along! I took this photo about 2-3 weeks ago, and this morning there was even more work done! It's been quite amazing to watch the transformation of this property, and I can't wait to see the finished product!

Another thing that caught my during my ride was OC Duathlon signs! I can't believe I'm doing this race. What am I thinking? My running fitness is nowhere close to what I wanted/expected it to be by this point in the year, but that's life for ya. Damn ankle sprain. And as nervous as I get about the swim before a triathlon, I don't think running a 5k right off that bat sounds ideal or even that fun. It should be an interesting experience. At least I know the course like the back of my hand.

So my ride was basically epic. I was happy and smiling. Life is good right now. I sang out loud to the songs on my iPod, I drained the sinuses with a gagillion snot rockets, I reached and held speeds of 35 mph+ multiple times (shhh, don't tell my mom) and the best part: my new bike fit is PERFECT. The Felt is finally truly dialed in to fit me as much as it can. I also had an epic "target practice" win. The guy had been drafting off me for like 15 minutes, then he finally passed me, then I got stuck at a light that he made, but I still passed him going up a long hill and on the downhill I never saw him again. Woo hoo!! After the ride, I got in my fourth run for the week. This one was a lot cooler than the scorchers I put myself through (on purpose) on Wed & Thurs.

To wrap things up, I have to mention this last picture because I love Syndey. (We've almost had her for fives years now; can't imagine life without her, or a dog around for that matter.) So, I do a lot of work on the desktop in my room, and Sydney loves to distract me and try to get me to play with her. I'm such a sucker. I always give in; how could you say "no" to a face like this:


Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there. I have the utmost respect for you all!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Target Practice

I like to play little games with myself on bikes and runs. Makes the time pass by faster and I tend to push harder. One of them is something I call "target practice." Basically, I see a cyclist or runner out in front of me, and it's my goal to catch that person and leave him/her/them in the dust. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail miserably. Well, today, I was on fire! I passed about five people and/or groups on my bike ride. Maybe it's cause I got a late start and all the fast morning-ride guys were already done. Oh well, I was happy.

Then on my T-run, I had a hard target to catch about 4 miles in. He was probably 2-3 minutes ahead of me and running at the same pace, so I had to pick it up if I wanted to get him. It took a while, but I was successful! Passed him, held a good lead, then I think I fired him up and he sped up and started pacing off me, which made me run farther than I planned. Got in about 7 miles and it was the best T-run I've ever had after a decently long/fast bike. I averaged 7:30-min miles on a hilly run, which is an improvement from past T-runs.

On top of that, I put in a hard week of work trianing-wise. I was logging in my weekly totals and was impressed! I got in four swims, three bikes, four runs, three strength-training sessions and multiple stretching sessions. Although I didn't log in major mileage (or time) in any one workout, I did more workouts at harder intensities across in all the sports, and my total mileage was just about where I wanted it, including an intended increase in swimming yardage (about 9,000 yds). I had to miss one scheduled run due to majorly sore legs from a killer weight session, but oh well, learned my lesson.

I was reading Matt Fitzgerald's plan for IMAZ training, and he's doing something similar - "spend as little time training as necessary to achieve [his] goal." This entails about 12 workouts a week that are generally shorter and harder rather than fewer total workouts that are longer and drawn out. His reasoning is that he wants to keep his wife (haha), but from my single-girl point of view, I kind of like this approach, it's nice to work out A LOT and still have time for the rest of my life. I think my longest training sess was today - about 3 hours for my bike-run. I may switch up the weeks because I think getting in 70+ mile rides with long T-runs is important, but it's fun playing around with training. I don't get bored.

PS - Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend. I checked out some of the Wildflower times and was super impressed and proud of the people I know of who competed, way to rock it out there!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tagged

"Running with a Bottle of Wine" blogger Chloe tagged me with one of those "tell-us-about-you" survey things. So, here ya go...

The rules are:

1. Fill it out
2. Change one question with one of your own

(I think I changed two)
3. Add an additional question
4. Tag 3 other people to do the same

ME....

1. What are your current obsessions?
Triathlons (duh), the TV show "House," raw almonds

2. Which item from your closet are you wearing most often?
2XU compression socks. Do they actually work? I don't know, but I'm giving them a try. Close second: My stretchy pants from Target. So comfortable!


