Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oceanside 70.3 RR: Perfect California Day!

First half-Ironman of the season: check!
Ironman California 70.3 was a great & tough season-opener! I had a blast. No complaints about my race day, no excuses that "this or that" happened. It was a good day for me and I went out there and did what my body's currently capable of doing. So, now, I'm going to write too much about my day cause I'm still on a high.... bear with me :)

The highlights were: nailing my nutrition (thanks GU!), no stomach/GI issues, seeing countless friends on the course--including my lovely RAHA teammate Sara--the entire bike leg and successfully peeing during the run--twice!

I was pretty nervous the couple days leading up to Oceanside because quite frankly I'm way competitive and now with one full season of racing behind me, I've created benchmarks for myself. Add the that, I've built a significant network of triathlon friends and lots of folks have been wishing me luck, saying I'll kill it, Kona slot (ha!), etc, etc. I'm not saying "Oh I'm so popular," but I'm no longer just another anonymous face in the crowd--that certainly serves to motivate, but it also adds some extra pressure.

I've trained well since January, but I'm not peaking yet (patience!) so honestly my goal was to not be anal about times and just beat last year's Oside time (5:40). Then the night before the race my parents wanted my s/b/r estimates so they could be at the right spots. Whatever. Guess it was inevitable that I'd end up geeking out on times. I decided to give them my "fast" prediction: a 35 min swim, 2:45 bike & 1:40 run; with transitions: 5:05.

How it really went: 36 swim, 2:44 bike, 1:46 run and 5:13 finish. Not too bad; 27 min faster than last year, faster than Vineman too (but not Clearwater) with significant improvements not only in my times but in the way I felt.

As for my NEW age group. This was my first race in 25-29, and, again, I had no goals of placing anywhere significant. But somehow I ended up 10th! Woo Hoo! Plus, it was brought to my attention that I was the top 25-year-old in the AG (even though I'm 24) and the fast chicks who beat me were 27-29, so clearly seasoned veterans ;)

The only crappy part is (and I hate even bringing this up): I'm 24 until Monday, and had I been in the 18-24 division still I would have WON and had a Kona slot. Uggghhh. Not meant to be yet!

On to race report...

Almost slept the whole night through the night before (what?!) and was up at 4 am. Ate extra early to avoid issues. Success. Made bathroom stop in San Clemente during drive down. Smaaart move. Race bathroom sit is a joke! Meanwhile, it was freakin cold in Oside when I arrived, mid-40s--not cool. I found Sara, we giggled about our craziness and spent lots of time hanging out in bathroom lines. Before I knew it I was being corralled into our wave start, which is hands down the worst part of the race. Too nerve-racking for me!

Still all bundled up (especially compared to Sara, geez, what I wuss I am!)...

Almost go time... Swim
Into the water. Not so bad. But then we were treading water for several minutes before the horn--awful! My core temp was just drop drop dropping and I can only imagine how blue my toes were. I started the swim feeling cold and tight. Whatever, the plan was to just not over-kick and cause leg cramping. (Last year I had major calf cramps on this swim; common issue with me and cold water.)

The other goal was to not redline the swim; why waste good energy on my weakest leg only to go 1-2 min faster? I had a practice 1.2-miler a couple weeks ago and did it in just under 33 min. That was in a pool at about 90% effort. Doubt I'd get the same result in a body-thrashing cold ocean swim.
So I was swimming along and thought I was doing pretty well b/c I was passing tons of pink caps (the wave ahead of us). Unfortunately, I never found feet to draft off of, so the swim was all me (and all upper-body) the entire time. Got to the turnaround in what felt like good time.

We had blinding sun on the way back and I couldn't see a thing! At one point I briefly stopped to make sure I was on course, bad idea. I arched up a bit and that sent my legs into cramping mode. Crap. I swam the rest of the way with my feet dorsiflexed (aka not good form) to get the cramping to subside. When I got out and saw 36 min on my watch I was pissed. Bike time--it was on!

Side note: I broke the "something new on race day" rule and thankfully it went fine! I unexpectedly got a sweet Zoot Zenith wetsuit last week and never had the chance to test it out. But I trust Zoot and the great group of people there so I took my chances, wore it on race day and am sooo glad I did. The wetsuit rocks!!! Please don't let my swim time be a reflection of it's qualitiness.

