Friday, May 27, 2011

You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

Yep, that is right, if you are committed to something, you do whatever it takes to get the job done even if it means having to learn how to do new things. I learned one new thing this week. I was running late to my Mt. Diablo ride in Walnut Creek. I had no idea it would take me an hour to get there from Berkeley. So at 6:18 when I was just getting on to Ygnacio Valley and I saw it was completely backed up with cars, I realized I wasn't going to be able to roll with the group at 6:30, since I hadn't even changed into my biking gear yet. So did I panic? OK, yes, but just for a little bit. But then I realized, I had the necessary skills and experience to deal with this situation. I was on swim team for about 12 years growing up. I can't count the number of times I have done a deck change (a deck change is where you change completely into or out of your swimsuit on deck, using a towel or parka, so that none of your lady parts-or manly parts-are revealed to the world). Sure I was in bumper to bumper traffic, but I figured I could change into my biking gear using the same philisophy.

So at the red lights I put my car in park and put on the parking break...then I was able to put my sports bra on, underneath my shirt, but over my bra. Then I took my bra off, and since I had a sports bra on was able to take off my shirt and put on my bike jersey. Sports bras are totally acceptable to be worn in public, because they are like swimsuit tops or really small tank tops. :) That part was easy, but then I had to get my shoes and pants off and put my bike pants on.

Now this is when it got tricky. See you aren't supposed to wear underwear with bike pants, but that would have meant sitting in my car completely bare from the waste down for a time while I switched pants. Even though I doubted anyone would be able to see, that just seemed like I would be a little too exposed, so I made an executive decision to keep my panties on. So, with the car in park at the red light I was able to get my jeans off, but then the light turned the next light I had one leg of my bike pants on and I was thinking, this would have been a lot easier if I had brought bike shorts instead of bike pants...but it was too late then. As I was driving up to Sports Basement I was able to pull up the pants and wa-la! My very first in traffic deck change had been completed and with no one the wiser....well I guess until now and now all of you know.

The point to this story is: Things may seem difficult or impossible, but there is always a way to figure out how to get them done. Sometimes you may have to take risks (like I was thinking what was I going to do if a cop pulled me over when I was driving with no pants on), but if you don't take risks, then you won't know what is possible!

Sorry, no pictures for this story. it was hard enough just getting this all done without trying to document it, plus the pictures might not have been appropriate. :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

5 Things I Learned this Weekend During My 3/4 Ironman

I believe that every experience can be a learning experience, but sometimes the lessons you learn can surprise you. This weekend at Clearlake I learned a lot of things about myself and life in general, and a lot of them don't pertain just to training for an Ironman.

1. The first thing I learned is that I am easily pleased with mediocre accommodations. I had been told that the Anchorage Inn was so nasty that some of my friends' wives (not naming names) wouldn't go to Clearlake if they had to stay there. I was ready for stains on the floors and sheets, and bugs in the bathroom, but I was surprised that we were given a cute 2 bedroom apartment with bathroom, living room, and fully functioning kitchen. I remarked that the place was nicer than many of the apartments I've lived in in the past...of course, no one else said they could share that experience. :)I thought it was especially nice, since it had a cute little swimming pool.
2. The second thing I learned was that good goggles are something your should spend your money on. I've been buying cute tri bikinis to wear in the water (and on the run), but I should have bought a new pair of goggles. I had to swim about a mile and a half with my goggles full of water. At one point I tried to swim without them, but that wasn't very comfortable either.
3. I learned that you should always bring extra shammy butter with you on long bike rides. I don't want to go into details...but after about 40 miles I could have used some more lubrication, and so by the end of 101 A LOT of things hurt.  This learning experience could be seen as just pertaining to Ironman training...but if you generalize it a little bit, it could help you out in other situations: always bring enough lube, you never know when you are going to need some.
4. Some lessons are harder to learn than others. I learned this weekend that being sad can make it a lot harder to get up in the morning, and a lot harder to motivate yourself to run 16 miles. But I also learned that if you have really great friends to support you and you realize you are doing it in honor of a  loved one that you really miss, you can find strength you never thought you had, and things that once seemed almost impossible, can turn out to be somewhat fun. Thank you Jas, Les, Tyler, and Eddie for running with me and just being with me that day. :)
5. And lastly, this is one everyone has been telling me, but this weekend I finally realized how true it is: an ice bath is absolutely amazing. You should always sit in cold water for at least 20 minutes after working out!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How to NOT Make Your Friends Jealous (Bootcamp #2)

So have you ever thought it would be nice to make all your friends really appreciate what they have? Well one way to help them really appreciate their nice leisurely weekends, that I've heard most people spend sleeping in and watching TV, drinking at night, and watching sports in the afternoon, is to spend 14 hours at bootcamp, and describe all the torture you were put through.