3. Last thing you bought for yourself?
A massage. Next up, a FIST bike fitting at Tribuys in a couple days. Talk about self-indulging. Geez.

4. What’s for dinner?
Probably flank steak, sweet potatoes (yum!) and some kind of green vegetable, topped off with dark chocolate.

5. Say something to the person who tagged you:
Chloe, you and I seem like we're a lot alike. I love your lifestlye! If I ever come out to Florida to race, can I stay at your place? :)

6. What is one item you could not live without?
I have two. First, sports bras. I wear them more often than regular bras. Second, like Chloe, my contacts... I'm flat out blind. Worst fear: losing one during a race!!

8. Vacation spots you must visit before you die?
My life goal is to plan vacations around doing an Ironman, so France, Australia and tropical Ironman locations are on my list. Crossing my fingers that France happens in 2010.

8. What is your most immediate short-term goal:
To finish this and my freelance work, get over the the gym for upper-body weights and swim No. 4 for the week, and then go to my new job (more on that soon). Oh, and recover from the sorest legs I've ever had, lower-body weight strength training destroyed me!

9. What are you reading right now?
The new issue of Triathlete mag and kinesiology textbooks: exercise physiology, and strength and conditioning. No time for a "real" book right now.

10. Tell us three random things about you.
1) I have racing (and the desire to go fast) in my genes. My
grandfather is/was a world-renowned race car driver in the '50s, '60s and '70s and won basically every prestigious race in the world. After retiring from driving, he continued to build race cars and ran a racing team. He is still working to this day, and now my uncle is a professional race car driver. They also build some faaaast motorcycles and often ride where I do - Santiago Canyon/Cook's Corner!

2) I hate shopping for clothes and stuff like that. I don't enjoy the whole process of browsing through racks and trying everything on. I'm such a dude when it comes to that. The problem is, I love having new and cute stuff to wear.

3) I have not had coffee since the beginning of February. Coming from a former (extreme) coffee addict, this is huge.

11. What is the last movie you saw and enjoyed?
Marley and Me. Very cute, but the book was better - I remember being on a plane and bawling my eyes out when I finished reading it. I love dogs and have had one around for the better part of my life.

12. What’s your guilty pleasure?
A big container of frozen yogurt and wine (not necessarily together).

13. What’s your favorite smell?
Well, it's NOT the smell of 24 Hour Fitness' pool chlorine, which is extra potent and sticks to me for days. Yuck. Hm, I love the smell of barbecues and showers (once again, not necessarily together).

14. What is your fav trashy reality TV show?
No reality TV for me. However, I love the show "1,000 Ways to Die" on Spike, it's based on real stories, does that count? That show cracks me up, Darwinism at its best...how morbid. Ha ha.

15. What's something random that's happened to you recently.
I've dissected a sheep's brain and cow's eyeball and have studied a human cadaver in the last couple weeks and was not grossed out at all. However, on the topic of grossness, this was the most disgusting thing ever: While putting away a new thing of oatmeal in our pantry last Saturday, I discovered a mealworm (I think?) infestation in an old container of hot cereal that no one ate. I was home alone and had to dispose of it all by myself. I was shaking it was so awful. The weird thing is, the pantry is relatively new, so the cereal couldn't have been that old. We're not gross unclean people, I swear.

16. Whats one thing you can't go a day with out doing?
Chewing gum. Preferably Orbit Sweet Mint. It's a bad addiction.

17. What do you have an addiction to?
Ha, well beside gum, working out & popcorn. As for working out: I'm a triathlete, so duh, taking rest days are torture! As for the popcorn: I eat whole bag of Redenbacher's Smart Pop Kettle Korn on a regular basis.

18. Whats your favorite holiday?
Halloween. I don't know why, I guess I love the whole dressing up thing. And although I'm a summer person at heart (I must live in warm climates), I like how Halloween kinds symbolizes the transition to fall and the holiday season.

19. How many pairs of shoes (not just running) do you have??
Probably 10-15, but I only wear maybe 2 or 3, including my Rainbow Sandals 24/7. Non-running shoes are a low priority in my life.

20. Favorite activity besides training.
Cooking and "creating" meals. I am the resident chef at my house and don't mind it at all.
OK, now I'm tagging three people:
Brytri
Ian
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