Exiting...What's wrong with a little cat nap in T1?! Lots of work ahead still :) T1
I need to learn how to do the bike-shoes-already-clipped-in maneuver. But I did feel pretty efficient in T1 and not too out of breath, so it was a good call not to redline on the swim.
Also, I bought some sweet long socks from Target to use as arm warmers in anticipation of frigid temps (Linsey Corbin-inspired!) but I never got to use them, and they disappeared somewhere, bummer--they were so cute! See: However, can't complain about the awesome weather by 8 am! So off on the bike it was... Bike
I swear, if I ever give up triathlon it will be for cycling. I love it! Plus, this course is such a good representation of SoCal with the pristine coastline, lush green landscape and undeveloped mountains. Plus, my equipment was looking sharp and set up to fly. Bike glamour shot:
As soon as I got on the bike I had a GU, and continued having one every 40-45 min. Just those, water and electrolyte tabs. Worked perfectly. Another new thing I tried was lightening up my bike by getting water refills for my aero drink at aid stations vs. loading my bike with bottles. Success again! I did have one additional emergency bottle--my fav Vineman bottle, and it bounced out on those white road bumps. Crap!

One of my goals for the bike was to catch Sara . I knew she would kill me in the water, but I knew I had a chance to catch up. I finally saw her at this little out-and-back section and she was about 6 min ahead of me. Crap. I was hammering so hard, but again, not redlining. Patience and pacing are key on this course--the back hills are no joke.

Before I knew it, we were making a right into Pendleton. Then I saw the infamous "hill at mile 30" that last year, Mirinda Carfrae described as the "hill leading up to heaven." Yea, it's that big, but it's not so crazy like the hype would have you believe. Although, this year tons of peeps walked up and everyone goes at what looks like an ant's pace. Quite funny.

Here's the bike course profile with my stats from the iBike, see the hills?...
After the first big hill, the ride got GNARLY. The winds were INSANE. Crosswinds gushing so hard that I was more frightened then I've ever been on my bike, especially because at that point I was going pretty fast on some of the descents. Not to mention I have 808's and I'm 130 lbs, so relatively light compared to some guys--Mother Nature was pushing me around as if I were a little toy, and there was definite white-knuckle gripping. But I focused, gritted my teeth and hauled ass knowing I needed those precious high mph's.

We hit more big gut-wrenching hills, then the crosswind turned into a headwind for waaay too long. I was pushing 180-200+ watts and going really slow for how flat it was--demoralizing and major ouch.

Finally the winds were a thing of the past, and the last 15 miles were a hammer sess--I kept it 23-26 mph nearly the whole time. I was smiling--on target for a good bike split! I passed a lot of people and felt surprisingly great, although maybe not so great to run 13.1 at my goal pace. Uh-oh! The mind games started, and I began to question my ability to run at all. At that point Ms Kona caught up to me, and she inspired me to keep pushing hard for the last 3 miles of the bike. Thanks Beth! As I hit transition, I was stoked to see an overall avg of 20.5 mph (up from 18.5ish mph last year), and I beat my "fast" predicted time with a 2:44, which is also 15 min faster than I did this bike course last year! T2
As you can see in the above pic, I was right behind Beth coming in, and out of impulse, I tried something new: took my feet out of my shoes while still riding in. Worked out fine thankfully! I was pretty fast in T2, so much so that I was certain I forgot something, but I didn't. I ran out just behind Beth, and never saw her again (except when she passed me on the other side of the loop probably 3-4 miles ahead).

Starting off feeling ok and on pace: Run
The run was fun, hard as hell and a definite mind game of "don't quit!"
Love it! My longest brick runs in training at this point have been 6-7 miles, and that certainly showed: I held onto my goal pace of 7:30-7:40 miles until about mile 6. Then any speed I had just turned off. I definitely was not bonking, and my cardio felt good (still not redlining), but my legs just aren't yet conditioned to hold that pace 4+ hours into a hard workout. That's ok. What I did out there shows the training I've done so far is working, and I've been planning to increase my bricks as the season progresses, so all is good. Although, I was secretly hoping that the strenuous run training I've done the last 3 months would pay off in a 1:40 run (especially with an early-season open half-mary of 1:37) but it didn't. Oh well.