Saturday: Wake up 6am
Drive to Aquatic Park and swim in the freezing water for an hour. 
 I kept thinking, it's May, the Bay has to be warmer now, right? Lake San Antonio was so refreshing! But no, I still had to use my swim booties and I got an ice headache from putting my face in the water.

After the swim we got to Spin/Run/Stairs/Core/Run/Spin/Run/Core/Run

Yes, that is what I said:




Oh, did I mention, that was just Saturday???? We got to get up and do 7 more hours on Sunday! At least on Sunday they were a little nicer to us, and let us start by swimming in a pool:
But I am sure the coaches were thinking they had been too nice to us, so then they had us ride up Mt. Diablo in the rain:
And then we got to run in the rain and HAIL!
By the end of the weekend, I could hardly move:
Of course, we only did a total of 14 hours of training in two days, and in 100 days I will be doing 16 to 17 hours in one day!

But you know what, I know most of my friends are not jealous of me and really enjoy their restful weekends, but I wouldn't give up this experience for the world!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So Many Numbers

This weekend my mind was swimming with's funny because before I began training for an Ironman I thought I was pretty good at Math, but once the exhaustion of training kicks in, well....let's just say by Sunday evening my two friends and I were about to leave $13 each on a $58 dollar tab, thinking we were being really generous with the tip. :) So how did my mind turn to mush this weekend?

Well, Saturday we had a double brick in Yountville:

38 mile bike ride, then 4 mile run, then another 38 mile bike ride, and then another 4 mile run. So a total of 84 miles. In that time I consumed 800 calories of liquid lemony stuff, 200 calories of GU, and 120 calories of Shot blocks. So a total of 1,120 calories in 7 hours and 50 minutes. Then when I was done I had another 620 calories with my chicken pasta salad with peanut sauce.
Jasmine and I before the brick began. I wasn't quite as clean or as full of energy by the end of the day. 
I got home and went to bed at 8:30.

Sunday I woke up at 7:00am and drove to Ocean Beach, where I started my 18 mile run. I maintained a 10 minute run/2 minute walk throughout the whole thing. I ran up through Golden Gate Park to the panhandle, then back down and over to Lake Merced. Then I ran around Lake Merced and back up highway 1 to Ocean beach. It took me 3 hours and 34 minutes, which was an 11:49 minute mile (which I was quite happy with, considering I had worked out for almost 8 hours the day before). In that time I drank 330 calories of Gatorade. It seems like I don't need as many calories if I am just running and not biking.
Finished my run on Ocean Beach
All in all I worked out for 11 hours and 20 minutes. I think I burned about 5,480 calories on Saturday and 2,425 calories on Saturday.  But I was sure to get them all back in me by having Crispy Fish Tacos Nick's Way and chips and guacamole with my mom for lunch on Sunday, and then two big slices of pesto, bacon, black olives Zachary's pizza with Jess and Magi for dinner.

I went to bed at 7pm on Sunday night and slept for 12 hours! Now there are 109 days left until Ironman, and I have a feeling things are just going to keep getting harder. Good thing I completely enjoyed myself this weekend. Bootcamp is this weekend: Bring It On!


Monday, May 2, 2011


Where to begin? This weekend was so intense, wonderful, difficult, draining, fun, hot, uncomfortable, trying, inspirational and absolutely unforgettable!

Bonnie and I drove down to lake San Antonio on Thursday afternoon. We got there in time to set up our tents in the light and then have some beers. There was some tequila drinking that I did not partake in. I knew I needed a good night sleep two days before my event, so I went to bed at 10 while the others who had gotten there early as well enjoyed their libations.

The next day we got up and I realized I had to get some swimming in. I hadn't swam in 3 weeks! I was a little nervous, but Mark and Bonnie and I headed down to the lake for a swim.