Highlights of run:

1) No tummy issues, which I was def nervous about given the recent issues I've been having. So yay on that! I win on the nutrition front. I did have some huuuuge deep burps on the run though, typical. Thanks again, GU!

2) My body felt fit, in good form and I had no debilitating/aching pains anywhere (minus the general pain of racing). Every half-Ironman run up until now has been somewhat of a death march for me, with some specific body part screaming in pain (knee, foot, etc). On this go-around, all body parts were in good shape! And it wasn't a "death march," except maybe the last 5k. On the right track.

3) I had to PEE, so I did baby! Clearly I hydrated well enough on the bike in order to need to pee. But there was no way I was stopping to go. Hell no! So I just decided to push and see if I could pee & run at the same time. It worked! The pee came out in little bursts every time I would strike. Made me laugh. It was clearly obvious that I was going for anyone who might have been looking. Whatever! It worked so well, that I went a second time later on. I tried to time it with an aid station to disguise the pee while pouring on the ice water, but that didn't work. I just went when I had to. Judge if you want :)

4) Thanks to Zoot, I had the most comfortable outfit and shoes ever. I ran in my laceless Ultra Speeds, and they were rad! Of course I didn't wear socks, and even on the hard concrete/asphalt, my feet felt great. Like butta! Not to mention, there was good drainage (ya know with the pee and water-pouring at aid stations), and not one blister. Only thing: maybe a thicker insole on the next round to support my midfoot. Also, for the first time ever, I didn't chafe from my outfit--my body is especially thankful for that today!

5) Crowds cheering the whole way. It was so motivating to have spectators, friends, my parents, aid station folks screaming the whole 13.1 miles. Keeps me going! Thanks to all of you.

Oh, yea: I never passed Sara on the bike, but my mom said I was only 45 seconds behind her coming out of T2. After not too long, I saw her just ahead. Eventually I passed her, which blew my mind because Sara is a better runner than me. When I did catch up, she said she was bonking, so I stuck with her for a bit and offered her my Gu. She declined and said to go ahead and don't hold back with her. So I did. The best part is, she only finished 2 min behind me, which goes to show are fitness levels are similar--even more reason to train together! I love that girl.

And finally, I had enough left in the tank to raise up my arms as I crossed the finish. Another first, as usually I'm dying when I wrap up a 70.3.

Wait for it... There it is! (I think that's Toby to my left on the sideline!)...
All in all, my final thoughts:

-Never underestimate the mental side of this sport. I had 100s of excuses of why I should stop throughout the day, but I never gave into them.

-I walked away from the race knowing that the training I have done up until now shined through--minus the swim--and my training will only continue to evolve/get more specific for 70.3 as the season progresses.

-Thanks to my mom & dad for being the best sherpas a single girl could have :)

-If I were forever bound to just be an average age-grouper, that's ok because I love the triathlon community and everyone involved. Seeing my friends and knowing so many people on the course was THE BEST race-day gift/motivator/reason to smile, shout and have FUN!

-Time for more hard work (after recovery)!

Few more pics...

So, yeaaa, uhh, how bout that race? Duhhh, what was I thinking on the swim?!... All smiles with Sara always:
Congrats to Ironman's newest pros for a stellar debut... Charisa & Ian, you guys rocked!!

Winners Michael Raelert & Mirinda Carfrae. Amazingness from them both!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Old Goat runners will be racing too

While I'm busting my butt at Oceanside 70.3 on Saturday, my grad school friend Brian will be close by busting his own butt in the Old Goat's 50-mile Trail Race. This run takes place in the Santa Ana Mountains off the 74 and--no joke--has 13,423 feet of climbing! On a run! Crazy!

The website states that Old Goat's " rated one of the toughest 50 mile trail races in the Country. This race is not for the squimish, the easily intimidated, or the undertrained. "


There are about 120 people signed up for this event. Knowing that they'll be out there trudging along in the mountains just northeast of us will serve as some major inspiration to get through the half-Ironman.
We estimated that it will take Brian roughly double the time to run his race as it will take for me to finish the 70.3--and he will be relatively fast, so others will be taking 20+ hours I'm sure. So in my head on race day, I will use that as motivation to push hard and not wimp out.

Here's the funny thing about Brian: He comes from a cross-country background and runs like a gazelle--he says his everyday pace that he always falls into is about 6:10-min miles. So, for these ultra runs, he's had to teach himself how to run slower--an 8-something pace--because he knows he can't survive dropping 6-min miles 50 times. He said learning that slower pace has been really tough. I just laughed. Geeeezzz, wish we all had a problem like that--having to learn how to run slow ;-)

Btw, I sliced my finger cutting veggies for dinner last night. I always do clumsy crap when a race is approaching! Now I have a nice deep gash on my left index finger. That's going to hurt during the race! Will have to wrap it well.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My kind of stress relief

We are finally getting perfect So Cal weather lately, and thankfully I haven't been overly bogged down with work--training or the "real" kind--so I've been able to take advantage a little. The beach, laying out, time in the sun. Turns out the activity added up quicker than I anticipated!

Recap of the recent fun:

Laying out at home = play time for Sydney....
Dog in action: thrashing her toy, her signature move...

On Thursday, after a quick LCM swim at masters, the afternoon = quality time in Laguna Beach with a mellow workout. Well, mellow in the sense that is was short duration, but it definitely didn't slack in the intensity department (a key formula for tapering).

One of my favorite beaches at Laguna because getting there is a workout no matter what...

The workout: Stair repeats!

Going up (like my artsy photo editing? Note: "NO KOOKS" haha)...
A view from the top looking down....
In action (love my new zoot shoes!).... ~~~~~
The weather stayed perfect for the weekend--finally!--and Saturday was all around epic. Kicked off with a fun set at 6 a.m. masters. After the swim I immediately hopped on my bike at ~ 7:15 a.m. to test the weather and my attire at that time of day in anticipation of Oside (most likely will hit T1 at 8 a.m.).
Glad I rode: I can honestly say my hands have never hurt so badly from being cold. I've snowboarded millions of times including at night and in freezing whiteouts and I've surfed pre-dawn in cold-ass water, but naked hands while going fast on a bike in 45- to 50-degree weather was downright painful! I almost quit and went home. But I didn't :) Kept to the plan, but modified by riding a sunny route--no shade (i.e. no canyon brrrr).
I now know I can't "tough it out" at Oside like I was thinking I would (for time's sake) and I need coverage on the hands/arms. Last year I did wear gloves but I spent probably 2 stupid minutes getting them on in a state of rushed panic, so I have to get creative this year. I have a plan inspired by Linsey Corbin.
After that I headed to Fullerton where I hosted a Triathlon Transition Clinic for the CSUF Tri Team. It was a riot. So much fun. By then it was hot out (80s?). We set up our transition areas and mini course (mount/dismount lines and all) in the parking lot. I gave my transition schpiel then it was race time. Wetsuits on, we lined up by a cone. Instead of swimming we did pushups to get the HR up, then sprint to T1. Fyi: stripping your wetsuit is really hard when you're all sweating & sticky. From T1 we rode around the lot then into T2 and off on a mini run. We definitely had onlookers who stopped & stared, jaws dropped, probably thinking we were completely insane. My kind of clinic :)
I timed the final round and had a sweet prize for the winner... a little incentive always gets 'em to push harder, but I had to DQ a couple guys. Harsh, but there are rules! All in all, major success at the clinic... no one played the "I'm too cool" or "this is lame" card.
Check out the belly dude... haha... We just happened to have a bike rack to work with... .
The Saturday fun continued... a grad school friend & I headed to San Onofre for a surf session. I figured I had to get in the water at least once before Oceanside, and I didn't want to swim again. It turned out to be one of those perfect days at San-O. Clear blue skies, hot, no winds, gentle waves and pretty warm water (low 60s?)! My friend, Tanner, is from North Carolina but has totally converted into a California girl. I love it. She's new to surfing and was perpetually stoked out in the water.
As for me, I was stoked, of course! Surfing is like this therapeutic-spiritual-'one-with-nature' experience for me. No clutter, no technology... just me & mother nature. I always say this, but I need to paddle out more. Thankfully, after a few goofy moves, muscle memory kicked in and I had a some amazing rides, even impressing myself after the long hiatus. We ended up surfing for 2 hours I think... so something like 4.5 hours of activity for the day, oops.... taper?