I swam half a mile, and realized that I really need to start doing my swim workouts. There is only one part of the Ironman that could be easy for me, and that is the swim. But if I keep slacking off, it's not going to be easy. So I made a little promise in my mind to Sedonia that I would be making sure to do more swims. :)

That night I made sure to be in bed before 10pm (again) and I got a good nights sleep, except for my weird dream. I dreamed that I had set up my bike in transition and then went back to it, and it was gone. Finally someone found it, but someone had stolen the front tire and tube (but not the wheel!) I know, weird, I was happy when Bonnie woke me up at 5:27am, even though my alarm wasn't set to go off until 5:30.

It was time to put our tri packs on and ride down to transition. I think I am finally getting the hang of setting up a pretty good transition area:

After transition is set up, us women have hours to kill before our race starts. My wave wasn't until 9:20am, so I went around taking pictures of the lovely ladies who were going to be kicking ass that day:

Finally it was time for my swim start! I was excited, but I didn't have butterflies like I did last year. I knew I had done it a month before, and I knew that there was no way possible it could be worse than that! Riding 56 miles in the pouring rain is awful, so I knew that the day was going to be good, because it was going to be better than training weekend.

The swim was actually great. I finished in 38 minutes and 40 seconds. The water was so refreshing. As I was on the way back I remember thinking: "this is the best I am going to feel all day, I better enjoy it!"

Then it was time to transition to the bike. I got on the bike and the first 12 miles didn't seem that bad. In fact I was feeling pretty good, until I got past the Olympic turnaround and I began to realize that there was a huge headwind. Visually it looked like I was going downhill, but in reality it felt like uphill and I was only going about 8 miles an hour. Now I don't do math very well when I am busy working out, but I was pretty sure I needed to be going faster than that if I wanted to get in under 8 hours. On Jolon road I was able to get into my aero bars and get up to 13 miles an hour, but it was still pretty hard. I knew I just had to really push myself on the downhills.

Around mile 25 Emily McClure caught up with me, and after that the rest of the ride was so much more fun. We stayed together and chatted, and yes, there was some girlie gossip. She was ahead of me on Nasty Grade, and just seeing her up there helped me keep going. I kept telling myself, Emily is up there, just keep going, because she is going!

We finished the bike together and then started the run. Or should I say hike? We started out running, but that didn't really last long for me. My plan went from 10 minute run/2minute walk to walk uphill/run downhill. The problem with that is that it seemed like the entire course was uphill! There is a F%*king hill at mile 4 to 5 that just doesn't stop. At one point you get to go down hill for a little after a water stop, so I thought I was done, but no...there was more uphill after that! Finally my goal became to get the 13 miles done in less than 3 hours. Luckily once I got into the pit, I was on familiar ground. I knew I had run out of it before and I knew I only had 3 more miles. So I am not saying I ran completely out of it, but I was able to go back to run/walk. I got to the top of lynch hill and I knew I wasn't going to make my 8 hour cutoff but I still could make my goal of getting my half marathon in under 3 hours, so I raced down that hill as fast as I could!

I ended up doing the run in 2 hours and 52 minutes. Not too bad, considering it really wasn't what you could call a 'run'. My overall time was 8 hours and 6 minutes. 6 minutes off what I wanted it to be, but I still felt great. I had never in my life done such a difficult run, in so much heat! And I had completed some of my other goals. I had definitely made Nasty Grade my bitch, and I had fun doing it. I can't say that run was fun, but I finished it! And it felt so great running down that shoot at the end.

Emily and I were finished and it felt so good!

Then it was time to go sit in the cold lake so that our muscles wouldn't get too inflamed. I also had to get in the lake because I was completely covered in petroleum jelly. On the run my shirt had begun to chafe me under the arms, and I kept asking people at the water stops for vaseline. They obliged a little too willingly and by the end of the race I was covered in the stuff!
I had told everyone I was doing the Long Course so I could party all night, but I was so tired, I could hardly drink two beers:

So I went to bed by ten! But that is ok, because I made up for it the next day. We started off the day with screw-driver mimosas, got dressed up and went to go cheer for our friends doing the Olympic course.
All in all, it was a great weekend! At many times during the run I was thinking I would never do the Long Course again. But now that I look back on it, I have never been challenged that much in my life, and I can't wait until next year to come back and get even with that hill!