San-O perfection; me & tanner... I then cooked a full-blown meal for my grad school buds who were over for a study session (midterms tues/wed!). Cooking like I did probably counts as another hour of working out. But I see it as another stress-relieving activity for me even if it is "work." On the menu: BBQ chicken (first time lighting up the grill in a while!), polenta-quinoa-sauce mix and a veggie saute of green beans, bell peppers and onions.
I pooped out on our Saturday-night study sess by 9 p.m. I was soooo tired! Plus I had a trail run planned in the morning with a new client, so I had to get some solid sleep.
Sunday I woke up with a bit of a scratchy throat, but nothing too major. Since this run was technically a "meeting," I didn't want to bail and really didn't feel all that bad anyways so I headed out. We had a great time; I have a fit new client on my hands! Fun!! The trail we ran was possibly more green and more flower-filled than last weekend's run at Black Mountain. Wish I'd had a camera. Gorgeous!
The remainder of the weekend is pretty easy to explain: rest + compression!
As for the caffeine/no coffee experiment. I am down to just one small cup of joe a day. I tried none, but the headache was too bad, even when drinking black tea. Not so easy to wean myself off. Good news is, tummy is doing alright. I think all that stress-free beach/sun/outdoor action was the key :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cheating Sucks (& so does Tony Kornheiser)

I'm currently reading "We Might As Well Win" by Johan Bruyneel. (Yea, I'm taking the time to read for pleasure--I need it.) The book provides great insight into Johan's life, and his journey with Lance before/during/after seven TdF wins. As an aspiring coach, it's a great read that comes from a coach's perspective. It's also very educational on the sport of cycling--history, dynamics and all.

Last night I was reading a part where Johan talks about some historical acts of cheating at the TdF. He prefaces it by saying the Tour is like a metaphor for life: ..."a showcase for dishonesty, chaos and cheating, right alongside virtues such as nobility, bravery sacrifice and triumph."

The cheating part had me laughing. I don't know about you guys--this may be common knowledge for some--but I'd never heard these stories. Putting aside all the doping scandals, it's pretty pathetic what people were doing way back when to get ahead...

*1904: The top four riders DQ'd for taking a train during key stages; 25 others out of the 88 total punished for riding in cars or trains, or taking shortcuts, when they should have been riding bikes on the actual course. Didn't they notice a lack of riders on the course? Or were people not following them the entire way back then? Plus, how would that be trying to disguise yourself on a train. ha!

*1905: Rider covers road in nails & tacks in stage 1 to screw over his competitors.

*1911: Brothers Henri & Francis Pelissier carried a flask during the Tour that was apparently full of cocaine, saying "we keep going on dynamite" and "in evenings, we dance around in our rooms instead of sleeping." Oh dang!! Just picture how these guys must have looked & acted.

*1937: Rider has his handlebar partially sawn off in act of sabotage. Really? Better yet, he could have just taken a club to the guy's knee Tanya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan style.

*1953: A super-lean climber picks up water bottle full of lead (25 lbs worth) at the mountain peak so he can descend faster. So, who was the guy who handed him the water bottle I wonder? Slime ball.

Unbelievable, but laughably pathetic at the same time. I just don't get how people can have such lack of morals. How do you live with yourself? I can't imagine doing something unethical or illegal to get ahead in triathlon. Hell no. If my body & mind can't achieve it, then it ain't happening.

Thankfully, at the same time you have a guy like Lance who is just purely amazing. As long as we have role models like him in our world, I will keep faith in sport, and humanity too.

Btw, in the words of Lance: Tony Kornheiser is a douche bag!!!!

Update on Tony***... just saw Lance tweet this: ...To me this is all about a relationship. It's bikes and cars. Both will be here forever. Awareness needs to exist as well as mutual respect.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Diet Tweaks

I figured my tummy issues during Sunday's Xterra run were a fluke. But now not so much. My stomach ache has yet to fully disappear, even when I'm just resting. It's way different than that flu feeling, so I know it's not food poisoning or something. I attempted swim this morning and even that was no bueno. Ugh.

My first thought: it's not the food I'm eating, it's that I'm drinking too much coffee/caffeine lately--that's the only glaring difference in my diet as of late. With evening classes, that extra big mug of caffeine is a permanent fixture and my daily oz intake of joe is probably off the charts. Combine that with the stresses of exercise and life-in-general. Not that I'm "stressed out" but I am always on the go and sometimes forget to just chill out.

So... I think it's reasonable to wean myself off the coffee to see if that's the culprit, as well as keep on with more rest than normal. Nothing to lose, everything to gain with O-side on the horizon.

Stomach/GI issues are not completely new in my world. Last year I went to the doctor because I was experiencing some bad stuff during long runs. We determined that cramping, etc, would happen on the runs that were being done in the late afternoon--in other words, after eating at least a couple meals & snacks, so we figured it'd be good to try running in the a.m. It worked alright. Then offseason came.

Now that long runs are consistently back in my life, I've looked over my training log and I'm seeing a trend: cramps/issues occur more often than not when I get into double-digit miles, that's especially the case in the last couple months. I still do long runs pre-lunchtime but post-breakfast and post 1-2 cups of coffee. In training I'll allow myself to stop briefly and let the pain pass. I won't do that in a race--duh!--which is one reason why I think I had that episode at Xterra.

Also, before you ask, my breakfasts are nothing elaborate. I make a point to avoid majorly high-fiber breakfasts because I know what that can do. I also have lower-GI foods. Normally I will have some form of gluten-free carbs (either GF pancakes from TJs, brown rice tortillas, oatmeal, etc), protein (eggs or sometimes yogurt) and a little fruit.

Anyways, I'll stop rambling about gross issues, but it's something I hope to nail down sooner than later..... I just realized I'm signed up for Boise 70.3 and that starts at 2 p.m. uh oh.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekend recap: Bahati & Xterra

The Bahati Pro Cycling Team Launch Party on Friday was epic. Not only do I love my RAHA girls, but I love being part of a sporting organization that is giving back. Plus, our tri team isn't really on the radar yet, so it's cool to be involved in a group/team that is on a radar. I mean, Johnny Depp didn't show up to our shindig, but Mirinda Carfrae, the big guys of Cannondale, industry peeps, etc, etc, etc were there--in other words, some superstars of our world.

Beyond that, we were at Club Nokia taking pictures, having a cocktail and mingling by 7 p.m.

Lauren, Tatiana, Sara and me...

Rahsaan Bahati & his family...My dates... Mom & Dad...

Awesome custom bike up for auction...

Then it was into the theater for the team launch presentation with kids from Rahsaan Bahati's alma mater, Crenshaw High School, performing and TdF commentator Craig Hummer announcing the pro team; Floyd Landis and all!

You'd never know how early we got started because it's like Vegas in there--no windows, loud music (= loud talking/sore throat) and flashing lights. Works out well because by 10 p.m. or so, sports people like us can get jet out and attempt to be in bed by midnight for that inevitable morning workout. But we had some more camera fun first. With Rahsaan & our RAHA angel Brad...

A little leg action by Sara too...

Going off 5 hours of sleep, I was exhausted all Saturday. My workout was crap (which seemed to be the theme for the entire week!), I tried to nap and that didn't happen, so I drank more coffee and headed to San Diego. Thankfully my mom and I scheduled an early dinner with Tatiana, her mom and Matt at Rimel's (2 weekends in a row--lucky me!), and I was in bed by 8:45ish, which was really 9:45 with the time change. The awesome book I'm reading kept me from immediately falling asleep, but eventually I just turned off my light. Next up in the a.m.: XTERRA Black Mountain 15k trail race.


Xterra Race Report:

*Note to self #1: Think twice before trying to "race" a hilly course at the end of a 3-wk build. Yuck.
*Note to self #2: Don't chug a Venti Americano before a race. Ever.
*Note to self #3: If you have to throw up, just be thankful it isn't coming out the other end.

Met up with the SD crew beforehand in the brisk 45F weather. Brrrrr. Kristin, me, Caroline and Tatiana...

I wasn't nervous going into the race, which worked against me I think. See, when I'm nervous pre-race I can rarely finish a cup of coffee and I eat+drink slowly and bird-like. But before this, there were no nerves and I drank my americano effortlessly in attempt to beat fatigue; also had an FRS, Clif bar, banana, 2 water bottles. It went down fine at the time. I finished most stuff a couple hrs before race start, at least leaving some time for digestion.

Once we got going, I had some stomach sloshing and had to pee, but forced myself to ignore it. No wimps in Xterra.

I'd never run the course but was told to "save some" for the end; so I kept the first few downhill miles between 7:10-7:30. The trail was gorgeous but extra nasty from storm damage--ruts, rocks and overgrowth/lack of trail. It was fun charging through the hills and super green landscape. Totally prefer pristine nature vs. busy roads.

Then the middle hills hit. The shock of that uphill made me either queezy or in need of a gel--I couldn't tell for sure--so I had the gel thinking I was fine and could keep charging. Soon after the descent, I got nauseous. And I threw up some. Thankfully not hunching-over-a-bush style. At first it seemed to help, and my next mile was 7:30. But then I felt depleted and had leg/toe cramping (electrolyte balance screwed) so I hydrated at aid stations. The rest of the run was sort of a dizzy blur. I tried to hold onto a smile in appreciation of the moment, but that faded along with my average pace--slowing from 7:20s to 7:45 to 7:54. The goal was sub-8s overall, but considering the last couple miles were all uphill, that wasn't happening. Gotta love a good challenge.

I finished in 1:22, decent enough for 11th female overall (288 racers, how many girls? don't know). I'm happy with that result considering the time I spent dealing with my issues, and more importantly I had FUN (in a sick twisted way). I think the course was longer than 15k (last few miles mismarked)--some of us got stats of ~9.9 miles on our devices, so there's a good chance the avg paces are actually faster than what the results say.

My mom kicked butt out there running it in 1:32. She paced herself well and had a great race. For once, she had tons more energy than me afterward so she drove home while I slept. Next up for her: Superseal.

As for my RAHA girls: Lauren got 2nd female overall at 1:13 and Tatiana was 4th f overall with 1:14.... These girls just kick ass and I'm proud to have fast teammates whom I can chase. It's fun for me when they do well because I love sharing in their successes and can brag when they're too modest. Sort of like a mom talking about her children.

Also, gauging the difficulty of BM: Despite claims of being rather "flat," this trail is not much easier than Crystal Cove/El Moro, which is considered difficult. I know the Garmin is arguably unreliable for actual elevation gain, but it is consistent (aka it embellishes consistently), and mine reads that Black Mtn had only 300ft less ascent than Crystal Cove for roughly the same mileage. Both trails are just under 10 miles and crystal cove has ~2,150 ft climbing, while Black Mtn has ~1,850 ft.


Final thought... I think the overwhelming theme coming from this weekend is it's time for TAPER and rest, oh, and be careful with the coffee addiction.

Friday, March 12, 2010

let the weekend fun begin!

Training this week hasn't been as epic as I hoped it'd be for my last big week going into O-side. Workouts are a bit of a struggle and I even skipped/rearranged a couple sessions--just a couple!--when I wasn't feelin it. I've put in some solid hours and am pretty much on schedule, but I've also listened to my body. Really, there's no significant fitness left to gain a few weeks out from a race, but you can definitely dig yourself into a hole if you don't play it smart.
I swam a 1.2-mile time trial on Tuesday after reading a great article by Matt Fitzgerald and realizing I hadn't swam that far non-stop since November, oops! Unfortunately, I can't say the swim TT was the highlight workout of my week, ugh; I think my a.m. Wednesday ride takes that honor (minus some DOMS from Tues back squats). It was just one of those perfect rides with an eternal smile and lots of pain & suffering. Toward the beginning of the 3-hr *sunny* adventure I tested out what I was capable of on the Santiago Time Trial course: 11 miles, with the first 3 all uphill. It's a route I've done countless times on my rides, but I've never timed myself on that specific stretch. I had fun and I'll probably do the TT next time they have one.

Right after the TT at Irvine Lake. Note the jersey. Since Gran Fondo got rained out, I made a point to wear that new top-dollar jersey and make the ride my own little GF. Looking at this picture also makes me think it's time for a new helmet.


Other big news relating to our RAHA Tri Team came out this week. The Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team, which is under the RAHA Sports umbrella, announced this week that Floyd Landis is on the team. Pretty cool! I met Floyd in 2008 (?) at the Dana Point Grand Prix (doubt he'd remember) and have always liked him despite the BS he's faced.
Tonight is the Pro Team Launch Party up at the Nokia Theater in LA, so Lauren, Tatiana, Sara, me and our guests will be VIP-ing with the crowd. Should be fun. I'm not one to be into "VIP club scene" parties, but when you throw in pro athletes, top executives from big cycling companies and sporty people, then sign me up! I'll be sure to take pics and tell you how it goes!

On Saturday afternoon, I'm heading to San Diego yet again with my mom. (Anyone want to do dinner?!) We're running the Xterra Black Mountain 15k Sunday morning... a race on significantly tired legs, hmmm. Let's just hope a freak storm doesn't ruin this race too! But the weather is pretty darn nice right now, so I think we'll be good to go. In fact, the weather is so nice (like almost in the 70s) that I actually ran in just a sports bra (and shorts of course) for the first time all year today! I have to even out that swimsuit tan--my back is like 6x darker than my stomach. I also tested out a special surprise that came my way... sockless, laceless & sexy Zoot shoes.... Anyways, hope everyone has some fun stuff planned for the weekend. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gran Fondo: A Sweaty Day

When I sweat up a storm during my solo trainer sessions I don't think much of it because there's no one with whom I can compare sweat status. That changed Sunday. I realized how much of a faucet I am. Though it's hard to really tell, this pic (post-3hr ride) shows me sopping wet:
Backing up....

Gran Fondo weekend. I got into SD Saturday afternoon and hit up Rimel's with Tatiana and Matt. It was my first time at Rimel's and damnnnn it was sooooo good. Basically what I consider a perfect dinner - grilled fish & tons of veggies on a big bed of brown rice. Mmm.

Early to bed, and by 5-something-am on Sunday Tati and I were headed to downtown for GF packet pickup with Starbucks, Clif Bar, banana along the way. The weather looked sketchy, but it wasn't raining. Hope!

Then it changed....

Long story short: That was the most expensive goodie bag+bike jersey I've ever gotten ($100). It started raining ~30 min before GF started, and didn't look like it was going to clear up at all. The ride truly sounded like a blast--especially going across the Coronado Bridge--but not with freezing temps, winds, slick roads packed with all types of cyclists... you get the point.

Tati and I were over it. In fact, I actually start melting in the rain, so it's not a good idea for me to be exposed in it for long...
Tati just gets crazy in that weather so I had to get her out of there asap...We heard rumors that about ~50% of the riders decided not to start due to the weather. That made me feel better for not being "a wuss." Talk of HTFU was floating around, but whatever. I chose health. Ryan and Toby did it (think the shorter course?); I'll be curious what they have to say.

I saw these on twitter later on:

larsfinanger It rained 100% of the 100-mile ride! Crossing the Coronado Bridge was sweet and it was fun to finish the last 50-miles with Mari Holden.

@PaulHuddle - @rochfrey & @heatherfuhr stay dry for another 30-seconds before the Gran Fondo San Diego. Amazing how many nut jobs rode in 50-degrees & pouring rain.

As for us OCD workout-fiends, the next thing I know we were back in North County with fellow GF-bailer Kristin Mayer for a trainer party in her garage. By 11 a.m., the three of us had put in 3 hours of riding. Success after all! (I brought my trainer down in anticipation of a rain-out, good call!) It was good company, good girl talk and good music the whole time; I probably wouldn't have survived that alone given all the trainer sessions that have been forced upon my life lately, so thanks ladies!

The setup:

So back to the sweat thing... Tati or Krisitn barely sweat at all; meanwhile, within 15 min of riding I was drenched! Literally sweating buckets. I had to change sports bras every hour, and I went through three big towels. The other two had little "droplets" of sweat. Wtf?!

Last but not least... regarding my "100 vs. 53" post: Had I done GF, I was going to do the 53-miler. It's already been 2 big build training weeks and next week will be even bigger, so I didn't see the need to put in an unnecessary amount of riding when I could do a t-run instead.

So, you may ask, did I do a t-run right after the trainer sess? No! Ha! I was too wet (sweaty) & cold, and was craving a real meal that didn't come in a package. But I did run later in the afternoon... it was slow, but I got through it and did some other gym stuff too for over an hour. That coming off master's swim & 90-min run on Saturday... Yea, I put in my 15 hours this week.

Bye-bye storm!